UNMISS peacekeepers protected civilians in Pibor against feared attack
On Thursday afternoon between 800 and 1,000 civilians ran from Pibor town, seeking shelter at what used to be a protection of civilians (PoC) site next to the UNMISS base. The Mission’s peacekeepers beefed up security to protect anybody in the area against a feared attack which ended up not happening.
After clashes between Murle youth groups belonging to the Lango and Kurene clans on 21-22 March, civilians in Pibor panicked out of fear of an imminent attack. While armed civilians took up defensive positions just north of the UNMISS base, hundreds of people, mostly women and children carrying their personal belongings, came running towards the former PoC site.
Noting quite a commotion at the market area of town, the Indian Battalion immediately strengthened security at their Company Support Base, put a Quick Response Team on standby and brought in the fleeing civilians in an orderly manner.
Meanwhile, two UN helicopters and a civilian aircraft were given force protection at the airstrip, enabling them to offload their cargo before taking off.
A couple of hours later, the local governor led an impromptu peace meeting between the two rival youth groups. Tensions subsided, and by 3.30 pm the armed men began to disperse and those seeking shelter returned home.
At the time of writing, the situation in Pibor is reported to be calm, but an UNMISS Quick Response Team remains on standby.