UNION-Concerned over Pibor violence
By Wek Atak Kacjang
African Union Mission in South Sudan(AUMISS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC), African Diplomatic Corps (ADC),Acting Humanitarian Coordinator (NC) together with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have expressed their concern over the violence that escalated in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
In a statement to the press yesterday, AUMISS Ambassador JoramMukamaBiswaro said that the current fragile situation had begun to improve gradually.
However,the delegates from the AUMISS, IGAD, R-JMEC, ADC and UNMISS were calling on the Transitional government together with community leaders in Greater Pibor and Jonglei to take steps in silencing the guns and address the root cause of the conflict and fulfil its responsibility to protect civilians.
He revealed that there were plans to visit other areas of greater Jonglei to reiterate this message.
“AUMISS, IGAD, R-JMEC, ADC, and UNMISS, along with the broader international communitywill continue to do everything possible to support the Government and people of South Sudan,”Biswaro.
The delegation stressed that the protection of citizens from inter-communal violence, and providing support to the internally displaced people was first and foremost responsibility of the Government.
He appealed to the Government for a speedy establishment of the local administrative structures in the Area,urging for the 35% level of women’s representation to be met.
I statement, the key players recognized that violence had led to increased displacement and the suspension of humanitarian operations where food was being distributed, the delegation also stressed that any looting or destruction of food, storage facilities, and humanitarian vehicles would be catastrophic for communities already experiencing the highest level of food insecurity in the country.
AUMISS, IGAD, R-JMEC and ADC commended UNMISS for its efforts to guard humanitarian food supplies, establish temporary bases and intensify patrols in the affected areas to deter violence, and engagement with political and traditional leaders to promote dialogue and reconciliation and support efforts to secure the release of abducted women and children.
“The delegation encouraged the local leadership to sustain current efforts that had produced the relative improvements in peace and security in the Area and to improve social and infrastructural amenities including roads, schools and health services on all sides, in order to fill the development vacuum, improve the overall standard of living for the communities and address the drivers of the conflicts”; He stated.
The joint delegation to Pibor was led by AUMISS Ambassador JoramBiswaro, IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan Dr. Ismail Wais, RJMEC Interim Chairperson Major General Charles Gituai, Acting HC Matthew Hollingworth and SRSG Nicholas Haysomas part of ongoing efforts by UNMISS to stand shoulder to shoulder with the AU and IGAD in helping South Sudan advance toward peace and prosperity. Members of the ADC participating in the delegation were from Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
The delegation’s concern was that violence this year could evolve into something similar to that witnessed in early 2020 when thousands of fighters from Dinka, Nuer, Murle communities conducted attacks on villages, killing and wounding hundreds of civilians.