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Army allegedly won’t allow IDPs to exit Malakal PoC

Author: Charles Wote, Obaj Okuj | Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Malakal PoC on Sept. 9, 2018. Photo/Baz Ratner/Reuters.

Representatives of displaced persons at the UN-protected camp in Malakal say SSPDF soldiers have been deployed at the gate, preventing them from leaving the camp.

It is not clear why the army allegedly deployed there but IDPs in Juba complained about a similar situation on Tuesday.

They said soldiers accused them of being coronavirus positive after a UN staff became the first patient of the virus on Sunday.

Currently, there are 29,190 IDPs living in the protection of civilians site in Malakal, Upper Nile state.

The IDP leaders claim that they have been unable to leave the camp since Tuesday morning.

“We woke up in the morning, and when we tried to get out, we found they have bounded the PoC, including the gate,” an IDP leader told Eye Radio on Wednesday via telephone from Malakal.

Another displaced person claims that they woke up to find the PoC surrounded by SSPDF soldiers.

“They have closed the gate, they don’t allow people to move. They have just allowed the waste trucks to move out.”

The displaced people have called on the government to remove the soldiers to allow them access to the town.

“Most of the people inside the PoC are not working, there are those who go out to collect wood to sell out to get something on the table. Let them open this road and let the citizen move freely as they used to move in the past because if this situation continues for more three days, it will be very difficult for us in the PoC,” another displaced person explained.

When contacted by Eye Radio, the spokesperson of UNMISS, Francesca Mold says the UN is not limiting the movement of displaced families from the POCs.

“Questions about any security measures impacting on the movement of South Sudanese citizens should be put to the Government and security forces,” she added.

However, the SSPDF Spokesperson  Major General Lul Ruai Koang dismissed the claim saying “we are being blamed for actions that we have not done.”

“We have not done anything for which we should be blamed. Maybe they are having difficulties in differentiating security forces. I am making this very clear that we are not present at the gate and if you are doubting, you get in touch with the spokesperson of South Sudan national Police service as well as Public relations officer for national security.”

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