HAVANA – At least 12 South Sudanese students are stranded in Cuba, a communist Latin American country, lacking air tickets to return home, according to a statement extended to Sudans Post.
The statement signed by the chairperson of the students in Cuba, Sallah SJ Lasu, said most of them who left for Cuba in 2012 have finished their education, and have for several years been waiting for tickets from the government back home to return.
The statement said the government in Juba had in 2012 pledged that it will provide air tickets once the students completed their education, but has since been silence as the live there is becoming more difficult.
“Our government catered for their tickets and they signed a document at the Cuban embassy in Ethiopia that the government shall be responsible for their return tickets,” the statement said.
“When the first set graduated last year in August, 2019, my predecessor contacted the ministry and they promised to get these doctors home. The ministry response was ‘we have made the request and therefore the ministry of finance is yet to release the ticket money’. Days and months went by we got same words. In August, this year the second set graduated making a total of 11 graduates.
“We wrote and called the ministry again through or education attaché Mr. Peter Khoor Malual in Ethiopia about our new graduates and the need to get them home to participate in the delivery of health services to our citizens.
They reacted positively to the news and gave us glimmer of hope that they will send them their tickets and we should wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to give the airport’s breathing space. We agreed on that. when the Airports opened up in late August this year, we notified the ministry and we were told the ministry of finance is yet to release the funds.”
The statement further urged teh government of South Sudan to provide them tickets so that they are able to return home. They also appealed to concerned citizens or non-governmental organizations to help in the situation.
“We are calling upon the government of South Sudan to consider the issue of these doctors as a priority and grant them tickets to go home. We are also calling upon concerned citizens of the nation, NGOs and Friends of the Republic to put these doctors at their hearts and grant them tickets,” it said.