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58 abducted women, children reunite with families in S. Sudan

April 4, 2021(JUBA) - A total of 58 women and children abducted during last year’s vicious intercommunal fighting in South Sudan’s Jonglei State have reunited with their families, the United Nations mission in the country (UNMISS) said.

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David Shearer UNMISS head briefs the Security Council on 26 September 2017 (UN photo)

The exchange of abducted women and children came following a community-led goodwill agreement between the Lou Nuer, Murle and Dinka Bor ethnic communities, according to UNMISS.

Intensive efforts to broker peace between the three communities have been underway since December 2020, backed by UNMISS working together with agencies supported by the United Kingdom and United States.

At a recent peace conference in Pieri, traditional leaders, women, youth and cattle camp leaders discussed compensation for lives lost and the return of abducted women and children.

The result reportedly led to UNMISS helicopters shuttling between Pibor, Pochalla, Pieri and Juba to pick up groups of women and children and return them to their communities.

The victims of abduction are receiving support from Save the Children, Grassroots Empowerment and Development Organization (GREDO) and Community Action Organization (CAO).

“Abductions are a horrific aspect of conflict in this area,” said David Shearer, the head of the UN mission in the young nation.

He added, “However, the agreement reached to release abducted women and children is an essential step to build trust and avoid the cycle of revenge. I applaud all those involved for their efforts to reunite these innocent victims with their families.”

UNMISS said an estimated as many as 686 women and children were abducted during the extreme violence between these communities in Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) between January and August 2020.

According to previous reports, the routine of intercommunal clashes in many parts of South Sudan prevails due to lack of an efficient justice system in the young nation.

(ST)