Joint Defence Board visits Tambura and Namutina, conducts joint patrol with UNMISS

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UNMISS recently facilitated air travel for the Joint Defence Board to Tambura and Namutina to enable them to see firsthand the impact of ongoing conflict here. Photo by Phillip Mbugo/UNMISS.

24 Sep 2021

Joint Defence Board visits Tambura and Namutina, conducts joint patrol with UNMISS

Phillip Mbugo

Madelina Marko, a 92-year-old, is deeply disturbed by the ongoing conflict in and around Tambura, Western Equatoria.

“I have lived a long life,” says Madelina. “But despite everything my country has gone through, including civil war, I have never seen a situation like the one currently happening in our state. People—women, men, young children—are suffering. There has been too much loss of life and property.”

Madelina was speaking to a delegation from the Joint Defence Board, who recently visited Namutina and Tambura to see firsthand the impact of ongoing conflict between armed groups in and around Tambura which has caused significant harm, including the killing, and injuring of civilians, the displacement of more than 80,000 people, destruction of property, and disruption of humanitarian activities.

This important visit was facilitated by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which is working with all stakeholders, including the government to stabilize the situation and protect communities.

Apart from meeting affected community members, the delegation went on patrol with UNMISS peacekeepers.

According to Lieutenant General Wizely Welebe Samson, Team Leader of the Joint Defence Board, there is an immediate need to quell future conflict and provide humanitarian assistance to the newly displaced.

“We are aware that the presence of the Joint Defence Board in Tambura has been instrumental in bringing about a relative peace in the past week. Our job is to work with all parties to make sure this fragile stability is consolidated, and humanitarian agencies can come in to deliver much-needed succor to the displaced,” he stated.  

For its part, following the initial upsurge of violence here, UNMISS immediately deployed boots on the ground and set up a temporary operating base which enables peacekeepers to carry out patrols to deter conflict.

Currently, Blue Berets are providing protection to more than 9,000 displaced people who have sought refuge, facilitating the safe collection of food and water by local communities, and supporting engagements with political and traditional leaders to promote dialogue and reconciliation.

Food aid by humanitarian agencies has reached more than 50,000 newly displaced people in September 2021 and UNMISS has facilitated this by providing force protection to aid convoys.