United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has condemned a deadly clash inside its civilian protection site in the northern oil rich town of Bentiu that left two people dead.
A group of intoxicated youth, who triggered the fight, turned against the UN police from the Mission that attempted to restore order. The incident also led to the injuring of 8 people including 5 security personnel.
UNMISS said in a statement that the incident was unacceptable since the UN Protection of Civilians sites is meant to provide sanctuary to people fleeing violence and conflict.
“It is unacceptable for community members to commit violence against each other or against peacekeepers who do their best to provide protection to vulnerable displaced families,” said the statement.
A delegation from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), which is in control of the oil rich state, met with community chiefs at the protection site on Sunday, condemning violence between youth and other displaced people and UN personnel, promising assistance to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.
One the fateful Thursday, UN civilian staff met with the family of a victim who had died during the violence from his injuries, to express condolences. The situation turned bad when a group of youths vandalized a UNMISS vehicle, setting it on fire, and also attacked the staff members, hitting one with a stick and hurting another with a spear.
“The youth also turned on Ghanaian peacekeepers who responded to the incident, pelting them with stones, throwing spears and petrol bombs, one of which hit a vehicle and set it on fire”, said UNMISS.
The charged youth also reportedly tried to seize weapons from the peacekeepers and vandalized two guard-posts. Two warning shots were fired into the air to disperse the rioters.
UNMISS said it is going to launch an investigation into the rioting, including a probe into the deaths, with the assistance of community leaders.
As of 7 November, a total of 190,455 civilians were sheltering at various PoC sites on UNMISS bases, with 117,767 in Bentiu alone – the largest population compared to other regions in the country by far.
Civil war erupted in South Sudan in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir disagreed with his former deputy Dr. Riek Machar.
A second peace deal to end the 6 years conflict was signed in September 2018 but the formation of transitional unity government has been postponed twice.