Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | More than 600 South Sudan refugees from the Nuer ethnic community in Palorinya refugee settlement in Obongi district have been relocated for safety to Palabek refugee settlement in Lamwo district.
This follows clashes that broke out between the minority Nuer tribesmen and Kuku ethnic communities in Zone Two and Three in July this year leaving three Nuer youth dead, six with grave injuries and hundreds of others displaced.
The relocation was conducted by the Office of the Prime Minister-OPM and Humanitarian aid agency United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees- UNHCR.
David Wangwe, the Palorinya settlement commandant says that those relocated are children and women who are vulnerable to violence.
Wangwe says the refugees had earlier been moved at the reception center in Palorinya following the clashes but efforts to return them to the settlements proved futile after the two communities refused to reconcile.
Wangwe notes that although the refugees in Palabek settlement are mostly comprised of Acholi ethnic communities from South Sudan, they are hesitant in mixing with the Nuer, OPM conducted prior sensitization before their relocation.
He says OPM has had extensive engagement with local and religious leaders and security personnel on safety measures to ensure the two communities co-exist without any future clashes as witnessed in July this year.
Palorinya refugee settlement hosts 122,816 South Sudan refugees majority being Kuku ethnic communities.
Julius Kamuza, Palabek refugee settlement commandant says the refugees have been settled in Zone six and seven among the Nuer ethnic communities who were previously settled in the refugee settlement.
He says they have been given plots of land and food adding that majority have now started putting up structures for their settlement.
Lamwo Resident District Commissioner James Nabinson Kidega says that sensitization has been on-going between the refugees and the host communities to forge peaceful co-existence with the Nuer.
He however says the district leaders are yet to get down to the settlement to find out feedback and monitor their stay in the settlement.
As of October 31st this year, Lamwo district had 53,556 South Sudan refugees according to data from OPM.