South Sudanese students in Ethiopia to be repatriated
By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon
Over 300 South Sudanese students who have been on government scholarship in Ethiopia would be brought back to the country this Friday, the South Sudanese Embassy, Addis Abba said in a statement.
This comes after students were brutally beaten by the Federal police in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week after allegedly complaining to the Embassy about the delay payment of their incentives approved by the then High Level Taskforce.
In April, about 3 millions United States Dollars was released by the government of South Sudan to cater for the students studying on government scholarship in the foreign countries.
The students said they were promised by the Embassy that the incentives would be paid on every two weeks basis, which was not effective.
After protesting at the embassy over the delay of payment, the students claimed the Education Attaché at the South Sudan Embassy in Ethiopia ordered Federal Police to beat them up last Thursday.
At least five (5) students were critically injured after being beaten.
Ambassador David Dang, South Sudan Deputy Head of Mission to Ethiopia disclosed to Juba Monitor on Monday evening that the evacuation of the students to Juba has been approved by the Country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“All Universities in Ethiopia have been closed due to coronavirus. And as a result, the government of the Republic of South Sudan has decided to take our citizens home. This is the main reason why our students will be going home probably by this weekend,” Amb. Dang added.
He assumed the students would probably be taken back to Ethiopia later on if the schools reopen again in October or beyond.
According to the communiqué from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seen by Juba Monitor warned that whoever would remained in Addis Ababa would be responsible for his or her expenses.
“Those claiming to be studying online will do so in their respective destinations. Anyone who remain in Ethiopia will be on his/her own after the chartered fights to Juba,” the statement from Amb. James Pitia Morgan, the South Sudan Head of Mission to Ethiopia partly reads.
Ayiik Mabior Ayiik, Information officer for South Sudan Students’ Union in Ethiopia, who is studying at the Ethio-China College, Federal Technical University said the repatriation was the only way forward for students since they have been starving.
Ayiik said the students have been struggling in what he described as “horrible condition” since the pandemic broke out.
“The repatriation is a very inspirational move made by the government. It will greatly rescue our families’ finances since they have been investing a lot of money on us since the outbreak of the pandemic,” he said.
He said at least a total of 304 South Sudanese would be expected in the country this weekend.
“According to the communication made by the Head of Mission, we are supposed to start our flights by Friday until Saturday,” he said.