14th April 2024
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Uganda: 77 S. Sudanese youth arrested in refugee camp violence

Authors: Charles Wote | Chany Ninrew | Published: Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Detained South Sudanese refugees. (Courtesy).

About 80 South Sudanese refugees are reportedly being detained in Uganda’s Lamwo District in connection with a deadly inter-clan violence that occurred between Wednesday and Sunday last week.

The suspects including 21 juveniles were apprehended for partaking in fighting between Fangak and Bul clans of the Nuer tribe at Palabek Refugee Settlement, Ugandan media reported.

They are reportedly being detained at a police post inside Palabek for renewing a conflict sparked by two children who fought at school over a minor disagreement.

“There is an inter-clan conflict in Palabek Settlement, which has arisen between Bul and Fangak communities. The cause of this conflict started very simple,” said John Pasquale Udo, the Chairperson of Refugee Welfare Council at the settlement.

“Children fought at school after one of the students, a female prefect tried to advise some boys from the other clan. This resulted in the two children fighting before teachers intervened and resolved the issue.”

“When the children came home, their mothers fueled the situation leading to inter-clan fighting in which one person was seriously injured with a knife and another was beaten with sticks.”

The fighting is the second time that youth from the two communities are involved in deadly fighting at the camp.

“In Palabek settlement, we have recorded a lot of cases of violence. Four months back, in December last year, a similar fighting escalated, and we lost two lives here in Palabek settlement. One person fled here to Kenya, and he was followed and killed there.”

“It is a very serious situation between these two clans and if you can look at the total number now, in these four months, we have lost six people within the Nuer tribe.”

Palabek Refugee Settlement currently hosts over 100,000 refugees of which majority are from South Sudan.

Lamwo Resident District Commissioner Geoffery Osborn Oceng, also confirmed the arrest of 77 suspects – 26 of whom do not have refugee status in an interview with an online channel.

“For the last six months, we have so far lost six people out of this. At the end of last year, two people were killed, and this year, this is March ending, we also ending with 3 lives loss,” Oceng said.

“We don’t want to have this occurence again. So, we are going to deal with this squarely and that is the reason why our team is not living any stone unturn they are screening everybody to find out.”

“There are people who are not registered here because we have apprehended around 77 people and out of these, 26 are not registered.”

Uganda is host to over 1.5 million refugees coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi.

Previous studies in Ugandan refugee camps have shown a higher prevalence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among the refugee populations compared to other camps in the world.



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