South Sudan nationals living in refugee camps in Uganda have appealed to President Salvar Kiir and armed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar to visit them and get their views towards achieving a lasting peace in the war-ravaged country.
There are over one million refugees from South Sudan, 80 percent of whom are women and children living in settlements camps in Uganda. They include Nyumanzi settlement; Ayilo I and II Settlements in Adjumani, Bidibidi Settlement in Yumbe, Panyadoli Settlement in Kiryandongo and Palabek Settlement in Lamwo district.
The plea by the refugees follows delayed attempts to end the civil conflict back home in South Sudan that has entered its fifth year. The concerned refugees want their voices heard by Kiir and Machar the architects of the conflict to restore lasting peace.
Simon Peter Luate, a South Sudanese youth living in Bidibidi refugee camp in Yumbe district, argues that the duo should visit them and witness their appalling conditions in order to compel them to end the conflict.
Philip Adigo, another concerned South Sudanese reasons if the two can gather the views of the commoners, they will perhaps put aside their egos and feel the suffering of ordinary citizens displaced by the war.
Meanwhile, Grace Andrua, a refugee in Arua district believes President Kiir and his former deputy Machar are the architects of the conflict who should listen to the plights of the women and children in order to give peace a chance to reign again in the oil-rich youngest African nation.
Robert Ocan, the Refugee Welfare Council III Chairperson for Palabek Settlement in Lamwo District reveals that a National Dialogue Committee sent by President Kiir to visit them in early 2018, never delivered on their outcries.
When contacted, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs in Uganda, Henry Oryem Okello described the appeal by the refugees as a very important voice reasons that matter and thus the warrying parties need to heed to.
According to statistics from The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 4.3 million South Sudanese refugees, IDPs and asylum-seekers displaced by conflict in neighboring countries like Kenya, Eritrea, Sudan and Uganda.
The 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan, brokered by Uganda and other neighboring countries had required Kiir, Machar and several other armed factions to form a unity government by November 12, 2019.
The first attempt to end the conflict collapsed after it was enacted in 2016. Now the second deadline for forming the unity government as part of the second peace agreement in the war-ravaged country was delayed by 100 days in November 2019.
The brutal conflict in South Sudan started in December 2013 and to date, more than four million people have fled their homes while 2.47 million taking refuge in neighboring countries. An estimated seven million people need relief aid, most of whom face severe food scarcities.