February 11, 2014 (JUBA) – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said on Tuesday that it worked with local police to demolish shops illegally set up at the entrance to one of their bases in the capital, Juba to improve security.
- UNMISS troops from India patrol the UNMISS compound in Juba, South Sudan recently (UN MISSION/AP)
Of the 44,070 people who are currently seeking shelter from recent violence at the two UN bases in Juba, 27,000 are at Tongpiny camp, where the mission says it was forced to clear for civilian protection.
UNMISS, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, said South Sudan National Police Service was supported by UN police officers in demolishing shops set up illegally.
“Security problems have continued to cause concern at the gates in the vicinity of the UNMISS compounds,” it partly reads.
The action was, however, condemned by rebels in a statement issued on Monday from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where the SPLM In Opposition is negotiating with the South Sudanese government over how to end the conflict, which has already displaced over 700,000 people and killed thousands. .
Taban Deng Gai, the chief negotiator for the rebels accused President Salva Kiir’s forces of “besieging" the UN compound housing the displaced in Juba.
Although the UNMISS statement did not mention the rebels’ allegation, it clearly stated that the clearance occurred with its knowledge.
“The operation was aimed at increasing security through searching for weapons, taking care of vehicles that could be a security threat and dismantling sale stands and liquor bars involved in illegal activity,” the mission’s statement added.
As of February 10, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had estimated that 74,800 people were seeking shelter inside UN bases across the country since fighting began in Juba on December 15 and later spread to other parts.
At least 723,900 people, it said, are displaced inside South Sudan while another 145,000 have fled to earby countries, with the largest increase of arrivals in Ethiopia.
"Inter-agency assessments to Rom and Paloich in Upper Nile State found new small pockets of displacement, with many people in transit heading further north," the OCHA report partly reads.
Meanwhile, the UN says the health situation at its Tongpiny base had improved with mortality rates said to have dropped below emergency levels.