South Sudanese in Uganda plea for total peace

By Abraham Garang

South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda are strongly urging all leaders across the political spectrum in South Sudan, to work hard to ensure that total peace and stability take roots in the country, so that they could return home to restart their livelihood activities and to participate in the nation building process.

Uganda is a host to a large number of South Sudanese who fled the country due to fighting that saw the then national army (SPLA), currently changed into South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), turn their guns on each other as a result of power struggle within the former liberation struggle movement’s comrades.

John Taban Noel, 52, residing in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, asked the leaders to bring total peace to the country to avert hunger that refugees are undergoing in the settlement as a result of food ration reduction to a monthly 4.5 kg per a person in a month, adding: “We are tired of being refugees for a long time, since Anyanya One war.”

A Teacher by profession and a father of 6 children, John Taban, who hailed from Lainya County of Central Equatoria State, called on the government to consider asking the army to evacuate schools so that civilians, who want to return home find learning spaces for their children, pointing out that since the refugees have the interest of returning home to participate in the nation building process, let the government and the other parties to the conflict embrace peace and stability.

“The people in the countries hosting refugees are tired of (us) South Sudanese for always being refugees in their countries,” he said.

Gatpan Kiir Khor, 23, is a South Sudanese student in Uganda, who appealed to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to consider continuing its efforts of supporting the refugees with basic needs such food as the situation back in South Sudan is unpredictable.

He said food ration reduction, which has entered its third month now, has badly affected many families which do not have support from elsewhere. “Let UNHCR and WFP not relax on us,” Khor said.

Khor urged the government to stabilize the situation all over the country, revealing that some refugees, who had returned to South Sudan some months back in a response to government’s calls, are currently returning to the refugee settlement due to bad conditions in their places.

“We strongly appeal to the leaders of the parties to the conflict, to put the interest of the citizens above their political parties and movements’ interest and to peacefully, sincerely, and tirelessly work harder to ensure comprehensive peace becomes a reality in the country,” Khor said.

A group of youth, who spoke to this reporter in Uganda, asked the government of South Sudan to support the (WFP) with money to enable the organization provide food assistance for refugees who are suffering from hunger due to food ration reduction.

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