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UN peacekeepers step up patrols after deadly clashes in South Sudan

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A surge in fighting between different ethnic communities in Warrap, Maban, and parts of Jonglei in South Sudan has caused hundreds of deaths and massive displacement over the past few months.

While UNMISS peacekeepers have increased their presence and patrolling across potential hotspots, much more needs to be done to address the root causes of the intercommunal tensions.

“This week, we plan to deploy peacekeepers to seven temporary operating bases across the country. Our very strong feeling is that, if we can deploy early in the dry season, we have a better chance of success in preventing violence before it happens. However, some places have been difficult to reach. Our efforts to reach Romich in Warrap, for example, have been continually blocked on the ground. In fact, we have a patrol on its way there now that has been blocked for the past five days”, said David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to South Sudan.

Speaking at a press conference in Juba Tuesday, Shearer warned that the slow implementation of the peace agreement signed in 2018 poses a direct threat to the fragile peace in the world’s newest nation and called for greater support and access for the peacekeeping mission to reach communities in need.

He acknowledged the challenges faced by South Sudan including COVID-19 and an economic crisis that has hugely impacted families and stressed the urgent need for renewed momentum in the peace process

He highlighted the work being done by UNMISS to support durable peace, especially ongoing road rehabilitation projects spanning some 3,200 kilometers undertaken by the mission’s engineers from seven different countries.

Shearer also briefed journalists on the transition of UN Protection sites into conventional camps for internally displaced people.