Another 1300 refugees from South Sudan enters Uganda from north

South Sudan refugees at Palabek settlement camp waiting for medical support. Photo by David Okema.

By David Okema

Over 1300 new set of refugees have entered into northern Uganda district of Lamwo from South Sudan.

The refugees are settling at Lukung sub-county as conflict between Sudan People’s Liberation Army, forces loyal to President Salvar Kiir and forces loyal to vice president Riek Machar who have recently signed peace pact, changes from political to tribal clashes.

During a visit to Palabek refugees settlement camp last week, Robert  Ocan Palabek, the camp chairman revealed that recent inter-agency report says a total of 1314 new arrivals were received at Lukung reception point in Lamwo by 4th of October.

Mr Palabek told this news website that many more arrivals were expected to cross into Uganda on daily basis.

“The new arrivals are around 1,314 but as per now. The figures might increase because each and every day new arrival are being cited at the border and are being referred to Lukung reception center,” Ocan Palabek added.

Ocan who is also a refuge in Uganda for his second time said the war has turned into a revenge mode. “The current war in South Sudan has taken the dimension of inter-ethnic conflict being used as a calculated move of divide and rule so that community can fight among themselves over issues of land, and other resources and thus the war has taken a cycle of revenge,” he explains.

Mr Julius Kamuza who’s a settlement commandant at Palabek refugee camp – Offiice of the Prime Minister said out of over 1200 new arrivals, more than half of them have been registered and many more undergoing screening and registrations.

He also cited that all the new arrivals are crossing border due to tribal conflict where one group wedge an attack on one another, stressing that the war is no longer between rebels and government forces as earlier known.

According to Ocan, the new trend of the conflict in South Sudan is a  “The war has taken a cycle of revenge whereby one community go and attack the other community and vice versa using the tools from both the rebel forces and government forces and the war flows without command’.

This therefore mean, “Even when peace agreement was signed and people are hoping that guns should go silent, the war will continue with ease because communities are broken apart. It is at this late moment that people are dying in big numbers,” he added.

Ocan, when asked whether he has belief whether the recent peace agreement will bring peace in the youngest African nation, South Sudan, he said he is doubtful.

“I’m skeptical about the peace agreement because a true peace in South Sudan will only come after election; when the election looser concede defeat and rally supporters to work with the winner. And unless true peace come to South Sudan refugees will not leave camps,” he responded.

South Sudan right now is in a pre-transitional moment for eight months and a transitional period of 36 months and election is expected to take place in about four to five years from now, according to the camp leader who is hiding in Uganda as a refugee for his second time.

South Sudan is a heterogeneous nation with 64 different tribes and with the largest being Dinka (35%) where president Kiir belongs and second biggest is the Nuers.

Palabek refugees settlement camp in Lamwo district is the youngest refugee camp with a population of about 32,000 people which constitutes the estimated 1,500,000 figures of South Sudanese settling in the various camps in districts of West Nile.

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