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Nearly 9 million South Sudanese face humanitarian crises, UNMISS
Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Nicholas Haysom [Photo by Presidential Press Unit]

UNMISS calls for cessation of hostilities in Leer County of South Sudan

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has called on the warring parties around Kai Gai, near Leer town in Unity State to immediately cease hostilities.

Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNMISS said in a statement issued in Juba on Friday, that he was deeply concerned by reports of youth being mobilized, and of defections by some armed personnel which go against the very spirit of the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement.

Haysom revealed that on 28 November pro-government forces and armed youth clashed with soldiers belonging to Sudan People’s Liberation Army- in Opposition (SPLA-IO) at a base operated by the latter.

“I am very concerned by the reports of youth being mobilized, and of defections by some armed personnel – which go against the very spirit of the Revitalized Peace Agreement,” said Haysom.

 “This can destroy the trust and gains between parties to the peace process and worsen the humanitarian situation in Unity State and in the country,” he added.

Haysom said that the clashes forced thousands of civilians in the affected areas to flee and are currently seeking refuge in Leer town.

He appreciated the efforts of state authorities who responded promptly to reduce tensions in the area.

Haysom called on all parties to take immediate measures to deescalate hostilities and use peaceful means to resolve any disputes.

He said UNMISS is 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.

Haysom further said that UN peacekeepers have stepped up patrols in the affected areas to defuse tensions and support local authorities to restore security and calm.

Tensions started building up in Leer County on October 6th, following the defection of former SPLA-IO commander Simon Maguek Gai Majak with more than 200 soldiers to the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).

This forced the SPLA-IO spokesperson Col.Lam Paul Gabriel to issue statement, warning of ongoing mobilization by Simon Maguek Gai Majak to attack their base in Leer County.

Defections within the former warring parties in South Sudan have been rife since fighting broke out in December 2013.

The latest development comes as the parties prepare to deploy the first batch of the 52,000 unified forces which are charged with taking up security of the country as it prepares to hold national elections in December 2024.

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