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UNMISS withdraws troops from protection sites in South Sudan

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UN peacekeeper keeps watch inside a Protection of Civilians sites, in Juba as a UN Security Council delegation meets with the IDPs on 3 September 2016 (UNMISS Photo)September 4, 2020 (JUBA) - The UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) decided to withdraw its troops from the Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites which will become from now on words displacement camps under the protection of the government security forces.

Following the eruption of violence across on 15 December 2013 in the country the UNMISS decided to establish the POC sites to protect thousands of civilians in imminent physical danger who poured into UN bases seeking protection.

In a press conference held on in Juba on 4 September, David Shearer UNMISS head announced the withdrawal of peacekeepers from the POC sites which will be camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

"After careful planning going back almost a year, UNMISS has begun to progressively withdraw its troops and police from the Bor and Wau POCs, leading to a situation today where there are no longer any of those uniformed forces inside those sites or in the guard towers around them," said Shearer.

To justify the withdrawal, he said they believe there is no longer any threats to the security of civilians in the country as it was the case before. He further stressed that this will allow them to redeploy peacekeepers "to hotspots where people’s lives are in immediate danger," he said referring to Jonglei where chronic tribal fighting taking place.

According to the UNMISS chief, the withdrawal is effective now in Wau and Bor. The remaining sites are in Juba, Bentiu and Malakal. He did not say when this process will be finalized.

He repeated several times during the press conference that "the newly named IDP camps will not be closed, nor will people be forced to leave".

(ST)

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