Tension in Leitchur Refugee Camp, Western Ethiopia

Leitchur Refugee Camps flooded during the previous rainy season(Photo: Doctorswithoutborders)

Leitchur Refugee Camps flooded during the previous rainy season(Photo: Doctorswithoutborders)

April 25, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — A high tension occurred this afternoon in Leitchur Refugee Camp, where thousands of South Sudanese refugees have been stationed for the last one year.

According to eye witnesses in Gambella, hundreds of disgruntled local youth matched the streets this afternoon carrying guns and other light weapons.

The locals explained that  the youth were protesting a proposal that the refugees’ camp should be relocated from Leitchur to Bonga, a town within Gambella that was previously used by the then Sudanese rebels, SPLM/SPLA, for their military training against the Sudanese regimes.

According to one of the locals, Thangkuach, who works for the United Nations but currently in Gambella, the youth have been made to believe that relocation of South Sudanese refugees will negatively impact employment and other opportunities that the locals are currently reaping from the new relationship.

“The problem is very complicated, the Nuer here don’t want the refugees to be relocated to Bonga because they cites the benefits of refugee camp being here” Thangkuach said.

While Leitchur is dominated by the Nuer-Ethiopians, Bonga is mostly inhabited by the Anyuak ethnic group of Ethiopia.

The Nuer-Ethiopians and other observers believe that relocation of refugees, who are mostly Nuer of South Sudan, will relocate jobs to Anyuak, one of the most hit political debates here in the region.

The proposal, which is backed majorly by the Western Gambella State Government, argues that Leitchur gets flooded during the rainy seasons, and therefore it is not safe for the refugees as witnessed during the previous rainy season.

“So, to prevent the disaster of last year repeating where scores number of children died, some officials in the state government advocate for the relocation of the current site to Bonga.” one of the observers, Peter Kim, explains.

While some politicians argue that relocating the refugees, who are mostly Nuer speakers, to Bonga could increase insecurity, others believe that such decision will increase job opportunities for the Anyuak population in Bonga county.

This debate, according to Ethiopians here in Gambella, has been rocking the political theaters for a while now as another rainy season approaches.

This debate, according to the local youth, must be ended. Instead the disgruntled youth urges their local government to work collectively with the United Nations to put enough measures in place to prevent another flooding these coming rainy seasons.

The Nuer-Ethiopians, who now opt to be identified collectively as South Sudanese, are threatening the Gambella government, led by a Nuer-Ethiopian, Hon Gatluak Tut, that they are ready to fight anyone who pushes for relocation of the refugees’ camps.

“so relocating the camp here to Anyauk zone sees some of these people lose their jobs and new opportunities being taken by Anyauk. And now they are threatening to fight anybody who attempt to move these people to any locations out of their territory”. A disgruntled protestor, Dowai Peter, explains to Nyamilepedia correspondent on site.

“In the past Anyuak have been mistreating refugees especially in Dimma and Pinyodo.” he continued.

The governor of Gambella, Hon. Gatluak Tut, was in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa, attending a government meeting that addresses an upcoming election in May.

Gambella, which is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Ethiopian-South Sudan border, is inhabited by the Nuer, Anyuak, Majenger, Opou and Komo ethnic groups, all speaking Amharic as the national language with Nuer language being the second widely spoken in the city of Gambella.

  14 comments for “Tension in Leitchur Refugee Camp, Western Ethiopia

  1. GatNor
    April 25, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Something is wrong with this story. There got to be more to it than stated.


  2. April 25, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    You can see the desperation of Nuers brothers every where even in refugee camp. This is why most Southern Sudanese people believe that, the nation is not ready for Son of Nuer tribe to become a president of South Sudan simply because of many reasons but let me mentions few things and below are the reasonable and the benefit of doubt-ability in the Southern Sudanese minds..

    1 Reason why the Young nation is not ready for one of the Nuer’s Son is racist
    2. The second reason why our nation is not ready to be lead by Son of Nuer is impatience of all Nuers people.
    3. The reason why the Southern Sudanese citizens wouldn’t vote for one of the Nuer’s Son is trouble making and easily to created rebellion.
    4. The forth reason why it will take time for our brothers Nuer to get one elected president is lacking understanding and the former vice president would be the good example for the second time having a trouble conflicts within establishment in South Sudan.
    5 The fifth reason why it is impossible for former vice president to become a president of South Sudan tribal issue. We all know the most rebels generals are selves promoting in their own community with their own militias which have no records from the SPLA DAMN Book.
    6. The six reasonable why the Son of Nuer politician would be under Dog if there is a competitive with one another politician is lacking peaceful coexistence. It is undeniable that, our brothers Nuers have no friends a cross their neighbors this is the most important to lived peaceful with your neighborhood unfortunately, our brothers Nuers always fighting with Dinka around them, they also fought with Murle, they fights with Shilluk tribe and even some time they have a trouble relationship with Anyuak tribe. I know our brothers of Nuers wouldn’t buy it those potentials reasonable list up on the above but any Nuer politician who is interesting to run for South Sudan presidencies in any future time please, you must be worry for these small list which I am making suggestion that is very likely but if you guys ignored those Items apparently, you will find that, there will be no consideration to come up and leading Southern Sudanese people unless there are changes made trust brothers. My question to those Gambella Youths who have had been threaten people with guns in their hands is that. Is that not a discrimination on Anyuak people? We do know that, you guys are sharing same Gambella region under Ethiopian government but if the camp is the flood zone as picture can speak itself so why not allow these refugees people to relocated in to safer area? Now the Gambella Youths are protesting with guns in their hands and maybe big machines guns just because they do not want labor jobs to be taking away to benefits Anyuak people who that sound to your neighbor people?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Owiny ki Bul
      April 25, 2015 at 10:38 pm

      The way you put you are not far from being all sorts of attributes you mentioned. You are a racist your self.

      Liked by 1 person

    • GatNor
      April 26, 2015 at 7:29 am

      Fighting for opportunities is part of life. Its been and will always be. Look at Jaang, elders, Kiir & Museveni, G10 with their 10% demands, Jonglei tensions involving Bor counties, Murlei & Lou Nuers, the Chilluks and their conspiracies to install a Chilluk’s governor in Malakal. Our territory of South Sudan occupied by Kenyans and North Sudan and Uganda Bar El Gazal committing massacre to preserve the leadership of their primitive incompetent son etc. What make you think the fight for opportunities exclude those of Jikany Nuers within their specific area of opportunities regardless of if they are in the Ethiopian system or a South Sudan system. As far as I am concern the land is theirs on both sides & their interest should be consider a priority. Owiny ki Bul is right everyone is affect from this man made [Salva Crises] including you.


  3. April 25, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    The real problem is not yet addressed. Gaajak living in Nyenenyang were registered as refugee. They benefit humanitarian aid and benefit of Jobs there fore relocating that Camp to Bonga will made them either to take refuge at Bonga or left being refugee life and begins living as Ethiopian. Those Locals who are carrying guns are Ethiopian refugee. Shame on them how come you become refugee in your country. Let they camp be transferred to Banga so that South Sudanese Nuer will have better life


    • lualdit
      April 26, 2015 at 3:03 am

      I am glad somebody is standing up for the interest of the local population. I hope, Governor Gatluak will see the rationale behind keeping the camp where it is. Development is made, it doesn’t drop from the sky. Therefore, the government of Gambella need to do something to ensure that the flood situation is minimize to keep the refugees safe. Itang was in a flood zone, and wasn’t move when it used to flooded when it used to be the biggest refugee camp on the planet. why not do the same in Nyinenyang. Somebody including the NGOs are against the Naath interest.


    • April 26, 2015 at 3:45 am

      Nuer youths and their politicians transport their violent every where in Africa without shame,because all their cases are close to food. crying for recognition and forcing things in wrong direction . The UN and Gambella administration have right to chose place for the refugees to stay peaceful without flood water, which cause a lot of diseases ,as rainy season is approaching.


      • April 27, 2015 at 3:14 am

        Deng, you are really right bro, when you get a Nuer fighting ask him\her you will find that it is some thing that relate to food all they can died because of food.ahahahah.


  4. Omod Oboya
    April 26, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Nyamalpedia seems to be saying that Ethiopia is a South Sudan. Ethiopia is not like Sudan where decisions of the governments are reversed by individuals who do not represent the whole ethnic. The shift of benefits to Anyuaks as a result of relocation of refugee to ANyuak zone that Nyamalpedia is talking about, is not the issue between Anyuak and Nuers in Ethiopia. All Ethnic groups in Gambella have been sharing the benefits of refugees. NGO or UN staffs in Leitchour are not only Nuers. there are also Anyuaks and other ethnic groups. If the benefits of refugees in leitchour was designated only for Nuers, Anyuaks would have benefited from the refugees in Itang as well as in Penigudo. On the other hand benefits should not be the only things expected from the refugees. Communities have to anticipate the negative impacts of refugees being settled in the land. But this has not been the case for Gambella Ethiopia people because they see South Sudanese Refugees as their brothers. The information that Nyamalpedia provided about the situation of relocation is very wrong. The new camp where refugees will be relocated is not Bonga but it is Jewi 10+ KG from Gambella. Before relasing the information is good most of the times to verify the source of your news. This will make you not bias and impartial. Therefore, Nyamalpedia has to avoid creating or instilling negative attitudes in the minds of the people.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. April 26, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Until the DINKA & NUER learn to live to gather as brothers and sisters, they will never enjoy the fruits of independence that we sacrificed in blood and resources in the last 60 years. To be blunt and sincere,it is a vicious cycle fight which non will win but both will loose. Cousins undergoing serious evolutionary process and both ethnic groups will hardly coexist. So what’s next? South Sudan needs a rescue from progressive communities.


  6. April 26, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    I have never heard of refugees with guns, Nuer brothers are unique in their own ways – greed doesn’t help.


  7. April 27, 2015 at 1:38 am

    psychotic is the centralise disease of our people, Hence, in the 21st century people who are still holding down the world to go a head. are those who always think of their own tribe.


  8. The peace will come soon in South Sudan
    April 28, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    The time of insult will come into an end soon, and the peace will replace the hatred from the heart of the people. We better support peace rather than using unforgettable word that will not produce fruit of peace in our new nation. People of South Sudan need to realize that there is always time for every things in live. A time like this is happening everywhere in this world. Today there are others countries in this world who are fighting and killing themselves, but the real solution will never come because those countries insulted themselves, the only things that will help those countries is forgiveness and reconciliation. Country, like United States, plus others did involved in the civil before, but look where United State stand today, it look different because they forgives themselves and they found way to reconcile. The same things today, the South Sudanese people have to adapt the same philosophy for them to achieve the peace that they are looking for. South Sudanese people had been fighting their freedom together and they voted for their freedom and they all achieved their freedom together. They been walking side by side as brothers and sisters, and today, the devil has tempted them by turning their face to one another violently!!
    Yes, brothers and sister, we are the future leaders of this new nation and we will be the one rebuilding this devastating community that the devil use its people to destroy it. We are the one who suppose to start talking about peace and reconciliation, and not just putting our truth to the foreigners who are there sacking our blood and promote hatred and disunity to this peaceful community who been living as one family and sharing their suffering together during their rebellious against Khartoum government for the search of freedom.
    I am calling all South Sudanese people to start talking about unity and forgiveness. We need to take the responsibility of uniting our nation rather than expecting outsiders to come and help us. Family are always responsible to solve their families issues.
    Look very carefully, if IGAD has ways to united South Sudanese, they would have done this less than a year and many months from now, but because they are there as beneficiary, then they fail completely to bring an end our situation. People of South Sudan, wake up and solve your problem, and stand for each others since and let us not expect others to come and solves our problem since every countries is also have enough problem of their own!!!


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