Moroto. Authorities in South Sudan have cautioned their nationals in refugee camps in Uganda not to get involved in criminal acts while in the host country and asked them to live as brothers and sisters from one country.
While speaking during the official opening of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) in Moroto District on Thursday, Ms Josephine Napwon Cosmos, the South Sudan minister for Environment and Forestry, said there was no country in Africa that can be compared with Uganda in terms of hospitality and friendship.
“They should not bring their ethnicity annoyances from South Sudan to Uganda but we want them to live as brothers and sisters,” she said.
According to UNHCR estimates, Uganda is currently hosting more than 1.3 million refugees, with majority from South Sudan, who fled their country after war erupted in December 2013, in the youngest nation in Africa.
Ms Napwon also hailed the Uganda government and her citizens for accommodating a huge number of South Sudanese citizens.
“When the civil war broke out in our South Sudan, the only nearest country for our people to run to was Uganda and you can see that almost a half of Sudanese citizens are in Uganda and very safe which is a pleasure to us,” she said.
The war broke out after South Sudan President Salva Kiir accused his former First Deputy, Dr Riek Machar, of plotting a coup against him.
However, Ms Napwon said there are promising events that show peace will return to South Sudan any time and appealed to the Uganda government and her citizens to continue living in harmony with the South Sudanese refugees.
“God will bless Uganda abundantly because we believe that giving service to a man, is giving service to God, so what Uganda is doing right now is not giving service to a man but it is giving service to God and Uganda will be blessed for that,” she said.
She noted that Uganda has enrolled hundreds of South Sudan children to study under her free primary education, adding that others are already in universities, which she said is a rare opportunity elsewhere.
The State minister for Disaster Preparedness, Mr Musa Ecweru, assured Igad officials that Uganda was committed to supporting refugees but warned that the country would not tolerate people who come masquerading as refugees to spy on Uganda.
The event that was organised by the Office of the Prime Minister was attended by officials from Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda.
Call. South Sudan has been mired in civil war since December 2013 during which aid workers and peacekeepers have frequently been targeted. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions more uprooted or pushed to the brink of starvation in a conflict characterised by mass rape and the killing of civilians.
Agreement. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar on Wednesday last week inked an agreement to end the war. The areas agreed upon include a permanent ceasefire, cantonments for all forces and the deployment of forces by Igad and the African Union to safeguard the ceasefire. President Kiir and Dr Machar further agreed to have three capital cities; namely Juba, Wau and Malakal on temporary basis to host the three proposed vice-presidents.
Key terms. According to the signed Framework Agreement, seen by the media, the two rivals agreed to allow the Khartoum government to secure the oil fields in South Sudan in coordination with the Juba administration, and to rehabilitate the wells to restore the previous levels of production.