UNMISS visits Walgak: Growing population, scarce resources, recurring intercommunal violence

unmiss south sudan jonglei akobo intercommunal violence protection of civilians returnees internally displaced persons humanitarian

When UNMISS and South Sudanese authorities visited remote Walgak, they found a rapidly growing community facing multiple serious challenges. Photos: Mach Samuel/UNMISS

20 Feb 2024

UNMISS visits Walgak: Growing population, scarce resources, recurring intercommunal violence

Mach Samuel/Filip Andersson

JONGLEI – Imagine a tiny, remote town in a poverty-stricken region where basic services are few and far between. Add to it some 20,000 recent returnees, having arrived as refugees from Sudan (mostly) and Ethiopia, and you are likely to get a rough picture of the humanitarian and security situation in Walgak, some 160 kilometres west of Akobo.

So did a visiting delegation made up of representatives from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), state authorities and national politicians.

Everyone they met with, be they internally displaced persons, traditional chiefs, women or youth, told them about the challenges facing residents struggling to make ends meet: shortages of food, drinking water and medicines, coupled with the insecurity caused by cattle raids, abductions and killings. Reaching a hospital may involve walking for three days to Akobo.

“You can see the suffering for yourselves. You can see everything that is not here, and how isolated the community is,” said Puok Nyang Tutjiek, Commissioner of Akobo County, who appealed to national authorities, UNMISS and humanitarian actors for urgent assistant to reduce insecurity and human misery, and to boost efforts to achieve peace and development.

Bol Duop Nyuot, a member of the national parliament and part of the visiting delegation, pledged to raise the multiple issues with his colleagues.

“I urge you all to keep calm, despite everything. You should all live in peace, and we will address the intercommunal violence,” he said.

On her part, Geetha Pious, Head of the peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Bor, assured that the findings on the ground will be relayed to all stakeholders.

“As UNMISS, we remain your steadfast partner. You can count on us to continue to work for and with the people of South Sudan to build the durable peace you all deserve,” she said.