KIRYANDONGO/ADJUMANI. Two rival pastoralist groups from South Sudan – the Dinka and the Nuer – have taken their differences to Uganda’s refugee settlements making work difficult for aid agencies.
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have confirmed the two tribal groups do not want to share services provided at the camps.
In the past, the Dinka and Nuer have competed over grazing land and water for their cattle in their home country.
These clashes have usually taken place in a local context without causing much fatalities.
However, in 2013, the dismissal of former vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer, by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, functioned as a catalyst for mass violence, claiming people of more than a thousand.
Thousands of Dinka and the Nuer have since fled to Uganda.
“The Dinka do not want to line up at the water points with the Nuer,” said Mr Stephen Bogere, the assistant settlement commandant at Kiryandongo refugee settlement in Kiryandongo District.
“We make peace dialogues, we talk to them. Currently, the situation is not like the way it used to be. These days they can get water without getting into so much conflict,” he said.
In Adjumani District, the situation is no different. Ms Francisca Lindriyo, the assistant community service officer at OPM office in Adjumani, said: “The Dinka are basically very difficult to handle and most times they are hardliners….they are the most delicate people amongst the refugees.”
To address water challenges in refugee settlements in northern Uganda, the European Union and the German Financial Cooperation have contributed 13 million Euro (about Shs55 billion) towards the implementation of water and sanitation project.
The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Water and Environment through Water and Sanitation Development Facility-North. The manager, Mr Felix Twinomugisha, confirmed the progress to Daily Monitor last Wednesday.