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Sudan Tribune

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South Sudan risks more ethnic violence, UN envoy tells Security Council

By Julius N. Uma

March 15, 2012 (JUBA) — The UN Secretary-General’s Special
Representative for South Sudan on Thursday expressed fears of more
ethnic violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, after it emerged that
tribal militias could have seem to have acquired modern weapons,
communications equipment and appear well organized.

Hilde Johnson
Hilde Johnson
This notable trend, Hilde F. Johnson said, had resulted in to worse ethnic violence reported in recent months within the region.

“We have seen armed groups with uniforms, in formation, with extremely
advanced weaponry and very well organized,” Johnson told a media
briefing at the UN headquarters in New York.

“So it is not cattle raiding any more, these are historical
traditions that have [been] permeated with new and modern technology,”
added.

In recent months, Jonglei, South Sudan’s most populous state has been
wracked by bloody violence between the Lou Nuer and Murle; two
communities with a history of cattle rustling between them.

However, Johnson, who had earlier held a close-door meeting with
members of the Security Council, said these are “different and
difficult conflicts to resolve,” saying it requires a coherent peace
process.

The SRSG also briefed the Security Council on the ongoing disarmament
process in Jonglei, officially launched on Monday by South Sudan
President, Salva Kiir. The UN has already expressed concern on the
process, agitating for a peaceful and non-violent exercise that
respects the rights of the population.

Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General has commended the
governments of Sudan and South Sudan for the progress made in
post-independence talks, after both parties struck an agreement on
citizenship status and border demarcation.

“Coming to an agreement on the status of nationals of each state and the demarcation of the common boundary is an important step forward
and an encouraging manifestation of both parties’ spirit of
cooperation and partnership,” a statement from the Secretary General’s
spokesperson partly reads.

Ki-moon also commended the Thabo Mbeki-led African Union’s High-Level
Implementation Panel over what he described as its tireless efforts to
conclude the negotiations between the two States.

The Secretary General has further welcomed the planned summit between
the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, and his South Sudan
counterpart, Salva Kiir, to sign the agreements, urging the duo to
urgently resolve all other outstanding matters for a peaceful and
prosperous future.

(ST)