UNMISS patrol follows up on situation of people displaced by fighting in Eastern Equatorian villages
Patrolling peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan have confirmed recent reports of conflict, displacements, loss of lives and human suffering in the Lowoyi payam (administrative division) of Eastern Equatoria State.
“These people are suffering, especially women and children. There is need for humanitarian partners to support them with both food and non-food items as urgently as they can,” says Ben Salva, coordinator of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission in Magwi County.
According to reports, an estimated 700 households were displaced from their homes in the villages of Dabur, Tachak and Ofiriha about a month ago, as a result of clashes with herdsmen from another location.
Four people and 56 heads of cattle were killed, houses were burnt down, crops destroyed, and water sources contaminated, prompting many women, children and elderly to flee to Agoro district and the trading centre of Chomboro.
“Some have walked the long way to come here, others are hiding in the bushes. We need shelters, medicines, water and food,” says Matem Ohisa, leader of the internally displace persons, adding that they are currently depending on their temporary host village for food.
The patrolling peacekeepers have pledged to make the gravity of their situation known, to seek adequate solutions and to promote dialogue between the feuding parties.
“We will take your requests to the relevant humanitarian partners that works closely with your state government. It is our hope that you will soon be living in peace and safety,” said Abdulrahman Kamara, a civil affairs officer who visited the area.
The patrol team looked in vain for villagers and non-local herdsmen to explore the possibilities of arranging a dialogue to reconcile the fighting parties, but all they found were vacated cattle camps and deserted villages.
The peacekeeping mission will continue to closely monitor developments.