A group of South Sudanese nationals who were sent to Zimbabwe to study six years ago were stranded after Juba failed to provide them with plane tickets to return home.
The 14 recently graduated from National University for Science and Technology in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, said they were having trouble finding food and accommodation.
Makuei Maker Chuny, a spokesman for the group, said they had tried unsuccessfully to seek help from the South Sudanese Embassy in Harare.
“We have been here six years and the government should issue us return tickets to enter Zimbabwe and return,” said Chuny.
< p> “This is a very desperate situation. The university will be closed and there would be no water supply on campus and no electricity.
“Also, we used to have an overseer here, but now there is no overseer. We will be alone in the building and it is not good for our health. ”
Mr. Chuny said that while studying in Zimbabwe they received very little support from their government and now they want the airfare to their returning families.
“We ask the government of South Sudan to provide airline tickets as soon as possible,” he added.
“We want to go home. If they don’t buy us plane tickets, we will occupy the embassy (in Harare). It’s not comfortable for us at the embassy either.
“We fought, we suffered here. They didn’t send money consistently and sometimes we get evicted. We ask our government to help us. ”
The beneficiaries of a President’s scholarship program say that if they can be helped to return home, they could contribute to the development of South Sudan after their higher education. < / p>
“We ask our President (Salva Kiir Mayardit) who made these grants available to us to help us and he still has authority to take us home,” added Mr. Chuny.
Officials from the South Sudanese embassy in Harare did not respond to messages in which they wanted to comment on the plight of the graduates.
The cheapest plane ticket from Harare to Juba costs 400 US dollars. < / p>
In May, South Sudan was forced to pay $ 400,000 to Zimbabwean universities that withheld academic credentials from South Sudan’s 2019 graduates after the government failed to pay fees on time.
< p> At this point South Sudan said it owed Zimbabwean institutions $ 1.6 million.