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UN denies harbouring armed criminals in South Sudan

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October 18, 2016 (JUBA) - United Nations mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has denied claims by government that it was hosting armed criminals within its various Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites.

UN peacekeepers in South Sudan with one of their helicopters (UNMISS)

"UNMISS is concerned about recent claims that it is harbouring criminals in its Protection of Civilian (POC) sites. Such statements only serve to discredit the impartial nature of the Mission’s operations and are regrettable,” UNMISS said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Although the world body did not refer to any specific accusation from South Sudan government, its officials, including the country’s information minister had, in the past, accused the six UNMISS PoCs, manned by a 12,000 strong peacekeepers, of harbouring criminals.

The accusation comes on the backdrop of last month’s incident in which 12 civilians were killed near the UNMISS base, prompting the government to suggest the armed men lived in the POC.

Currently, the UN said, there are 202,700 individuals who have taken refuge at UNMISS bases across the country since December 2013.

According to the world body, strict security measures have been put in place to stop infiltration of people into the site, with ammunition.

Persons seeking protection are searched on entry to maintain arm free civilians nature of these sites, said UNMISS in the statement.

"UNMISS wishes to emphasize that it is engaged in the protection of those South Sudanese residing in its PoC sites, and elsewhere, in strict accordance with the terms of its mandate to protect civilians in imminent danger, and to provide these vulnerable populations with life-saving services in close partnership with humanitarian and protection partners," it further stressed.

Relations between UNMISS and Juba government has been rocky since conflict broke out in the young nation in December 2013.

The government accuses peacekeepers of being sympathetic to the armed opposition, allegations that have been proven incorrect. The UN Security Council authorized additional 4,000 in August with a mandate to respond to attacks on civilians, but are yet to deploy due to government’s reluctance to accept the force.

UNMISS has, however, reminded South Sudanese authorities of their primary responsibilities to protect the country’s unarmed civilians.

"In protecting civilians, UNMISS calls upon the cooperation of local communities and the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) which bears the primary responsibility for protecting all South Sudanese citizens," said the UN in its statement.

(ST)

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  • 19 October 2016 10:29, by Akuma

    If UNMISS is not harboring rebels within their camps, then where do the get those military uniforms the give to SPLA forces last week. UNMISS need to be sincere in all their work otherwise they are fueling South Sudan conflicts. They have made South Sudan conflict has their own projects to look for funds to sustain their living.

    • 19 October 2016 10:54, by TRUE WATCHDOG

      I concur with Akuma. There’re so many evidences and eyewitnesses that UNMISS has been accelerating and exacerbating the situation in South Sudan.I wished UNMISS would apologise for presumptuous act in crises of South Sudan.Not only harbouring but also render military and logistics support to rebels.This should be disclosed to the world should they deny their mess!

  • 19 October 2016 12:36, by Equatoria1

    I think it is not about the fact that there are actual gunmen UNMISS Camps. I think the Jenge are blood thirsty and they are not happy that there are survivors from the 2013 Massacre. Now they are hoping that they could give much pressure so that UNMISS would one day hand over all those innocent civilian for killing.
    Dinkas are very sick for sure!

  • 19 October 2016 18:50, by Mr Point

    There is no EVIDENCE that UNMISS has supported armed criminals in the sites where civilians have taken refuge from ethnic cleansing.
    Strict security measures have been put in place to stop infiltration of people into the site, with ammunition.
    Persons seeking protection are searched on entry to maintain arm free civilians nature of these sites.



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