Home | News    Thursday 3 May 2018

Abide by truce, UN official urges S. Sudan warring parties

May 2, 2018 (JUBA) – All sides involved in South Sudan’s conflict must abide by what they agreed to and have their actions on the ground carefully monitored and scrutinized, David Shearer, the head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said.

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David Shearer (UN photo)

“The intensification of the conflict is having a serious human impact. Hundreds of people are sheltering next to the UN base,” said Shearer.

“We saw tukuls (huts) burnt to the ground. We were told that elderly people and children had been killed and medical clinics ransacked,” he added.

The senior UN official’s comments came in the aftermath of a visit he conducted in Leer and Dublual in the Unity region to see first-hand the impact of the deteriorating security situation on communities.

“I met a little girl who had been shot through her stomach and back. She is just one example of dozens of people injured and killed over recent weeks,” said Shearer, also Special Representative of the Secretary General to the war-torn nation.

“We also know that hundreds, if not thousands, of people have fled into the swamps and are surviving on wild vegetables and fruit,” he stressed.

During the visit, Shearer and his team met with both government and opposition leaders in the area, urging them to lay down their weapons, reconcile, and work together to build durable peace.

He also reminded the warring parties on how the signing of last year’s ceasefire accord had given the peace process momentum, but warned that lack of a political will could undermine the truce.

“Earlier this year it felt like we were moving in the right direction. But after seeing the effects on civilians of this conflict, I believe there is a real risk that the situation will deteriorate further and undermine the chance for lasting peace,” stressed Shearer.

The official, however said, UNMISS would continue to fulfill its mandate.

“Our job is still to protect people and help them get through these dark times so that the peace process can work and we can find a durable solution. We will do all we can to support the people of South Sudan,” assured Shearer.

South Sudan’s civil war has displaced some 4 million people and created a humanitarian crisis. The internal conflict began in 2013 as a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his deputy, former first vice president Riek Machar.

The war has also forced about 2 million people to flee the country and left more than a million others at the verge of starvation, according to the UN.

(ST)