Violence threatens fragile South Sudan peace

Saturday October 01 2022
South Sudanese police

Members of the National Police Services of the Unified Forces graduate in Juba in August. PHOTO | AFP


The UN says there is a need to keep an eye on South Sudan, where fragile peace continues to be threatened by conflict.

On Wednesday, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) pointed out inter-communal conflict for repeated cycles of violence that may erode gains towards peace across the country.

Nicolas Haysom, the special representative of the Secretary-General to South Sudan, said fighting between rival factions in Upper Nile and parts of Jonglei States has caused massive displacement of civilians seeking refuge in the UN bases in Malakal town, the capital of Upper Nile State.

"The fighting between Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) forces and the Kitgwang and Agwelek factions has displaced thousands of people within Upper Nile, to Jonglei, Unity states, and parts of Sudan," Mr Haysom told journalists in Juba.

He said more than 14,000 have been displaced and sought refuge at the Malakal Protection of Civilians site.

Mr Haysom said that the mission is working with state authorities and humanitarian agencies to support sustainable solutions in Malakal to mitigate overcrowding, and outbreaks of disease, as well as maintain peace within the community living within the UN Protection of Civilians site.


In recent days, the Twic/Ngok Dinka conflict has created a new wave of refugees in Abyei, Warrap, and Northern Bahr El Ghazal.

Escalated fighting

Earlier, UN-appointed human rights experts sounded the alarm on the likelihood of violence escalating.

Yasmin Sooka, the chair of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, asked the international community to pay more attention to the violence proliferating at a local level all over South Sudan.

Ms Sooka said donors and member states must continue to monitor the peace agreement and security sector reform and ensure constitutional legislation is pushed through before elections.

"Without these steps, we are likely to see millions more South Sudanese displaced or crossing borders, creating havoc for neighbouring countries and aid agencies," she said in a statement issued in Juba.

The UN experts said the parties to the 2018 Revitalised Peace Agreement for South Sudan signed onto a further two-year extension of the transitional governance arrangements, postponing elections until late 2024.

The Peace Agreement included a national consultation process on establishing three bodies. Consultations were held in mid-2022, but excluded millions of refugees.

The UN experts said after four years, none of the three proposed transitional justice bodies have come into being — the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing; the Hybrid Court; or the Compensation and Reparation Authority.

Andrew Clapham, a member of the team, said survivors in South Sudan, told them that criminal accountability is the only way to guarantee their safety and peace in the country.