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Fighting breaks out in outskirts of Juba, South Sudan – UN Mission confirms


NEW YORK – The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Monday confirmed that fighting broke out on Sunday at a site meant for the protection of civilians, adjacent to the UN House premises on the outskirts of the capital, Juba.

UNMISS in a statement made available to UN correspondents in New York, said no fewer than 60 people, mainly civilians were injured in the rioting, including four who were said to be in serious condition.

It stated that two armed UN police officers also suffered minor injuries in the melee.

UNMISS said that tear gas and warning shots were fired to halt the rioting.

It stated that by late afternoon on Sunday, however, the situation was brought under control.

The mission said it was investigating the cause of the rioting, and two suspects had been detained by UN Police on suspicion of allegedly instigating the violence.

An estimated 11,000 civilians are being protected by the UN Mission at that site with more than 100,000 civilians being housed at sites for the protection of civilians nationwide.

Aid agencies in South Sudan have reached 3.5 million of the 3.8 million people targeted with some form of aid this year.

The agencies have received 61 per cent of the 1.8 billion dollars requested, but 637 million dollars is still required to keep prioritised and life-saving humanitarian aid operations going until the end of the year.

NAN recalls that on May 27, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to extend UNMISS’s mandate.

The resolution also changes the focus of the UN Mission’s mandate from promoting development and nation-building in the young country to protecting civilians and ending the violence in South Sudan.

UNMISS has been protecting a steadily rising number of civilians who have fled to its bases around the country in the five-and-a-half months since the violence began.

In spite of a ceasefire agreement signed on May 9, there are between 75,000 and 80,000 displaced people currently sheltering inside UN bases.

In the resolution, the Council emphasised that the protection of civilians must be given priority in decisions about the use of available capacity and resources within the mission.

The council also condemned “in the strongest terms” attacks on and threats made to UNMISS personnel and UN facilities, and stressed that such attacks might constitute war crimes.

UN peacekeeping Chief Hervé Ladsous said the new mandate formalises activities that the peacekeepers had been trying to carry out since South Sudan plunged into violence in mid-December.

The council also endorsed recommendations made by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a recent report, to increase the overall force levels of UNMISS to support its restructured mandate.

In December, the Security Council increased the strength of UNMISS troops from about 7,000 to more than 12,000.

The surge will include about 2,500 peacekeepers, who will protect ceasefire monitors.

The resolution also expresses support for ceasefire agreements signed in January and earlier this month, and calls for their “immediate and full implementation”.

The Security Council vowed to “consider all appropriate measures” against parties who undermine peace and security – a reference to the possible imposition of sanctions. (NAN)

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