JUBA, South Sudan, October 18, 2021 / APO Group / –
Innocent civilians have been injured and killed, property destroyed, while thousands of families have been displaced.
In the most recent clashes between armed groups in Kacuat, Marial Lou and Luanyjang, some 35 people were killed, 80 injured and hundreds displaced from their homes.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), in collaboration with the authorities of Warrap State, therefore visited the affected areas of Tonj in the north and east to examine the situation in terms of security and call for a peaceful resolution based on dialogue in the face of escalating tensions in the region.
The persistent fighting in the region in recent months has been characterized by a cycle of cattle raids and retaliatory attacks as well as obstacles to movement, which has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation.
“Roadblocks have prevented humanitarian aid from reaching those who need it most,” said Aguer Madut, community representative from Luanyjang, Romich and Tonj East, while addressing the visiting delegation.
“People are dying from malnutrition, disease, flooding and now from escalating violence,” he continued, adding a call for government and international partners to airlift needed supplies to communities. suffering.
In Kacuat, the visiting delegation heard a similar story. “Civilians have been the target of armed attacks,” says Rebecca Kual, a resident of here. “Schools and health facilities have been damaged and our property has been looted,” she adds.
All parties to the conflict have also said they fear retaliatory attacks.
Anastasie Mukangarambe, head of the UNMISS field office in Kuajok, stressed the need for conflicting parties to cooperate with current government efforts to achieve a negotiated peace through friendly dialogue.
“Retaliation and violence will only exacerbate the suffering of innocent civilians,” Ms. Mukangarambe said. “As UNMISS, we are here to ensure your safety and convey your concerns to the national authorities, but we urge you to cooperate with the efforts of the state government to consolidate the peace, remove roadblocks and resolve all issues. .
Mr. Agok Ayar, Minister of State for Youth, Culture and Sports, called on affected communities to trust and invest in government efforts to find lasting solutions to the dispute.
For its part, despite enormous logistical challenges due to heavy flooding, UNMISS established a temporary base of operations at Marial Lou in early September to provide a protective presence and restore calm.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission is also stepping up awareness at the local level, helping to bring together young people, pastoralists, political leaders and security agencies, to discuss the challenges they face and to find solutions. to end the cycle of cattle raiding, revenge attacks, and the intentional killings and injuries of civilians.
The aim is to build much-needed confidence and trust and to address key drivers of conflict such as border and land disputes, housing, land and property rights, tensions over pastures and settlements. water, as well as the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. among civilians.
In addition, UNMISS provides technical support and capacity building to rule of law institutions and maintains close relations with the President of the Supreme Court on the deployment of judges and mobile courts in areas affected by violence.
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