The Deputy Refugee Desk Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr David Wangwe, told Daily Monitor on Thursday morning that, “These are people (all Dinka tribe) who fled from the tribal clashes in Jonglei state and we are in the process of having them granted refugee status.”

“We expect more to come since the fighting is continuing as others have had their homes burnt down. We are waiting for decision from the Inter-Ministerial Committee whether to grant them refugee status or not,” Mr Wangwe added.

The visibly tired and weak South Sudanese revealed that they had been forced to flee because while some had lost husbands in the fighting, the other men were going to the battlefront leaving them defenceless. The men are reportedly fighting to recover the animals that were raided by the Murle tribe.

Inter-ethnic clashes in Jonglei state, triggered by cattle raids, have led to killing of about 2,000 people in the last few months. So serious is the situation that the UN has already sent a battalion of troops in Pibor area, where fighting is heaviest. Both communities of Nuer and Murle have had their children abducted during the violence.

The 63 South Sudanese reportedly walked from Jonglei state to Nimule before crossing into Uganda through Moyo district. They were then assisted by fishermen who cannoed them to Obongi landing site in Moyo. They were then sent from Moyo hospital to Arua district where their application for refugee status could be better processed. 120 South Kordofan tribesmen were granted refugee status last year following similar requests.

By Felix Warom Okello, Daily Monitor

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