South Sudan suspends census till end of the year

April 12, 2008 (NSV)

The South Sudanese Minister of Information Gabriel Changson Chang announced on Saturday in Juba the suspension of census "until further notice," citing that religion and ethnicity are left out of the census and the IDPs from northern Sudan have not been repatriated.

"There is a sizeable number of southern Sudanese in northern Sudan and if they are not transported to the south before the census it will affect the wealth sharing," Changson said to reporters in Juba.

On Wednesday, the The Chairman of the Southern Sudan Census Commission, Chol Aruai, told Sudan Radio Service the census was scheduled to go on as planned despite the concerns of south-north border not being demarcated and religion and ethnicity not being included in the census, saying they are political by nature.

"The issue of ethnicity does not affect directly but I'm saying it's a political concern. About the identity of the Sudan, about religion in the Sudan, these are political issues; they are neither demographic nor economic nor social in context," Chol said.

In the last month since Edward Lino launched his government in Abyei, sources in the area have said the Sudan Armed Forces sent their forces to Abyei. There is also an SPLA presence and observers fear the two parties may slip back to war over the non-implementation of Abyei protocol as stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the war in 2005.


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