UN mission says deeply concerned about rising tensions in Upper Nile State

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Friday expressed  concern on the rising tension in Malakal town of Upper Nile State following the death of several people on Thursday due to violence.
Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the Secretary General speaks during the  celebration to mark 76th International Day of UN Peacekeepers in Juba on Wednesday, May 31,2024.

By The Dawn Team

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Friday expressed concern on the rising tension in Malakal town of Upper Nile State following the death of several people on Thursday due to violence.

“Such violence causes lasting harm to communities and also prevents UNMISS from continuing our vital protection and peacebuilding work,” Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UNMISS said in a statement issued in Juba.

Haysom noted that tensions remain high in the UN Protection of Civilians Site (PoC) adjacent to the Mission’s base in the state.

UNMISS urged state and local authorities as well as government security forces to maintain stability and order in the area, including around the UN Protection of Civilians Site and Malakal town.

It called on feuding parties to show restraint and use dialogue to resolve outstanding issues peacefully, adding that UNMISS is continuing to work with the state government, community leaders, and security actors to ensure calm prevails.

The clashes erupted between the Dinka community and Shilluk community over the disputed Akoka area, according to a humanitarian worker based in Malakal who preferred anonymity to speak freely on Friday about the situation.

“The violence broke out yesterday at 12 P.M along the road between Malakal and Akoka, the armed men from the Dinka community attacked and killed four fishermen from the Shilluk community who lived in the PoC,” he said.

In retaliation the Shilluk community moved out of the PoC and killed a driver belonging to the Dinka community in Malakal town.

“The situation is out of control, we are hearing until today a number of people killed in different locations. The police in Malakal town are overwhelmed with the situation. The police tried to disperse the charged armed civilians in Malakal town by firing shots in the air but they failed in their attempt to disperse them,” said the source.

He added that the fate of internally displaced persons (IDPs) caught up in the violence outside the PoC remains unknown.

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