Juba — The humanitarian situation of thousands of South Sudanese returnees who are stranded in Kosti on their way to South Sudan may soon worsen after the decision of Khartoum government to block aid workers from accessing the area.
Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the minister for Information and Broadcasting said today that aid workers have been stopped from providing humanitarian assistance to the returnees.
"We have been getting reports that nongovernmental organizations including ADRA have been prevented from delivering aid services," he said. Dr. Marial also said food that was meant for the refugees have been taken and their movement restricted.
The governor of White Nile state Yusuf al-Shambali had earlier on given seven days for South Sudanese in Kosti to leave saying their presence in the area poses a security threat to the citizens of the area. The seven-day deadline expires on Friday April 5th, which is this week.
According to Drs Marial, the refugees' movement has been restricted and those who disobey the orders are threatened with arrest. He said this was a serious humanitarian situation.
There are about 350, 000 South Sudanese living in makeshift shelters in Kosti awaiting a trip by barge South of the White Nile to South Sudan. The returnees are still in Kosti because the barges are owned by Khartoum and only a few have been released to facilitate their transport to the Republic of South Sudan.