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Returnees complain of high food prices and umemployment in South Sudan’s NBG

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June 12, 2012 (WAU) - South Sudan’s of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State is experiencing severe food shortage, forcing some people to move to urban areas to seek help from the local government, as food prices increase across the country.

Speaking in an interview with Sudan Tribune upon arrival at Wau bus station from Aweil town, capital of the state, Mary Atong Deng, said she and her family members decided to leave Aweil because they were finding it difficult to live in a town where they can’t afford to buy food.

The cost of basic commodities, especially the cost of staple food items like sorghum for instance, has tripled. Women in the Aweil’s market told Sudan Tribune that a bag of cooking charcoal in Wau costs 100 South Sudan pounds ($32), up from 30 SSP ($10) in early 2011. A bag of onion now costs 250 SSP from pounds from 50 SSP before the border between Sudan and South Sudan was closed shortly before South Sudan’s independence in July 2011.

"We don’t know what will happen in the months ahead. Food items are generally becoming expensive in the market to afford. We also have no jobs. My husband is not working although he is educated. He tells me he is having difficulties finding jobs with the government since we returned from Khartoum in April, 2012, so we decided to leave so that we come and try here”, said Atong.

Atong said her husband was working in Khartoum before South Sudan seceded in July 2011. At the time around 500,000 South Sudanese lived in north Sudan but their citizenship was revoked and many decided to migrate to the newly-independent country rather than attempt to stay on as a foreign national in Khartoum.

Atong said that the Indian company her husband worked for as a plumber let him go because he no longer held Sudanese citizenship. She also worked with companies before she was laid off.

“Our life was good when we were in Khartoum because my husband and I were working but things became difficult when we came [back to South Sudan]. Our government in Juba needs to do something. Everything is becoming difficult that we had to sell all our belongings. We have sold our beds. We sold all chairs and other valuable furniture but we are still finding it difficult. We are indeed suffering," Atong explained.

Citizens complain prices have tripled since the start of the year but authorities point out the challenges that have come with independence.

Sudan closed the border with South Sudan stopping trade and causing price increases. An oil transit fee dispute led to Juba stopping exporting its crude through Sudan, depriving Juba of vital hard currency.

“It is true there are challenges which the government together with the international community is aware but our people need to exercise patience and tie their belts and go to the land and till”, Angelo Mayar Acho, speaker of Western Bahr el Ghazal State Legislative Assembly said in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

Acho put the higher costs down to Sudan’s decision to close border and started bombing South Sudan’s territory. Khartoum denies this despite it being reported by the UN.

Sudan and South Sudan have resumed post-partition negotiations after the fought a brief border war in March and April.

"This is exactly an economic war. The government in Sudan unilaterally decided to close border and imposed war on us. What can we do? Our people should go back to the land and till it”, the official explained.

(ST)

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  • 14 June 2012 06:50, by Kurnyel

    Never think of coming back to khartoum or otherwise that is the choice of your people, Bhar el ghazel is poor land, soil, people that need our intervention but we can not do.

    repondre message

    • 14 June 2012 08:56, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      Why most of the food stortage are been heard only in North Bhar El Ghazal,Lake state,Jonglei State warrap State,what is wrong with the communities of these states?
      the old believe in having more cattles than agriculture activities is now letting these people to suffer alot,please leave the old culture enter yourselves in agriculture,than depending on WFP Aid.

      OKUCU PA LOTINOKWAN

      repondre message

  • 14 June 2012 08:18, by emadven

    Farm farm farm self reliance it what all South Sudanese need. work and earn everyday living

    repondre message

  • 14 June 2012 09:54, by Eastern

    Aweil people know how to churn street children who have now begun terrorising the town inhabitants especially the business community. Everywhere you move in Aweil, Wau and Kuajok you see many unkempt Dinka street children. What’s wrong with the Dinka? Don’t you have the African collective responsibilites of looking after children? In other cultures in South Sudan, children belong to the community.

    repondre message

  • 14 June 2012 16:56, by solider

    okuco,
    mr, kiir just want to collect those 4 billions for himself , that is why the list came out. the money will go to a bank acount,and after a while it will be dissapeared again like before. it is just change of thieves

    repondre message

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