Children in the South Sudanese town of Yei want their leaders to take a more serious approach towards restoring peace in the country to enable them to learn in a safe environment.
Yei is located about 150 kilometres south of the capital, Juba, and is a strategic outpost on the main trading route with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
About 70 percent of the population fled last year after fierce fighting erupted between Government and Opposition forces.
Let them bring peace to South Sudan so that South Sudanese children should enjoy their life like the one of sometime ago.
However, some children remain, including a number of orphans who have sought sanctuary in a local Catholic school, which has managed to stay open throughout the crisis.
The children depend on 14 volunteer teachers to learn.
“Let them bring peace to South Sudan so that South Sudanese children should enjoy their life like the one of sometime ago,” said a Student at the Christ the King School, Emmanuel Mambo.
“I don’t have parents; my friends are all dead. I don’t have someone to support me in my education,” Another student from the same school Esther Quintin said.
The civil war in the oil-producing country began when President Salva Kiir fired his deputy in 2013, two years after the country won independence from neighboring Sudan.
The fighting that followed split the country along ethnic lines, spurred hyperinflation and plunged parts of the nation into famine, creating Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
In a country of 12 million people, nearly three in every four children do not go to school, according to the U.N.
UNMISS is working on plans to establish a new peacekeeping base in Yei, but said local authorities need to guarantee safe access for personnel.
David Shearer, the chief of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan recently held a meeting with political, community and religious leaders to discuss security in the region.
“This is a grassroots peace process. We want them to take the lead. It’s much better that local people take the lead and we come in and support whatever we can do rather than the UN come in as the great saviour which I don’t think we do as well, as the local people,” said Shearer.
These violations include indiscriminate shelling of civilians, targeted killings, looting and burning with property, and cases of sexual violence against women and girls.
The report found that these abuses may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity and warranted further investigation.