March 20, 2014 (ADJUMANI) – Officials from office of the Ugandan prime minister have admitted that there are tensions between some South Sudanese refugees and residents living near the settlements over access to resources.
- Ugandan police have been deployed to watch the movement of refugees in refugee camps in Uganda, 19 March 2014 (ST)
The South Sudanese, who have been displaced by the three-month-old conflict in world’s youngest nation, are trying to work to come to an agreement over issues such as chopping down trees fire wood.
Adjumani refugee camp, which accommodates 50,000 refugees, is the largest in the Uganda, followed by Rhino camp in West Nile (12,000) and Kiryandongo (8,000).
Titus Jogo, a protection officer base in Adjumani District says, they are working to encourage refugees and local communities to respect law and order.
He says they have formed district security committees which have been moving around talking to both sides to ensure and issues are resolved peacefully.
“We have also sent a technical team from the District which is also going to begin visiting the settlement with effect from this Friday talking about the need for peaceful [co]existence and this can only be generated through sharing the available resources that are on the ground,” added the OPM officer.
William Mabior Deng is a chairperson of Ayilo Refugees camp told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that a few clashes erupted between refugees and the host communities over cutting down trees. He says his communities had fears over repeated cruelty shown by local people.
“They interfere by threatening some ladies even young men when they go to cut some trees but not in most cases,” he said.
He said that on Wednesday a refugee called Bol Garang Chok was assaulted and beaten but that the refugees talked to the local community “so that they will not repeat” it, added Deng.
Speaking to Sudan Tribune on Thursday, Ilegu Andria, a local resident from Pakele, accused some refugees of violating host communities’ instructions against environmental destruction. He said several warnings had been issued but refugees continued to cut down planted forest.
He says some communities ending up assaulting them due of disregard of the instructions.
Andria says his communities welcomes refugees for resettlement but argued that they should show respect in order for their to be peaceful relations.
Protection officer Jogo said that the land offered by local Ugandans should be cherished by the South Sudanese refugees, pointing out that it was the community and not the government that had provided the land for resettlement.
He said they are also working with development partners to improve the refugee camp by projects such as building bore holes so that the South Sudanese are not as dependent on the Ugandan community.