“When we see UNMISS Blue Helmets we feel relief and gratitude,” says Retired Canon Gabriel Bimo Abraham from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan.
The venerable religious leader from remote Landili in Western Equatoria has seen a lot in his life, most of it disturbing.
“Conflict and death have been a part of the fabric of life here in Landili. Our women, our youth and our children have known little but fighting and the immense losses that come with it,” he says with resignation.
Rahama Elia Bingu, a women’s leader here, feels women and young girls have been severely affected.
“When the wars began, many of us lost our husbands, brothers, sons. We weren’t educated enough, nor did we have any vocational skills,” she reveals.
“Rape, abductions, and sexual violations have left us reeling. Even if we cultivate our farms and have a decent harvest, the roads are so bad we aren’t able to take our produce to the market to sell. We need all the help we can get,” she adds.
Persistent insecurity coupled with the long rainy season in Western Equatoria has resulted in a situation where communities living in this remote area often go for months without any external support.
The situation isn’t tenable reveal community members to a visiting patrol from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
“It seems that we are forgotten by everybody, including our own government. We need humanitarian assistance. Young people from our community are leaving their villages to move to other countries. Without our youth, we don’t have much of a future,” explains Mr. Abraham.
For his part, Thomas Bazawi, a Protection, Transition and Reintegration Officer with the UN Peacekeeping mission, assured community leaders and members that their issues were heard.
“We are here in Landili to assess the security situation and humanitarian conditions here and are grateful for all the insights you have shared with us. Now that this area is relatively calm, we understand that you require support from our humanitarian partners to rebuild your lives,” stated Mr. Bazawi.
“We will ensure that your concerns are raised with competent authorities.”
Road conditions leading to Landili need improvement and some 4,000 returnees need humanitarian help and essential services.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).