Gov’t condemns killing of peacekeeper in Aweil
The government has condemned the death of a peacekeeper attached to the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA).
The peacekeeper died in Aweil North County of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State on Tuesday.
In a press statement issued on Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation pledged its full support to the UNISFA to enable the body to achieve its mandate as stipulated in the 2011 agreement.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of South Sudan is closely following events in Gok Machar and deeply regrets the loss of life of a peacekeeper,” the statement read in part.
“The government of the Republic of South Sudan avails itself of this opportunity to express its unequivocal support to the core mission of UNISFA and stands ready to do what it can to make it a success,” it added.
The circumstance surrounding the death of the official was yet to be known as the ministry did not mention what transpired that resulted in the loss of the life of the peacekeeper.
However, media reports on Monday alleged that the peace-keeper lost his life during a protest by the Aweil North County Community against UNISFA operating in the area out of its jurisdiction.
The Northern Bahr el Ghazal State Governor Tong Akeen Ngor dismissed the report but confirmed the community’s dissatisfaction with the UNISFA’s operation in the region.
“UNISFA has the mandate to monitor and verify the activities of the two armies at Kiir Adem. Unfortunately, it did not do so. It decided to operate in Gok Machar, the Aweil North country headquarters, and there the GPS [Global Positioning System] started to read and show Gok Machar as part of Eastern Darfur,” the governor was quoted Sudans Post saying.
He continued: “This angered the local communities who went out to demonstrate. They asked UNISFA to adjust the reading of its GPS so that the reading shows it is in the territory of South Sudan. They [UNISFA] did not want to do it. This agitated the community and it dragged on until it went out of their hands.”
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commended the leadership of the UNISFA for relocating to Abyei and reiterated its commitment to resolve the matter with the community leaders in Gok Machar.
The ministry noted: “The government continues to engage with the community leaders in the area to resolve the issue amicably. The government further halts the wise decision of the United Nations to temporally withdraw and relocate the JBVMM to Abyei.
“This judicious move will allow the government to dampen the flaring local sentiments and thus prepare the ground for future deployment of the JBVMM.”
According to the June 202011 agreement, UNISFA has been mandated to monitor and verify the redeployment of armed forces from the disputed Abyei Area and provide support to the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM).