By Spy Uganda
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Uganda have relocated a total of 650 South Sudanese refugees to Palabek settlement in Lamwo District in Northern Uganda, according to media reports.
This follows ethnic clashes between the Nuer and Kuku tribes of South Sudan in the Palorinya settlement center in July that left three people dead and six injured. The two communities accused each other of food theft from the farmlands.
Palorinya refugee settlement was established in December 2016 in Moyo District and currently hosts approximately 166,000 South Sudanese refugees who fled from their home country in 2017, following unrests. It is currently closed to new arrivals.
Palorinya refugee settlement camp commandant, David Wangwe previously said they exhausted all the avenues to reconcile the two groups but the efforts have not yielded any positive result.
“Religious leaders, cultural leaders, refugee leaders, and security were engaged in several dialogues with the two tribes but they all fell on deaf ears,” he said on Friday.
He added, “The two tribes vowed never to keep together and we were left with no choice but to relocate them.”
Wangwe said during the dialogue, the Nuer accused the Kuku of mistreatment, and the Kuku’s accused the Nuer’s of being ruthless and believed in the use of violence.
The relocation started at the beginning of this month and the last batch was moved on Friday last week.
The Lamwo settlement camp commandant, Mr. Julius Kamuza, said, “The leadership at Lamwo settlements were engaged before the relocation and those who were relocated, their leaders were also spoken to at length. Partners are already on the ground giving counselling and psychosocial support to them and the response is positive.”
Lamwo/Palabek Refugee Settlement is a refugee camp located across the border from South Sudan in Lamwo District, Northern Uganda.
Palabek refugee settlement is one of the newest refugee settlements in Uganda officially set up on April 2016 to reduce congestion in larger refugee camps in the northwestern corner of Uganda, hosting over 50,000 refugees primarily from South Sudan with 85% of arrivals composing of women and children according to the Nations Development Programme Human Development Report.
Women and girls face challenges of high sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) in the camp and this is one of the worst exposures to the feminine sex let alone other crimes and endangerment of women and girls in the free and serene environment of the refugee camp full of trauma and psychological setbacks.