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KODOK - 24 Oct 2013

Kau Nyaro refugees resist relocation from Kodok

Sudanese refugees from Kau Nyaro in the Nuba Mountains are resisting relocation from Fashoda County and accuse UNHCR of withholding food rations as a way to force them move to Bentiu.

There are over 1400 Nuba refugees in Golo, on the outskirts of Kodok town in Fashoda County of Upper Nile State. UNHCR intends to relocate them either to Unity State or Maban County.

UNHCR has stated that more rations will not be given to the refugees as long as they remain where they are, but promised assistance upon arrival at the established camps in either Maban County or Unity State.

“The UN organization has now identified two other locations for us in Unity or Maban, and it is threatening with deprivation from food as well as schools for our children in case the refugees refuse to go there,” explained Sheikh Mark, a leader of the refugees.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, a mother of six children Jalia Dina that they received food rations twice but thereafter nothing was given to them. “They are using food as a condition to force us go to Bentiu,” she said.

She further said that even the food given was not enough to feed the family members and they have had to go look for firewood to sell in order to cover the food shortage. “We have to go in the bush looking for firewood that we sell to the citizens in Kodok market,” she explained.

Jalia added that the main reason for staying in the Kodok area is its proximity to Kau Nyaro: “We are not going anywhere from Kodok – Kodok is near our homeland and we can help our people there with the little we have.”

For her part, Siadah Juma said that life is very hard for them and their family. “The UN is forcing on relocation rather than giving us humanitarian aid,” she said.

Plans to remain

According to Shiekh Mark, the refugees “will prefer not to be under the UNCHR protection if they force them to go the Unity State.”

“We have come here not to stay permanently but we are forced due to war and the air strikes and the consequent effects on our lives. We have complained of food shortage and our report was rejected by the authorities,” he said.

The sheikh explained that the state authorities have temporary allocated Golo for their stay. The refugee leader echoed the voice of the refugees by saying they like Golo because of its proximity to Kodok area where a large number of refugees are staying.

“We have our relatives in Kodok therefore we don’t want to leave them there and go to Unity state or Maban County,” he said. “We will remain here in Golo, in case the organizations did not give us assistance no problem, if they give us it will much appreciate,” he added.

The sheikh revealed that the refugees have run out of food, adding that the families depend on women who go to the neighbourhood to fetch firewood for sale. Some humanitarian support has also been given by the Red Cross and the host community, according to Nurain Juba, a refugee living at Golo.