Monday, 10 April, 2017
Michael Maluwel, 29, has been in the military for over 15 years. After completing his training in 1998, he was posted to the Nuber Mountains where he worked until 2013. When the conflict began in Juba, Michael had just been transferred to Benitu State, close to the Sudan border.
Residents of areas surrounding Juba never imagined that the conflict in Juba would spill over and reach their states.
“We had no idea that the conflict would reach here,” he said. “We always thought of this as a Juba administration problem.”
On the morning of April 19th 2014, Michael was on duty at Itharjeth Payam in Benitu when all of a sudden he heard gunshots.
“Our opponents were all armed and there were so many of them that we could not defend ourselves, so we hid in some drainage pipes on the side of the road. I was shot twice — on my left knee and right leg.”
The town in which Michael had been posted had been captured, forcing them to move north. Luckily, along the way, he and other wounded soldiers were rescued by a military plane and taken to Rumbek hospital.
“Everyone had a gunshot wound somewhere on their bodies,” Michael remembers.
Once admitted to Rumbek hospital, Michael was attended to by Dr Mapour Mading, an orthopaedic surgeon from the Juba Teaching Hospital.
“I thank Amref Health Africa for their efforts to support us. There was no way we could have made it to Juba, so instead, Amref Health Africa brought the doctor here to us,” said Michael, while showing off his healed legs. “Now I can go back to the military and provide for my wife again.”
Political divergence and violent conflict has plagued Juba since December of last year. Michael Maluwel is but one of over 4,000 soldiers and civilians who have been wounded in the face of this unrest. In this most recent conflict, Amref Health Africa has provided consultations to over 1,000 patients through its emergency clinical outreach program, 30% of whom have benefitted from orthopedic surgery.