Home | News    Saturday 19 May 2012

Fear of bombings affects school attendance in Unity State


By Bonifacio Taban Kuich

May 18, 2012 (BENTIU) - Recent fighting along the South Sudan-Sudan border has disrupted the education of many children in Unity State, which was bombed by the Sudan Armed Forces during the clashes in April.

A picture taken on April 14, 2012 shows burned houses in Bentiu after a bomb fell beside a car market (AFP)

Khartoum denies bombing its neighbour, despite the bombardment being reported by the United Nations, international and local media, as well as the South Sudanese authorities.

South Sudan says over 80 bombs have been dropped by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in recent months. On 23 April bombs landed on Bentiu town and a market in nearby Rubkotna.

Although no new bombings have been reported in Bentiu for nearly two weeks the fear of further attacks is preventing many pupils from returning to school.

The April bombings in Bentiu, which occurred during a border conflict over the disputed oil-rich Heglig region, forced more than 100 schools across the state to close, as head teachers feared for the safety of their students.

All of the schools have since reopened, but many seats remain empty. At the Good Hope Basic Primary School in Bentiu town, only 20 percent of students have resumed their studies.

Children taking class in Good Hope Basic Primary School, Bentiu, Unity State, South Sudan, 18 May 2012 (ST)

Gatluak Mut Both, head teacher at Good Hope Basic Primary School, says the majority of his students have refused to return, fearing a return of Sudan’s Antenov and MiG jet fighters.

Both said that 940 pupils had still not returned to school as they had fled the town or remained at home.

Wicgoal Bol Joak, an 18-year-old student at Bentiu Good Hope Primary School, which is located close to the town’s market, is one of the few students still attending classes. Joak says many of his friends are still staying away because their parents fear more attacks from the Sudan Armed Forces.

“On the way [to school] maybe it will come and bomb us, this is one problem”, said Joak.

However, since the border area has been calm for the past few weeks, Both said that he hopes the Parent Teachers Association can convince students to go back to school.

Children taking sit on ground while learning in Good Hope Basic Primary School, Bentiu, Unity State, South Sudan, 18 May 2012 (ST)

The fear of further conflict between Sudan and South Sudan adds to the existing challenges in Unity State’s schools. Many school’s lack qualified teachers and were overcrowded even before the recent conflict.

South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in July last year, has yet to develop its own standard curriculum. In Bentiu, students rely on a combination of the Sudanese and East African curricula.

Despite all the challenges students like Wicgoal Bol Joak say they are eager to be at school and learning again.


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  • 19 May 2012 08:13, by SEE ME

    Iam sorry for the destroyed schools.

    Who started the war??? SPLA

    Let’s be open minded Africans and solve our cases in a civilized manner through objective discussions.

    repondre message

    • 19 May 2012 10:55, by Maverick Southerners

      Do north even understand what negotiation means? I’m sorry man, your people come to the negotiation table with guns blazing, thinking they can intermidate the South Sudan into eccepting only their desires. Now you see the fruits of intermidation in Panthou. Keep pushing South on the wrong button and we will send your army northward with their tails between their legs.

      repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 08:16, by Dinkawarrior

    Don’t be worried about the bombing from National Crimes Providers (NCP)!! Our Mighty SPLA will guard you!

    repondre message

    • 19 May 2012 10:01, by Johndumo14

      South Sudan needs a strong leader like SPLA Spokesman Philip Aguer ,he is sending a clear massage to khartoum ,do they want to withdraw their troops peacefully or by war?
      This not the time to play games they used to do.Using Jihad,
      Using Islam;using Blacks to fight Blacks,since ANYA.Anya 1
      khartoum used to send Nuba,Darfur to kill south sudanese,
      the same thing in 1983 ,even up to now,Omarisbandit

      repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 08:28, by Madina Tonj

    Unity State’s PTA must encourage children to attend school whatever, difficult we must not live for fear. During the SPLA /SPLM Movement people learned throught all these difficults and SPLA did success until the CPA arrived.

    repondre message

    • 19 May 2012 10:32, by Kurnyel

      Why are you not attending school? where is your anti aircraft that your commander was talking about? great lairs always from SPLA and their laeders to.

      repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 10:36, by solider

    SSLA is highly active on that area .do u have clear evidence that the bombing was the work of war planes ? there is no single picture or recorded radar data that proves the bombing is done by war plans. blaming sudan is just strengthening and incourging SSLA to take over all unity state

    repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 10:48, by solider

    open your mind, what benifites can SAF gain from bombing an area with no military targets ?.but SSLA sure had. after the bombings SPLA went for heglig and came back weak, SSLA took over more than 5 towns .SSLA will continue doing so till they take over all south sudan

    repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 17:42, by Captain105

    Dont worry young children of South Sudan as soon as the SPLA obtain the anti aircraft missiles you will be free to travel anywhere in South Sudan without fear. SPLA Oyieeee South Sudan Oyieeee God Bless you all

    repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 17:56, by solider

    good,bring it on.lets have the war so u will get weak then the SSLA can take over all south sudan.we will steel your air defence weapons and destroy your army so SSLA have you as an easy target and fuck your army up

    repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 18:00, by solider

    it is 19th why u don’t want to fight us u cowards .don’t wast time ,every day the north is getting stronger and wealthier after u ran away like rats from heglig

    repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 18:08, by solider

    by the time u get your air defence system the north will be getting more advanced deadly war plans your air defence system can’t reach.don’t wast time start now.fire your bullets

    repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 18:42, by Captain105

    Haha Soldier your no soldier you was sitting in Khartoum whilst your soldiers were being fucked in Heglig. The whole world knows that SAF are corwards as they ran away from Heglig on the 10th of April

    repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 18:44, by Captain105

    Its better you people save yourself and return to the negotiating table because when we meet again the SAF will be taught a bad lesson. SPLA Oyieee

    repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 21:20, by solider

    captin, the whole world knows u got fucked up in heglig,just check the youtube and see the hundreds of videos of the SPLA dead soldiers laying on ground.In military if u r withdrawing u can’t leave dead soldiers behind.why there r 1200 dead soldiers lift behind?!!all the world leaders , military ppl and smart ppl knows that.

    repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 21:30, by solider

    ISRAEL keeps on breaking all the rules no matter how laud the international voices r. SS could have done the same thing and stayed in heglig without giving a fuck about the UN AU EU...etc.but unfortunatly SS got fucked up in heglig.

    repondre message

  • 19 May 2012 21:36, by panom lualbil

    Relocate MR. AIR PATROL we just got from USA’s HOMELAND DEPARTMENT in most suspicious public places to full that autinov down with pilot alive. Then make him amputee and repatriate him only to tell history.

    repondre message

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