UNMISS Force Commander assesses security in Malakal

21 Nov 2011

UNMISS Force Commander assesses security in Malakal

18 November 2011 – Assessing the security situation following recent airstrikes by Sudanese forces and rebel militia group attacks in South Sudanese border areas, UNMISS Force Commander Maj. Gen. Moses Bisong Obi completed a two-day visit today to the Upper Nile State capital of Malakal.

The Force Commander was accompanied by Brig. Gen. Majier Deng from Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) headquarters in Juba.

The aim of his visit was to acquaint himself with the overall situation of UNMISS troops and their interaction with the SPLA as well as local authorities in Upper Nile, Maj. Gen. Obi said during a meeting with UN agency heads, UNMISS staff and SPLA military personnel.

"We want to communicate our mission mandate concept to the SPLA so that they get to know it in order to have a very smooth working environment," the Force Commander said.

He urged UNMISS troops to interact with local authorities and execute the mission mandate accordingly. "The new UNMISS mandate is to support the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and to protect civilians."

Maj. Gen. Obi said UNMISS would work closely with the government in ensuring the presence of UNMISS troops where they were needed.

UNMISS troops were deployed to Jonglei State during tribal clashes between the Lau Nuer and Murle in August.

The Force Commander said UNMISS would also continue to support capacity building of the South Sudan Police Services in crime control.

SPLA Commander Maj. Gen. Johnson Guony expressed appreciation for UNMISS' role in evacuating civilians injured during recent airstrikes by Sudanese forces to Malakal Teaching Hospital.

Maj. Gen. Guony said the SPLA would continue to cooperate with UNMISS, calling on the mission to mediate peace talks between rebel militia groups and the government.

He added that the SPLA would not allow armed Arabs nomads to enter the territory of South Sudan with their guns during the dry season (November to April) in search of grazing land.