JUBA – A Norwegian Refugee Council analyst has warned that South Sudan’s ethnic Shilluk community in Upper Nile state’s capital Malakal risks being targeted if United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) peacekeepers handover the camp to government security forces.
Mark Millar, a policy analyst for the NRC in South Sudan said there have been efforts to marginalize and silent the Shilluk people in eastern part of the Nile since the eruption of the conflict in 2013 saying the only remaining Shilluk community in Malakal and the whole east of the Nile are the one being accommodated by UNMISS at Malakal POC.
“There has been a concerted effort to marginalise Shilluk influence on the [Nile’s] east bank [where Malakal is based] since 2013, to the point that the community in the site is the last remaining Shilluk community this side of the Nile,” Millar said, according to the New Humanitarian.
“The possibility that they would be targeted… is very high,” he added.
American researcher Lauren Spink who works for the Washington-based Center for Civilians in Conflict said concerns have in recent months doubled over UN decisions to hand over IDP camps across the country to the government.
“Civilians inside and outside [the camps] have expressed serious concerns about national security forces that have not undergone the security sector reform measures envisioned in the [peace agreement],” Spink said.
Last year, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan said it was re-designating camps and handing them over to government security forces. The world mission said it would redeploy the forces where there are protection needs.
However, this comes as parties to the revitalized peace agreement failed to graduate the necessary unified forces provided for in the revitalized peace agreement. If graduated, that force will ensure civilian areas including important towns are protected.
The security sector reform has also stalled over government claims that there are no funds for the peace process. The government has also complained about the arms embargo which it said is preventing the procurement of guns for the would-bed unified forces.
Sudans Post is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Sudan, South Sudan and East Africa, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the two countries and the region.