Reports from the UN International Organization on Migration (IOM) “suggest that Government forces are now approaching the town of Maiwut, 25 kilometres north-west of Pagak”.
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, July 13, 2017 – Thousands of South Sudanese civilians are fleeing to neighbouring Ethiopia as Government troops advance on a rebel stronghold in the Upper Nile region, a senior United Nations official today said, expressing grave concern about what is already the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.
Reports from the UN International Organization on Migration (IOM) “suggest that Government forces are now approaching the town of Maiwut, 25 kilometres north-west of Pagak. I’m gravely concerned by this ongoing situation,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan, David Shearer, told reporters from Juba, the capital.
He added that while it is unclear which side began the fighting, the military advance by the South Sudan forces “is not in the spirit of the unilateral ceasefire” declared by the Government in May.
Mr. Shearer said there has been “active military engagement” over the past week north of Pagak, and at least 25 aid workers have relocated in the area as a result of the insecurity.
The senior UN official, who is also the head of the UN Mission in the country, or UNMISS, also voiced great concern about an orphanage near Torit, south of Juba, surrounded by Government and rebel fighters who are preparing to fight.
“It’s unacceptable that 250 innocent children, and the people who care for them, find themselves in no-man’s land between the warring parties,” Mr. Shearer stressed.
Requests by UNMISS to access the Hope for South Sudan Orphanage have been denied “locally, on the ground.”
The Government forces central command in Juba yesterday gave UNMISS “the go-ahead to send peacekeepers to the orphanage. I’m hopeful that will happen today,” he added.
Mr. Shearer urged both sides to reflect on President Salva Kiir’s Independence Day message of peace and withdraw from the facility.
In addition to accessing the orphanage, a group of Nepalese peacekeepers have been sent to protect civilians and the UN base in Torit.
“The number of patrols we can undertake in the town will increase with the additional peacekeepers. In turn, that should provide more security and boost confidence,” said Mr. Shearer.
He noted that his deputy, Moustapha Soumaré, is travelling to Torit tomorrow and will report back.
To date, Abyei has no police service system in place and there is no functioning joint local administrative structure.
ABYEI, South Sudan, July 12, 2017 – The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) condemns all attacks perpetrated by unknown armed groups in Abyei Area which resulted in deaths and injuries of civilians.
UNISFA expresses its deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of the victims and vows to investigate swiftly the attacks with the Joint Peace Committee, the traditional leaders, as well as Sudan and South Sudan governments, and bring the perpetrators to justice.
UNISFA emphasizes its commitment to implement its mandate to secure Abyei Area and to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, without prejudice to the responsibilities of the relevant authorities.
To date, Abyei has no police service system in place and there is no functioning joint local administrative structure. The absence of these systems has resulted in the increase of criminal cases.
The current influx of population in Abyei has contributed towards increased economic and social activities in the area. The unemployment among the youth is a cause of concern which also leads to manifestation of crime in various forms.
In light of the recent incidents, UNISFA has stepped up its security measures particularly in and around Amiet common market which is a vital economic hub for different tribal groups including Ngok Dinka and Misseriya. Most of the criminal incidents in recent months have taken place in the vicinity of the common market.
The last two months have seen an upsurge in cases of cattle-rustling, carjacking attempts and robbery/shooting incidents. In May, a grenade exploded in Amiet market resulting in injuries to some civilians.
UNISFA reaffirms that criminality in all its forms is a serious threat to the security situation in Abyei Area.
UNISFA urges all communities and groups to support the Mission in its efforts to maintain the degree of peace and stability that Abyei has been experiencing over the last two years. The criminal activities should not deter the significant progress made towards improving relations between the Messiriya and the Ngok Dinka communities.
On 8 December, the United Nations Security Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union and Special Representative to the African Union Haile Menkerios, and Acting United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) Force Commander Major-General Halefom Moges on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan under resolution 2046 (2012) and the situation in Abyei.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the 4 November visit to Khartoum by South Sudan President Salva Kiir for talks with Sudan President Omer al-Bashir. The Council members also welcomed the stated commitment of both Presidents to implementation of 27 September 2012 Cooperation Agreements, particularly on security matters, and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor from Sudan to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance to the affected populations in South Sudan, but noted with concern that there has been no further progress on the agreements since November 2013. They called upon the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan to hold a high-level security committee meeting as soon as possible, and to fully implement the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JVBMM), in accordance with Security Council resolution 2046 (2012) and the 24 April 2012 African Union Peace and Security Council Roadmap, Joint Political and Security Mechanism, and other agreed joint mechanisms to ensure the security and transparency of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ), including the “14 Mile Area”.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their grave concern about the dire humanitarian situation resulting from continued fighting in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile States in Sudan. They called on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence against civilians and to expedite safe and unhindered humanitarian access for the timely and full delivery of humanitarian aid to all civilians in urgent need of assistance.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the recent peace talks between the Government of Sudan and Sudanese rebel groups under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. While noting the progress made, they expressed regret at the absence of a final agreement. The members of the Security Council renewed their calls upon the Government of Sudan and SPLM-N to cease hostilities, engage in the next round of direct talks without conditions in January as planned by the AUHIP, and make the necessary concessions to reach agreement on ending the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States in accordance with provisions of resolution 2046 (2012).
The members of the Security Council reiterated their grave concern about the relatively calm but highly volatile security situation in Abyei Area, and the absence of progress in implementing the 20 June 2011 Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Security and Administration of the Abyei Area as reported by the Secretary-General, while condemning the recent deadly attacks on civilians. They welcomed the 5 December appointment of the South Sudan Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) and urged the immediate resumption of the work of the AJOC without preconditions. Further, they reiterated their demand in resolution 2179 (2014) that Sudan and South Sudan urgently commence the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration and Council, and constitute the Abyei Police Service, to enable it to take over the policing functions through the Abyei Area, including the protection of oil infrastructure. The members of the Security Council further reiterated, in accordance with relevant resolutions, in particular resolutions 1990 (2011) and 2046 (2012), that the Abyei Area shall be demilitarized from any forces, as well as armed elements of the local communities, other than UNISFA (United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei) and the Abyei Police Service.
The members of the Security Council recalled their decision in resolution 2046 (2012) that Sudan and South Sudan shall unconditionally resume negotiations under the auspices of the AUHIP and with the support of the Chairman of IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development), to reach agreement on critical issues, including final status of the Abyei Area. To this end, they urged UNISFA, the African Union, and the Federal Democratic Government of Ethiopia to work in collaboration with the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan, to use creative provisions based on mutual understanding to expedite implementation of the outstanding administrative and security elements of the June 2011 Agreement, as appropriate, in order to address the law and order vacuum in Abyei within the context of inter-communal dialogue. The members of the Security Council called for steps to enable, inter alia, the withdrawal of the Oil Police in Diffra while ensuring the security of oil installations, resuming the AJOC meetings, and resolving the dispute over the May 2013 killing of the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief.