By Dennis Ojwee
THE police have confirmed that despite the drop in number of South Sudanese refugees’ influx into Uganda of late, over 58, 230 Ugandans and non-Ugandan nationals have so far been registered at Elegu borders from December 16 to January 11.
By last week, about 42, 000 South Sudanese refugees alone had been received in all the three established refugees camps in Adjumani, Arua and Kiryandongo districts by the UNHCR and office of the prime minister (OPM) in Uganda since December 18, 2013 to January 11.
According to the police records at Elegu near Nimule border-post in Amuru district, at least 27, 870 South Sudanese seeking asylum in Uganda, 13, 947 non-Ugandan nationals and 16, 350 Ugandans who have returned home by road had been registered by the police though the Elegu entrance point alone.
The Aswa (Acholi) regional Police Spokesman, Patrick Jimmy Okema confirmed that the number does not include those South Sudanese registered as refugees through other borders like Oraba in Koboko district in the West Nile Region, being settled at Rhino camp in Arua district.
Okema noted that there was drop by half the number of South Sudanese refugees influx from 3, 333 on January 10 to only 1, 613 by press time on Saturday.
He said the decrease could be a result of the temporary improvement in the reported security situation in the past one week in Juba and Yei towns in South Sudan.
Meanwhile, from West Nile, the Officer in-charge of the Prime minister’s office based in Arua in West Nile, John Arinaitwe confirmed that over 12, 000 South Sudanese Nuers. Arinaitwe confirmed that at least 6, 450 new arrivals by Saturday, January 11 had been registered at the Ocea reception center and settled at the Rhino camp, Madi-Opoko sub-county in Arua district since December 18, 2013.
This is about three weeks after the reported military coup arising from power struggle broke out by the rebel group led by former South Sudanese president, Dr. Riek Machar against the South Sudanese People’s Liberation (SPLA/M) government led by President Salva Kiir since December 15, 2013.
Over 1, 500 have reportedly killed and over 200, 000 people had been displaced consequent of the said coup.
Arinaitwe added that the humanitarian condition at Rhino camp had improved after World Food Program (WFP) delivered about 50 metric tons (50, 000Kg) of assorted food items including cereals and maize floor and other energy giving biscuits to feed the refugees. He said food is cooked by and served to the refugees.
He said UNCEF had also supported the situation by providing over 20, 000 liters of clean water the next one month from the previous Saturday.
“We (the OPM) is also happy with the interventions by UNHCR and UNCEF that have provided assorted drugs and the Uganda Red Cross Society (UCRS) for giving help towards improving on the hygiene of the refugees within the Rhino camp”, said Arinaitwe.
Arinaitwe revealed that the number of the refugees’ influx had reduced from between 200 and 300 from over 800 per day. He said decrease had been attributed to a reported restriction in the people movements in the towns of Yei and Juba according to security reports by government of South Sudan.
The New Vision could not however independently confirm this from government of South Sudan where there are restricted movements in Yei. Fighting had last week been reported in Yei which led to large influx of South Sudanese into Koboko district via Oraba border in West Nile.
There had also been attempts to forge peace dialogue between Dr. Riek Machar and Salva Kiir in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa by regional countries although it has been reported that this had not yielded fruits.
The Police Regional Commander, Aswa Region, Simon Peter Wafana had said the police had resorted to Community Policing as a move towards sensitizing the South Sudanese Dinkas and Nuer tribes currently in the Country to live in harmony as natives of one Country.
He said the reported differences between some Dinkas had been settled via sensitization by the Uganda police.