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Sudanese refugees evacuated from Iraq

TIMISOARA, Romania, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Sudanese refugees holed up in a desert camp in Iraq were evacuated to Romania, the U.N. agency for refugees reported Tuesday.

A group of 42 refugees was evacuated to Timisoara in western Romania late Monday night, said Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

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The UNHCR said Sudanese refugees in Iraq were subjected to assaults and general abuse from militias since the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003. In the period from December 2004 to February 2005, militants killed 17 Sudanese refugees.

The Sudanese refugees had tried to flee Iraq on their own, but became stranded about 50 miles from the Jordanian border with Iraq in the deserts of Anbar province.

The refugees join a group of 138 Sudanese refugees living in an emergency transit center run by the Romanian government, the UNHCR and officials with the International Organization for Migration.

The UNHCR said the center is the first of its kind for refugees faced with the need for immediate evacuation.

The Romanian government will host the refugees until documents for resettlement in the United States are completed.

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