Is It Safe for IDPs to Live Outside The Camps as Claimed By the President?
By James Pui Yak Yiel,
March 29, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — When the current war erupted on December 2013 many Nuer community members fled to UNMISS camps inside the state capital Juba to seek protection from the world body at the time when the president own recruited militia of Mathiang Anyoor and Duodku Bany plus some elements from the army were executing one of the horrendous massacre in the history of this young nation. Subsequently, flight for similar protection took place in Bor, Malakal and Bentiu towns as the war escalated into those states and later other Nuer members were also targeted in Bahr EL Gazal forcing them to run for protection at the UNMISS camp in Wau the capital of western Bahr el Gazal state.
Today the number of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the UNMISS camps countrywide according to UN estimate is 110,000 with the biggest number in Bentiu 53,000, Juba 38,000, Bor 5,000, Malakal 13,650 and Wau 350 IDPs. Luckily enough, for over a year and a half now the IDPs had been living on humanitarian assistance in the form of food and other basic needs provided by the United Nations and other NGOs who are sympathetic to the plight of these vulnerable south Sudanese citizens. Though, the mission initial mandate has nothing to do with civilians’ protection as had been dictated by the situation later, yet out of necessity the world body took it upon itself as a moral responsibility to safe lives by allowing in to its premises the flee civilians – a decision widely applauded by the international community and majority of the south Sudanese citizens both at home and abroad.
Ironically, the government instead of commending the role played by UNMISS in protecting its citizens astonishingly demonstrated a sense of indifference to the idea of the UNMISS civilians protection and even the provision of humanitarian assistance and further accused the world body of supporting the rebels. Furthermore, the government views the assistance given to the IDPs as an attempt by the United Nations to keep the IDPs so that they refuse to come out of the camps. They contend that if these IDPs are denied the basic necessities they regularly received, they would be forced to vacate the camps since they will have nothing to survive on. Thus, it is against this backdrop that they had worked continuously to instigate the youth as in the case of Bor IDPS camp attack and the government own forces as in the case of Malakal, Bentiu and Nasir resprctively to deliberately attacked IDPs camps after they realized that the UN seem not to be in favor of their policy.
This report released from Addis Ababa by the spoke person of UN mission in south Sudan substantially support this claim “after the shooting of 12 March 2015 the SPLA called a meeting with the UN and IGAD where army officers admitted to opening fire at the UN and threatened to continue attacking the compound as long as the so called opposition soldiers were inside. Other UN bases in south Sudan have come under attack because some government officials have claimed that the unarmed displaced civilians sheltering inside are actually rebel soldiers. However, there are no civilians sheltering in the Nasir base”. Refer to Radio Tamazuj 28th March post titled IGAD: south Sudan government fired on UN base in Nasir.
However, it is abundantly clear that the government indifference to the idea of giving protection to the IDPs tantamount to a quest to punish these citizens by keeping them inside the camp for an indefinite period of time subjecting them to the most despicable economic hardship and keeping them away from their homes where they could at least plan for their future and that of their children. All the while these IDPs find themselves paralyzed economically to the extent that they become nonproductive citizens in their own country. In order to prove the government policy of confinement, it is necessary to delineate some of the facts underpinning the IDPs fears of leaving the camps:
Firstly, the government never arrested any perpetrator (s) in connection with the massacre in Juba or elsewhere, how then it expect the IDPs to come out and go to their homes when the people who killed them and who are also the main reason for their flight to the UNMISS camps are still at large.
Secondly, if the government forces and other instigated element such as the youth in Bor could attack the IDPs while at the UNMISS camps, what about if they are outside the UNMISS camps.
Thirdly, if your own government to which you are a subject denigrate you as a rebel simply because you sought protection from those bend on killing you albeit with the help of the same government and further deny that you are not provided with the basic services essential to your very survival and that of your family, how could you trust such a government?
Fourthly, if the country president can give statement like the one he gave during his insipid and erratic speech in March 18th public rally and I quote “if the matter is compensation, did Riek compensated the people he killed in Bor in 1991” unquote what is the evidence that such president cannot lure the IDPs and kill them once again given this hate statement, can you really trust him for your security.
Fifthly, if the president can refuse reparation for properties of his country citizens (IDPs including) destroyed in the course of the conflict which he himself initiated, he doesn’t only demonstrates tribal inclinations in this conflict but also lack of remorse for the very people he claims to rule.
Therefore, reflecting on the above enumerated facts and many more not mentioned here, it is evident that the government is intending to punish the IDPs by confining them inside the camps for an indefinite period of time. The halfhearted ephemeral appeal made by the president recently for the IDPs to come out of the camps because according to him life outside the camps is more conducive for the upbringing of their kids without even addressing the underlying causes making these citizens to fled to the UNMISS camps in the first place is a shameless ploy he is attempting to portray himself as benign and caring for his people when that is not absolutely the case.
In the onset of the conflict many observers both within and outside the country thought the president will do everything in his power to bring this war to a speedy end not only because of the rebellion which initially he shouldn’t have fomented but, because of the plight of thousands of his country men and women (children included) who are languishing inside UN camps in their own country. However, it is no wonder that what the president is doing is no less than the genocide he had committed in Miya Sabba, Gudele, Manga neighborhoods of Juba town and elsewhere inside the country. I have never seen in my entire life a president whose citizens lives in camps protected by foreign forces including in the state capital where he resides and yet proud to be a legitimate president.