Stop ‘recruiting’ youth for violence, UN tells Nuer, Shilluk

By William Madouk Garang          

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has appealed to Shilluk and Nuer communities to stop mobilizing young people for violence and instead embrace peaceful means to address any grievance.

The UN mission said they are deeply concerned about emerging report of violence in Fashoda County of Upper Nile State, between both communities which is impacting lives of civilians, with reports of further displacements into Malakal and Kodok towns, where the situation remains tense and volatile.

“Tensions and sporadic violence between different groups that started in these areas in August 2022 have resulted in the displacement of thousands of people, as well as harassment and killings of others, and the destruction of property,” the UN mission said in a statement.

“The Mission appeals to those who mobilize the youth for violence in both communities to stop such mobilization, and instead embrace peaceful means to address any grievances,” it added.

The Peace mission further called on government, key community leaders and elders from both Shilluk and Nuer groups, in Jonglei and Upper Nile states to use their influence to stop the brutal violence and prevent further suffering of civilians.

“UNMISS is further urging the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces, SSPDF, based in Kodok town to intervene urgently to de-escalate the violence” the statement added.

UNMISS also urged the IDPs population in the Malakal PoC site, to exercise restraint and not get drawn into this latest flare-up in violence.

“In light of the ongoing killings and abuse of innocent civilians, we believe that there will be consequences for those who continue to perpetrate this violence” it continued.

The Mission said it continues to safeguard humanitarian access, establish temporary operating bases and intensify patrols in hotspot areas to deter violence.

“UN personnel will continue to work with political and traditional leaders to promote dialogue and inter-communal confidence-building, and support efforts toward reconciliation and durable peace building” said the Mission.

According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ report, continued fighting among armed groups in the area have displaced 8,000 civilians in Fashoda County.

UN agency said armed youth locally known as the white Army are behind the attacks and burning villages including Kodok and other locations.

OCHA said since the conflict started along River Nile in mid-August, over 18,000 civilians have sought shelter at Malakal PoC, adding that the IDPs’ situation between two communities remains tense.

It stated that the situation is overwhelming and that additional supplies and capacity would be needed to respond to the conflict-affected population.

However, Kitgwang Declaration under Simon Gatwech and his former ally Johnson Olony of Agwelek are locked up in a fierce blame game over who bear the responsibility for the atrocities committed against civilians in Upper Nile State.

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