South Sudan

UN welcomes government actions in Jonglei

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"The government is firmly in charge of the situation and is taking very bold steps. They are deploying large numbers of infantry soldiers and police who are already moving towards Pibor," Lise Grande, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan said in an interview with Radio Miraya on Monday.

In his New Year's message on Sunday, the President said he had ordered an additional 3400 army troops and 800 police officers to Pibor to assist the Sudan People's Liberation Army troops there to stop violence and protect civilians.

"We remain on high alert and are very concerned that civilians may be at risk," said Grande, adding that the United Nations was evacuating the most vulnerable civilians from the town. "Our understanding is that there has been damage to the periphery of the town, including the torching of tukuls and that the compound of one humanitarian organisation has been taken over," she added.

The Lou Nuer youths, several hundred of whom had arrived on the outskirts of Pibor on Friday, were reportedly pursuing members of the Murle tribe who began fleeing towards Pibor several days ago after the Lou Nuer raided the town of Likuangole.

The group accuses the Murle of raiding Nuer cattle and killing members of their tribe since 2005, when a peace agreement ended two decades of civil war and led to South Sudan's independence this year.

To assist those left in the Likuangole, the United Nation's World Food Programme flew in a helicopter with food on Saturday, Ms. Grande said.

More in the following interview...

Listen to Lise Grande