Dozens of refugees have reportedly left Bidi-Bidi camp in Yumbe district for South Sudan, following the revival of the peace process between the SPLA -IO and SPLM under President Salva Kiir, and the swearing-in of Riek Machar as the country’s first Vice President.
South Sudanese Refugees ready to entertain guests during a function in Obongi. some of them are reportedly leaing for S. Sudan following the swearing in of Riek machar as first Vice president in Unity government.
South Sudanese refugees living in
camps in the West Nile districts of Arua, Koboko, Yumbe, Obongi and Adjumani
have been warned against voluntarily leaving the camps to return to their
country without clearance.
Dozens of refugees have reportedly left Bidi-Bidi camp in Yumbe district for South Sudan, following the revival
of the peace process between the SPLA -IO and SPLM under President Salva Kiir, and
the swearing-in of Riek Machar as the country’s first Vice President.
According to security reports,
most of the refugees depart at night and head to settle in S. Sudan’s Yei River
state, with some going as far as Jongolei where there are ongoing fights between
the army factions.
Yumbe Resident District Commissioner
Richard Andama warns that it’s premature to ascertain peace in South Sudan immediately
after the power-sharing agreement effected nearly a month ago.
“I urge the refugees to be patient and avoid rushing to go
back to S. Sudan because the government and refugee agency has not issued clearance
for them,” said Andama.
However, according to Taban Wani
Samuel, the Refugee Welfare Councilor for Bidi-Bidi zone B10, a number of
refugees leaving for South Sudan keep coming back to the camps after some
time. He explains that many refugees are still sceptical of peace in their
country, fearing possible coups, rifts and even war among the interim unity
He adds that even though clearance is made for their return to South Sudan, many of them are not willing to leave Uganda
where they have settled for decades now.
//Cue in; Yaaah there
Cue out… change their mind.” //
However, Michael Lejo Anyanjo another refugee welfare council
chairperson in Bidibidi Zone B1 says the action of some of the refugees moving
voluntarily to South Sudan is due to individual happiness and feeling over the
recent signing and formation of an interim government.
//Cue in; Actually even before…
Cue out; should repatriate. //
Meanwhile Solomon Osakan, the
refugee desk officer W. Nile says that although there is a semblance of peace in South
Sudan, refugees should wait for clearance from a team of government officials
from Uganda and South Sudan.
According to reports from the
Refugee desk in West Nile, Adjumani currently receives about 800 refugees per
week some of who are taken to Rhino Camp in Arua district, while Koboko
district receives between 20 to 30 aliens in a day.