More Than 70,000 South Sudanese Flee To Uganda As Fighting Persisits
Ayaa Joyce and Beatrice Masudio might come from different parts of South Sudan but they are united in sorrow.
Having lost their husbands in the country’s latest round of violence, the two women gathered their children and few belongings and made the dangerous journey to reach refugee camps in neighbouring Uganda.
“When we reached the checkpoint, three people had been killed by some armed men,” Joyce told Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi in northern Uganda’s Elegu town.
“Soldiers were gathering. They stopped us and searched us. When they realised we were from the Madi tribe, they let us go.”
Approximately 70,000 people have now crossed the South Sudanese border with Uganda since fighting erupted in the capital, Juba, between forces loyal to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar in early July.
Like Joyce and Masudio, the majority of the South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are women and children.
Alice Sunday, a 16-year-old from Juba, said many people had died in the recent fighting, and she and others had to sleep outside without shelter or food. Her school was closed down.
“What brought me from Juba is the war taking place in Juba …. Many people die. That is why we are here to save our life,” Alice also told our correspondent in Uganda’s Yumbe.
“We came here so we can get school and get food.”
This is the second time the teenager has been displaced by fighting. The first time was in 2013 when civil war erupted and she fled to Yei in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria region.
“We just want our future to be good,” Alice said of her second escape from the conflicts that have torn her country apart.
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