National, News

South Sudanese refugees forced out of DR Congo

By James Innocent


Harsh living conditions in DR Congo have prompted return of hundreds of South Sudanese Refugees back home.

Most of them are children, elderly persons, women and youth.

On arrival, the returnees, under challenging situation, settled at Ombasi Boma and Cenema Sub-Boma in Yei River County of Central Equatoria State.

Joseph Taban James, one of the returnees expressed gratitude to be back home and received the Yei County authority, after enduring hardship, and being forced out of DR Congo.

“I am very happy to see the presence of the commissioner and the organized forces. We are forced to come back by Congolese,” he expressed.

However, back home, Taban and his team who are welcomed into a similar situation that they escape from while in exile, call for intervention for support.

“Now, we don’t have health services, food, schools, roads, markets and other necessary needs, including houses, our children are being washed by rain every time. We just need the government and NGOs to support us,” he stressed.

Joseph Lokudu Elioba, another returnee from Congo explained that they were compelled to return home over high taxation and poor health facilities.

“In DR Congo, most of our women face challenges when it comes to delivery”, he pointed.

Jane Siama Antony said they faced a lot of issues since 2016, when they fled their homes.

“I have a history of coming here to Cenema. We left our home in 2016 and there was conflict in Congo. We returned back to our land and if we want to take food to our children, there are a lot of checkpoints making it hard to deliver food,” she said.

According to Siama, their children were also staying without education, the Congolese government asked each person to pay 50, 000 SSP and that forced them to return home.

She said that SSPDF commander on grounds also talked to the youth, who come from Congo, to return and live at home.

“We also heard that South Sudan soldiers have returned to senema. We were very happy and when our children tried to come and dig some of the SSPDF soldiers urged them to return home that’s why we have returned home,” she revealed.

Sunday Senya, one of the women who came from Congo applauds the commissioner and other delegates from the County to witness the suffering they are going through.

“We are happy to see our commissioner coming with delegates to cenema sub-Boma together with other delegates despite the bad road and long distance, we only need hoes and seeds so that we start cultivating our lands to get food because since before the 2016 conflicts, we depended on Agriculture and business” she stated.

Yei River County commissioner, Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa was accompanied by the County’s acting executive director and other government officials, to receive the returnees.

Donated drugs to medical workers to treat the sick, Kanyikwa assured the returnees of better living conditions at home without fear of the unified forces.

Yei County authority further pledged to work hard to support the returnees with food and other social services, such as supplying drugs to health workers and ensuring the population gets clean water.

Kanyikwa assured the returnees not to fear the Unified Forces deployed at Ombasi Boma and Cenema Sub-Boma, whose responsibility is to promote peace and unity.

Speaking during the arrival of the returnees, Captain Tut Gai one of the officers of the Unified Forces in Cenema Sub-Boma, appreciates the return of the citizens.

“Am very pleased to see the commissioner of Yei in Cenema Sub-Boma to witness the arrival of the returnees forced to come back from Congo,” he expressed.

Pointing that the mandate of the army is to protect the civil population who return home following the Peace Agreement, Tut calls on the government to provide social needs to the returnees.

“I just want the commissioner to call for more support to the returnees who are lacking social services and food and for us, as unified forces, we are to give protection in accordance with the Revitalized Peace Agreement,” Capt. Tut noted.

The head chief of Ombasi Boma, Abui urged the returnees to choose their own leaders so that they can forward their challenges to the County for assistance.

He also appeals to the population to open Cenema Market and sports Center including the Church, as they await other social services.

Mabe Moses, Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) director in Yei River County applauds the returnees for coming back home amidst challenges.

He pledges to work on how to get some partners to support the returnees and he also appeals to the returnees to register.

Mabe further appeals to the returnees to forgive the Congolese who chased them back to South Sudan.







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