March 13, 2013 (BOR/JUBA) - The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), has strongly condemned Tuesday’s shooting of its peacekeeper in a remote part of the country’s Jonglei state.
- UN officials under SPLA escort in Pibor County, Jonglei State, December 26, 2012 (ST)
An unidentified armed group, the mission said in a statement, fired at its patrol moving from Gurmuk to Pibor in Jonglei at around midday, wounding an Indian UN peacekeeper.
“The mission strongly condemns this attack against its personnel and calls on all parties to respect the freedom of movement of UN personnel carrying out their mandate and to cooperate with the peacekeepers in their efforts to protect civilians and help establish a stable security environment in Jonglei State,” partly reads the statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
The wounded peacekeeper, the statement noted, was evacuated to the South Sudan capital, Juba for further medical treatment and is in stable condition.
UNMISS’s public information officer in Bor, Hiallel Michael, confirmed the incident but said his office lack enough details about it.
Areas between Pibor and Gumuruk payam, until a few months ago had been controlled by a rebel group, which has been operating in Pibor county since David Yauyau rebelled for a second time last year.
Sources from Pibor said the attackers escaped without being identified. The area between Gumuruk and Pibor hosts armed civilians, members of Yauyau’s rebel group and the South Sudanese army.
Jonglei, the country’s largest state remains unstable, almost two years after South Sudan got its independence. The region has in recent months, experienced a cycle of violence, in form of ethnic clashes and cattle raids.
The South Sudanese army (SPLA) recently said it started massive military operations to free Jonglei’s Pibor county from David Yauyau’s rebels, who officials claim, receives supplies of ammunition and weapons, airlifted from Khartoum.
Last year, a UN helicopter was shot down by SPLA soldiers, who mistook to be a Sudanese military craft carrying logistical supports to Yau Yau militias in Pibor.
Yauyau, a Murle started his rebellion in 2010 after losing an election in a bid to become a member of the state parliament representing Gumruk. In 2011, however, the rebel leader responded to amnesty calls from South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and returned to Juba, only to re-launch his rebellion in April last year.
Since then, clashes between the army and forces loyal to him have gravely affected the security situation in Jonglei, with the latest peace attempt seen as key in efforts to salvage peace in the region.