UNMISS condemns clashes, intensifies patrols in Leer

UNMISS condemns clashes, intensifies patrols in Leer
JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN- 25 APRIL: Nicholas Haysom arrived in Juba today to take up his role as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). After completing mandatory quarantine in compliance with local COVID-19 protocols, he will begin a busy schedule of meetings with South Sudan’s leaders, the diplomatic community, and other key stakeholders in the peace process, Juba, South Sudan, 25 April 2021. Photo Gregorio Cunha/UNMISS

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) condemned the clashes between the forces of Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) and the forces of Lt Gen Simon Maguek in Kai Gai, Leer County, Unity State.

The mission confirmed in its press release issued yesterday that the clashes had displaced thousands of residents in Leer, who dreaded being caught up in the crossfire.

“The Mission takes note of reported attacks early on November 28 by pro-government forces and armed youth against a base operated by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLM-IO),” UNMISS noted.

“UNMISS can confirm that thousands of civilians have fled from the affected areas and are currently seeking refuge in Leer town.”

The Head of UNMISS, Mr Nicholas Haysom, expressed concerns over the fighting and urged for quicker remedial measures to prevent the hostilities of a full-blown war.

“I am very concerned by the reports of youth being mobilised and of defections by some armed personnel, which go against the very spirit of the Revitalised Peace Agreement,” said Mr. Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative to the Secretary General and head of UNMISS.  “This can destroy trust and gains between parties to the peace process and worsen the humanitarian situation in Unity State and in the country,” he added.

The mission noted that it had intensified patrols in the area to protect civilians from any possible harm.

It stated: “UN peacekeepers have stepped up patrols in the affected areas to defuse tensions and support local authorities to restore security and calm. The mission is also engaging with officials in the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) and SPLM-IO political and military authorities across the state to ensure restraint and order.”

The war between the two sides broke out earlier in the week as the two sides blamed each other. The Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), which had been accused of siding with Maguek’s forces, denied the claims, saying they were not part of the clashes.