Seventy-five United Nations peacekeepers have been temporarily re-deployed from Rumbek to Maper to deter further violence between communities in the northern Lakes region of South Sudan.
The fresh deployment of Nepalese troops serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan follows reports from local authorities that as many as 79 people have been killed and a further 101 injured in a series of communal clashes and revenge attacks between the Gak and Manuer communities, about 100 kilometres north of Rumbek.
While political violence has largely subsided in South Sudan since the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in September 2018, intercommunal clashes continue to result in the killing and injuring of civilians, cattle raiding and the looting of property.
“This fighting must stop,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS, David Shearer. “We are urging the communities involved and their leaders to put an end to the violence and to come together in reconciliation and peace for the good of their people.”
An attempt was initially made by UNMISS to deploy its troops to Maper by road. However, damage caused by heavy rains left the main route impassable. Instead, the Mission transported the peacekeepers into the area via helicopters. It is also flying in heavy equipment, including vehicles, to enable the peacekeepers to travel more easily between the remote communities. The troops will continue to patrol the area in the coming weeks to provide a protective presence.
The UNMISS Force Commander and the Head of the Mission’s Field Office in Rumbek along with human rights and civil affairs staff also travelled to Maper yesterday to assess the security situation. They were welcomed by local authorities and community members who indicated a willingness to take part in mediation and peace-building activities supported by UNMISS.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).