UNMISS intensifies patrols in tense community border

 The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) says it has intensified patrols and engagement with local authorities and security services in Unity State and the Ruweng’ Administrative Area (RAA) after cross-border clashes over the weekend resulted in deaths, destruction of property, and the displacement of civilians.

 The violence is understood to have begun on June 22 when officials from Rubkona (Unity) travelled to Aliny in the neighboring Ruweng to retrieve cattle stolen from their communities. During the planned handover of the stolen stock, fighting broke out between the groups and an unverified number of people were killed.  

 Following the incident, violence erupted in several other areas and tensions remain high on both sides of the border, fueled by reports of further mobilization of armed youth. Civilians in Pariang are also reportedly moving away from the town due to fears of retaliatory attacks.

 In response to the deteriorating security situation, UNMISS peacekeepers have intensified patrols in Pariang and will reinforce troop numbers at their temporary base to help protect civilians. A peacekeeping patrol has also been dispatched to Manga port, another area where there is a reported risk of violence, while a separate patrol is being deployed to the site of the initial violence in Aliny.

 “UNMISS is gravely concerned by the escalating violence. We urge national and local authorities to make every effort to ensure armed youth refrain from fighting and to reduce tensions and restore calm in the affected areas. It is vital that disputes and grievances are resolved through dialogue, rather than conflict which causes immense suffering to communities caught in the crossfire,” said Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS.