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Sudan: Rebels move out of SOS Village

SOS Children's Village Malakal free from fighting
SOS Children's Village Malakal free from fighting

Fighting at the SOS Children's Village in Malakal in Southern Sudan has now ceased. SOS staff now need to assess the safety of the Village and decide when the children and mothers can return home.

“Since Friday the Children's Village in Malakal is now accessible after help from the United Nation team” said Ali Mahdi, Director of SOS Children’s Villages Sudan. He said there had been a lot of damage to buildings, equipment and furniture, as well as theft and looting of a few family houses, caused when rebels broke into the Village. The children will not return to the SOS Children’s Village unless their safety can be guarenteed.

As the airport of Malakal has now reopened, Mr. Ali Mahdi was on the first plane, greeted by the local authorities on his arrival. He went to see the SOS mothers and the children and was keen to ensure SOS can provide the most appropriate psychological support to the children. Meeting with Mrs Martha Nyamal, the Social Planning Minister, Mr. Mahdi expressed his appreciation for the support of the Village Director in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

The main work to be done at the Village is building repairs to three family houses and the replacement and reinforcement of the Village fencing. The situation remains tense and as a consequence, Mr. Mahdi says there are now fears that the private airline company operating from Khartoum to Malakal will reduce its flights. The unpaved road and numerous checkpoints from Khartoum makes any travel arduous, turning the 1h45 flight into a 12 hour drive with a good vehicle.

At present there are two SOS Children's Villages in Sudan, one SOS Youth Home, one SOS Nursery, one SOS School and one SOS Vocational Training Centre.