JUBA – At least more than 5,700 people have been confirmed missing since 2020 as a result of prolonged conflict in South Sudan.
The International Committee of Red Cross Crescent (ICRC) reveals this in its latest report issued on Tuesday.
The release of the report coincided with International Day of the Disappeared marked annually on August 29th but celebrated on Tuesday in Juba.
The report dubbed, “I do not know where to start” is based on 181 interviews with families of the missing people conducted in 8 states across the country.
The interview was conducted between November 2020 and April 2021 by ICRC.
The interviewees comprised 83 men and 98 women.
The findings indicate that 86 percent of the families of the missing persons in and outside South Sudan want to know what happened to their loved ones.
In addition, it notes that 60 disappearances of family members often cause despair, and guilt due to the inability to find answers in addition to constant sadness.
The majority of families struggle to cope with mental health-related issues and 57 percent experience economic problems.
It says that families are also finding it extremely difficult to search for their missing loved ones, adding that these challenges include legal and administrative hurdles.
Mr. Pierre Dorbes, ICRC head of Delegation said the figure does reflect the scale of missing persons in South Sudan.
“Over 5,500 cases of missing persons are being followed up by ICRC and the South Sudan Red Cross, SSRC. However, this figure does not reflect the scale of missing persons in South Sudan,” Dorbes said a during round table discussion to mark International Day of the Disappeared in Juba on Tuesday.
John Lobor, Secretary-General of South Sudan Red Cross said 5,500 cases are from those family members who have registered the cases of their missing loved ones.
“There are about 5,000 or more cases and these are people who have voluntarily come out and registered with institutions, looking for their loved ones,” Lobor said.
“My brother went out from home as a red army and from that time up to now we have never seen him again,” said Priscilla Dudu Yosepa whose brother has been missing since 1990.
“In 1992, my husband went to work on a normal routine and then he passed away, and even though his body was brought home for burial, it didn’t pain me more than the disappearance of my brother.”
“On 9 October 2016, again my son was shot down along Nimule-Juba road. He was brought home, and buried; it was good that I have seen his body,” she added.
Sudans Post is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Sudan, South Sudan and East Africa, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the two countries and the region.