UNMISS peacekeepers conduct assessment mission to Twic county following recent clashes with Abyei Special Administrative Region

UNMISS protection of civilians Warrap Abyei border clashes conflict displaced OCHA

Sixteen people have been killed while some 50,000 others have been displaced following a recent conflict between the communities of Twic county in Warrap, South Sudan, with their neighbours across the border in the Abyei Special Administrative Region. An assessment team from UNMISS visited Turalei to evaluate immediate security needs and reduce tensions. Photo by Zejin Yin/UNMISS.

21 Feb 2022

UNMISS peacekeepers conduct assessment mission to Twic county following recent clashes with Abyei Special Administrative Region

Zejin Yin

WARRAP— Recent clashes along the border between Warrap state in South Sudan and the Abyei Special Administrative Region, which began in the Agok area of Twic county, have displaced some 50,000 people and led to the deaths of 16 people, including a humanitarian health worker.

“I was taking my child, who was sick, to the hospital, when the violence suddenly erupted and we were forced to return to Turalei,” reveals Maria Lual.

Maria is now sheltering with her child in the county centre. “My baby is still unwell and we don’t have enough food to eat. Sometimes we have to make do with just a single meal per day,” she adds.

The number of displaced persons is still growing; those directly impacted by the conflict are sheltering across various parts of Twic. The need for humanitarian aid, such as food assistance, is, understandeably, proportionately high as well.

Given the fragile situation on the ground, peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) travelled to Turalei on 14 February.

Visiting peacekeepers engaged with local authorities, community leaders and members as well as displaced people to better understand the dynamics of the situation, assess immediate security needs and reduce tensions.

For her part, Anastasie Mukangarambe, the Head of UNMISS Field Office in Kuajok, expressed her condolences to the families of the bereaved while urging communities to refrain from revenge attacks. “We are truly sorry for the toll violence has taken on many families. However, I strongly advise community members to not perpetuate the cycle of violence, and instead, find ways and means to arrive at a peaceful resolution,” stated Ms. Mukangarambe. “UNMISS and humanitarian partners are working with local authorities to ensure that all outstanding issues between conflicting parties are addressed in a consultative manner to arrive at a settlement.”

Governor of Warrap, Aleu Ayieny Aleu, supported Ms. Mukangarambe’s call for calm through his own public statement, highlighting that negotiations are ongoing to resolve the situation.

For their part, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) are currently conducting an emergency assessment to determine urgent humanitarian needs.

Twic county and the Abyei Special Region have been embroiled in land disputes for years. This recent conflict was sparked on account of a survey conducted by the Abyei Special Administrative authorities related to the ownership of the profitable trade hub known as Aneet Market, which, subsequently, led to an escalation of hostilities between the two neighbouring communities.