South Sudanese fleeing violence cross into Uganda

July 20, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

F Noy

 

By

Gloria Nakiyimba

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed that a total of 2,959 refugees crossed into Uganda from South Sudan on Friday and throughout the weekend.

According to UNHCR the majority of people seeking shelter and safety in Uganda are South Sudanese. This now brings the total number to 5,015 people who have fled South Sudan since violence broke out early July.

They entered Uganda through border points at Moyo, Kuluba, Lamwo, Yumbe and Elegu.

The United Nations agency warned that the number of people seeking asylum in Uganda will increase in the days ahead as tensions remain high across the border.

“UNHCR expects more people to flee to Uganda, especially now that the 200-kilometre Juba-Nimule road, linking the South Sudan capital to Uganda, has been cleared of checkpoints. As a result, more people are now coming by truck, and this explains the rising numbers of arrivals,” read part of statement issued by the commission.

More than 6,000 South Sudanese are staying in the Pagiarinya settlement in Adjumani District, while others are waiting at collection points to be transferred to the settlement.

The new arrivals are mostly fleeing from Eastern Equatoria state, with a smaller number arriving from Juba.

Some of the refugees report that the security situation remains volatile and fighting could return at any time. They have also reported an increase in looting of people’s properties.

“People are arriving in Uganda tired and hungry. Many of them have walked for days carrying belongings. Others are suffering from malnutrition after walking without food for days. Militia activities in some areas of South Sudan have made it difficult to harvest crops in recent months” the statement read.

At least 300 people were killed and more than 10,000 fled their homes after the violence in Juba.

UNHCR condemned recent violent attacks against humanitarian workers, which have left at least one person dead.

Last week, the UN agency presented a revised appeal for its South Sudanese refugees operations, seeking US$701 million in aid.

Ann Encontre, Regional Refugee Coordinator for the South Sudan situation, said the overall planning figure had risen from 867,239 refugees to 973,000. She warned that it could pass the 1 million mark in the coming months.

Encontre commended neighboring countries for keeping their borders open.

This year, the number of countries hosting South Sudanese refugees has expanded to include the Central African Republic hosting 10,454 refugees and the Democratic Republic of Congo hosting 11,966. Other countries hosting refugees are Ethiopia with 285,657 refugees, Kenya hosting a total of 103,104 refugees, Sudan 231, 638 and Uganda hosting 224,420 refugees.

South Sudan currently ranks among the countries with the highest levels of conflict-induced population displacement globally. One in four of South Sudan’s citizens are displaced within its borders or in neighboring countries.

Africa’s youngest nation was again plunged into chaos after fighting broke out between enemy forces of South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir on 7th July this year, this breaking the earlier peace agreement signed to end the civil war that started in December 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria Nakiyimba

Gloria has experience spanning more than five years in Journalism, particularly in field reporting, editing, newscasting and management. She is currently working with Capital Radio Limited [91.3 Capital FM and 96.3 Beat FM] as Head of News, a position she has held since 2010.

Gloria previously worked as the Kampala Correspondent for Radio France International [RFI] generating local story leads with international inference for RFI’s global audience. She also served as Political Editor for The Weekly Mail Newspaper as well as Online Content Editor for the California based Ugandan broadcaster KubutakaRadio.com.

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