South Sudan: President says ‘social media conspiracy’ drove refugees to Uganda

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir says the mass exodus of South Sudanese refugees to Uganda is the result of a ‘social media conspiracy’ against the government.

Kiir told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle during an interview last week that South Sudanese citizens were told to run away or face being killed. The interview followed a report from the UN confirming more than a million South Sudanese refugees are now residing in Uganda.

 

‘Social media conspiracy’

“The people who ran to Uganda were chased away by social media,” the president told Deutsche Welle. “There was no fighting in that area … People were called from their houses and told to run away, that if you don’t go after one hour you would be a dead person.”

“They were told to leave because they know a UN official came in to assess the humanitarian situation to decide if there was need for assistance. Instead, he went and reported that there was a looming genocide in South Sudan, which has not happened up to now,” he added.

 

Reports of human rights violations

Last week, the UN reported in the latest figures of South Sudanese refugees currently in Uganda. However, it also cited accounts from new arrivals, speaking of ongoing human right violations in their home country – including “barbaric violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women and girls, and kidnapping of boys for forced conscription”.

 

Featured image: “Salva Kiir, the president of southern Sudan” flickr photo by Al Jazeera English https://flickr.com/photos/aljazeeraenglish/5335499393 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.