Refugees From Pageri Recount Atrocities Committed In Their Areas

South Sudanese refugees who fled to neighbouring countries and have now settled at refugee camps recounts the inhuman acts they encountered during the conflict that broke out in 2013 and 2016.

Refugees From Pageri Recount Atrocities Committed In Their Areas
South Sudanese wait patiently in line to see a health worker Ibahwe HC III at the Palorinya refugee settlement [Photo| Paul Night]

By Paul Night

MOYO, 16 January 2018 [Gurtong]-Some victims of rape said “It’s a way of forcing the people of that area (Pageri) in South Sudan to get out” said Rosemary Gune, 28.

She narrates how they were forced to leave their home area after an attack on a 45 year old female relative near the town of Loa. “She was raped in her house” Gune said “other people escaped but she could not escape because she was caring for her lame son”, she added.

Most of the victims described cruel and random attacks, perpetrated by government troops and rebels that took place across the South East of the country.

Ester Kabani, a 32 year old said she saw soldiers stop an 18 year old girl and raped and killed her at a nearby funeral service. “Someone stood up to see what was happening and was also shot dead”, Kabani said.

She also said she witnessed four cases of soldiers rape in the month  of June before she fled with her families from Pageri since fighting broke out in July 2016.

 She said she also witnessed murder and lootings. “When they come to your home, if your door is open they will come in and loot everything and if it’s locked they will break it enter and take everything away. If you are found at home they will rape and kill you if you’re a woman and kill your husband”, Kabani said.

16 year old Grace Mandera said her neighbours were sexually assaulted. “I thought to my self if I had been held up in the village I would have been raped in the same way.”

James Siyaga 38, a civil servant who escaped a said rape had become a common thing. He said armed groups obbed people trying to escape, with men and young people sometimes prevented from leaving and forced to join the fighting. “To evade detection, some of us hid in the bush for days on end surviving mainly on leaves and wild fruits. Others waited near the main road until the arrival of a Ugandan military convoy returning from Juba after rescuing stranded Ugandans”, Siyaga said.

Kiir and Machar fought for different factions within the county’s liberation movement and represent the country’s two ethnic groups Dinka and Nuer but many of the newly displaced are from smaller tribes. “We have seen refugees from tribes and areas that we did not see previously which means that fighting has spread to the villages”, Godfrey Byaruhanga the settlement commandant of Palorinya said.

He said by then there has also been a worrying spike in unaccompanied child refugees whose mothers might have been raped and killed and others were left fighting in the war zones. “On arrival December, 2016 first interface nearly 1,500 unaccompanied minors separated from their parents were recorded in the settlement  which was seven times higher than the number recorded during the first half of the Year”, Byaruhanga said.

The situation in South Sudan has left many of the children separated from their parents and cost many families to lose their lives and the lives of their loved ones due to rape cases, killing of parents and leaving children to suffer and find their ways in to refuge in Uganda.


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