UNMISS follow-up patrol to Twic County assesses security situation, finds safe but precarious conditions
WARRAP- A United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) joint patrol team recently revisited communities in Twic County following spats of insecurity in the area earlier this year.
“Since June, the security situation has remained stable, but internally displaced persons, particularly women, children, and the elderly, continue to face grave humanitarian challenges, with limited supplies of food and medicines. The rainy season looks set to make their situation worse,” said Chier All Madut Chier Rehan, Coordinator of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) based in Twic.
Conflicts between communities in Twic and the Abyei Administrative Area were sparked in February by a land survey to determine land ownership of the Aneet market. Numerous skirmishes followed, leading to significant rise of the number of internally displaced persons, currently more than 800,000.
Since then, the peacekeeping mission has consistently deployed uniformed and civilian staff to the region to carry out its mandates and monitor the security situation. The objective of these activities is to foster an environment conducive to peaceful dialogues and consultations, resulting in long-term coexistence between the two parties.
“We are prepared for dialogue with our neighbors.” the Executive Director of Twic County, Malek Ring, stated, adding that chiefs and citizens alike have been urged to comply with a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed in April.
The possibility of holding a peace conference between the Twic and Abyei communities has been discussed, but Mr. Ring, referring to the fact that border issues are involved, informed the visiting patrol team that the root causes must be addressed at the national level.
Getting together to discuss our issues and disputes openly at the same table is, however, always a good idea,” “he said.
Edwin Njonguo, a Civil Affairs Officer serving with the UN peacekeeping mission, applauded the government and local authorities for their efforts to bring peace to the local level while emphasizing that these results must be sustained to achieve genuine harmony.
“Please continue your successful initiatives and collaborate with neighboring communities. We are always available to assist the government and the people in achieving lasting peace,” he emphasized.
Constantly engaging with the government and local communities, UNMISS continues to work to create conditions conducive for humanitarian aid to be delivered to the internally displaced persons in the area, with the longer-term goal of making it possible for everyone to return to their homes.