UNMIS lands

Thursday, June 30

The UNMIS helicopter that had hovered, touched down, and took off again Tuesday came back and landed today with a cadre of armed soldiers of all nationalities. The guy in charge, Saju, was from India. I’m not a proper journalist, so I don’t remember the rank he mentioned when he introduced himself to me, the white woman in the crowd with the camera. He began asking me for the details of the situation. And though I know many of the details, I told him I wasn’t the one in charge and directed him to Juma, the head medical officer from the clinic.

I tagged along to the meeting where Juma, the head medical staff from the clinic, and Malou, our construction supervisor, briefed the men on the situation for the injured, who’ve been suffering for days with only the nursing care the clinic is able to provide. Many need surgery on fractured limbs, have wounds open to the bone, and internal or head injuries. These men were shot when they followed after the Murle to recover their stolen cattle.

In addition, Juma requested security for this area. There is worry as the referendum approaches that there will be more violence in Duk County. The villages where these attacks took place are several hours by car—eight or nine hours “footing,” as they say here. The village of Duk has only one police officer.

From there we trekked to the school, where the two classrooms housing the patients are cordoned off with yellow caution tape. The UNMIS soldiers took photos, and then we all walked back to the airstrip and they flew off, promising to talk to their boss, who will talk to the next boss, and so on. We never got an answer as to why they stopped and flew off again on Tuesday, but it must have been a different group, because Saju said this was the first they’d heard about the incidents.

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