May 16, 2014 (JUBA) – The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has urged the country’s authorities to respect the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) they both signed after its patrol was reportedly stopped by the South Sudanese (SPLA) in Unity state’s capital, Bentiu on Saturday.
- The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde Johnson (Photo: Getty Images)
The patrol, the mission said, were asked to return to its base "despite receiving clearances earlier" and that "another patrol was stopped on the road to Mayom town.
"The mission is concerned over these violations of the Status of Forces Agreement, as signed between the Mission and the Government, and calls on all parties to ensure unhindered freedom of movement of UN and humanitarian workers so they can continue to undertake their work", the mission said in a statement.
It also expressed concerns over the rising tensions in and around the protection of civilians site in Bentiu, including reports of violence within the site, which hosts some 23,000 civilians.
"And in Upper Nile State, the mission yesterday heard signs of gunfire and mortars in Abukhadra, close to Renk but it says the situation there remains calm today," it said.
"UNMISS once again urges both sides to implement immediately the "Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South", including ceasing all hostilities and provocative actions," it added.
The UN mission recently condemned looting of its medical equipments and supplies in Unity state, calling on parties to the country’s conflict to respect its properties and personal, saying such acts violate the Geneva Convention.
Violence broke out in the South Sudan capital, Juba in mid-December last year killing thousands with over a million people displaced, according aid agencies in the country.
The United Nations has launched a massive operation to help 3.2 million people, but is reportedly $781 million short of the $1.27 billion urgently needed by mid of this year.