Tide of refugees on Nile as Sudan faces break-up
The first barges came yesterday at dawn completing an epic 17-day journey along the White Nile to deliver their human cargo from Khartoum to Juba, the capital of what may become Africa’s newest country next month.
Washerwomen on the west bank sang a high-pitched welcome to the hundreds of incoming refugees who crowded the decks ululating and beating drums.
The half-dozen rusting hulks that floated into Juba with more than one thousands passengers were the latest additions to a wave of southerners flooding out of the north ahead of a January vote expected to split Sudan in two.
As many as 75,000 southerners have moved south, according to the UN, aboard makeshift convoys of trucks, buses and barges. Some have come to vote and others to escape a feared backlash in the Muslim-dominated north.