South Sudan

UNMISS official urges IDPs in Malakal to be calm

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23 April 2015 - The top UNMISS official in the Upper Nile State capital Malakal today urged civilians seeking protection at the Mission’s base to maintain peace among themselves, despite resumption of fighting in the town.

“I need this protection site to be quiet. Help me keep the peace,” said UNMISS State Coordinator Deborah Schein as more civilians arrived at the mission’s compound fleeing violence that broke out in Malakal in the evening of Tuesday, 21 April 2015.

A press release issued yesterday said at least 1,500 unarmed civilians had joined the existing IDP population of over 26,000 who are being sheltered by the Mission.

It added that Indian peacekeepers had extracted the acting director of the Malakal Teaching Hospital and a colleague who were trapped in town during the fighting and brought them to the UNMISS base and Rwandan peacekeepers had provided protection to some of the IDPs fleeing the violence.

It also revealed that five injured members of the staff of State Governor Simon Kun Puoch are receiving medical treatment at the Mission’s Level II hospital.

“UNMISS has also been broadcasting peace messages on local radio stations,” the statement said.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in South Sudan, Ellen Loej, called on military commanders in charge of the belligerent forces to order an immediate halt to the fighting and open a dialogue to resolve the causes of the violence.

Speaking to Radio Miraya today, Acting UNMISS Spokesperson Joe Contreras said 19 SPLA soldiers had given up their weapons and also gone to the site for safety.

Ms. Schein commended the IDPs’ Peace and Security Council for their role in helping to ensure peaceful co-existence at the protection site.

“I wish peace to every one of you and a prosperous life as we hope for peace to prevail in this country,” she added.

The IDPs, who lauded UNMISS for providing them with protection, said they were tired of war and called for an end to the fighting.

“My dream is only for peace to prevail in this land (so that we can) resume our business once again,” said Mayom Deng Biar, a trader at the site.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army Spokesperson, Colonel Phillip Aguer, told Radio Miraya today that a team from the army headquarters was being dispatched to Malakal to investigate the fighting.