Fighting leaves thousands homeless, without food

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By PISAI GUMAR
THE ongoing tribal war in Sugu Valley in the Kagua-Erave district of Southern Highlands that erupted on Feb 10 has left thousands of women and children homeless, starving and without proper shelter.
In dire need of foodstuffs, beddings and clothings, they are sleeping in makeshift shelters, eating whatever they can scavenge and surviving daily in fear.
Villager Jenny Kale said: “We have been suffering for three months. When will this ordeal end? Our safety is not our only main worry.
“We are exposed and prone to outbreak of diseases.
“We are taking refuge in caves and forest tree trunks along the mountain ranges of Popa-Naguri, Tema-Pablato and Ilimikusu.
“We have no access to health facility because the Sumbura Health Centre was razed.
“We are not sleeping under proper shelters, our children are not sleeping and eating well, we don’t have proper food and cooking utensils.
“The burning of Akar Primary and Elementary Schools have also resulted in students getting involved in the tribal fights.
“The tribal dispute and conflict was started between two people which should have been mediated and resolved amicably.
“Instead, it was allowed to deteriorate and get out of hand or control.
“How many more lives must we lose?”
Kale said the health of babies born in forests during the tribal battles was now “our big worry and concern”.
“All villagers could not salvage any household items. We are having a torrid time,” she added.
Local businessman Maita Yawi urged villagers to pray to God in churches for his endless love, grace and wisdom to bring peace to the people. “Many souls, especially babies and women, have been lost senselessly. Churches need to think of our souls in Sugu Valley in prayers,” he said.
However, Akar leader Justin Mapi said: “If the provincial government and Government wished to help us, send us cash and food aid. Yawi can then distribute to the displaced and affected.
“Yawi has been the only leader who has been reaching out to the rival tribes during bad and good times.”

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