UNMISS staff members donate clothes to ex-rebels
30 March 2012 – UNMISS national staff members based in Malakal donated used clothing to former members of a rebel militia group in Upper Nile State who recently accepted a presidential amnesty.
The donation occurred at the Malakal barracks of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and was witnessed by the peacekeeping mission's Upper Nile State Coordinator Seth Kumi, UN police advisors and UNMISS military liaison officers.
Led by Lt. Col. William Gatlog Jock, the 19 ex-rebels handed over their guns last month at the headquarters of the SPLA's Division One in the Upper Nile State town of Renk and agreed to integrate themselves into the national army. They were later transferred to the state capital Malakal.
The chairman of the UNMISS National Staff Association chapter in Malakal hailed the former rebels, who once belonged to a militia group headed by the ex-SPLA commander Gordon Kong, for abandoning their insurgency against the South Sudanese government.
"We the UNMISS National staff have collected this little contribution as a sign of our brotherhood between us," said Isaac Kut. "We all belong to this nation."
The commander of SPLA forces in the Upper Nile State capital in turn congratulated the UNMISS national staff members for their charitable gesture in favor of the former rebels.
"We don't consider (the former rebels) as foreigners," said Lt. Col. William Mayen. "They are our brothers because they are southerners."
The ex-insurgents had previously operated along the international border between Sudan and South Sudan, and Lt. Col. Mayen urged all current members of rebel militia groups to follow the example of their onetime comrades-in-arms and call off their uprising.