A group of South Sudanese students are stranded in Zimbabwe after their government failed o clear outstanding arrears and secure flights for their home return. The students are said to have been attending two unnamed local universities.
Reports indicated that at least seven of the 22 students who completed their studies in December last year are still stranded unless the South Sudanese government intervenes.
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The students are reportedly facing immigration problems since they are no longer eligible for study permit extension.
A letter written by the affected students reads in part:
We truly appreciated the scholarship chance we got and that is why we finished on time. Unfortunately, we are now being left stranded in Zimbabwe despite the enormous commitment from the highest authority due to lack of follow up or ill-intention somewhere within the ministry concern.
Most of us are experiencing passport expiration that will affect our staying here in Zimbabwe. We simply need to go home because we completed what we were here for.
The students revealed that each one owes the university nearly $7,000, meaning the government has to pay $154,000 for the 22 of them.
One of the stranded students, John Aweenthi said that Sudanese Ministry of Education has not spoken to them over the issue. He said:
We are in a dilemma. Some of our colleagues have expired passports. They do not know what to do… We are urging the government to clear our accounts so that we go. Maybe we will one day find a job somewhere to do.