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UNMISS rejects allegations by Info Minister that it is not neutral

Author : | Published: Monday, January 20, 2014

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The United Nations Mission in South Sudan has rejected accusations by the Information Minister that it does not support the government of South Sudan.

Michael Makuei Lueth says he was denied entry to the UNMISS compound in Bor where he wanted to assess the conditions in which Internally Displaced Persons live.

“UNMISS, or the so called UNMISS in South Sudan, is not…is not …I repeat is not in support of the government of South Sudan,” Mr Makuei told the state-run television channel, SSTV.

“It is not strange; and for that matter, what we have seen in that compound is a clear demonstration of the ill-intentions of the UNMISS as UN entity here in Bor town.

“It is clear that now if I can be prevented from entering UNIMISS compound while the rebels are allowed to enter, then ultimately this is a clear demonstration of the ill intentions of the UNMISS.”

However, UNMISS disagrees with the statement, saying the Minister was allowed to enter the camp but without the armed soldiers accompanying him.

UNMISS spokesperson Ariane Quentier told Eye Radio that the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban ki-Moon, was alarmed by, he said, “the forceful attempt by the government official to enter the compound with armed personnel”.

“The Secretary General practically disturbed that United Nations staff was threatened by South Sudan military, when they refused to allow armed soldiers to accompany civilians to visit the UN Protection site yesterday,” She read out a statement from Mr. Ban.

“The Secretary General condemns the threat made against UN personnel, and demands that all parties to the conflict respect the sanctity of UNMISS protection sites.

“This incident is one of the growing number of violations of the state’s agreement, making it increasingly difficult for UNMISS to implement its mandate, and dangerous for United Nations staff working in South Sudan.”

But Mr Michael Makuei says some soldiers loyal to Riek Machar were allowed to seek safety at the UNMISS compound in Bor.

Mr Makuei called on UNMISS to collect all the guns, even if they are not prepared to hand over the rebels.

“If they don’t want to hand over these rebels, let them keep them, but UNMISS must surrender, it must collect all the rifles which are inside that compound and hand them over to the government of South Sudan.”

UMISS spokesperson Ariane Quentier however denied the UN mission has been harboring rebels at the site:

“UNMISS have taken a consistent stand since the beginning of the conflict, which is to be impartial…impartial by not taking sides in this conflict, impartial with the way we are approaching civilians, and impartial in the way we will monitor human rights abuses against the civilian population.”

She said that UNMISS has a weapons-free zone policy in all its bases and protection sites.

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