Wednesday, February 20, 2013

United Nations Urges Jonglei to End Cycle of Violence

South Sudan: UN envoy urges communities in Jonglei to end cycle of violence

Special Representative for South Sudan Hilde F. Johnson. UN Photo/Isaac Billy

20 February 2013 – The top United Nations official in South Sudan is urging the communities in the eastern state of Jonglei to break the cycle of violence, following a “very serious” attack and cattle raid, while UN and local officials are poised to distribute humanitarian aid to thousands of people affected by the fighting.

“The main purpose of my visit today is to (meet) the people and express my most sincere condolences to those who have lost their loved ones,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson, said during yesterday’s visit.

According to media reports, more than 100 people were killed and many others injured in an armed attack on a migrating group of people from the town of Walgak.

While in Walgak, Ms. Johnson met with people wounded during the attack and other community members, including County Commissioner Goi Jooyu Youl. She encouraged residents to contain their anger and frustration, and to give peace a chance.

Following a humanitarian needs assessment, aid would be delivered in a few days to about 10,000 people, she said.

Ms. Johnson, accompanied by other senior officials from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), including Force Commander Maj. Gen. Delali Johnson Sakyi, described the 8 February attack as “very serious” and said it threatened the stability of the entire state of Jonglei.

“We are very worried about this,” Ms. Johnson told a group in the state capital of Bor following a meeting with Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk, who vouched his government would “do its best to prevent further attacks.”

UNMISS, which is headed by Ms. Johnson, has been working with local officials since the attack to ascertain what happened.

The Mission would like to see stability in Jonglei state, she stated, noting that it is looking at what it can do under the current circumstances to end the cycle of violence. At the same time, she underscored that “significant efforts” are needed from the government and community leaders to now ensure stability.

Ms. Johnson was slated to travel to Pibor County today to meet with local officials, traditional chiefs and communities, and to discuss ways to counter cattle raiding and other forms of insecurity.

Amnesty International Urges South Sudan to Investigate Killings

By Jared Ferrie - Feb 20, 2013

South Sudan should arrest members of the security forces who killed 11 protesters in December in Western Bahr El Ghazal state, Amnesty International said.

The killings and subsequent “arbitrary arrests” of “scores” of people accused of instigating the protests have heightened tensions in the area, the London-based human rights group said. While video footage shows officers firing on unarmed protesters, no members of the security forces have been arrested, it said.

“Those responsible for unlawful killings, including the security forces responsible for killing protesters, must promptly be held to account,” Amnesty’s Africa director, Netsanet Belay, said today in an e-mailed statement.

Government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin didn’t answer calls seeking comment.

The protests began after the state government decided to relocate the administrative headquarters of Wau County from the city of Wau, the state capital, to Bagari, a town 19 kilometres (12 miles) away. During the violence, more than 5,000 people took shelter in a United Nations peacekeepers’ camp.

Hilde Johnson, who heads the UN Mission, told reporters in Juba on Feb. 15 that the national parliament’s investigations committee should “complete its work with urgency.”

The UN is “very concerned about the increasing number of prolonged arrests,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jared Ferrie in Juba, South Sudan, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at

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