According to the information obtained from the Office of Prime Minister-OPM in Arua, 239 South Sudanese nationals mainly from Morobo county in Central Equatorial State arrived on Tuesday while 6 Congolese nationals arrived on Monday.
James Wani, one of the refugees, says that he entered Uganda through Kaya river at the border. According to Wani, they are fleeing the rampant cases of rape targeting children by suspected Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-Opposition SPLA-IO rebels operating in the area.
“I stayed in Kaya River for three days with my four young children without eating food. I came to Uganda to safeguard my two daughters from being raped by the rebels,” he said.
Another refugee, who only identified herself as Grace, said she entered Uganda through the Busia border in Kuluba sub-county in Koboko district to avoid being raped. In March 2016, the UN documented more than 1,300 cases of rape in just one of South Sudan’s 10 regions. The report describes how rape is used in lieu of salary in SPLA.
Jena Toma, the Deputy Refugee Desk officer in OPM in Arua, says that they have relocated the refugees to Omugo reception center in Terego district for quarantine. She said the process of verification of the nationality status of the arrivals will be done before they send them to other settlements.
Uganda is one of the top countries hosting the highest number of refugees. The latest United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) report on Refugee Statistics published last month indicates that there are more than 1.5 million refugees in Uganda.
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