South Sudan Refugees Clash at Imvepi Camp Top story

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In short
Clashes started on Sunday when two trucks full of refugees were brought from Palorinya reception centre in Moyo district. According to eyewitnesses, the refugees arrived late at night and were supposed to be offloaded at Imvepi. However, on arrival, when the other tribes realized that the people who were supposed to be dropped there were Dinka, they started pelting the vehicles with stones and other objects.

South Sudan refugees from the Dinka tribe have run away from Imvepi refugee settlement camp in Arua district after their country men and women from other ethnicities ganged up against them.
  
The settlement centre has Madi and Kuku as the dominant tribes in the camp. Others are the Kakwa, Nuer and Zande.
  
Clashes started on Sunday when two trucks full of refugees were brought from Palorinya reception centre in Moyo district. According to eyewitnesses, the refugees arrived late at night and were supposed to be offloaded at Imvepi. However, on arrival, when the other tribes realized that the people who were supposed to be dropped there were Dinka, they started pelting the vehicles with stones and other objects.
  
It is reported that the tribes claim they are being confined in camps because of the actions of the Dinka tribe.
  
President Salva Kiir of South Sudan is from the Dinka tribe while his main rival and former vice president, Dr Riek Machar, hails from the Nuer which is the second largest tribe in the war-torn country.
  
Dennis Mbaguta, the commandant at Imvepi refugee settlement centre has acknowledged the clashes. Mbaguta says when they attempted to resettle the Dinka, who numbered about 70 refugees; other tribes went into riot, destroying windows and windscreens of the buses that had transported them. He also says clothes were burnt after three pairs of army uniforms were found among the luggage of the Dinka refugees.
  
//Cue in: "It's true there…
Cue out: …were very violent."//   
                 
Mbaguta says to avoid bloodshed, the Dinka refugees were relocated to Oce refugee settlement centre in Rhino Camp, while the rest of the other tribes were left in Imvepi.
  
Peter Dibele, the Arua Resident District Commissioner who visited the centre on Monday evening says the situation is calm. He says it was unfortunate that the clashes occurred but adds that the security team is working round the clock to ensure that such do not happen again.
  
Dibele has urged the camp officials to set up Refugee Welfare Council members to resolve some of the conflicts. The security head also urged the officials to assert responsibilities to quell what he calls South Sudanese arrogance.
  
Captain Elli Tugaine, the Arua District Internal Security Officer, says reports are also circulating that many refugees, after being admitted, start holding night meetings to plot the overthrow of their home government. Tugaine says the camp officials must check this and ensure that no such meetings take place because it will create a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
  
Imvepi refugee settlement centre has 45 refugees who have been admitted in the last one month. The camp was reopened on 22nd February this year after Bidibidi refugee settlement centre overshot its capacity.
  
Currently there are about 800,000 South Sudan refugees resettled in the West Nile, with Bidibidi hosting close to 300,000 people.

 

About the author

Franklin Ezaruku Draku
Franklin Draku has been a journalist since 2004. In his 12 years of practice, Draku can say he has covered all the journalism beats that exist.

A Uganda Radio Network (URN) staff member since 2010, Draku is based in Arua. This is his second tour of duty in this area. Draku was URN's main education and environment journalist in Kampala for two years 2014 to 2016.

A Kyambogo University graduate, Draku first worked with Arua district based Radio Pacis in 2004. At the station, he was a production assistant, reporter, producer, and then talk show host. In 2008, he joined Transnile Broadcasting Service for a year.

Draku reports intensively on education, tourism, environment and local government. He has twice been a runner up for the National Journalism Awards in 2013 and in 2014.