Editorial

Topical Commentary

Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary


Just two years after the South Sudanese national flag was hoisted upside down in Egypt to undermine the integrity of the country during a diplomatic visit by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, disturbing reports emerging reveal that South Sudanese students who went to study in Egypt on government scholarships have fallen victims of inhumane treatment, including abduction and gruesome torture. What makes this even more excruciating is the fact that the Egyptian authorities are silent over the matter. In communication with Juba Monitor earlier this week, South Sudanese students said they live with colossal uncertainty as their safety is no longer guaranteed. Earlier this year, Daniel Garang Tong, a graduate from Ain Shams University got killed at an Egyptian hospital. This came shortly after a group of South Sudanese students were abducted. On Sunday last week, Eliano Gong Achuil, a 24-year-old student from the same University disappeared when he left the hostel in the morning and headed to Madi Residential Areas. Achuil, who spoke from the custody of miscreants told his cousin Yak Angell Athuai on phone that “I was abducted, intoxicated and taken to an unknown location until now. I don’t know where I am, the kidnappers locked me up in a dark room where I can’t see anything. As I am talking with you, the kidnappers gave me a phone with low battery and they will take it from me shortly”. He was found on Wednesday evening. Students in Egypt are mentally caged. They sleep with worries and anxiety of what the night brings, and a question of who could be the next victim keeps lingering around their minds. “Every night we hope to wake up safely, we seek to be recognized as human beings in the land of Egypt. We have endured defamation, wrath, and death. But everything has limits,” Quei Anan Quei, a South Sudanese student in Egypt bemoaned. “If students had choices, they would not be here. And if we don’t matter to our country for one bit, the fact we are its nationals bearing it names should send a signal that their children’s tears are running out. We just need help,” the emotional student said. South Sudanese students in Egypt are parts of those on government scholarships outside the country who feel they have been abandoned as their plights are not attended to by their own government however critical they are. As students in Zimbabwe also threaten to shut down the country’s embassy in Harare over dire conditions of living, can the government heed the calls of these groups, in which it has heavily invested? It is public knowledge the main business in the country currently is the formation of the unity government coming up next year, but this should not obstruct the government from paying particular attention to plea of the students abroad, especially those in Egypt. With students from the University of Juba demonstrating at the Egyptian Embassy in Juba in solidarity with their colleagues in Egypt on Wednesday this week, we hope the Egyptian government will act on these appalling reports and ensure the safety of our students in that country. Egypt is also one of the countries where people thrive on trading human organs.

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