SOUTH SUDAN / YEI LASU PATROL

15-Feb-2019 00:03:52
Cross-border movements of displaced communities from South Sudan’s Yei area are raising concerns about the risk of the Ebola virus being transported across the border into South Sudan. Currently living in a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some displaced people often crisscross the porous border in search of food from the homes they fled in Yei due to unrest. UNMISS
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STORY: SOUTH SUDAN / YEI LASU PATROL
TRT: 3:52
SOURCE: UNMISS
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH/ARABIC/KAKWA/Swahili/NATS

DATELINE: 13 FEBRUARY 2019, YEI-LASU ROAD, SOUTH SUDAN-DRC BORDER, SOUTH SUDAN
SHOTLIST
13 FEBRUARY 2019, YEI, SOUTH SUDAN

1. Wide of Nepalese Force Protection Force in formation receiving briefing
2. Med, Nepalese troops
3. Close up, Boots
4. Wide shot, Patrol team mainly civilians receiving pre-departure briefing

13 FEBRUARY 2019, ON YEI TO LASU ROAD, SOUTH SUDAN

5. Wide shot, convoy driving along road
6. Med shot, Force Protection peacekeeper atop armored personnel carrier (APC) driving along road
7. Wide shot, sign showing Lasu and slight pan to convoy
8. Various shots, tracking shots of abandoned villages by roadside
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Patrol leader, Cherno Jallow, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“The homes along the [road] are deserted, because that is where they feel threatened when they stay there. So they decide – for their own safety – they leave their homes by the roadside and go inside the bush.”
10. Med shot, from inside APC tracking shot of convoy, and front team waving to cyclists
11. Med shot, from interior on convoy, more tracking shot showing marram road
12. Med shot, at an earlier check-point UNMISS Military Liaison Officers meeting soldiers
13. Med shot, force protection guarding convoy
14. Med shot, cyclists carrying commodities, pushing their bicycles
15. Med shot, cyclists interacting with soldiers at checkpoint
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Mwarambao Muralonya, Retired Lieutenant Colonel, CTSAMVM (Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism):
“They only come to this side to collect food from their farms which are located on this side (South Sudan) because when they are out there, they are not being supported as refugees, so they have to come here, fend for themselves and then go back. But they don’t stay here, because things are not right around here.”

13 FEBRUARY 2019, SOUTH SUDAN-DRC BORDER, SOUTH SUDAN

17. Wide shot, patrol team at border point
18. Backshot, UNHCR vest of UN Refugee Agency official
19. Med shot, profile of patrol member from International Organisation for Migration listening to Soldiers at the border
20. Med shot, South Sudanese motor-cyclist pushing motorcycle past border crossing
21. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Jacob Karaba, male refugee:
“Since we left in 2016, we were living well (in the refugee camp) and we were receiving our food rations, but since the beginning of this year we have not received any rations. That is why we are coming here to South Sudan to get some food.”
22. Wide shot, women carrying thatch and patrol team members
23. Med shot, woman putting down thatch
24. SOUNDBITE (Kakwa), female refugee:
“I have one child. We ran from here when I was pregnant. We walked through the bush and now we are staying in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although we are hearing that our village is better now, we haven’t moved back. We always come here to collect grass for renovating our houses and selling some to buy washing soap. We always get disturbed at the border as they ask us to pay some money.”
25. Various shots, women carrying their thatch and walking towards border crossing point
26. Close up, sign at border crossing gate reading ‘Stop-Customs’, and Congolese soldiers
27. SOUNDBITE (Swahili) DR Congolese soldier:
“People were running when they heard blasts on the other side. They were afraid and there were many people crossing past here and until today, they are in a camp near here.”
28. Various shots, IOM official holding an Ebola information banner and handing in to DRC’s soldiers
STORYLINE
A Nepalese force protection unit receiving a briefing before setting out on a day-long patrol from South Sudan’s town of Yei to the town of Lasu, located on the country’s south near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Civilian patrol members are also gathered for a separate pre-briefing session, minutes before they pile into their vehicles and set off on a much-anticipated road convoy.

The last time a patrol successfully made it through to Lasu was January 24th, with a previous successful Mission to the border at New Lasu in October 2018.

Since then, various concerns have arisen along the route. Despite the signing of a revitalized peace agreement that has restored calm in most parts of the country, armed conflict has been ongoing in the area, causing displacement of communities in the region. A porous border between South Sudan and neighbouring DR Congo has the international community worried about the risk of cross-border Ebola incidents, due to a massive Ebola outbreak in various areas of Northeast DR Congo, not too far off from the border with South Sudan.

It is with these reasons, that today’s road patrol has set out, to assess the situation along this route, as it has been described as volatile.

SOUNDBITE (English) Patrol leader, Cherno Jallow, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“The homes along the [road] are deserted, because that is where they feel threatened when they stay there. So they decide – for their own safety – they leave their homes by the roadside and go inside the bush.”

The integrated patrol team comprising a team from the United Nations and Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, (CTSAMVM) drove along a mainly dusty dirt road, witnessing cyclists going to and fro.
Road patrols as these come across unpredictable checkpoints, which civilians also have to go past.

The area along the road remains mainly deserted, given that thousands have fled to neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) due to continued military unrest in Lasu area and the wider Yei area.
There are reports that troops from the National Salvation Front are battling with South Sudan’s main army in the area, causing more displacements of people, with others opting to stay across in the DRC as refugees.

SOUNDBITE (English) Retired Lieutenant Colonel Mwarambao Muralonya, CTSAMVM (Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism)
“They only come to this side to collect food from their farms which are located on this side (South Sudan) because when they are out there, they are not being supported as refugees, so they have to come here, fend for themselves and then go back. But they don’t stay here, because things are not right around here.”

At the New Lasu border crossing, 43 kilometers from Yei, South Sudanese refugees travel back and forth at least once a week.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Jacob Karaba, male refugee
“Since we left in 2016, we were living well (in the refugee camp) and we were receiving our food rations, but since the beginning of this year we have not received any rations. That is why we are coming here to South Sudan to get some food.”

The women also go back and forth carrying what they can use to improve their lives as refugees.

SOUNDBITE (Kakwa), female refugee
“I have one child. We ran from here when I was pregnant. We walked through the bush and now we are staying in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although we are hearing that our village is better now, we haven’t moved back. We always come here to collect grass for renovating our houses and selling some to buy washing soap. We always get disturbed at the border as they ask us to pay some money.”

A Congolese border military guard narrates the reasons for an initial exodus of refugees who crossed the border to Meri refugee camp.

SOUNDBITE (Swahili) DR Congolese soldier
“People were running when they heard blasts on the other side. They were afraid and there were many people crossing past here and until today, they are in a camp near here.”

Staff from the UN refugee agency and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) were there to assess humanitarian concerns, with IOM officials passing along informative banners on how Ebola can be prevented. They also assessed the possibility of setting up a screening location near the border crossing.
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