Tuesday January 7 2014

West Nile remains calm despite reported fighting in Yei town



Despite fighting near the Uganda - South Sudan border in Yei, business in the West Nile continues to be calm. However, pressure has been exerted on key commodities and services including food, transport and rent due to the influx of refugees.

The fighting had caused panic among residents on the Ugandan part of the border fearing it could cause havoc or even spread to Uganda. Areas including Yei and Morobo are mostly occupied by the Kakwa, an ethnic lineage found in Uganda, especially in the West Nile region.

The Koboko Resident District Commissioner Ms Elizabeth Ayume, said: “Most of the refugees we are receiving are mostly from the Nuer tribe from Juba. Perhaps they are escaping a possibility of targeted cleansing.” “However, the flow of traffic from both sides has reduced considerably which definitely is likely to affect business and revenue between the two countries,” Mr Ayume said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has resumed ferrying the refugees from Koboko to Rhino Camp in Arua District. The agency had briefly suspended the ferrying to prepare for the closure of the 2013 financial year.

Six trucks on Monday carried refugees to Arua but the major issues of lack of clean water, food and sanitation facilities still remain a big challenge. Official of the Danish Refugee Council declined to speak to the Daily Monitor on issues affecting the centre although they were seen to be active on ground.

Calm is said to have returned to the towns of Morobo and Yei but most shops have remained closed.

Mr Peter Mojok, who fled the fighting with a family of eight, said: “The shops are running short on stock and whatever is remaining is becoming expensive.” Yei is located 120 kilometres south of Juba, the capital of South Sudan.