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Peacekeepers to escort aid convoys

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Monday, August 2, 2021

UN peacekeepers on patrol in South Sudan | Credit | File photo

The UN Mission will now provide security escorts to protect humanitarian convoys delivering aid assistance across South Sudan.

“We are as a force much more mobile than we have ever been – we have patrols going all over the country to protect civilians wherever they may be threatened, and it is necessary for us to have that access,” said Nicholas Haysom, UN Mission in South Sudan.

UNMISS, Joint Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, and the government resolved that the peacekeepers will henceforth accompany aid agencies to deter perpetrators from harming innocent people.

The new set of operational guidelines is also expected to enable peacekeepers to support the government and civilians proactively and robustly, especially in remote areas.

This is due to widespread subnational violence in the country.

Over the last few months, there have been attacks on humanitarian convoys in Eastern Equatoria, Lakes, Warrap states, including Ruweng and Pibor Administrative Areas.

Aid workers have been killed, while humanitarian warehouses have been looted.

This forced some humanitarian agencies to briefly suspend operations in some areas in South Sudan.

In an attempt to address the matter, UNMISS will be allowed unfettered access and to protect civilians and humanitarian actors across the country.

A one-day workshop was organized in Juba last week to help communicate the principles, processes, roles and responsibilities contained in the new operational guidelines.

South Sudan Deputy Foreign Minister, Deng Dau, said the government agreed to the new guidelines to improve coordination among various institutions in charge of security.

He stated: “This workshop is very central for trust building, and for us to open a new page on how to coordinate our activities among various institutions of security of our country and the UN Mission in South Sudan.”

UN agencies say inter-communal clashes in July alone led to the looting of the food items, enough to feed about 8,000 people for three months.

The World Food Program reported that it lost about 230 tons of food when its warehouse was looted in Marial-Lou area of Warrap State in July.

The food was preposition to cater for food shortages in the area during the rainy season.

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