UNMISS increases presence of Blue Berets around Bunj, intensifies patrols following clashes

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Following recent clashes and displacement in Bunj, Upper Nile region, of South Sudan, UNMISS has increased the number of Rwandan peacekeepers deployed here by 50 additional troops as well as reinforced their capacity with extra vehicles and an Armored Personnel Carrier.

“For our peacekeepers to be agile, responsive and effective in quelling any future outbreaks, they need greater mobility. That’s why we’re not just placing more boots on the ground but are also simultaneously bolstering their ability to conduct intensive and frequent patrols,” said Lieutenant-General Shailesh Tinaikar, UNMISS Force Commander.

To assess the security situation, UNMISS peacekeepers undertook a three-day patrol to Maban, a county near Bunj, from 5-8 January. While on the ground, the patrol team met with the acting county commissioners for north-east and south-west Maban and took part in the local Security Committee meeting, attended by local law enforcement and youth leaders.

For their part, the county officials briefed peacekeepers on current security conditions in the area; progress on implementation of ongoing mediation processes; possible integration of forces as well as overall causes of conflict and the humanitarian needs of community members.

“It was a fruitful interaction and we got to know quite a great deal about what community members are going through given the current instability and tensions,” stated Lt Augustin Karegeya, Patrol Leader. “Security in the overall Bunj area is definitely fragile at the moment and we’re here to make sure that we nip any possible conflict in the bud.”

UNMISS peacekeepers are proactively patrolling around the locations of various United Nations humanitarian partners, international nongovernmental organizations and, of course, conducting confidence-building patrols among communities living here.

Additionally, the peacekeeping mission is facilitating delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.

“We are engaging with authorities at the national and local level to ensure that civilians living in Maban are protected and able to live safely,” said the Head of UNMISS, David Shearer. “Increasing our troops on the ground will also help deter further violence while efforts are made to resolve tensions between the groups involved so that community members can resume their normal lives.”

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