Investigation into November conflict begins in Unity

16 Dec 2011

Investigation into November conflict begins in Unity

15 December 2011 - In tackling inter-clan conflict in Unity State, the state government set up a committee today in the capital Bentiu to investigate last month's clashes between youths from Rubkona and Koch counties that led to the deaths of an estimated 14 people.

State Minister of Information and Communications Gideon Thoar Kon said the Rubkona and Koch county commissioners would lead the investigation.

"We need to be tolerant and live together as one people," the minister said. "The government will decisively and appropriately deal with the perpetrators once the findings are presented."

Reasons for the violence, which began at the end of marital rites in Boaw, Rubkona County, were yet to be confirmed, said Minister Kon.

Residents said they were worried about a recurrence due to an absence of police in the area. In the past, human rights groups have attributed continued violence between communities to a lack of security systems to deter attacks.

Separately, a two-day workshop on the role of the legislative assembly in protection and promotion of human rights, organized by UNMISS, began today in Bentiu.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, which was attended by over 20 legislators, Brigadier Simon Maguek Gai said human rights protection and promotion was a national duty for all lawmakers.

"Accusations and counter accusations of human rights violations by SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army) and some officials of South Sudan in the past were as a result of mistakes," Speaker Gai said.

He urged his colleagues to improve their knowledge of human rights so that they were better able to enact laws and conventions on human rights.

UNMISS Unity State Coordinator Brigitte Oederlin reiterated the UN's commitment to the development of South Sudan.

The UNMISS mandate, she said, was peacebuilding, conflict mitigation, protection of civilians, human rights promotion and support for the government to strengthen its rule of law, security, justice and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration sectors.