Refugee despair grows as South Sudan peace deal again breaks apart

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KAKUMA, Kenya — At the sprawling Kakuma Refugee camp here in a remote corner of northern Kenya, Jael Aluel uses an old South Sudanese folk remedy — chewing herbs — to distract herself from hunger pangs.

KAKUMA, Kenya — At the sprawling Kakuma Refugee camp here in a remote corner of northern Kenya, Jael Aluel uses an old South Sudanese folk remedy — chewing herbs — to distract herself from hunger pangs.

 

She waits for food. She waits to resume her life. She hoped that something would change after a peace deal was signed last week to end the civil war in her native South Sudan. But that agreement is already threatening to fall apart, just like all the previous attempts at reconciliation in the bloody two-year civil war.

So she waits for peace.

“I came here with my kids to escape the civil war and to look for food,” mumbled Ms. Aluel, a widow who bore six children and now looks frail and sickly. “But I am willing to go back when peace prevails and build my own country.”

The power-sharing agreement signed last week was supposed to be the culmination of peace accords reached in August to end the fighting between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his rival, former Vice President Riek Machar, of the rival Nuer tribe. The fighting has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than 2 million Sudanese, according to the United Nations. But on Sunday Mr. Machar accused Mr. Kiir of delay tactics and called back his negotiating team.

That is not good news for those such as Ms. Aluel.

The widow arrived in Kakuma two years ago after she fled to Kenya with three of her surviving children, all six or younger. Her husband and three other children were killed in fighting in Bor, the provincial capital of Jonglei State, an eastern province in South Sudan where the violence has been most intense.

“I was also raped by rebel soldiers and my house burned,” she said. “I would rather risk starving than endure violence that killed my family [again].” Please continue reading more here on TW

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