Ethiopian returnees stranded in South Sudan’s Upper Nile

Ethiopian returnees stranded in South Sudan’s Upper Nile
South Sudanese refugees with their luggage trek past Panyiduk camp, Gambella road, as they return to South Sudan [Photo: Courtesy]

Ethiopian returnees displaced by Sudan’s war have been stranded for six months at the Doru camp in Maban County, Upper Nile State, due to their unclear status.

They said they were advised by the humanitarian workers to go to the states for settlement because they are considered South Sudanese. However, they were against the idea, as they consider Nuer from Gambela in Ethiopia and not South Sudan.

Speaking to the journalists at the transit, Angelina Ruth, a mother of six, said an aid organisation at the border has been providing them with little money depending on their family size.

“We are many, and I am a mother of six. I lost two children, one at the age of 3 years and the other at 8 months, while on my journey to South Sudan. Now I am left with four children. They died of measles, although they were vaccinated,” she stated.

“I decided to take the journey with my remaining children to the camp with the hope that I would be taken by the organization responsible here to Gambela,” she added.

Nyakoang Tut, another returnee, said, “We cannot go footing since we do not have transport money and the road is also full of water.”

“I arrived here on June 10; when we came, things were not good, but after we were given the needed process When it was time for screening, we thought our documents had to be taken to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs first before taking our photos because it is your country,” she said.

 “So, we told them we are people from Gambela and we want to go back to Gambela, and there is no way to go back, so we patiently waited until now, and that is how we have completed six months now here.”

Annex to Maban Transit Site that receives 100 refugees per day, is a UNICEF’s extension site run by Relief International which provides health and nutrition services.

However, efforts to reach the responsible government stakeholders such as the National Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs for comment during press time were in vain.