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 Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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