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Hundreds flee Western Equatoria state into DRC

January 9, 2016 (YAMBIO) - Authorities in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria state said hundreds of citizens have fled the capital, Yambio to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and were living in critical conditions with no food, medicines and shelter.

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A group of displaced women wait registration under mango tree in Nzara county, 2010 (ST Photo)

The mayor of Yambio town, Daniel Badagbu and a high level delegation visited Nabiapai border and met huge numbers of internally displaced persons stranded at the DRC border in very awful living conditions.

Badagbu said South Sudan army attacked a group a gangs in Soura village, seven miles away from Yambio. The group allegedly looted several houses, raped women and caused insecurity among the population in Yambio town.

There are, however, no official reports on the causalities involved during the military confrontation between the armed group and the national army.

The armed group is alleged to be the South Sudan People’s Patriotic Front SSPPF headed by Alfred Futuyo. The groups declared their positions to join the SPLM/IO in November 2015 accusing the Government of South Sudan of failing to address the insecurity in former Western Equatoria State of which elements of SPLA soldiers were killing innocent people and burning their houses, and dominant of one tribe in the National army.

No assessment has been conducted in Dungu and other remote areas of the DRC to know the exact numbers of civilians displaced by the conflict in Yambio county.

Yambio county authorities have urged all the displaced persons to come back home, saying the security situation had continued to improve in recent weeks.

John Mineala, one of the displaced persons, said life had become so expensive in Yambio town due to insecurity and hiked prices of commodities more than it was before.

“Live has become very scary in Yambio town which was not there before, we continue to live in fear at night because armed groups are looting our money and properties. Not even that prices of commodities are increasing every day, it is better to go and live somewhere” he said.

The South Sudanese conflict, which began in December 2013, has reportedly forced 2.3 million people out of their homes, 650,000 of these across borders and 1.65 million are displaced inside the country.

(ST)