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Over 200 S. Sudanese now settled in AruaPublish Date: Dec 24, 2013
Over 200 S. Sudanese now settled in Arua
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Several South Sudanese are fleeing the fighting, as are these who have just arrive to seek refuge in the UNMISS compound in Juba, on December 18, 2013. PHOTO/AFP

By Richard Drasimaku        

ARUA - The number of South Sudanese refugees fleeing their strife-hit country to Arua district has significantly risen over the past three days.

At least 200 people had by Monday been settled at Rhino Camp refugee settlement and 50 others were due for pick-up from Koboko district Boma grounds which the authorities have turned into a reception centre.

“We immediately transport the people to Rhino Camp once we register and verify their status. We are giving them the necessary help a refugee needs,” the refugee desk officer in Arua district, John Arinaitwe said.

He disclosed that a number of contingency measures were being reviewed, including plans to reopen Imvepi settlement camp as the numbers of new arrivals continue to swell.

The camps formerly accommodated thousands of Sudanese nationals during the civil war that preceded the independence of South Sudan, becoming the youngest country in the world.

They were closed down following a successful voluntary repatriation as normalcy returned in the President Salva Kiir-led African nation.

However several South Sudanese have been running back to Uganda since the resumption of chaos, sparked by President Kiir’s mentioning of a failed coup attempt by his former vice deputy, Dr. Riek Machar over a week ago.

But with fighting spreading to the country side rife with Dinka and Nuer ethnic undertones, the local authorities are worried that the influx of refugees could escalate.

The Uganda-South Sudan borders along the West Nile though have remained open with reduced activity as traders have cut back on their business ventures due to the unrest.

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