National, News

Tombura clashes; Survivors recount escape, call for relief

By William Madouk


In a barracks of displacement camp in Western Equatoria State, thousands of survivors are staring hunger in the face, a symptom of vast humanitarian crisis gripping Tombura’s turbulence. 

Since April 25, thousands have run to camps for safety and some recount to No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, how they persevere amid lack of food, water, and shelter after escaping clashes.

One, who only identified herself as Vivian said access to drinking water and food is problematic, adding that when it rains, there is no tarpaulin to shelter under.

“We are here with children and elderly people; we are really in a dire situation. There is no water, and when it rains, there is no place to go for shelter because there are no tarpaulins. We are really suffering,” Vivian said.

“No food for children since morning; they would cry, but what will you do when you are handicapped? We have nothing to eat, and even safe and clean drinking water is challenging,” she added.

She called on the government and humanitarian agencies to swiftly intervene with food, water, medicine, and shelter.

Mrs. Vivian, who has been in barracks camp for nearly two weeks and is a mother to 11 children, disclosed that since that fateful day they fled, she has never set her eye on her husband.

“I don’t know my husband’s whereabouts since we fled the clashes,” she lamented.

Regina Albino, another mother of seven children, lamented about the camp conditions, especially with children and pregnant women.

“Our condition in the camp is not good at all. When we were in our houses, we did some other things to help, but now the survival is hard,” Regina decried.

“The life of pregnant women is at risk, for instance; if a woman is now in labour pain, there is no place she can deliver her baby, and if a child is sick, there is no place you could find medicine,” she expressed.

She regretted how women were killed on their way to fetch water from streams or to get food locally known as ‘Gadiya (cassava leaves).

Mrs. Regina appealed to the government to resolve the Tombura skirmishes once and for all, citing that they have hampered learning and put lives at risk.

“Today you registered your child, and tomorrow there will be no school because of the fight; this will not help South Sudan and the government,” she added. “Let NGOs swiftly intervene with water for pregnant women and children, including food and tents.”

Besides, the camp leader at the military barracks IDP camp, Mr. Benzine Francis, said the camp hosts 500 households, or approximately five to six thousand individuals, including children, women, and the elderly.

“We registered so far 500 households—about 5,000 to 6,000 individuals, including children, women, and the elderly—and still the number is increasing day and night,” said Francis.

“The situation is very dangerous and very desperate in terms of water—there is no water completely, shelter, food, or even sanitation. Children are facing harsh conditions in the camp,” he added.

Francis noted that he notified a UNMISS representative about the difficult situation that children are going through, adding that if nothing is done, the minors are likely to face death.

“Survival is really very difficult because there is one borehole in the barrack, and to go to the stream is when you are escorted by the army, and even the stream is very dirty and contaminated,” he narrated the IDPs’ dire humanitarian conditions.

He called on the state government to collaborate with NGOs to urgently assist the needy in the barrack camp.

He lauded the government for restoring calm and bringing relative calm to Tombura County.

Yesterday, one thousand South Sudan People’s Defense Forces were deployed to the restive Tombura County to maintain peace as per Governor Alfred Futuyo’s order.

Futuyo directed the organized force to suppress banditry activities and restore security in the area.

On the same note, a group of clergymen in Western Equatoria State condemned violence in Tombura and called for an independent investigation.


Comments are closed.