News / Africa

No Going Back to South Sudan, Refugees in Uganda Say

  • South Sudan refugees at Kiryandongo settlement camp in Uganda. Uganda has taken in more than 76,000 refugees from South Sudan since unrest broke out there on Dec. 15, 2013.
  • A South Sudanese woman arrives at Kiryandongo settlement camp in northern Uganda.
  • South Sudanese children at Kiryandongo settlement camp in northern Uganda struggle to carry full jerry cans of water.
  • New arrivals from South Sudan stand next to their few possessions -- a jerry can, mattresses, suitcases, a machete and a pair of flip-flops -- in Kiryandongo settlement in northern Uganda.
  • A South Sudanese woman carries her daughter in Kiryandongo settlement camp in northern Uganda.
  • The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that as of Feb. 17, 2014, more than 716,000 people are displaced inside South Sudan and another 156,800 people have fled to nearby countries.
South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda
Bonifacio Taban
Nyuon Isaac hammered a nail into a plank of wood at Kiryandongo refugee settlement in northern Uganda.

The South Sudan native is putting down roots, weeks after fleeing his home in Juba when the young nation plunged into violence. 

"I became displaced on December 15," Isaac explained to VOA.

"That was in Juba. I lost most of my relatives and brothers. I will not come back soon to South Sudan, so... I decide to make a house around here so that my family manages to reside here until maybe the time comes for me to go back to South Sudan,” he said.

Isaac is one of more than 156,000 people who have fled to neighboring countries since fighting broke out in South Sudan. Nearly half of them -- 76,000 -- went to Uganda, a country that has been welcoming refugees for decades.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that as of Feb. 17, 2014, more than 716,000 people are displaced inside South Sudan and another 156,800 people have fled to nearby countries.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that as of Feb. 17, 2014, more than 716,000 people are displaced inside South Sudan and another 156,800 people have fled to nearby countries.

The Ugandan government allocates land for housing and farming in settlement areas to some refugees and allows freedom of movement to those who do not wish to live in a settlement, provided they have the means to make a living for themselves, the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, says on its website.

"Compared to camps, which are not found in Uganda, settlements such as the ones in Uganda provide greater livelihood opportunities for refugee families to achieve socio-economic security, reducing their dependency on food and other assistance,"  UNHCR says.

Kiryandongo also gives the South Sudanese refugees a safe place to live, basic food and water, and access to schools for their children. Few, if any of the refugees at the settlement have plans to return to South Sudan anytime soon.


'They came and killed Pastor Nyang'


James Bap Manyol, who was a pastor at a Presbyterian church in Juba, left South Sudan after several of his colleagues, including a senior pastor with whom he was very close, were shot dead in front of him.

"They came and killed Nyang Lam. I see that with my own eyes. He put on the cloth of leadership and they killed Pastor Nyang. And they also killed Racial Nyakan Biel, who is the deacon in my church, in the same church. I fear to go to South Sudan," Manyol said.

The refugees are reluctant to go back to South Sudan, even though a second round of peace talks is under way in Addis Ababa. The first round, although difficult, resulted in the pro- and anti-government sides agreeing to stop fighting and expedite the release of 11 political figures who were detained shortly after the fighting began.

Seven of the 11 detainees have been set free and are in the Ethiopian capital for the latest round of peace talks.

But even as the negotiations continue, the fighting in South Sudan has not stopped, with fresh clashes that broke out in Malakal on Tuesday between the SPLA and opposition forces claiming at least 10 lives, according to the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Sunday Martin said she will not return to South Sudan. until she's sure that peace has been restored.

“People, they are telling us that there is peace, but there is not any peace," said Sunday, who lost her father in the fighting in South Sudan.

"Those people who went there, they don’t come back. Even those who are in UNMISS, if someone went out to get something, those people, they don’t return," she said, referring to the tens of thousands of South Sudanese who have sought refuge at U.N. bases and compounds in the country.

As Sunday spoke, Isaac's hammer pounded another nail into another plank of wood. He's not a carpenter by trade and building a house is a difficult and costly task for him. Building it so far from home makes it harder still, but Isaac and the others at Kiryandongo feel they don't really have a choice but to stay in Uganda as they wait for peace and security to return to South Sudan.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: chuol tut from: nairobi-kenya
March 06, 2014 3:53 AM
just pray pple of south sudan our father who's in heaven will reward u guys.

by: MICHAEL. B from: ETHIOPIA
February 20, 2014 1:39 AM
donot be wore my brother about your return to south sudan,God is the one who bring peace to his people, there willbe atime that you willbe return back to your country you will never belonger refugee in that foriegns country, ilive ethiopia but i still knowing that my descendence originated from nuer sudan.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs