Census head confirms count of southerners in north Sudan is incorrect

24 May, 2009 (ST)

The former director of the census commission, Awad Haj Ali, conceded in an interview that the reservations voiced by South Sudanese about the accuracy of the figures concerning the number of southern Sudanese in the north is true, adding that their number may be more than a million or a million and a half.

Some estimates of the population of southerners in the North have been as high as several million, due to the migration northward resulting from the civil war and economic factors.

The SPLM had accused the NCP of manipulating the figures of the census and under-counting the number of southerners in Khartoum. The number of southerners in north Sudan is at 520,000 people according to the census results, of which 350,000 are in Khartoum. Earlier, the South Sudan commission for census and population had expressed similar reservations at the figures.

However, speaking in the interview with Miraya FM, the census commission chairman blamed the inaccuracy on the refusal by southern Sudanese in the north to be counted. He did not fault the enumerators.

He pointed out that the total number of southerners in the north might be 26 percent.

On the same grounds, the Government of Southern Sudan has also rejected the census results that estimated the population of southern Sudan as twenty-one percent of Sudan’s population. First Vice-President and head of the semi-autonomous government in southern Sudan Salva Kiir Mayadrit approved the result at the Sudanese presidency meeting held on May 6, but later said he is unhappy with the results.

Sudan conducted its fifth Population and Housing Census, a milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), from April 22 to May 6, 2008. It was the first all-inclusive census for people of southern Sudan since Sudan became independent in January 1956.


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