July 31, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— As fear of renewed fighting engulfs South Sudan capital, Juba, government officials are seen at Juba International Airport evacuating families to neighboring countries.
According to an employee working at JIA, most of the flights heading to Nairobi, Khartoum and Kampala since Wednesday this week are booked by families and relatives of South Sudan government officials.
“Entire week actually but from Wednesday, most of our flights were booked by first class citizens. Most of them are relatives of government officials going to Nairobi, Kampala and Khartoum” Said Mary an employee of JIA who refused to reveal identities of the officials for her own safety.
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Many government officials including president Salva Kiir, who owns family homes in Nairobi-Kenya, Kampala-Uganda, Khartoum-Sudan and Addis Ababa have had their families living abroad for the last three years of conflict but some kept their relatives, mostly distanced cousins and nephews in Juba, however, as fighting continues around Juba and other parts of Greater Equatoria, many officials are now evacuating their families to Kenya, Uganda and Sudan.
Mary believes that the evacuations are due to ongoing fighting and officials could be concerned of their own safety.
Despite the danger this war imposed on all residence, South Sudan government is indiscriminately not allowing some South Sudanese nationals from Machar’s Nuer tribe and other minorities to leave the capital, allegedly because they are loyal to Machar and the opposition.
Citizens of certain ethnicities who hold dual citizenships are put under tight scrutiny at the airport before they are allowed to leave the country.
While some citizens who tried to leave Juba have ended up in prisons, some have gone missing.
According to Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Michael Makue Lueth, who spoke on SSTV yesterday, South Sudanese nationals are only better off in South Sudan than any other country.
Hon. Makuei is calling on South Sudan nationals to remain in the country despite many atrocities and human rights violations being committed by those holding guns, commonly referred as “unknown gunmen”.
Despite many restrictions and dangers imposed on fleeing the country, hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese, mostly women and children, have fled the country within the last three weeks.
While over two thousand people cross border through Nimule to Uganda every day, many others are crossing through Lokichoggio to Kenya and others crossing the borders to the north to Kordofan and Darfur of Sudan.
When asked at the borders of why leaving the country, many stress insecurity and others are leaving because they found themselves alone in the village after their neighbors sneaked out.
Nearly all the foreign agencies and embassies operation in the war-torn South Sudan have evacuated their citizens and non-emergency staff two weeks ago. The embassies called on their emergency staffs to remain vigilant.
“There is fighting in areas around Juba, including in the Greater Equatoria region. The situation remains fluid. American citizens should remain vigilant about their security.The Embassy continues to monitor the situation and we will update you as appropriate.” Reads part of the statement by the US Embassy in South Sudan.
Many South Sudanese have fled to UNMISS protection sites, however, the army is not trusted if war renewed.
Scores of civilians were killed during the recent fighting and two Chinese UN Peacekeepers were killed during a direct confrontation when the army attacked the UN protection camps in Juba.
On Friday, the United Security Council authorized UNMISS to “use all necessary means” to carry out its tasks, however, unless UNMISS use more superior weapons lives of IDPs and UN Peacekeepers remain at a high risk.