JUBA – South Sudan government has continued its hindrance of free movement of United Nations Mission of South Sudan (UNMISS) peacekeepers, according to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMISS, David Shearer.
In August, UN peacekeepers said they have been blocked from entering Lobonok Payam in Central Equatoria state where the UNMISS said it was establishing a temporary base to combat highway insecurity.
Speaking to reporters in Juba on Tuesday, Shearer said the world mission documented almost 600 incidents of sub-national violence which he said is three time higher than the one for last year.
“From January to July this year, UNMISS documented 575 incidents of sub-national violence – which is three times higher than the number compared to last year,” Shearer told reporters.
“As a result, we are often receiving requests for support from our peacekeepers – from communities around the country to send peacekeepers in to help cool the situation and encourage reconciliation between groups,” he added.
He said the world mission could not however provide support due to government teh army hindrance despite an agreement between the mission and the government to allow free movement for the UNMISS to carry out its mandate.
“In the last few weeks, due to a change in approach by the SSPDF, these kinds of operations have not been able to be put in place. For a number of years, we have had an agreement to notify the South Sudan authorities when our peacekeepers move around the country. We do this because we have a respect for the sovereignty of South Sudan,” he said.
“However, there is no sign of similar respect from the SSPDF for our need to have freedom of movement to protect civilians and to build peace. As a result, we have had to report these persistent obstructions to regional and international players, including the Security Council and the African Union,” he added.
The UN envoy further warned the army’s action “tarnishes the reputation of the SSPDF, and it will have knock-on effects into other areas of cooperation.”
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