To boost rule of law, UNMISS hands over police post in Mugwo

unmiss south sudan yei mugwo QIPs quick impact communities protection of civilians rule of law

In Mugwo, an UNMISS-funded police post has given hope to community members that crimes will reduce and prosperity, flourish. Photo by James Sokiri/UNMISS

29 Sep 2023

To boost rule of law, UNMISS hands over police post in Mugwo

James Sokiri

CENTRAL EQUATORIA - “The absence of law enforcement personnel in our area has led to a lot of trouble,” revealed Janethy Maika, a women’s representative from Mugwo payam [administrative division] in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria state.

“Most of our adolescent girls and boys have dropped out of school and picked up bad habits. But today, thanks to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, community members like me are assured that our children and youth will now understand the importance of being law-abiding citizens,” she added.

Ms. Maika was speaking at the handover of a new police post, funded by the UN Peacekeeping mission, where some 80 people, including local authorities, women, youth and men had gathered.

Constructed under the mission’s Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) programme spearheahed by the Protection, Transition and Reintegration Section, the new police post comprises three offices, a counter, and a store, as well as full provisions for detained women, men, and juveniles to have separate cells.

Sonny Onyegbula, Head of the UNMISS Sub-Field Office and Human Rights Officer with the mission, agreed with Ms. Maika.

“I am glad you now have a law-and-order facility close to home. The South Sudanese police will be able to conduct regular patrols along key access routes into and out of Mugwo, including in farming lands, to detect and deter crime,” he assured community members attending the event.

 “This serves as a strong signal to criminals, especially those who commit sexual violence that no crime will go unpunished and is part of our overall efforts to contribute to the protection of civilians across South Sudan,” added Mr. Onyegbula.

For Jose Valente Pimpao, UN Police (UNPOL) Team Leader in Yei, cooperation between police and Mugwo residents is key.

“Communities should be willing to share timely information with law enforcement personnel. If you see something untoward happening, report it immediately because the police can only act once crucial intelligence is shared with them by residents,” Mr. Pimpao explained.

“Such trust and confidence between the police and people will also encourage refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their original settlements,” he continued, while also reinforcing UNPOL’s commitment to building capacities with national counterparts through community policing programmes where members of the population will work jointly with the police to tackle local issues.  

Speaking at the ceremony, Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa, County Commissioner, Yei River County, encouraged the people of Mugwo to coexist peacefully.

“Now is the time to forget the past and forge a future together that is prosperous, has genuine peace, and delivery of services to our people,” he averred, while urging communities to positively contribute to development by using locally generated materials, tools, and labour.

With only two police officers currently stationed here, the plan is for Mugwo to receive reinforcement from Yei to boost law enforcement capabilities.

Mugwo is one of five payams in Yei River County; communities living here have suffered hugely during past civil wars due to conflicts, looting and destruction of properties and sexual violence.