Jonglei: WFP food aid reaches families displaced by Athor's rebellion

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April 12, 2011 (BOR) - World Food Program (WFP) has donated 1,300 bags of food to over 200 families affected by conflict in Pigi County, the former base of renegade southern army general George Athor and his forces.

A team of top local officials consisting of the governor of Jonglei state, Kuol Manyang Juuk, state Speaker Peter Chol Wall, law enforcement minister Gabriel Duop Lam, legal affairs minister Mayen Ohka , members of the state’s security committee, the commissioner for Pigi County and officials from the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) visited the county on Sunday March 20. They reported that the people of Pigi County was suffering from severe hunger and food shortages.

On his return from Pigi County to Bor Airport, governor Manyang told Sudan Tribune that the welfare of the displaced people from the villages formerly occupied by rebel forces loyal to George Athor Deng was the main reason of his visit. He said women and children are starving and the lack of medical facilities is an additional problem

Manyang acknowledge that his request for food and medical assistance to Canal and Khorfulus of Pigi County from World Food Program (WFP) and UNMIS has been accepted, adding WFP is ready to deliver food.

South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission chairperson in Pigi County, Santo Duot, confirmed to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday, April 12, the arrival of WFP donated food to the county last weekend.

Athor began, who formerly resided in Khorfulus of Pigi County, began his rebellion after losing elections in April 2010 against Jonglei’s incumbent governor Kuol Manyang Juuk.

His base in Pigi County was used as a base to launch his attacks to neighboring county, Pangak killing over 200 civilians before his troops were defeated earlier this month. South Sudan’s President Kiir has repeated his call for an amnesty for Athor and his forces as well as other armed groups in the region ahead of the South’s independence in July.

South Sudan will become independent after a referendum – agreed as part of a 2005 north-south peace deal – saw an overwhelming vote in favor of secession.

In a phone interview with Sudan tribune from Malakal, Duot said people who were displaced from Patai, Door, Koruac and Kolnyang are living in Canal and Khorfulus at schools in abysmal hunger.

He also said the food he received will not be enough to the current displaced population and that his office has asked WFP for more food. He said the UN have agreed to increase of food but it is not known when it will arrive.

The state government through the health ministry is also due to give medical supports to Pigi to help combat the health of children in the area.