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UN peacekeepers attacked in South Sudan’s Leer area

A woman passes by a peacekeeper inside the Bentiu Protection of Civilians site on 15 February 2016 (UNMISS Photo)
June 4, 2018 (JUBA) - A convoy of international peacekeepers patrolling in the Unity region came under direct attack when they were inspecting the security situation in Leer area, said the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Monday.

In a statement released after the incident, the UNMISS said the attack took place in Rubkway, about 20 km north of Leer town when the convoy, which was heading to Thaker in Mayendit County, stopped briefly to interact with a civilian.

According to the Mission, nobody was harmed or injured by the assailants and no damage was caused to the vehicles.

"UNMISS strongly condemns this attack against its personnel and calls on all parties to respect the freedom of movement of UN personnel carrying out their mandate, and to cooperate with the peacekeepers as they work to protect civilians; monitor human rights; create a conducive environment for delivery of humanitarian aid, and support efforts to restore peace," said the UNMISS.

The statement didn’t identify the attackers but indicated that the patrol was dispatched to the area following reports about villagers fleeing Leer area amid increasing violence against civilians.

Government forces had been accused in the past of attacks on local populations as they are suspected of supporting the rebel fighters.

"The Mission continues to engage with local authorities and to urge the warring parties to stop the fighting and adhere to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed by all parties just over five months ago," further said the statement.

Last year, the UN Security Council condemned an attack against the UNMISS in Leer on 3 May 2017.

The Council recalled that individuals, who, directly or indirectly, engage in attacks against UN missions, other peacekeeping operations or humanitarian personnel, may be designated for targeted sanctions.