Displaced South Sudanese begin to return to villages in Jubek
Refugees who fled ongoing violence are beginning to return to the villages of Bungu and Ganji in Jubek, South Sudan, in the hope of rebuilding their homes and planting their crops before the rainy season starts.
A patrol led by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan visited the area with support from Ethiopian peacekeeping troops to assess the situation facing the local community and those returning to the area after being displaced by the conflict which erupted in 2013.
Many left the area in 2016 after civilians were killed during an ambush of a truck headed from Ganji to Juba by an armed group and the subsequent response by government forces.
Local chiefs say that many people are now beginning to return only to find that their crops have been destroyed and their homes burnt to the ground. They don’t have access to adequate shelter, healthcare, educational facilities or the ability to earn an income to support their families.
The acting sub-chief of Ganji, Ceasario Lemi Jada, is appealing to Government and humanitarian agencies for assistance.
“We have been rendered helpless here,” he said. “Our houses were burnt down during the conflict, our elderly people, women and children sleep out in the cold. We need urgent help.”
Some assistance has been given by ACCORD, a national non-governmental organization, which has drilled and repaired water boreholes and the South Sudan Committee of the Red Cross which has provided emergency food rations.
The team leader for the UNMISS field mission to the area, Lauro Ohiyo, said it was encouraging to see people returning but he warned that, if there was a resurgence in fighting, it may deter others. He said the Mission would continue to monitor the situation in the area.
“The threat now is low, but it might increase if the cattle keepers or more soldiers are deployed in these two counties,” he said. “UNMISS will do all that it can to build confidence in the hearts of those who have return.”