UNMISS concerned about clashes in central and northern South Sudan (09.12.2019)

Government forces have been deployed to the area to restore calm and UNMISS has offered to assist if required.

JUBA, South Sudan, December 9, 2019 – A fresh outbreak of tribal clashes and other internal fighting has reportedly resulted in the death and displacement of civilians in the central and northern regions of South Sudan over the weekend.“These clashes in areas that have been relatively calm for many months is worrying,” said David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. “The parties in South Sudan have respected the ceasefire signed in 2018 but these intercommunal incidents raise tensions and increase the risk of sparking more serious violence.”

“The shortage of food and access to basic services in the wake of the civil war has put huge pressure on communities. The recent flooding has worsened this situation by destroying crops and pasture which will have a long-term impact on food availability in the coming months,” said David Shearer.

“It is vital that people do not turn to violence as a solution to the dire economic situation or because of political uncertainty. Reconciliation and peace-building is the only viable path to development and, ultimately, prosperity for all South Sudanese.”

Over the weekend, UNMISS received reports of clashes over supplies being transported by barge near Jikou, in Upper Nile. Humanitarian workers were relocated out of the area for their own safety. In a separate incident, internal fighting within the ranks of an armed group in north-western Unity was also reported.

There were also intercommunal clashes in the Lakes region. On 8 December, fighting broke out between the Rup and Pakam communities with incidents of cattle-raiding and revenge attacks taking place six kilometers south-east of Rumbek. Government forces have been deployed to the area to restore calm and UNMISS has offered to assist if required. There has also been fighting at Cuetakuet Island, located on the Nile about 145 kilometers north of Bor.

The number of casualties from these incidents are yet to be verified. UNMISS is working with authorities at the local and national level to resolve these disputes and will continue to support reconciliation and peace-building among the affected communities.

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