South Sudan is safe and those fleeing the country are only doing so because neighbouring countries Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia are actively recruiting refugees as refugees – Taban Deng Gai, the second First Vice President of South Sudan and commander-in-chief of the rebels-in-government (SPLA-IO-IG) told reporters this week.FVP Taban Deng accuses neighbours of recruiting refugees as refugees
Taban Deng Gai (TDG), who is the USA to attend the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, made the remarks while trying to argue a point that South Sudan is safe and the peace-agreement between his SPLM-IO-IG and Salva Kiir’s SPLA is really working – it only needs funding, recognition and non-meddling from the international community.
“We have identified that social media is one of the causes, as HE. President Kiir said. We have also found out that some of our neighbours have opened camps and are training and recruiting our people to claim that the numbers are now armies of refugees – something peace-loving South Sudanese will not do…”
According to the UNHCR the UN refugee agency says Uganda alone hosts over 1 million South Sudanese refugees, a remarkable 1,800 a day walking over to Uganda. Then add to that a further million South Sudanese refugees being hosted by the other neighbours including Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. South Sudan has already been called a country for no civilians as it’s believed that 1/3 of its population has fled the country and 100s of thousands are internally displaced including more than 200,000 in UNMISS POC camps alone.
Taban Deng’s utterance appears to complement a statement recently made by HE. Pres. Kiir claiming that millions of refugees who have fled the country were chased away by ‘social media’.
But one refugee in a camp in Uganda who did not know what “social media” means, says there is no doubt as to what exactly marched into their village on that fateful day, burned it down and indiscriminately shot at the people killing many.
I know what chased me away and burned my village, and it was neither ‘social’ nor was it ‘media’
“I know what chased me away and burned my village, and it was neither ‘social’ nor was it ‘media'”
As TDG continues to represent South Sudan in the UN General Assembly and subsequent high level meetings and debates, the confusion continues between whether it’s a compliment or not to countries hosting a vast amount of the country’s population. Saakam will keep you updated on any responses from other neighbouring sovereign nations who may or may not be offended as being labelled as recruiters of armies of refugees and whether this is a crime against humanity or just simply being humanitarian.