January 31, 2014 (NEW YORK) - The UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, Hervé Ladsous, is due to arrive in South Sudan on Sunday, where he is expected to meet with senior government officials to discuss the implementation of the recently-signed ceasefire agreement.
- The UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, Hervé Ladsous, speaks to the press after Security Council consultations on South Sudan, on 9 January 2014 (Photo: Luke Vargas/TRNS)
Ladsous also plans to meet with staff and peacekeepers from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to thank them for their efforts in helping protect at risk civilians throughout the crisis.
The first group of peacekeeping reinforcements arrived in South Sudan in mid-January following a UN Security Council decision (UNSC) to bolster UNMISS forces by 5,500 to 12,500 troops.
Among the troops being sent are 850 Nepalese peacekeepers, 350 of whom will be redeployed from Haiti.
9 January, Ladsous said the 5,500-strong surge in UN peacekeepers and equipment could take up to eight weeks to be fully deployed on the ground.
At a press conference in New York on Friday, the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, Farhan Haq, said UNMISS estimates it is now protecting more than 85,000 civilians at eight bases across the country, including about 43,000 people seeking shelter in two sites in the capital, Juba.
According to Haq, the mission is also currently providing protection for some 28,000 civilians in Upper Nile state capital Malakal, where nearly 1,000 patients have been treated at its hospital since the end of December. Twenty-nine babies have been delivered at the Malakal protection site during the same period.
“The mission has conducted 241 military and 62 police patrols in Juba, Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states in the last 24 hours”, Haq said in comments to the press.
A number of high-ranking UN officials have already visited South Sudan since conflict erupted in the capital, Juba, in mid-December following clashes between rival tribal factions within the presidential guards.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos was in South Sudan earlier this week on a three-day visit to meet with aid groups and government officials.
While in mid-January, Ivan Simonovic, the assistant-secretary-general for human rights, visited the country as part of fact-finding mission on human rights abuses committed during the conflict.
According to the latest UN estimates some 740,000 people have been internally displaced since the conflict erupted in Juba before spreading throughout the country as forces loyal to president Salva Kiir and rebel elements aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar battled for control of key areas.
The warring parties signed a ceasefire agreement in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 23 January in a deal brokered by East African bloc - the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
However, violence in the country has continued since the signing, with both sides accusing each other of violating the terms of the peace deal.