Anyuak refugees appeal for return of elders

By Taban Henry

The Anyuak refugees residing at Gorom refugee Camp are appealing for repatriation of their elderly people and those who wish to go back home.

On Friday, the Minister of Interior and the commissioner of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees paid a courtesy visit to Gorom Refugee Camp to acquaint themselves on the situation there. 

Gorom Refugee settlement was established in October 2010 to host Anyuak refugees from Ethiopia. The population previously resided in the congested Lologo settlement, set up in 2003 in the outskirts of Juba town.

At its inception, there were approximately 100 Anyuak refugees living in Lologo by 2010-2011, the population had increased to almost 1,200 individuals, with some households confined to plots of 10 square meters per person and creating untenable conditions for refugees.

Speaking during the visit, the Chairperson of Gorom refugee camp Ojullu Ochan Ochan appreciated the Ministry of Interior for the visit citing that without them the refugees were not going to stay since they are surrounded by the army.

While calling the office of the Ministry of Interior, Ojullu said there were people willing to be integrated to this society so as to become citizens of this country.

“We are looking for repatriation of the elderly people and we have shared this with the UNHCR to be repatriated to the country.” Ojullu said.

“We need shelters for our grown up children and those people registered without shelters, the food has been reduced since it was changed to cash but the problem is that the price in the market is very high. We are looking for durable solutions for our living as our country Ethiopia is in a serious threat in Northern Tigray region,” Ochan said.

He called for resettlement for medical cases and other concerned cases too.

“We the refugees residing in this settlement are glad with the initiative done by the commission of the refugees affairs creating for us peaceful co-existence with the host communities including the army surrounding us,” he mentioned.

Meanwhile the Minister of Interior Mahmoud Solomon Akog hinted that the purpose of the visit was to know the challenges they are facing and to hear on the interaction of the host communities with the refugees.

He said they need harmony among the host community with the refugees as one day they will go back home while calling on them not to be shy saying the government do not discriminate.

“As Ministry of Interior, your welfare is under us, we must make sure that your security is safe, make sure that UNHCR is supplying you with the food items, health services, education and other social services,” he said.

The Minister of Interior is urging the refugees not to lose hope in life as soon as they live adding that they will coordinate with relevant authorities to make sure that the Anyuak elders are repatriated back home to meet with their families.

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