Thousands displaced by recent fighting in. Magenis
A large number of people has been displaced by fighting between rival factions of South Sudan First Vice President Riek Machar’s SPLA-IO in Magenis, a relief official said.
“The displaced families are in need of assistance because they are in a dire situation. Most of the people had fled to villages around Magenis,” Victoria Arop, director of the Humanitarian Aid Commission in Magenis, told Radio Tamazuj on Thursday.
“We are yet to assess the number of those who fled their homes. Before the latest fighting, Magenis was accommodating about 20,000. So, a large number of people fled the area,” she added.
The relief official said the displaced persons started returning on Thursday. She said most of the people were visibly afraid.
“We have informed the humanitarian partners to provide assistance to the displaced families, but their repose is slow. Women and children are the most affected because there is no food and water,” she explained.
Martha Bartimaeus, a mother who fled with her children, said: “Our humanitarian situation is very bad. We fled Kitgwang after the fighting. My children don’t have food and water, so I call upon relief agencies to support us.”
Meanwhile, Edward Ogaw, a youth leader in Magenis said many families have been displaced as a result of the fighting that erupted in the area. “Those who fled to areas outside Magenis are living in the open and are in need of assistance because there is no food and medicine there,” he said.
Ogaw urged rival factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) to halt fighting and embrace dialogue. “Our people have suffered a lot, we need a real peace that can lead to stability in our country,” he urged.
Zachariah Luany, deputy military commander in Magenis, said calm had returned to the area after the deadly fighting. “Those who fled the area have started returning. Civilians fled the area because heavy machine guns and bombs were used during the fighting last week,” he said.
The military officer said no civilians were hurt during the fighting.
The fighting erupted in the Magenis area of Upper Nile State on Saturday after Machar’s rivals declared they had deposed him as the head of the SPLM-IO group and its military wing. Armed forces led by a rival general in the SPLA-IO, Simon Gatwech Dual, clashed with Machar’s soldiers.
The latest fighting in Machar’s own party threatens to put further pressure on the already fragile peace accord signed in September 2018.
The East African bloc IGAD warned Monday that the splintering of the SPLM-IO “is beyond an intra-party crisis and bears significant immediate and long-term implications” for South Sudan.
Via. Radio Tamazuj