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UNMISS warns communal violence could derail peace implementation

The Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Nicholas Haysom has expressed fears of communal violence derailing the ongoing peace process.

“This violence and fighting, disturbingly characterized by tribal undertones in many areas, is particularly damaging. It poses a real threat to the gains achieved so far and could even derail the peace process. Every one of these conflicts leaves behind a legacy of bitterness and division,” said Haysom during press conference held in Juba on Friday.

Haysom said that they have identified five conflicts or hotspots that require their continuing and continuous attention and that remain as challenges for the country.

He mentioned the recent conflict between armed youth in Jonglei and those in Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA), the conflict in Upper Nile and the legacy of the conflict in Tambura in Western Equatoria State as some of the hotspot areas.

In addition, he listed the conflict between the Twic and Ngok Dinka communities in Warrap State and the conflict now being experienced in Central Equatoria as a result of tensions between Bor cattle keepers and host communities.

Haysom said that they have taken action, and continue to act to mitigate and reduce the impact of all these conflicts and their long-term effects.

 “The escalating violence in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area and Jonglei State that began in late December is of special concern. Shocking has been the number of women and children who were abducted, and those who have faced serious rights violations, including conflict-related sexual violence and abuse,” he said.

This conflict erupted on December 24 in Lanam, Gumuruk and Likuangole areas of GPAA leaving more than 57 people killed and thousands displaced.

“While a temporary pause in the cyclical clashes had been observed, as armed youth around the vicinity of Bor returned to their counties of origin, violence was reported only recently in Uror and Nyirol counties, resulting in more deaths, injuries, abductions, and cattle raided,” said Haysom.

He said on January 11th a high-level delegation comprising of UNMISS officials, humanitarians, and development partners visited the scene of clashes.

The parties who signed the 2018 revitalized peace agreement are yet to conclude implementation of the key pending tasks such as graduation of the 83,000 unified forces, enactment of permanent constitution, and establishment of transitional institutions for justice and accountability.

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