S Sudanese refugees in Congo double in September
The number of South Sudanese refugees registered in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo nearly doubled last month to reach about 54,000, the UN refugee agency said yesterday, as heavy fighting continues to ravage the world’s youngest nation. Hundreds have been killed in South Sudan in battles that broke out in July between troops loyal to long-time rivals President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar. Dozens more died in fighting last weekend. South Sudan has now leapfrogged Burundi to become the third-largest source of refugees in Congo, after Rwanda and Central African Republic. The vast central African nation hosts nearly 430,000 refugees registered by the UN refugee agency.
The number of registered refugees from South Sudan increased from 27,250 at the end of August to 53,974 at the end of September, UNHCR said in a report. A UNHCR spokesman said it is unclear how much of the increase was accounted for by new arrivals as opposed to registration of existing refugees, but the influx of South Sudanese fleeing the conflict continues to grow.
A soldier injured during last weekend’s fighting close to the town of Malakal rests at a military hospital in Juba, South Sudan, on Wednesday