The UNHCR or the UN Refugee Agency’s Mary Theru Wambui described the situation in the South Sudan difficult. 6,000 refugees have been reported to be fleeing South Sudan and escaping the violence into Uganda.
As well as the fighting near Pajok in Eastern Equatoria, ongoing fighting is also occurring in the districts of Magwi and Oboo near the border with Uganda, now the main host of the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.
The UNHCR has expressed alarm at the deterioration in the security situation for South Sudan. At the moment, a northern Ugandan district has received over 6,000 South Sudanese Refugees with only 1,500 entering and over 4,500 crowded at the border.
“This spreading of violence signifies a worrying development,” Babar Baloch, UNHCR spokesperson said, “People fleeing the recent incident claimed that the town came under an indiscriminate attack by the South Sudan armed forces.”
The violence continues to be a significant concern for international organisations in addition to the refugee situation. There has been looting and beatings and killings. Children and women have been fleeing as well. Some have reported that bullets have been flying as they are escaping, or as they have been forced to lie on the ground as the bullets fly.
Auma Lucy Yubuan escaped with her kids and said, “I am so happy even though I have nothing to eat and I have lost everything, my children are alive. I was so scared I didn’t know if I would see them again. The bullets were flying everywhere and you couldn’t move, you had to lie on your belly. I am very grateful I am alive.”
In northern Uganda, the UNHCR has been stated to be “helping…desperate women, children, elderly, and the disabled.” These are officially refugees that are “in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance including food, shelter, water and medical care.”
“Baloch said families fled the attack in Pajok in different directions; the elderly and disabled who could not run were shot dead. Many people are still hiding in the bush trying to find their way to Uganda, while homes and properties were looted and burned.”
The situation in Pajok has been estimated to be terrible, and the population is upwards of 50,000 people. At present, Uganda hosts over 832,000 refugees of South Sudanese dissent with 192,000 arriving in 2017 so far. There have been about 2,000 refugees “fleeing insecurity, violence and famine every day.”
3 out of 5 of the new arrivals of the refugees are children. “Some 1.7 million refugees have fled the world’s youngest country and the continuing brutal conflict. For more details, click here.”