By Charles Lotara,
May 05, 2021 — From students on government scholarships to refugees, South Sudanese in Egypt are having a fateful spell. Machetes-wielding bandits have descended heavily on unarmed civilians, targeting Sudanese and South Sudanese households.
On May 2nd 2021, two foreign nationals were abducted, all were Nubian girls from Sudan. They were subjected to sexual abuse and chopped with machetes.
The family filed police reports.
Realising this, the gang came clanging with death threats. Fearing for their lives, the family of the victims withdrew the matter. The case was abandoned.
Three days later, a 14-year-old boy was abducted. The boy identified as Akok Kuol was dehumanised, assaulted, forced to wash dishes, and had his privates exposed to a source of flame.
In a video footage that sent shockwaves among South Sudanese citizens online, an Egyptian man could be heard throwing obscene racist slurs at Kuol while kicking the skinny, innocent-looking boy in a ghetto-style house.
According to Joseph Moum Majak, the South Sudan Ambassador to Egypt, Kuol and his family members are of South Sudanese origins currently in Egypt as asylum seekers holding the UNHCR Blue Card.
In a statement dated 5th May, Mr. Moum claimed that Egyptian authorities had taken action by apprehending and remanding the culprits.
“I insisted that the law should take its course. For that, the said authorities arrested the perpetrators and filed the case No. 8151 for the year 2021 – Ain Shams Felonies, and remanded them for two weeks for further investigation,” the statement partly reads.
The Ambassador claims that cold blood murder and gang terror have become a phenomenon in Egypt and that Egyptians were also being victimised. However, media reports prove the opposite.
The Egyptian Embassy in South Sudan released a widely – criticized statement condemning, single-handedly, the incident involving Mr. Kuol.
“With reference to the recent attack on a South Sudanese young man, the embassy emphasizes its total rejection of such unjust behaviour, which does distinguish between an Egyptian and a South Sudanese, whether they are in Egypt or South Sudan,” it says.
Social media erupt
Outraged by multiple disturbing footage of victims, South Sudanese on social media the Egyptian diplomatic mission in Juba for describing the horrendous attacks and dehumanizing as “unjust behaviour”.
“Kidnap, gang rape/ shaving his sister’s hair, filming them naked, enslaving a kid to work while racially verbally/physically abusing him amounts to “inappropriate behaviour?”” questioned self-exiled human rights activist Suzanne Jambo.
Referring to Kuol’s incident, Juliana Siapai, a South Sudanese photojournalist and entrepreneur expressed dismay and called on authorities in Juba to intervene.
“This is child abuse, human rights abuse, just to mention. We demand answers, because if this was happening in Juba we will be called names,” she tweeted.
The anger also brewed a nascent call among South Sudanese with some backing Ethiopia to continue building the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in show of disgruntlement with Egypt.
“After watching those disturbing clips, I don’t think Egypt is a friend to South Sudan. In fact, I’m now in full support of Ethiopia to go ahead and build that damn dam,” a user tweeted.
Amidst intense pressure from the public, the South Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation summoned Mohamed Kadeh to answer questions on the violent incidents.
The summon that was scheduled for Monday 10/05/2021, was adjourned to Tuesday. By the time of writing this article, Egypt was yet to give an explanation to the government of South Sudan.
The xenophobic attacks, according to people familiar with the development, were fuelled by racial injustice and hatred perpetrated with impunity by Egyptian citizens.
“Racism in Egypt is institutionalized and practised by the majority of the citizens who are protected by the state,” Won Kuong, a South Sudanese student on government scholarship in Cairo said.
Kuong says the footages that went viral were just a tip on the ice bag as many horrifying incidents like sex slavery and removal of body organs go unnoticed, watered down by Egyptian media and authorities.
In April, a 26-year-old South Sudanese allegedly committed suicide after falling from the 74th floor of an Egyptian tower in Cairo. Later, reports emerged that he was pushed by a group of bullish Egyptian students.
While South Sudan has been friendly to Egypt diplomatically, the latter has returned very little favour (if any). The targeted attacks on South Sudanese only double an act of impudent in which Egypt hoisted the South Sudan’s flag upside down.