By Mamer Abraham
South Sudan Ambassador to Uganda has dismissed allegations of mistreatment of South Sudanese students in Rwanda.
Ambassador, Simon Juach Deng Juach is also a non-resident ambassador to Rwanda and Burundi.
In an exclusive interview with No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, Juach said he had not heard of any cases where South Sudanese were mistreated in Rwanda.
“We have no information. What category of South Sudanese will be deported, according to your source?” he queried about a report on deportation of South Sudanese students.
He stated that the Rwandan government is very focused when it comes to entry because they have an open visa policy (visa on arrival), and therefore they have to confirm whether those entering the country are surely students or others who are maneuvering into the country and later claim asylum in Europe.
“Some go due to the Sudanese crisis and later claim asylum to go to Europe. They do verification to determine whether the documents are genuine,” he said.
The Ambassador continued that the students who were deported from Rwanda to South Sudan were involved in illicit activities, and therefore they were deported, but there was no threat to deport South Sudanese from Rwanda.
“If it is about that story, some students were involved in drugs (narcotics) and had to be arrested, tried, and deported,” he noted.
Amb. Juach warned against reports that seem to paint the picture of South Sudanese being mistreated in Rwanda, which he said is not true and might sabotage bilateral relations between the two countries.
“Such reports are not good. If it is reported that there is mistreatment of South Sudanese students in Rwanda, the government of Rwanda might feel that they are being wrongfully accused while they are surely cooperating and protecting the interests of South Sudanese students,” he added.
Amb Juach confirmed that the Embassy had been sending the Education Attache every two months, and no concern has ever been reported so far.
The Ambassador was responding to a report published by Eye Radio on October 11, 2023, which stated that South Sudanese were denied entry into Rwanda and mistreated by immigration officers.
According to the report, a South Sudanese representative named Ruot Mawich said the students were subjected to too-serious interrogation instead of confirming their details, whether they were students or not.
“Again, they ask you to pay the school fees for the first semester. How will you pay the school fees at the border while you have not even reached the school?” Ruot was quoted as saying.
However, the report further indicated that Eye Radio was unable to independently verify the allegations.
In the same report, the ambassador was quoted as saying that South Sudanese had been using travel documents, they obtained at the Nimule border to enter Uganda as their travel documents to Rwanda.
“I was shown travel documents of South Sudanese. They go by road to Nimule, get a travel document saying that I’m going to Uganda, and they use that travel document to enter Rwanda and another country, which is wrong,” Amb. Juach lamented.
The South Sudan Ambassador to Uganda also serves as a non-resident Ambassador to Rwanda and Burundi, and in the same way, the Rwandan Ambassador to Uganda doubles as the Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda to South Sudan.