UNISFA Peacekeepers. File photo

Peacekeepers on South Sudan border accused of sexual exploitation

By David Malaak

The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei has come under fire from communities for rogue behaviours including sexual exploitation.

Communities of Gok Machar in Aweil North County of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State have given the UNISFA seventy-two hours to leave their area over the issue. 

Gok Machar falls within the Safe De-militarized Border Zone – SDBZ that runs 10 kms inland along either side of the border between South Sudan and Sudan.

The UN Security Council deployed UNISFA to the buffer zone to ensure it is respected. 

The community is now accusing them of sexual exploitation, discrimination in employment, taking decision without consulting local leaders, and annexation of their land to Sudan. 

“There is evidence, if you come to Gok Machar now, you will find many children without fathers, and they are the ones impregnating girls,” Gabriel Ngang Maduok, Chairperson of Path Community in Gok Machar told Juba Echo by phone.

“A girl is dated and when she becomes pregnant, she is dumped and given money and they look for another girl,” he said.  

Maduok warned of protest should the mission fail to leave the area.

“If they don’t leave within 72 hours, we will return for a peaceful demonstration like yesterday and we sit down until they leave the area,” he said.

The UNISFA Spokesperson, Daniel Adekera said the mission received the petition and “is engaging the authorities in Juba on how to peacefully manage the situation and resolve the issues raised by the local community.”

“UNISFA is optimistic and is doing everything within its mandate and powers to see that the situation does not affect the peace within the area,” Adekera said by email.

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