UNMISS skills communities in Nasir on improving relations with uniformed personnel

unmiss south sudan nasir peacebuilding workshop malakal upper nile conflict un united nations un peacekeeping peacekeepers

A two-day workshop on conflict mitigation and management jointly facilitated by UNMISS and Upper Nile state authorities sought to boost trust and confidence among communities in Nasir and South Sudanese uniformed personnel. Photo by Nyang Lieth/UNMISS

15 May 2024

UNMISS skills communities in Nasir on improving relations with uniformed personnel

Nyang Lieth


UPPER NILE – Sharing borders with Ethiopia and located in the middle of the Sobat corridor with neighbouring Jonglei state on one side and counties of Akoka, Melut and Baliet on the others, Nasir in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state has been greatly affected by insecurity.

In February this year, clashes between youth and uniformed personnel are only one incident among many that communities have had to face here.

The fragile situation on the ground has also been exacerbated by an influx of refugees and returnees from Gambella and Sudan.

To boost confidence and improve relationships between community members and South Sudanese uniformed personnel, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) through its Civil Affairs Division, and in partnership with the state Ministry of Peacebuilding, Local Government and Law Enforcement, held a two-day workshop here.  

The dialogue focused on the basic principles of conflict management and mitigation, bringing together some 50 participants, including armed youth, traditional leaders, women’s representatives, members of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) and religious leaders.

After spirited and constructive discussions, youth representative Koang Ruach Deng called for the immediate deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces unified forces to boost security.

“As young people we do not want to carry guns or be caught in clashes. But we need a proper security framework in place so we can all feel safe. Therefore, we call for the deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces,” he stated.

Another youth representative attending the event, Nyamal Gach, says she is heartened by these discussions.

“It is good to sit down together and discuss with our SSPDF brothers about our concerns. These conversations are much more productive in the long run than taking up arms against each other,” she averred.

“Our priority as residents of Nasir town is simple—we want women to be safe; we want children to go to school and complete their education and we want livelihood opportunities. We appreciate our government and UNMISS for giving us this platform to talk amicably,” she added.

For their part, SSPDF personnel who took part in the forum reiterated their commitment to protecting civilians.

“I have been deployed to Nasir now for more than seven years and I take this opportunity to urge all community members and leaders to share the responsibility for sustained peace and security in this town with us. When civilians take up arms, there cannot be any good result. But together, we can make sure that harmony and trust prevail here,” said Ater Bol, an SSPDF personnel.

Jimmy Okumu, a Civil Affairs Officer, reaffirmed UNMISS’ ongoing support to Nasir communities.

“Based on your recommendations, we intend to hold similar workshops in future where we bring together more interlocuters from all payams [administrative divisions] to arrive at locally sustained solutions for the security challenges you face,” he assured.

Nasir county comprises of 15 payams with varied issues such as lack of facilities and services; a shortage of clean drinking water; and cattle raids.