UNMISS redoubles protection efforts in the aftermath of fresh violence in Tambura

unmiss protection of civilians displacement violence conflict intercommunal south sudan tambura women peace security children un united nations peacekeeping peacekeepers

A fresh upsurge of violence in troubled greater Tambura, South Sudan, has led to hundreds being newly displaced. UNMISS peacekeepers are patrolling day and night to deescalate tensions and restore calm, though the situation remains fragile. Photo by Denis Louro/UNMISS

8 May 2024

UNMISS redoubles protection efforts in the aftermath of fresh violence in Tambura

Denis Louro Oliver

WESTERN EQUATORIA – “It’s like a repeated nightmare fleeing armed groups who come into our towns, our villages, our homes and our farms, opening fire and slaughtering women, children, men,” said Lucia Alfred, a mother of eight.

Lucia hails from Dingimo, a village in the greater Tambura region of South Sudan’s Western Equatoria state, where a fresh spate of intercommunal violence in past weeks has led to hundreds of newly displaced people seeking shelter outside the United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s (UNMISS) temporary base here.

Troubled since conflict first erupted here in 2021, Tambura residents are worried about their children’s future.

“As mothers, our hearts are broken,” revealed Lucia. “All we want is for our children to be able to have an education, like every other child in the world.”

UNMISS peacekeepers have been doing everything they can to protect the newly displaced – women, children, and the elderly, who have left everything they own behind, desperate for safety. Local authorities are also actively engaged.

But food is scarce, as is shelter and healthcare and for those affected the situation seems hopeless. However, they are quick to acknowledge that the presence of Blue Helmets is a silver lining.

“Many of us are going hungry; food is a challenge, but we are thankful that UNMISS peacekeepers are making sure we have clean water,” stated Gloria Dario, another displaced person sheltering with her 12 children near the UNMISS temporary base.

“When we see them patrolling day and night, it makes us feel much safer. They also advise us on the security conditions and whether we should move around, which is very helpful,” she added.

According to Papy Christian Tshienda, Acting Head of the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in the state, despite all efforts, the situation on the ground remains fragile.

“We have strengthened our coordination and information gathering abilities on the ground to ensure that we can prevent any further outbreak of violence and have reinforced the number of troops stationed at Tambura,” he revealed.

“Our priority is to demonstrate our presence, deter any further escalations and make sure that displaced people are protected. But tensions remain high."