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South Sudan: Situation worsens in Boma, thousands of lives at risk says MRG

18 June 2013

Due to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Boma, the lives of at least 32,000 inhabitants are at risk, say Minority Rights Group International (MRG) and its partner organization, Boma Development Initiative (BDI).

BDI last month warned of a looming humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, as Yauyau militias continued to fight the SPLA government forces in Boma, Jonglei state in South Sudan.

According to reports reaching MRG, little help has been extended to civilians caught in the crossfire, many of whom are women and children.

In Boma, usually a hive of activity with thousands of people, many homes have been burned down, leaving areas deserted. The town is now occupied by the South Sudan army, after an aggressive offensive against the Yauyau militias. Several villages, including Kaiwa in Upper Boma, have been reportedly burnt to ashes as a result of increasing ethnic tensions.

Civil society organizations in the region are calling on the international community to urgently intervene with humanitarian assistance.

According to civil society activist Paul Oleyo Longony, there is fear among minority communities, such as the Murle, that the government forces' continued occupation of Boma town is a ploy to gain access to their lands. The army is comprised of mainly Dinka and Nuer majority tribes. There are also reports that the army has been arming the Jie to attack the Murle.

‘Boma is literally empty. People have run away for dear life. Some have gone to Eastern Equatoria, while others have sought refuge in Kakuma Camp in Turkana, Kenya and Dimma Refugee camp in Ethiopia,' says Paul Oleyo Logony

‘At the moment social services have been cut off,' adds Oleyo Logony. ‘All NGO compounds are occupied by the army and there is an acute lack of drugs as hospitals were burnt down.'

Yauyau militias were initially integrated into the SPLA forces following President Salva Kirr Maryardit's amnesty pardon in 2011. In 2010, their leader, David Yauyau, unsuccessfully contested the Parliamentary seat for the Jonglei constituency of Gumuru. He later broke ranks with the SPLA government and mobilized disgruntled youth into rebel activity.

For more information contact:

MRG Press Office in Africa – Mohamed Matovu
T: +256 312266832
M: +256 782748189
E: [email protected]