December 27, 2011 (JUBA) – The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Tuesday urged the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) to take all measures necessary to protect civilians in Jonglei state.
UNISS says its air patrols last week identified “thousands of armed Lou Nuer youth preparing to attack Murle communities near Likuangole in Jonglei state.”
Hilde Johnson, the special representative for the secretary general of UNMISS remarked on Tuesday, “I am deeply concerned to learn of reports of this imminent large scale attack on civilians in Jonglei State. The Government must act now if we are to avert a major tragedy.”
Johnson said UNMISS has reinforced its peacekeeper presence in key areas in Jonglei, warning that their resources are limited.
Johnson also observed that over recent months the mission has been deploying its limited resources to reinforce efforts to prevent and mitigate conflict in Jonglei.
Aleu Ayeny Aleu, a senior member of the South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), who is currently a caretaker of the Specialised Security Committee in the National Legislative Assembly, observed that UNMISS has a mandate to protect civilians from the “imminent” security threat.
Alue also said GoSS has always protected the civilians of Jonglei and that the national assembly has recently recommended the deployment of more police and troops to insecure areas of the state.
UNMISS also continues to support and promote reconciliation between the various communities, and in particular the inclusive peace process led by the Sudan Council of Churches.
Johnson said that GoSS must increase efforts “to prevent a tragedy and avert large-scale violence”.
Both Aleu and Johnson were reacting to reports that Lou Nuer, an ethnic group prevalent in Jongeli, particularly around Uror and Akobo, staged an attack on a neighbouring Murle ethnic community based in Pibor.
Pigi county of Jonglei state has been subject to recent insecurity with an indiscriminate shooting at a church on 24 Decemeber, perpetrated by the South Sudan army and the recent killing of rebel leader, George Athor.