April 18, 14 (PULUK) – The Governor of Jonglei state said armed youth first visited his residence in the capital, Bor while demonstrating against the presence of the 5,000 Nuer displaced people sheltered at the United Nations base, but left on learning he was not home.
“This was an organised attack by youth. They came shooting randomly to the air, they came up to my gate but the were told that the governor was around. They turned immediately singing and they went to UN where they exchanged bullets with UN soldiers,” Lt. Gen John Kong Nyuon Sudan Tribune Friday.
“My government condemned this killing of the innocent people and UN peacekeepers in Bor. It is unacceptable”, he stressed.
The world body said the protestors used the petition as pretense to get close to the base before forcing their way into the camp and opened fire before they were forced back by the Indian peacekeepers, deployed there as part of the UN mission.
The death toll remains unclear. Medical sources told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that 30 people were killed. However, while Ateny Wek Ateny, the spokesperson for South Sudan’s president said 48 people died, unconfirmed sources say the final number of fatalities could be higher.
Some protestors told Sudan Tribune that they had intended to deliver the petition, which demanded that the 5,000 mainly Nuer civilians peacefully be relocated out of Jonglei, but their non-violent demonstration was hijacked by armed youth.
The petition, a copy of which Sudan Tribune obtained, claimed that members of the Nuer White Army, a group of armed civilians who have fought alongside the rebels, were allegedly in the UN compound in Bor.
UN CONDEMNS ATTACK
The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon said in a statement on Friday that the attack could constitute a “war crime”.
Members of the Security Council condemned in the “strongest” terms these acts and underscored that attacks on civilians and UN peacekeepers may constitute a war crime.
“The members of the Security Council called on the Government of South Sudan to immediately take steps to ensure the safety of all civilians and UNMISS Protection of Civilian sites in South Sudan, to swiftly investigate these incidents, and to bring the perpetrators of these egregious acts to justice,” partly read a UN statement.
They further called on both parties to allow UNMISS to fully implement its mandate, pledging full support for the mission peacekeepers in their protection of civilian roles.
The Security Council members, however, called on all parties in the South Sudanese conflict to refrain from actions or statements that could further escalate the situation.
A military intelligence source told Sudan Tribune that extra soldiers had been deployed to guard the UN base in Bor to protect it from further attack.
“The army will conduct a civilian disarmament campaign within the town,” he said.