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South Sudan: Searching for Abel’s mum

Decades of war and ongoing conflicts within South Sudan have disrupted the social fabric and destroyed the protective environment for children. As a result, children are exposed to family separation, lack of adult support, exploitation, abduction and violence.

Three-year-old Abel was separated from his parents during an attack on his village. His home was destroyed, and Abel witnessed his father and grandparents being killed during the attack.

Abel’s mother is still missing, but said to be alive. His sister and one brother are confirmed alive, and are with his father’s older brother. Abel is currently staying with his younger uncle Muolo.

Muolo is 24 and hopes to complete his primary education soon, but he’s worried he won’t be able to since the primary school was destroyed.

Tukuls (mud and thatch homes) burnt down in Likuangole, Pibor County. Pibor County experienced a large-scale attack on 31 December 2011, killing more than 3,000 and displacing tens of thousands. A spate of retaliatory attacks continued throughout January, now displacing over 120,000 people.
Tukuls (mud and thatch homes) burnt down.

Muolo’s story in his own words

“Abel is the son of my oldest brother. The father of Abel, together with the grandmother and grandfather, all died. I was a bit moody and paralysed by the news. I was shocked when I heard of the death of my brother and my parents. I was in a sad mood.”

3-year-old Ulu is separated from his mother after witnessing a violent attack on his village in Pibor County, Jonglei state.  Ulu was separated from his parents and grandparents and brought to Juba by UNMISS during an evacuation of the area. He is currently staying at his relatives' home in Juba. His younger uncle Bal Nyiwa Simon is caring for him, with the help of extended relatives. Save the Children staff in Pibor are working to locate Ulu's mother and oldest uncle, and send him back home. Pibor County experienced a large-scale attack on 31 December 2011, killing more than 3,000 and displacing tens of thousands. A spate of retaliatory attacks continued throughout January, now displacing over 120,000 people.
Three-year-old Abel, with his younger uncle Muolo and extended relatives. Save the Children staff are working to locate Abel's mother and send him back home.

“I’m a student in Primary 8, but since I heard this bad news I became disappointed because the future is black. It is hard for me to go back where I study again and it is hard even to study here. I am determined to study, but the way forward is not possible. I plan to stay here, if I find a way of going to school.

The Likuangole Primary School was vandalized and destroyed. Perpetrators marked their names, origin and class levels (P8) on the walls. Likuangole, Pibor County.
The primary school was vandalised and destroyed. Perpetrators carved their names, origin and class levels into the exterior walls.

“I don’t have many plans for Abel because my other elder brother Baksoro is still alive. He’s the one to say whether he’ll go to school or remain in the cattle camp. I hope that Abel goes home, every day he says: ‘I need mom, I need mom.’ He’s always asking for his mom, but I don’t know how to take him back home.

“There are two possibilities for Abel: the grandmother of the child – mother to the mother – and also the uncle – the brother to Abel’s mother – are both nearby. Maybe you can call them and tell them about Abel?”

Reuniting children with their families

We work closely with the government and local authorities to stop violence against children in schools and the community, and reunite lost or abducted children with their families.

Last year, we supported 680 separated children, including abducted children, children affected by emergencies, and 75 boys associated with armed forces and groups.

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the family involved.

 

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