afrol News, 18 May - Direct exposure of civilians to military activities by various armed factions remained the main cause of displacement in Sudan, believed to have the largest number of internally displaced people in the world, the Norwegian Refugee Council reported on Tuesday.
Estimates put the number of internally displaced people at about four million, although the IDP situation was complex, with different causes and patterns of displacement in different regions of the country, and updated figures for opposition-held areas in southern Sudan unavailable, the report said.
Traditional patterns of migration among nomadic communities and the movement of large population groups in search of emergency humanitarian assistance also complicated assessments of the general internally displaced's situation, it added.
- Military action with a clear intent to displace civilians has been a common pattern and practice by armed forces on both sides of the conflict, the Norwegian Refugee Council reported.
The main conflict involves the government and the southern-based Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), but there are also cross-cutting conflicts involving pro- and anti-government factional militias.
While control of territory has been a major reason for fighting, the acquisition of resources and assets, or the denial of them to the other side, had also been "a dominant aspect" of the war, the Council stated. Attacks on civilian settlements to disrupt militia recruitment, forced relocation and abductions had also been among the patterns of displacement, it said.
Displacement since the late 1990s have been closely linked to the expanding activities of the oil industry in Unity/Western Upper Nile (Wahdah State) and Upper Nile, the Council reported. Civilians in Unity/Western Upper Nile had been particularly badly affected, because they suffered both from forced displacement related to the oil exploration and fighting between rival rebel groups, it added.
Among the significant new developments it noted so far this year were internally displaced people's movements into Bentiu, in Unity/Western Upper Nile; in the Nuba Mountains; towards Wau town in Bahr al-Ghazal; and in Juba county in Western Equatoria.