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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid