Home ama UNMISS force commander visits maper as cross-border clashes continue

UNMISS force commander visits maper as cross-border clashes continue

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Since last year, intercommunal conflict between the Pakam and Luanyjang communities fromRumbek North in Lakes state and Tonj East in Warrap state respectively, have led to killings, abductions, cattle raids, and displacement.

To enhance civilian security and protection, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) established a temporary base in Maper last month, a strategic location in Lakes, some 16 kilometers from shared borders with neighbouring Unity and Warrap.

“This temporary base is necessary because it helps our peacekeepers engage with communities and deter violence through regular patrols,” revealed Lieutenant-General Mohan Subramanian, the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Force Commander, who visited the site last week.

While on the ground, Force Commander Subramanian interacted with local authorities, South Sudanese uniformed personnel and 120 Nepalese peacekeepers currently stationed here.

“We had been actively conducting short- and long-distance patrols in and around Maper since border conflicts began to rise, but given longstanding communal grievances, we felt that our protection efforts would be more impactful if we established a temporary presence here,”stated the Lieutenant-General.

“We will also be able to help create conditions conducive for the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance to people who need it the most,” he added, while calling on authorities and communities in the area to build synergies with Blue Helmets.

“As a peacekeeping mission, we are committed to keeping civilians caught in such cyclical violence safe, but there must be collective efforts to address the root causes of conflict between neighbouring states, particularly as South Sudan approaches elections,” he averred.

Peacebuilding is another key aspect that local authorities are hoping will be boosted through this temporary presence.

“We are optimistic that this base will help our government to facilitate peace activities and enable peace partners to move freely,” said Samuel Mabor Deng, County Commissioner of Rumbek North.

Community members too are relieved thanks to the presence of UNMISS peacekeepers.

“Our main concern is that all routes are very insecure at night. So, I hope as our peacekeeping friends from UNMISS get used to the terrain in and around Maper, their daily patrols will slowly make roads safe for all of us at all times,” stated Chol Achiek, a Maper resident.

For Major Kumar Gurung, the Commanding Officer of the UNMISS temporary base, it has been a warm welcome from communities living here.

“We were quick to begin town patrols and have extended our reach to numerous payams [administrative divisions] across Rumbek North county. Road conditions continue to make movement difficult but we are determined to protect everybody to the best of our ability. Local communities have been very supportive in our first two weeks here,” he said.

The Maper temporary operating base became operational on 15 March 2024 upon request by the Government of South Sudan.

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