News / Africa

In Uganda Camp, South Sudan Refugees Dream of Peace

  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya, Jan. 7, 2013.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda rest and await transportation from a transit center in Koboko, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda await transportation from a transit center in Koboko, Jan. 6, 2014.
South Sudan Refugees Pour into Uganda
Philip Aleu
Diing Kon has a wish: to be able to fall asleep at night without feeling the fear that grips her gut when she hears gunfire nearby.

The mother of eight has spent her entire life in Bor, the only town in South Sudan still under rebel control after government forces recaptured Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, last week, after a bloody battle.

The next target of South Sudanese troops would be Bor, a spokesman for the army said, presaging heavy fighting in the capital of Jonglei state.

But Kon left her hometown weeks ago, when rebels overran Bor. She and her children came under fire as they crossed the Nile River by boat, leaving behind everything but each other.

They eventually ended up at the Dzaipi transit camp in northern Uganda, with "no luggage, no shoes for the children, no utensils," Kon told VOA.

The camp is around an hour's drive from the South Sudanese border town of Nimule, and around 390 kilometers from Bor.

"We are looking for a place to stay because I have never been in exile before. I don’t know where my husband is... He ran away," Kon said.

At least 32,000 South Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries to escape deadly clashes that erupted in the world's newest nation four weeks ago, the United Nations' refugee agency (UNHCR) has said.

The bulk of the refugees -- more than 23,000 -- have gone to Uganda and continue to cross into the country at the rate of around 3,000 a day.

Once in Uganda, the refugees have to be registered by the U.N. refugee agency before they can be moved to settlement camps where they can build homes, grow their own food, sell the surplus and become self-sufficient.

Philip Mabior, a school teacher from Bor, who fled the town nearly a month ago, has already been registered as a refugee.

Refugees who fled violence in South Sudan and crossed into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya in Arua district, northern Uganda, Jan. 7, 2013.Refugees who fled violence in South Sudan and crossed into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya in Arua district, northern Uganda, Jan. 7, 2013.
x
Refugees who fled violence in South Sudan and crossed into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya in Arua district, northern Uganda, Jan. 7, 2013.
Refugees who fled violence in South Sudan and crossed into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya in Arua district, northern Uganda, Jan. 7, 2013.
But at the beginning of this week, Mabior, his mother and sisters were still at the transit camp, where he described sanitary services as "very limited."

"For example, you have to line up at a four-door latrine to ease yourself. There is limited water supply. Sometimes people take a day or two without bathing," Mabior said, adding that he was

Officials from the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, are being very methodical about registering the South Sudanese who are crossing into Uganda at a rate of around 3,000 a day.

UNHCR officials told VOA they want to make sure they don't register the same refugee multiple times -- but the refugees themselves say the process is too slow, especially given the conditions at transit camps like Dzaipi.


Six days without food


Tabitha Ayen and her seven children have been at Dzaipi for six days, waiting to be registered as refugees so that they can move to a settlement camp.

Ayen said that, for the entire time she's been at the transit camp, she hasn't been given any food or water by aid agencies and she and her family have been sleeping outdoors. 

Thousands of South Sudanese who have fled the violence that broke out on Dec.15 in Juba and quickly spread around the country, staged a protest in a transit camp in northern Uganda at the weekend, demanding that the registration process be speeded up so that they can be moved to settlement camps.

In response, the Ugandan authorities set up a new transit camp, which within a day of being opened had taken in around 1,000 South Sudanese running from the violence in the world's newest nation that the United Nations said has likely claimed some 10,000 lives in four weeks, and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

People continued to flee the country in their droves, even as representatives for the two main protagonists in the fighting -- President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar -- met in Addis Ababa to try to resolve the conflict.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More