South Sudan: UN urges reconciliation as 40 die in ethnic violence in Jonglei
9 December 2011 -
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan today stressed the
need to press ahead with the reconciliation process in Jonglei state where
another outbreak of inter-ethnic violence earlier this week left more than
40 people dead, most of them women, children and the elderly.
The killings on Monday in the villages of Jalle payam (or local district),
Bor South county, and Twic East county underline the importance of the
Jonglei peace process, the UN Mission in South Sudan (
> UNMISS) said in a press
release. Homes were burned and large numbers of livestock stolen during the
UNMISS condemned the violence and urged the Government of South Sudan,
traditional leaders and other authorities to strengthen efforts to bring the
bloodletting to an end and to identify the perpetrators and bring them to
The escalating insecurity has also affected humanitarian access and the flow
of aid, causing assistance at Yida to be disrupted repeatedly.
Intense rivalry between the Luo Nuer and Murle communities in Jonglei, often
over cattle rustling, frequently spark outbreaks of bloody clashes that have
left hundreds dead and thousands displaced this year alone.
"This cycle of violence has to stop," said Hilde Johnson, the Special
Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMISS. "While
respecting their need to protect themselves, the communities of Jonglei
should be encouraged to refrain from mobilizing their fighters since this
will only perpetuate the grisly cycle of mass violence and retaliation."
UNMISS is supporting the church-led Jonglei peace process as well as
preparations for the Luo Nuer-Murle peace conference and the All Jonglei
State Peace Conference in January.
The mission's personnel visited Jalle payam and Bor South county this week
and helped evacuate some of those wounded in the violence to a hospital in
Juba, the capital of South Sudan. UNMISS has also deployed aerial
reconnaissance flights and integrated teams to the area to help stabilize
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (
> UNHCR) today
> voiced grave concern over the plight
of 20,000 refugees in South Sudan who are increasingly at risk as fighting
rages near the border with Sudan.
Melissa Fleming, a UNHCR spokesperson,
> told reporters in Geneva that while
fighting in the Jau border area has not directly affected nearby Yida
refugee settlement, fears of attack have sent some refugees fleeing into the
"The escalating insecurity has also affected humanitarian access and the
flow of aid, causing assistance at Yida to be disrupted repeatedly," she
UNHCR is working with partners to provide emergency services such as food,
water and health care for the refugees, who fled Sudan's Southern Kordofan
region in recent months. Between 60 and 110 people continue to arrive in
Yida every day.
"We fear that the fighting could spread to Yida, which was hit by air
strikes in November. UNHCR is speeding up efforts to relocate the refugees
away from the volatile border, to new sites that can offer more safety and
assistance further inside South Sudan," said Ms. Fleming.
Most refugees have been reluctant to leave Yida, preferring to remain closer
to their homes in Sudan, according to UNHCR. They are also concerned over
the risk of landmines on roads further south.
To ensure safety, the UN Mine Action Centre is carrying out surveys and mine
clearance. UNHCR hopes to relocate the first group refugees willing to move
as soon as it is certain that it is safe to so.
In a related development in eastern South Sudan, refugees are still arriving
at a rate of 650 per day fleeing from neighbouring Sudan's Blue Nile state.
A group of 10,000 refugees were recently identified near Elfoj in Maban
county in South Sudan's Upper Nile state, Ms. Fleming said.
Thousands more are believed to be stranded in remote locations along the
border and UNHCR and partners are working on a new settlement in Maban to
accommodate them, in addition to Doro site, which already hosts 20,000
people who arrived recently from Blue Nile.
In total, South Sudan has received more than 50,000 refugees from Sudan's
Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states in recent months.
Nearly 33,000 Sudanese refugees have gone to neighbouring Ethiopia since
June, most of them having the fled conflict in Blue Nile. They include more
than 18,000 people hosted in two camps and a transit centre, and an
estimated 14,000 living among the host community in border areas.
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Received on Fri Dec 09 2011 - 17:45:36 EST