At UN Security Council:
“Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping offered after briefing the UN Security Council that: “a very serious crisis and one revealing of serious ethnic tensions in the first place, but of course, tensions which are revealing of underlying very deep causes for ongoing conflict or potential conflict within the country.” It appears that the UN Security Council will remain seized of the matter – translated that means no further action now but more prepared to take further steps if events warrant.
Humanitarian Crisis Continues - Confirming Numbers Killed & Displaced:
The attack by armed Lou Nuer youth on 23 December resulted in displacing an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 people who fled the town fearing for their lives. UNMISS states that it is “too early to confirm the casualties.” However, from our source Bill Andress, Sudan Advocacy Action Forum, Trinity Sudan Ministry, the estimate of killed is around 1,500 with many still in danger from the humanitarian emergency as well as pockets of fighting. Read - http://diplomaticallyincorrect.org/films/blog_posts
UNMISS is reinforcing its presence in key areas and is conducting daily land and air patrols to deter further violence in the area. Such observations indicate the bulk of the Lou Nuer youth who attacked Pibor had moved away from the town and civilians are returning. Currently, 500 IDPs have returned to the town and thousands are expected in the coming days.
At a center in Pibor town, about 180 unaccompanied and orphaned children have returned from the bush. Most of them lost their parents during the raids.
Similarly, many parents have lost contact with their children. Agod Korok a resident of Pibor fled when attackers raided her village. She became separated from her children and does not know where they are. “I have lost three children in the bush, when we were attack in Bertet, and I don’t know weather they are alive or death, I came here to look for them.”
People who returned from hiding in the bush are faced with a lack of food, clean water and shelter. The UN humanitarian organizations say the situation remains grim and are launching a massive emergency humanitarian operation to provide immediate and adequate assistance to the victims of the two communities. “We are in need of food because we have to survive, we don’t know about our other brother weather they are still surviving in the bush or not, we need food to eat.”
Children Clinging to Dead Mothers for Days:
A center to deliver aid and reunite families is run by volunteers. Often with such attacks, women and children are the most vulnerable. If they are not killed, they are abducted. Rev. Abraham Korok Kutura, a volunteer at the center, “All the people are in the bushes and most of the casualties are women and children. The children you are seeing here some of them where found laying on the back of their dead mothers in the bush they have spend three days in the bush with the bodies of their mothers.”
Jonglei has seen a series of reprisal attacks between the two communities, which have a history of animosity over grazing land, water sources and cattle raids. The recent attack on the Murle is believed to be an act of revenge for an attack in August by the rival tribe.
In accordance with its mandate, UNMISS is continuing its support to the government to discharge its primary reasonability to protect its civilians.
“I think the problem we faced in this particular region of Jonglei State was one of access, because there are no roads, because of insufficient helicopters. So we did reinforce our available staff there. The Government of South Sudan itself is trying to do the same, but facing the same constraints,” according to Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping. “We do what we can with what we have, and indeed we protected several hundred Murle people who were within the village concerned, that is Likuangole, and then Pibor; Pibor, where with the help of the South Sudanese forces we effectively prevented an attack by Lou Nuer, a frontal attack on the city. The United Nations do not urge people to flee, but it is their duty to warn people that there is a threat coming from this direction; so many people going in that direction, possibly intending to push further, but not to urge people to flee. That is for people to decide. But indeed those people who decided to stay under the protection of UNMISS were indeed protected as well as some people who were injured; 75 or 80 whom we evacuated by helicopter.”
While the UN and related agencies as the WFP (World Food Program) continued to urge more and provide essentials to a desperate population, both at the UN Security Council and on the ground resolution to help build a more lasting peace and coexistence is sought. Here again Bill Andress offered some useful perspectives: - http://diplomaticallyincorrect.org/films/blog_post/south-sudan-causes-for-conflict-resolution/43404
By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey
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