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Bedouin Town Welcomes African Immigrants

Over the past two months the Bedouin town of Rahat has become a city of refuge for South Sudanese migrants, who are trying to avoid being located by Interior Ministry inspectors and deported to South Sudan.

“Immigration police doesn’t come here; this is paradise for them,” said a Rahat resident of the new arrivals.

Whoever comes to Rahat cannot help but notice the number of Sudanese who have decided to settle there. They work in hothouses, supermarkets and even on building sites.

“We have some 500 migrants, of whom 400 arrived recently, ever since the interior minister decided to send them back,” said Rahat Mayor Fayez Abu Sahiban. “Rahat is becoming a great place for them to live.”

Unlike elsewhere in the country, there has been almost no friction between the Bedouin residents and the Sudanese, with the Muslim newcomers assimilating well into the veteran population.

“There have already been marriages between migrants and Rahat women,” said Abu Sahiban. “City residents like them a lot, they have similar customs to ours, they don’t do anything bad; they uphold tradition and respect the residents.”

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