UNMISS Head of Office in Upper Nile visits Maban, urges renewed peace in the county
“When you hear sounds of ululations in the morning signaling that someone is getting married, then you know that life is returning to normal in Maban,” said newly appointed County Commissioner Peter Alberto.
Commissioner Alberto was speaking during a visit by Leda Limann, Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Malakal, Upper Nile State.
Maban, a county within the Bunj area, has witnessed sporadic outbreaks of violence and clashes between youth groups since December last year. Conflict here interrupted humanitarian operations in several parts of the county which lies nearly 240 kilometers west of the state capital, Malakal, and borders neighboring Ethiopia. South Sudanese staff working with humanitarian agencies and organizations were targeted as well.
Ms. Limann’s visit was in line with the UN Peacekeeping mission’s efforts to promote peace and reconciliation among local communities.
She was received with cheerful song and dance – a probable indication that relative peace and calm is returning to the area. Local women gifted her with traditional garments as they welcomed her to the county headquarters.
“I urge the county administration to work closely with the state government to ensure all citizens as well as humanitarian and nongovernmental organization staff operating within Maban are secure said Ms. Limann and appealed to feuding parties to respect the peace agreement.
For his part, Commissioner Alberto informed about plans to hold an inclusive peace conference later this month. “Plans are underway for us to host the Greater Maban Peace Conference that will bring together not just the people in the county, but also from Juba and Malakal so that we can solidify the work that has already begun,” he said.
This development comes in the wake of a visit by James Tor Munybuny, Upper Nile Deputy in April 2021. Honourable Munybuny led a delegation to Maban to resolve the conflict that had displaced thousands. This visit led to the signing of a resolution that saw a gradual cessation of hostilities.
UNMISS peacekeepers from Rwanda also contributed to reducing tensions here through regular patrols, engaging with local communities to build confidence and facilitate humanitarian access, while ensuring that returnees remain encouraged to come back to their original settlements here.
Apart from interactions with county officials, Ms. Limann met with representatives of humanitarian organizations based in Bunj and Rwandan peacekeepers.