‘We are the ones sleeping under trees’ – cries a refugee

South Sudanese refugees have expressed disappointments over the inability of their leaders to agree on how to end the conflict in country.

Representatives from the various refugee camps say the leaders at the High-level revitalization forum have placed much emphasis on power-sharing than on the suffering of the ordinary people.

They say people displaced within and outside South Sudan are facing acute water and food shortages in the camps.

The refugee leaders appealed for an agreement that stops the violence which has disrupted cultivation and development in their villages.

On Monday, South Sudanese leaders presented to IGAD a signed document that fell short of addressing the root causes of the conflict, but agreed to cease hostilities.

One of the refugee leaders who addressed the parties in Addis Ababa said the voices of millions of refugees in the neighboring countries have been ignored.

The man – whose name has been withheld – read out a statement on behalf of the South Sudanese refugees in the neighboring countries.

“Almost 2.4 million refugees are not home. How long will it take for us to go home? If we compromise and look at our country first – we will be doing a favor to ourselves, and our grandchildren,” he said.

For her part, a female refugee leader who also addressed the leaders in Addis Ababa.

Juliet Maia – who broke down into tears while addressing the peace delegates – says they just want to return home where they can be treated as citizens to embark on their own businesses:

“We are the ones feeling the pain of the war, we are the ones sleeping under the tents and trees. We are the ones drinking unsafe waters in the various countries we are located. We are longing to develop our own country. Leaders; unite us; we don’t need power.”

Some appealed to the government to also monitor the work of security personnel deployed at the Yei checkpoint in Juba do not harass civilians at the Protection of Civilian sites.

They said the order should apply to individual soldiers and police setting up illegal checkpoints along the main and internal routes.

Kiir concluded by reiterated his intention to reform the top leadership of the organized forces:

“The day I will receive a recommendation from the Minister and the Inspector General of Police –recommending even half of you to be thrown away from the police service, I will not hesitate approving it.”