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More than a Million Refugees have Fled South Sudan, says UN Report

The United Nations said Friday that South Sudan joins Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia as countries that have produced over one million refugees

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Martin Andrea, 10, and a friend play with toy guns made from long grass reeds at a displaced persons camp protected by U.N. peacekeepers in Wau, South Sudan, Sept. 4, 2016. VOA
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  • The United Nations said Friday that South Sudan joins Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia as countries that have produced over one million refugees
  • Neighbouring Uganda hosts the highest number of refugees, and 20,000 have arrived in the past week due to clashes in southern South Sudan
  • A peace deal reached a year ago continues to be violated. Machar fled the country during July’s chaos

More than one million refugees have fled South Sudan’s ongoing civil war, overwhelming aid agencies and creating one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.

The United Nations said Friday that South Sudan joins Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia as countries that have produced over one million refugees.

“This is a very sad milestone,” said Leo Dobbs, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but civil war erupted two years later and tens of thousands have been killed. New fighting in July in the capital, Juba, created a surge of more than 185,000 refugees. Most people fleeing are women and children.

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Neighbouring Uganda hosts the highest number of refugees, and 20,000 have arrived in the past week due to clashes in southern South Sudan. Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic also have received tens of thousands of people fleeing.

The U.N praised the countries, some of the world’s poorest, for allowing refugees to enter.

“Many refugees arrive exhausted after days walking in the bush and going without food or water,” Dobbs said.”Many women and girls said they were sexually assaulted during their flight.”

Refugees from Sudan. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Refugees from Sudan. Wikimedia

Another 1.6 million people are displaced inside South Sudan.

The fighting that erupted in July between supporters of President Salva Kiir and then-Vice President Riek Machar”has shattered hopes for a real breakthrough and triggered new waves of displacement and suffering,” Dobbs said.

A peace deal reached a year ago continues to be violated. Machar fled the country during July’s chaos.

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South Sudan has been threatened by the U.N Security Council with an arms embargo if it does not accept 4,000 additional peacekeepers to help protect civilians. The government calls the plan a violation of its sovereignty. (VOA)

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  • Arya Sharan

    The chaos and the war needs to be stopped before its too ate.

  • Enakshi

    the refugees need more assistance.. they are the ones who are suffering the most.

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‘World’s Most Dangerous City’ Mogadishu in Somalia Holds Nighttime Soccer Match for the first time in 30 Years

Since the collapse of Somalia's central military government in 1991, Somalia sports have lacked an infrastructure, and athletes have been threatened by radical militants

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People gather for the soccer match between Hodan and Waberi districts, Mogadishu's first night game in 30 years, at Konis Stadium in Modadishu, Somalia (VOA)

Somalia, September 12, 2017 : For the first time in more than 30 years, thousands of residents and fans watched a nighttime soccer match in Mogadishu, often described as the world’s most dangerous capital.

Thousands of fans enjoyed the event at Konis Stadium, which the international soccer organization FIFA recently renovated.

Although the match, the final of a citywide club tournament for 16- to 18-year-olds, took place under tight security, it was historic for the city, which has dealt with terrorist suicide bombings and anarchy.

After the match, in which Waberi beat Hodan 3-0, Mogadishu Mayor Tabit Abdi Mohamed said the city’s residents deserve security — and more than a nighttime soccer game.

“Tonight is clearly a historic night that our people, the people of this city, waited for for more than 30 years. I reaffirm that Mogadishu is secure and people deserve more than this,” Mohamed said. “You deserve every kind of entertainment and sports that people in other world capital cities get.”

Hassan Wish, the chairman of Mogadishu’s sports activities who organized the tournament, said they decided to hold the nighttime game to send a message that Mogadishu is on the road to betterment.

Somalia
Football players from Hodan district (orange) and Waberi district (yellow) play in the first nighttime game in 30 years in Modadishu, Somalia (VOA)

“To publicize and make it a significant signal to the city’s returning security, the match was held at a nighttime. It was broadcast live on several local television channels,” Wish said. “The city is back on its way to good old days.”

Stadium now a military base

The Somali Football Federation said the Friday night game in Mogadishu took the country back to 1988, when night games were played at the city’s main Mogadishu stadium. The stadium has been and remains a military base for African Union peacekeepers, which drove al-Shabab militants out of the city in 2011.

“We hope this will be the first of similar peaceful matches in our city. It is not the first for Mogadishu, but for me, I have never seen in my life a soccer game being played at night in Mogadishu,” said Dahir Osman, a 20-year-old resident. “I was born in a lawless capital and grew up all these years without witnessing such a hope-reviving event.”

The seaside capital is working to lose the label of “the world’s most dangerous city.”

The name was attached to the city after the collapse of the former central government in 1992, when a famine struck Somalia and political jockeying began. That led to a civil war and deadly armed violence spearheaded by clan warlords who entered the city.

Last month, popular Somali referee Osman Jama Dirah was shot to death near his home in the city.

“The city is enjoying a reviving peace, except for the infrequent al-Shabab terrorist attacks. Now, playing a soccer game at night means the city is rearing its beautiful head again,” said Aden Osman, a 58-year-old resident who has never left Mogadishu.

Somalia
Somali security forces patrol during the soccer match between the Hodan and Waberi districts at Konis Stadium, renovated by FIFA, in Modadishu, Somalia, Sept. 8, 2017. It was the city’s first night game in 30 years. (VOA)

“I was born in this city and still live here. I have witnessed the best and the worst times of the city. But now, I see a reviving hope on the horizon,” Osman said.

Residents return

Thousands of Somalis from the diaspora have been returning to Mogadishu over the past three years, opening new, Western-style restaurants along the beach. The buildings that have been destroyed by the bullets and mortars are now being rebuilt.

Many U.N. workers, who had been operating from Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya, are moving back to the city, and some foreign embassies have reopened.

Since the collapse of Somalia’s central military government in 1991, Somalia sports have lacked an infrastructure, and athletes have been threatened by radical militants.

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In 2006, the Islamic Courts Union, which controlled large swaths of the country’s south and central regions, which include Mogadishu, prohibited women from playing sports, especially basketball, labeling it as a “satanic act” against the principles of Islam.

The group also put restrictions on men and banned watching international soccer matches from televisions and designated cinemas, saying the men should spend their time on their religious responsibilities. (VOA)