UNMISS assesses security in Ayod, Jonglei State

6 Feb 2012

UNMISS assesses security in Ayod, Jonglei State

3 February 2012 - To assess the security situation in Jonglei State, where members of the Lou Nuer and Murle communities have been carrying out retaliatory attacks, UNMISS officials conducted a one-day mission today to Ayod County.

The assessment team of UNMISS military observers, human rights, civil affairs and public information representatives met with county commissioner Brig. James Mawic Makuac.

The county commissioner informed the team that Ayod, where thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have sought refuge, was calm. No attacks had been reported since the last confrontation between the two communities on 16 January in neighbouring Duk County.

But he noted that about four individuals believed to be Murle had been spotted near the border between Ayod and Duk-Uror counties two weeks before, causing widespread panic among the native Lou Nuer of Ayod County.

Brig. Makuac expressed concern over some 6,225 IDPs in Ayod from neighbouring counties, who were in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Ayod County borders Duk and Uror in the south, Nyirol in the east, Pigi in the north and Fangak in the north-west.

"I am in constant contact with my fellow commissioners to have a common understanding," he said. "Meanwhile, we are to sensitize the communities for peaceful co-existence."

The commissioner cautioned that local communities faced food shortages due to crop failure in the previous season.

Separately, the commissioner said that about 900 former rebel militia members aligned to the Late Gen. George Athor had reported back to Ayod in January. They were awaiting official re-integration into the Sudan People's Liberation Army – the Republic of South Sudan's armed forces.

These former militia, Brig. Makuac said, were welcomed back home based on the general amnesty issued by the President Salva Kiir on the eve of South Sudan's independence.