Learning paralyzed in Twic as SSPDF occupy school

Learning paralyzed in Twic as SSPDF  occupy school

Residents in Wunrok in Twic County, Warrap State, are calling on the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces to vacate the premises of Awiligik Primary School to allow children to resume classes.

According to locals, forces that were deployed at the border between Abyei and Twic, to de-escalate the tension over the dispurted ownership ofAnet market, have set their base in the school compound, paralyzing learning in the process.

Mathiang Longar Malek, a resident called on the government to withdraw the soldiers from the school to allow children resume classes.

“I am calling on the government to intervene so that the SSPDF leaves and gives space for schoolchildren to resume their classes,” Mathiang told City Review.

He said the soldiers were initially allowed to spend only one night in the school.

“They were allowed by the Boma administrator to spend the night there, hoping that the following morning they would vacate to a different location where they would stay.” “Unfortunately, they did not leave the place up to now,” he complained.

He said the surrounding community has been in dialogue with the soldiers but no solution had been reached.

“The communities have been talking about this and they said they are not leaving the school,” he said.

Mathiang said after an unsuccessful discussion between the county education director and the soldiers, the administration decided to close the school. 

“The school was closed because the headteacher, county education, together with the teachers, tried to talk to the soldiers, but they did not listen,” he said.

He said that learners and soldiers will never be in the same place, adding that pupils can’t learn when they see big artillery, guns near them, and sometimes rampant shootings among the soldiers.

“They have been in the school for a month [during which the] school is interrupted. “Since the soldiers came, some of the pupils stopped going to school because of the fear, and therefore the headteacher declared it closed,” he added.

However, when contacted for comment, Maj Gen Lul Ruai Koang, the Spokesperson of the SSPDF, said that he was not aware of any school being occupied by the soldiers in Warrap State.

“I am not aware of forces being accused of occupying a school in Twic, Warrap,” Lul said.

However, in 2021, South Sudan launched the Safe School Declaration Guidelines, an intergovernmental commitment that provides countries the opportunity to express support for protecting students, teachers, schools and universities from attack during times of armed conflict.