June 21, 2014 (ADJUMANI) – The recent formation of refugee welfare committee has led to decline in violence-related cases among South Sudanese refugees currently living in Uganda, officials from the prime minister’s office disclosed Friday.
- South Sudanese refugees wait on a truck in Koboko, Uganda, on 6 January 2014 to be transported to the Arua district settlement camp (Photo: AFP/Isaac Kasamani)
The committee was instituted after a refugee was killed following a physical fight with another. A separate dispute between the refugees and host communities in Adjumani district reportedly led to the death of another 18-year old boy.
Asusi Pascal, the deputy refugee desk officer, said few violence cases were recently recorded in the camps.
“Nyumanzi, Mugula and Boroli resettlement camp are places which had threats”, he told Sudan Tribune.
Aballa Odier Kwot, a 40-year old mother of six, was among those wounded when fighting broke out on 30 April, between the Madi and Murle tribes of Uganda and South Sudan respectively.
“I was beaten on the 30th of April this year, as a result of fighting between the Murle and the Madi. We were attacked at home and then we ran into the bush and some people caught me, upon which they beat me until my hand is broke”, Kwot narrated.
“A church aid [agency] came to visit me in the hospital and I was treated. You can see the hand is now not good and somehow am surviving”, he added.
The 40-year old decried the poor conditions in the camp, saying it was not any better when compared to the conflict situation in his native South Sudan.
“There is no good condition of living here; even now when I was injured my hand got a wound. I was not well treatment and till now it is still swelling”, he said.
Hassan Kuku Kafi, the newly-elected peace committee chairman for Boroli resettlement camp said his appointment was likely to improve relation with local resident, despite previous conflicts.
“We are staying under the protection of Uganda government and the UNHCR [United Nations Refugee Agency]. These citizens who are here are our brothers and they are the ones who offered us land for settlement”, said Kafi.
“There is no way we should divide ourselves from them. We must find ways of staying together in peace”, he added.
Joseph Okello Wello, a resident of Boroli camp, said the situation had greatly improved after joint negotiations were carried out between aid agencies and local residents.
“It is because of intervention from the local agencies who are working here. A lot of meetings have been held and also the administration of the resettlement camp changed”, Wello told Sudan Tribune Friday.
In mid-May, a girl reportedly died as a result of disputes among Dinka communities in Nyumanzi refugee resettlement.
However, Peter Deng Alueng, the acting chairperson of the camp acknowledged that the situation had improved with a few minor cases recorded.
“We only have minor problems like ladies quarrelling at the boreholes and either end up beating each other or slapping one another. These are the only minor issues that cannot be considered”, said Alueng.
Alere resettlement camp, located north-west of Adjumani district, has been relatively peaceful for the last six months. The camp comprises the Madi, Nuer, Kuku and Dinka tribes of South Sudan.
Meanwhile, authorities in Adjumani said only two murder cases were registered in the past few months within the camps, but urged refugees and local area residents to live in harmony.