South Sudan: Civil society organisations call for urgent intervention as humanitarian crisis looms in Boma
A humanitarian crisis looms in South Sudan as Yauyau militias, under the command of David Yauyau, continue to fight the SPLA government forces in Boma and Pibor towns, Jonglei.
Civilians, mostly women and children, have been caught in the crossfire and reports from Minority Rights Group International (MRG) partners on the ground show looting of household items as well as cows and sorghum.
There is also reported mass displacement in Boma; the city which normally has a population of thousands and is a hive of activity, now looks deserted. MRG, however, could not independently verify the exact numbers of those who have been displaced.
According to civil society activist Paul Oleyo Longony, people have run away from their houses and are hiding in the forests around Boma Mountain. ‘Others are trying to cross to Ethiopia, but the army there has closed off the border. So people are caught in a dilemma and are without food.’
‘At the moment the situation remains worse in Boma and Pibor,’ says Oleyo Logony, ‘There is no humanitarian assistance and there are gross human rights abuses taking place. Women and children are hiding in bushes under very harsh conditions.’
Yauyau militias were initially integrated into the SPLA forces following President Salva Kirr Maryardit’s amnesty pardon in 2011. Their leader, David Yauyau, in 2010 unsuccessfully contested for Gumuru constituency, Jonglei Member of Parliament. He later broke ranks with the SPLA government and mobilized disgruntled youth into rebel activity.
Civil society organizations in the greater Pibor region are calling on the international community to intervene with humanitarian assistance.
Photo: Conflict between the Murle and Luo-Nuer tribes has affected tens of thousands in Pibor town, destroying their means of earning a living.
© EU/ECHO/Marilena Chatziantoniou, January 2012