Africa-Press – South-Sudan. The communities in Aweil North and Aweil East Counties of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State last week celebrated the withdrawal of the second batch of soldiers from the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) from their areas.
The UNISFA peacekeepers had earlier been deployed across the northern parts of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State to ensure security and maintain peace between Sudan and South Sudan. The local communities recently accused UNISFA of annexing their lands to neighboring Sudan and on 11 August carried out a series of peaceful demonstrations demanding the withdrawal of the UN troops from their areas.
The first batch withdrew last month after the communities blocked the transportation of their supplies including food items, medicines, and blocked them from carrying out security patrols and other activities.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday, the communities’ representative, William Wel Deng, said the second batch of the UNISFA left on 3 October and reassured the communities that the representatives are doing their best to ensure the total withdrawal of UNISFA from the area by the end of October.
“The communities who turned out in huge numbers since 11 August to expel UNISFA are waiting for their total evacuation so that they can hold celebrations, so we are happy,” Wel said. “I just want to appreciate the general public of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, particularly Aweil East and Aweil North Counties, for turning up in peaceful demonstrations to push UNISFA out of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.”
The Aweil North County Police Inspector, Brigadier General Mabior Deng Deng, revealed that the UNISFA convoy which left Northern Bahr el Ghazal State for Abyei on 3 October got stranded in Warrap State due to heavy flooding and that the remaining forces will depart at the end of this month after floodwaters recede.
“The UNISFA forces have done their second batch of evacuation but they have challenges because their trucks got stranded in Warrap State due to the floods. They will be stationed there until 30 October when the waters dry,” Gen. Den said.
For his part, Aweil North County Commissioner Victorino Ken Akoon confirmed that the UN peacekeepers are slated to complete their exit at the end of the month.
“As I told you earlier, their (UNISFA) evacuation plan will be continuing up to the end of this month (October). They began their withdrawal activities on 4 September when they moved a lot of equipment from the areas to Abyei and now the movement continues,” Commissioner Ken said.