Over 3,000 internally displaced civilians have been transferred by the UN civilian protection site to a new site in Juba following sporadic fighting between different groups.
The resettlement initiated by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan follows the end of the fighting which threatened vulnerable civilians living at the UN site in Juba.
“It took a lot of effort because they had to be transferred very quickly because we thought they were in danger where they were. And that meant that everyone had to pull themselves together. So, the humanitarian workers, the peacekeepers all worked together to set up tents, locate the site, consult with the government, which was very cooperative, by setting up equipment to build latrines and water points. A very successful operation carried out in a very short time”, said head of the UN mission to Southern Sudan, David Shearer.
It took a lot of effort because they had to be transferred very quickly because we thought they were in danger where they were. And that meant that everyone had to pull themselves together.
He also said the UN is working to improve security for the people.
“As the situation improves and the peace process evolves, so does the situation. Camps are terrible places, especially for families and children. So the more we can voluntarily move people to their own homes and relocate them the better. So we are now working to ensure that this momentum continues where it is possible for them to feel safe and that it is ultimately the responsibility of the government. They must be responsible for the security that allows people to feel safe and secure enough to move “, he said.
Residents reiterate their call and hope for peace.
“Yeah, we hope that peace will come. That’s why we wanted our leader to bring us here. We trust him for a lasting peace and for our country to be pleasant for the future”, one resident said.
The civil war in South Sudan broke out in 2013, less than two years after its independence from Sudan.
The conflict which was fueled by personal and ethnic rivalries, left tens of thousands dead, and displaced a quarter of the population of Southern Sudan and destroyed its economy, which is heavily dependent on crude oil production.
President Salva Kiir and leader of the main rebel group, Riek Machar, signed a ceasefire and power-sharing agreement early last month to end the fighting.