Just two months after reopening the border with South Sudan, the Sudan government has again closed its borders with the south and threatened to treat South Sudanese in the northern neighbouring country as foreigners.
The disclosure was made by South Sudan’s Renk county commissioner in West Nile state, (former Upper Nile sate), Stephen Chan Aluong, who said his county has officially received a message from the White Nile state governor of Sudan that the national government has issued a directive ending cross border movement with the neighbouring South Sudan.
“It is very clear that the closing directives were issued by Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir and given as a directive of action to White Nile governor,” Aluong said.
“Even people who are taking their relatives to hospitals in Sudan have been stopped from crossing the border by Sudanese authorities,” he said.
Sudan threatened two weeks ago to close the border, stop medical and education incentives South Sudanese enjoy in the north and treat them as foreigners over charges that Juba continues to support Sudanese rebels. South Sudan has denied this allegation and insists on dialogue as the way to resolve the differences.
Commissioner Aluong said Sudanese authorities closed the border last week when two military planes bombarded border areas inside South Sudan.
“When they [Sudanese] bombarded our villages and military barracks, they also stop people from crossing into Sudan or to South Sudan. This is something that authorities in White Nile state has continued to impose over the last five days,” Aluong added.
Sudanese moves to close its borders with South Sudan just came a day after South Sudan government accused Sudanese government’s forces of carrying out air bombardments in Upper Nile state.
According to South Sudanese army, Sudanese warplanes allegedly dropped 12 bombs on a police station in Upper Nile state, claims denied by Sudanese army.
The two countries which emerged out from the 21 years old civil war in 2005 through comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) which cleared a roadmap for the South semi-autonomous region to determine its future through 2011 referendum.
Earlier on January this year, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir ordered the re-opening of his country’s border with South Sudan for the first time since the region seceded in 2011 to become an independent nation.
The two states, which accuse each other of backing armed rebellions against their respective governments, decided in November to revitalize the demilitarised zone which is on the border and had been agreed upon in 2012 signatures by both sides.
On March 17, the Sudanese government in its weekly cabinet meeting chaired by President Omer al-Bashir decided to end open door
policy for South Sudanese.
Khartoum said no South Sudanese national will be allowed to reside in the country without an identity card from his or her government and an entry visa.