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UN warns of looming violence in Malakal PoC due to proliferation of arms

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan is urging national and community leaders to discourage the smuggling of arms into Malakal protection of civilians site (PoC) in Upper Nile State.

UNMISS in a statement issued on Monday called on community leaders to exert efforts towards preventing revenge killings and hateful narratives.       

The peacekeeping mission said it is engaged in consultations with community leaders and state authorities to prevent the infiltration of arms into the PoC site, adding that such measures can only be successful with the effective cooperation of the communities.                                                                                       

 “In collaboration with the Government and various leaders, UNMISS is exploring additional measures to be taken, to ensure the security and well-being of the affected communities. The United Nations does not promote the separation of communities, nor does it advocate for any group to leave the PoC site,” it said in Juba.

It urged community leaders to continue to cooperate with all stake-holders to address both the triggers and the root causes of this violence.

At least 17 civilians were confirmed killed in violence which erupted since May 28th at the water point in Malakal PoC.

“UNMISS commends the Government of Upper Nile State and the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) for their close collaboration in restoring calm, ensuring security, and protecting civilians displaced outside the site,” it said.

It noted that it is facilitating the work of humanitarian workers who are providing emergency assistance, such as clean drinking water and non-food items to thousands of people displaced into Malakal town.

 In addition, UNMISS also assisting with dignified funerals for those that have lost lives while working with the government to ensure that those that have left the PoC site are provided with adequate resources to survive in Malakal town.

“With the influx of returnees from the conflict in neighboring Sudan, the Mission and UN agencies have worked tirelessly with all stakeholders to mitigate the emerging tensions in the site, resulting from severe congestion, increased competition for resources, and rising inter-communal clashes,” it said.

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