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UN, international partners concerned about escalating violence in Pibor

The United Nations and international partners on Wednesday expressed concerns over escalating violence in Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) by armed youth from Jonglei State.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the African Union Mission in South Sudan, the European Union, and other regional bodies urged involved parties to cease hostilities immediately, exercise restraint, and respect human rights.

“While the primary responsibility for protecting civilians lies with the Transitional Government of South Sudan, UNMISS and international partners stand ready to provide all necessary support to protect civilians in affected areas,” they said in a joint statement issued in Juba.

The partners said the escalating ongoing violence has resulted in the loss of lives amid reports of the alleged use of heavy weaponry. The partners called on South Sudanese leaders to urgently intervene to stop the fighting and ensure the safety and security of civilians as well as unimpeded humanitarian access to people affected by the fighting.

The partners also stressed the need to investigate and hold accountable all perpetrators of the conflict, including those who are instigating and inciting violence and those responsible for the abduction of women and children. They encouraged national politicians and traditional leaders to persuade youth to immediately stop the violence and pursue a dialogue-based approach that focuses on restoring calm and peacefully resolving the root causes of the conflict.

UNMISS said it is intensifying patrols in conflict hotspots and closely monitoring the situation, noting that such fighting has in the past led to significant loss of life and large-scale civilian displacement.

The partners reiterated the call for an immediate cessation of this uncalled-for violence that poses a serious risk to the peace and stability of the South Sudanese people.

They further requested the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, a ceasefire monitoring body, to investigate the violence and urge the parties to the conflict to facilitate access.

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