Oct 06, 2016 (YAMBIO) – Ellen Margrethe Løj, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) paid a farewell visit to Yambio over the weekend before leave the country at the end of November.
- The new head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Ellen Margrethe Loj (Photo: UN/Staton Winter)
Speaking to the press after a meeting with government officials, the SRSG said the purpose of her visit to Yambio was to fulfil a promise she made to visit all the South Sudanese states and to see how UNMISS staff and UN agencies are operating. The visit aimed also at assessing the cooperation between UNMISS and UN agencies with the Government of Gbudue State, as several reports say UNMISS patrols was denied access to different areas in the state.
Løj said that, as she is ending her mission as head of UNMISS, she thought of visiting all the states to speak to the citizens, to promote peace and to stop gun fire to give peace a chance which will end suffering of the South Sudanese for over 20 years now.
She added that they had a fruitful meeting with the Acting Governor of Gbudue state Victor Edward Kpiawandu who pledges support to all UN agencies and UNMISS staff to operate freely without hindrance.
Since several months, armed groups have intensified their operations in the state. As a result the state government barred UNMISS access to the conflict affected areas because of deteriorating security situation.
After conducting meeting with the Government Officials, she met with UNMISS staff, UN agencies to thank them for the tireless work they are offering to the people of South Sudan adding that, despite the challenges and killing of humanitarian personnel they should continue to deliver service to the needy people.
Meanwhile, the Acting Governor Kpiawandu appreciated the SRSG’s visit to Yambio even if her last visit before her departure by the end of November. He said the Government of Gbudue State will continue to support UN family and both sides should improve their communications strategy in order address issues arising.
He further urged the outgoing SRSG to consider people of South Sudan and to lobby for peace in South Sudan and continuous international support to the needy people of the South Sudan.
He added that, she should put in her handing over note to remember Western Equatoria citizens for promoting agriculture which feed people in the whole of Sudan during the 21 years of struggle. And that the Western Equatoria is a fertile land which needs investors and training to the farmers to produce more food locally than importing food from outside.
The issue of road construction was on the top of the issues raised to chief of UNMISS as to repair major roads and feeder roads to reach the farmers to bring food to the town.
Minister of Education, Gender, Child and Social Welfare Pia Philip said, UNMISS should consider that engaging youth is a productive activities if UN wants to end conflict or support the people of South Sudan.
“If UN needs to help the people of South Sudan they should embark on productive activities for the youth because the more youth are idle they will continue to create problems and enter the bush for looting on roads, killing and rape," Philip said.