Europe warned about new influx of Sudanese refugees

2024-02-06 08:46:42
Europe warned about new influx of Sudanese refugees

If a cease-fire agreement isn't signed soon between Sudan's warring sides and relief efforts aren't strengthened, refugees will look for safety beyond Sudan's neighboring countries, the head of the United Nations refugee agency warned Monday. Filippo Grandi spoke from Nairobi one day after visiting Ethiopia.

"The Europeans are always so worried about people coming across the Mediterranean. Well, I have a warning for them that if they don't support more refugees coming out of Sudan, even displaced people inside Sudan, we will see onward movements of people towards Libya, Tunisia and across the Mediterranean," Filippo Grandi said. "There is no doubt."

More than 9 million people are thought to be internally displaced in Sudan, and 1.5 million refugees have fled into neighboring countries in 10 months of clashes between the Sudanese military, led by General Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, a powerful paramilitary group commanded by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

The conflict erupted last April in the capital, Khartoum, and quickly spread to other areas of the country.

Grandi said several countries neighboring Sudan — Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Ethiopia — have their own "fragilities" and will be unable to give refugees enough assistance.

He said refugees will move further toward northern counties like Tunisia, where some have been documented planning to cross to Europe "When refugees go out and they don't receive enough assistance, they go further," Grandi said.

He said the war in Sudan is becoming fragmented, with a number of militias controlling areas. "Militias have even less hesitation to perpetrate abuse on civilians," he said, suggesting that it would create even more displacement.

Grandi also said conflicts in places like Sudan, Congo, Afghanistan and Myanmar should not be overlooked during the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.

"Gaza is a tragedy, it needs a lot of attention and resources, but it cannot be at the expense of another big crisis like Sudan," he said.

Grandi spoke a day after visiting Sudan and Ethiopia, which is recovering from a two-year conflict in its northern Tigray region.

The United Nations says at least 12,000 people have been killed in Sudan's conflict, although local medical groups say the true toll is far higher.

(Source: Agencies)

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