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UN confirms peacekeepers withdrawal from POC sites in South Sudan

UNMISS peacekeepers patrols Yei Town on 25 January 2018 (photo UNMISS)September 8, 2020 (JUBA) - The United Nations Spokesman confirmed the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from the Protection of Civilians (POC) sites, saying they would be redeployed in hotspots areas.

In his noon press briefing on Tuesday, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters that the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) withdrawn its troops from the Bor and Wau POC sites and will continue with others as the situation permits.?

The "withdrawing from these sites means that the troops who were assigned to these Protection of Civilians sites can be redeployed to hotspots to protect people whose lives are in immediate danger, in line with the mission’s mandate," he added.

He added that the UN Security Council had been informed about the transformation of POC sites into ordinary camps for displaced persons in a report sent by the mission in September 2019.

"Since that time,?the Mission has been working to gradually transition the sites to more conventional camps for internally displaced people?where humanitarian services will continue," he added.

The decision was made public by UNMISS head David Shearer on 4 September.

According to the UNMISS, the security situation in South Sudan after the signing of the cessation of hostilities agreement on 21 December 2017 and the peace agreement of 12 September 2018.

People in the camps are moving freely each day between the sites and towns?to go to school, shop in the markets and to work.

In return, international officials in Juba say that the repeated clashes between the government forces and the holdout NAS group besides the intercommunal fighting in Jonglei, Lakes and other region require a strong presence of the UNMISS peacekeepers to protect civilians.

(ST)