Refugees are fleeing across the country’s border into overcrowded and unsanitary camps in neighbouring Uganda to escape the escalating violence in South Sudan.
The violence started in mid December when the South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir accused the Former Vice President of attempting a coup against his government. The conflict gradually escalated and spread to other parts of the country. The traumatized and exhausted people go through the transit centre in Elegu, just few meters from Uganda’s border with South Sudan.
The UN says the centre receives nearly 3000 new arrivals everyday. This just explains how critical the situation is. The refugees are agitated and afraid and hence seek ways to flee the conflict ridden country. Majority of them are from Jonglei state which has witnessed the most crises. Many of them had to walk tens of Kilometers with whatever little possession they could carry.
One of them said amidst tears, “we were running over bodies. We kept hearing gunshots while we crossed the river. There were bodies everywhere in the water.”
Another said, “I had to flee after my five brothers were killed in a raid in our little village.”
The UN says about a thousand people have been killed in the violence but the International Crises Group claims its about 10,000.
Some African countries and the international community are trying to pressure both sides into a cease fire in peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia but the process has so far been stalled.
The UNHCR and other Humanitarian agencies have been doing so much to help the refugees by providing shelter, food and other basic services they can afford to.
We sincerely hope that this conflict is resolved soon. The African continent is tired of conflicts and humanitarian crises.