Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Upper Nile, South Sudan: Anyuak refugees hope one good turn deserves another

From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, 15 December 2009:
Anyuak Refugees Hope One Good Turn Deserves Another
(Renk) – Nearly 300 Ethiopian refugees from the Anyuak ethnic group are hoping to settle permanently in Renk county in Upper Nile state.

Speaking on behalf of the refugees, Otak Ochoka Obala told SRS that they have been searching for a place to live in southern Sudan since 2003.

Obala described how they left their home in Ethiopia.

[Otak Ochoka Obala]: “I left Ethiopia in 2003, when the Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi ordered the killing of the Anyuak. Forty people were killed. In 2003, we went to Sudan, to Pochalla and continued to Pibor where we were unable to get a place to settle and then we came to Malakal. But in Malakal we couldn’t get medical assistance, there was no food and the food which was there was always delayed. So there was no adequate assistance given to us as refugees. We then decided to go to Kosti but the authorities in Kosti sent us back to Renk. Now we have spent three months here in Renk with no assistance from the local authorities. Fortunately, the UNHCR has begun to supply us with food.”

Obala said they had never received any humanitarian assistance from the government and international organisations.

[Otak Ochoka Obala]: “From Gambella we trekked to Pibor and during that period no-one offered any assistance. There were a lot of problems during our journey, we received no medical assistance. But we remember very well the Sudanese refugees we hosted during the war in Sudan, they were given a lot of assistance. For example there were thousands of refugees in our homeland in Gambella, in Itang, Pinyido, and Dima refugee camps, they were comfortable. But now we have been moving for the last 7 years in Sudan and we can’t even get a place to live as refugees. Yesterday, on 13th December, we marked the 7th anniversary of the Anyuak massacre in Gambella.”

Obala said there were 96 men, 57 women and 121 children among the Anyuak refugees.

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