February 19, 2013 (BOR) - The head of the United Nations in South Sudan is visiting the conflict-affected counties of Pibor and Akobo in Jonglei state this week to see for herself the situation in the troubled areas.
In a visit to Bor on Tuesday 19 February, the United Nation’s Special Representative of the Secretary General to South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, told the press that she came to visit Pibor after the "terrible incident” of last month, when fighting broke out in a local market between the army and an armed group who had recently defected from a rebellion in the area.
“I am heading to Pibor [on Wednesday] because we have seen terrible incidents in Pibor in few weeks back where 158 of tukuls [traditional thatched houses] were burnt and about 3,000 civilians surrendered themselves in our camp and are being protected in our camp,” she said.
The clashes occurred on Monday January 28, in Pibor town after the military police stopped armed escorts of general James Kuburin, who had recently left David Yauyau’s rebel group, from entering the market with their weapons.
Fighting broke out after an exchange of words, which eyewitnesses described as a misunderstanding between the two-armed sections. Two civilians were killed in the crossfire and two others were injured and thousands of civilians ran for cover in the bush and to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound.
Johnson will also visit Akobo to share her condolences with the relatives of the over 100 people who were killed earlier this month in an attack believed to have been carried out by forces affiliated to David Yauyau’s militia.
She said that the mission is ready help end the cycle of violence.
Jonglei state Governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, said that UNMISS’s role is to assist the government in maintaining security in the 19-month-old country.
Manyang said that the lack of roads and infrastructure makes its difficult for the government to operate and provide services in many parts Jonglei.
“We are now using United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) plane to move from place to place assisting us to so that we are able to maintain the security situation,” the Governor said.