National, News

Over 2,000 IDPs occupy schools in Rokon Payam

By Charles K Mark


About 2,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have taken over schools in Rokon Payam of Juba County, Central Equatoria State.

A chief in Rokon Payam, Osman Ampelio Legge told this outlet via phone, on Tuesday, that the IDPs fled clashes in Minga Payam of Mundri East County, Western Equatoria State.

“They are staying at the senior secondary school in Rokon. The schools are so affected, but what can we do!” the chief exclaimed.

According to the chief, children are forced to shift to premises of some unaffected schools.

He said that his community continues to receive new arrivals of IDPs amid limited resources.

The chief recalled registering a good number of those fleeing with no food and now sheltering schools and other public spaces.

“We have to support and help our brothers in this difficult time,” Osman stressed.

He stated that there has been a humanitarian intervention by the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission through the Juba County Authority for the IDPs.

But the chief observed that the assistance (food and non-food items) is not enough due to the growing number of people flocking into the area.

“We offer anything in our capacity. And the commissioner came with RRC and some food and shelter. But the number is growing,” he maintained.

Occupying schools, in other words, may mean the studies of the children will be at a standstill.

Mundri East County commissioner, Mrs. Margaret Fozia Emmanuel confirmed to No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, the mass displacement.

She said it occurred after a massive gunfire in Minga Payam between undisclosed armed groups, on April 7, 2024, causing panic and displacement.

The commissioner said that on visiting Rokon Payam, she witnessed the number of IDPs harbored at the schools and health facilities.

“Two days ago, I visited the IDPs, and we had a meeting. They told me they have pressure where they ran from,” Fozia reported.

According to her, those who fled their villages are worried of continued insecurity.

The commissioner is concerned that children who fled out of schools due to the gunfire are idle and redundant, and loitering aimlessly.

She further underlined the lack of road infrastructure to extend services to the Internally Displaced Persons.

“Some of them told me they want to go back, but they have some pressure. They said their children are not in schools; there are no roads, no hospitals,” she commented.

Fozia seemed stuck in a state of dilemma with no immediate remedies to address the needs of her citizens at hand.

With her hands tied, the commissioner said the local government act limits her role in areas, such as security.

It remains unclear, what caused the shooting that pushed the residents away from their village, as the commissioner noted there is no network in the area where the incident occurred.

But she confirmed, the situation is currently calm and could accommodate those willing to return.

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