400 South Sudan Refugees Flee Fresh Fighting

1752 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Jonathan Rutabingwa, the Lamwo Resident District Commissioner says he was informed about the fighting by Peter Lokeng, the Commissioner of Ikotos County in Eastern Equatorial State.

At least 400 South Sudanese refugees have crossed into Lamwo district following clashes between armed bandits and South Sudan People's Liberation Army in Ikotos and Magwi Counties, in Eastern Equatorial State.
 
 

According to the refugees, the fighting broke out three days ago. Jonathan Rutabingwa, the Lamwo Resident District Commissioner says he was informed about the fighting by Peter Lokeng, the Commissioner of Ikotos County in Eastern Equatorial State.

 
 
He quotes Lokeng saying the shelling is aimed at neutralising the armed bandits following their attack on military installations in Ikotos and Magwi Counties. He says the motives of the attacks are still unknown and civilians fear it might escalate into another civil war. There have been no immediate reports of casualties. Rutabingwa told Uganda Radio Network from Madi Opei border point that the refugees are entering with mattresses, water containers and personal effects. 



He says some of the refugees dispersed in disarray are being expected in Kaabong district. Rutabingwa, who heads security in Lamwo District says while more are still expected to arrive, all 400 refugees have been relocated from the border point to Adjumani Refugees Settlement Camp in Adjumani district by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme. According to Rutabingwa, they have tightened security at the border to prevent infiltration by wrong elements.
 

Mathew Ochen Akiya, the Lamwo LC V chairperson says the Office of the Prime Minister is also involved in welcoming the refugees. He says those requiring emergency treatment and food emergency are attended too before they were relocated. The fresh Influx of South Sudan refugees comes few months after a peace deal brokered by Intergovernmental Agency for Development  (IGAD), ended months of fighting between former vice president turned rebel leader, Riek Machar and forces loyal to president Salva Kiir.
 

Troops from neighboring Uganda moved in to prevent genocide. They have since withdrawn. The conflict has been blamed for the death of hundreds of people and the displacement of thousands, some into neighboring Uganda where they remain to date. 

 

Mentioned: south sudan

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.