Security Council members today called on the warring ethnic communities in South Sudan’s Jonglei state to engage in reconciliation.
The Council also called an end to the “cycle of conflict” that has claimed an unknown number of casualties and displaced thousands of people in recent weeks.
Ambassador Baso Sangqu of South Africa, which holds the Council presidency this month, the 15-member panel voiced deep concern at the situation in Jonglei.
Intense rivalry between the Luo Nuer and Murle communities in Jonglei, often over cattle rustling, frequently spark outbreaks of bloody clashes that have left hundreds dead and thousands displaced this year alone.
The United Nations has “beef up” its peacekeeping presence in the troubled South Sudanese state of Jonglei in the wake of recent inter-ethnic violence.
Peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have also been deployed to the area to support the efforts of Government forces to restore peace and security.
However, the Council members voiced concern that UNMISS has a shortfall of operational helicopters, seriously affecting its ability to carry out its mandate in the newly independent country. The members also urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to continue his efforts to resolve this issue.
The Council also welcomed the efforts of the South Sudanese Government to protect civilians and mediate a solution to the crisis in Jonglei.
Council members voiced alarm about both the quantity and sophistication of the weaponry used in the most recent clashes. They stressed the need for greater security sector reform within South Sudan and for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former rebel fighters across the impoverished country.