Refugees plunge into Uganda fearing fresh fighting in South Sudan, Leaders worried influx could spike covid-19 infection

Swampy that often serve as haven for rebels. Picture by Sebit Patrick, 31st March 2020

The corona virus taskforce in Moyo District has raised fears of another refugee influx from Kajo- Keji County in South Sudan where fresh fighting has erupted between National Alliance Salvation Army (NASA) and Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in Opposition loyal to the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, last Saturday.

The unrest between the NASA and SPLM-IO started 25th April when NASA remnants attacked the SPLA-IO defensive position of Kiju in greater Kajo-Keji County killing two and wounding one other. The aggression continued on Sunday as NASA forces attacked the SPLA-IO position of Kala II in Kajo-Keji County at 6:00am again killing one soldier with three others sustaining minor injuries according to Col Paul Lam Gabriel, the SPLA-IO Deputy Military spokesperson.

Lam however, reaffirmed the commitment of his forces to the newly signed R-ARCISS.

We remain committed to the peace agreement signed recently,” Col Lam said.

The fight forced many South Sudanese citizens to enter Uganda in search of safety for their families. But the outbreak of the covid-19 stood as a barrier for asylum seekers across the globe. Uganda has closed its border with South Sudan in fear of spreading the pandemic.

It forces leaders in the country to plump cognitively between allowing the asylum seekers and reinforcing the lockdown in Uganda

Mr Bob Williams Labeja, the Moyo Resident District Commissioner, said in case the refugees come, they would not be allowed to mix with other refugees in the settlements.

We have been informed about fighting in the neighboring town of Kajo-Keji County. Anytime, we are expecting more refugees and the advantage is that Moyo District local government has earmarked making Lama a refugee settlement and the office of the Prime Minister has accepted the area,” Mr Labeja said.

But the State Minister for Primary Health Care, Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu says the Congolese refugees who were banned from entering Uganda following the fighting between its soldiers and the rebels, South Sudanese refugees would not be allowed to enter Uganda.

“We are worried the outbreak of the war between the rebels and government soldiers in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was going to cause refugee influx. I consulted the Prime Minister that we are not allowing refugees to enter into our country unless the ban has been lifted and for now, the border is only for trucks,” Dr Kaducu said.

Frequent uproar in the Africa’s newest nation always puts the lives of its citizen to thwarting since refugees have to choose between fleeing their shelters and death. But due to the lockdown on every nation in the fight against the global pandemic, humanity in such a situation are faced with death as no interventions are attempted

Mr Titus Jogo, the Refugee Desk Officer in the OPM, said literally choses no redress on the plunge of the asylum seekers

“It is true we aware about the outbreak of fighting in South Sudan. We shall not allow any refugees influx. The president has closed the border point because of Covid-19 and we cannot compromise the directives of our President.” Mr. Titus Utters

By: Scovin Iceta, Freelance reporter