September 28, 2016 (JUBA) – Over 15,000 South Sudanese refugees arrived in Faradge and Aru in Haut-Uele and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, following a resurgence of violence in South Sudan, aid agencies said.
- South Sudanese refugees fleeing violence in their home country wait to be transported to Uganda’s Arua district settlement camp on 6 January 2014 (Photo: AFP/Isaac Kasamani)
Neigbouring Congo has been experiencing an influx of refugees into Aru territory in Ituri, close to the border with South Sudan, since October 2015.
Currently there are 27,250 registered South Sudanese refugees in the territories of Faradge and Aru in Haut-Uele and Ituri provinces, according to aid agencies.
Much as the new arrivals of South Sudanese refugees have received little humanitarian assistance, those in Ituri reportedly lack food, shelter, and medicine.
There are also fears that the security situation in South Sudan could remain volatile over the coming months, amid reports that fighting could intensity between government and opposition forces across the country, including across parts of Central and Western Equatoria states thus forcing people to flee into the DRC.
Aid agencies, including the United Nations, say refugees would be in need of psychosocial support as grave human rights abuses, including a high incidence of sexual violence, have been reported in South Sudan since conflict escalated in July.
Meanwhile, authorities in the DRC on Friday handed over more than 300 South Sudanese Refugees to Uganda and UN refugee agency (UNHCR) representatives.
The South Sudanese had sought refuge in DRC, but lack of resources and poor governance systems prompted Congolese authorities to hand them over to Uganda.
The violence in South Sudan, aid agencies say, has forced more than 195,000 people to flee the country since 8 July, bringing the number of South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries to over 1 million. In South Sudan, over 1.6 million people are internally displaced and another 261,000 are refugees from Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia and CAR, according to latest figures from the UN refugee agency.