The top United Nations envoy in South Sudan today said military deterrence is crucial to halt violence in strife-torn state of Jonglei.
A “cycle of violence” between ethnic communities in Jonglei state in South Sudan has escalated in town of Pibor and the village of Fartait in Jonglei, both the scene of recent attacks by a large group of armed youths from the Lou Nuer community, which has engaged in deadly clashes over the past year with the Murle community.
The outbreak of inter-ethnic violence has left more than 40 people dead, most of them women, children and the elderly.
Hilde Johnson, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) underlined that the best way to protect civilians is to deploy more troops and police in the area to patrol buffer zones between rival communities and defuse tensions.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) last month has sent sending peacekeeping troops to troubled Jonglei State.
She cited that the UN had stepped up operations in Jonglei and is now flying daily reconnaissance missions and deploying troops into areas where civilians are most at risk of attacks.
She voiced deep concern over hate speech emanating from individuals and groups inside and outside Jonglei. She warned those responsible that inciting ethnic violence is a violation of international law and a crime under South Sudan’s domestic laws.
“The United Nations condemns this in the strongest terms. I have called the leadership at all levels in Jonglei state and nationally to demand a halt to this invective. The same message of condemnation came from the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, in his address to the national legislative assembly today.” – Ms. Johnson
UNMISS have gone ahead and deployed a battalion-size force in Pibor, a town in Jonglei state, with the aim of deterring violence and helping the Government to protect its own people.
UNMISS took decisive measures last month when a column of an estimated 8,000 armed Lou Nuer youth was detected advancing on the town of Pibor, which is inhabited by the Murle ethnic group.
Ms. Johnsonn cited that they have forces to where civilians were under greatest threat and committed about half of our combat-ready personnel to heavily populated areas like Pibor County.
She stressed that deterrent measures and early warning alerts enabled a large number of civilians in Jonglei state to move out of harm’s way ahead of time, thereby saving thousands of lives.
The Security Council established the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) for an initial period of one year, starting from 9 July 2011.
UNMISS is on the ground to consolidate peace and security and to help establish conditions for development.