Violence against civilians and peacekeepers at UN protection site condemned by community leaders and UNMISS
Community leaders have apologized for rioting by drunken youth within the United Nations Protection of Civilians site in Bentiu during which two civilians died and eight UN personnel were injured, including five police officers.
A delegation from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition met with community leaders at the protection site yesterday. They urged youth to refrain from violence against other displaced people and UN personnel and promised to assist with efforts to hold the perpetrators accountable.
Fighting broke out between groups of intoxicated young men in the site on Thursday 21 November. When UN police officers intervened to stop the violence and protect other civilians, the youths turned on the officers, pelting them with stones and hitting them with sticks.
On Friday, UN civilian staff visited the family of a young man who died from injuries received during the incident to express their condolences. While the meeting with the family was underway, a group of youths vandalized UNMISS vehicles, including setting one on fire. They also attacked the UN staff, hitting one with a stick and cutting another with a spear.
The youth also turned on Ghanaian peacekeepers who responded to the incident, pelting them with stones, throwing spears and petrol bombs, one of which hit a vehicle and set it on fire. Youth also tried to seize weapons from the peacekeepers and vandalized two guard-posts. Two warning shots were fired into the air to disperse the rioters.
UNMISS is carrying out an investigation into the rioting, including the death of the two young men involved. Community leaders are assisting with this process.
POC sites were established in 2013 to provide sanctuary to civilians fleeing violence when civil war erupted. It is unacceptable for community members to commit violence against each other or against peacekeepers who do their best to provide protection to vulnerable displaced families.