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Monday, 8 May 2017

South Sudan denies reports of soldiers attacking UN peacekeeping mission

Government of South Sudan has denied reports that show its soldiers attacking a United Nations peacekeeping base in Leer, a town in Unity state.The South Sudan army spokesman, Santo Domic Chol, confirmed on Saturday that “Our forces did not attack any UN facility. That is not part of our culture. It is not part of our operations. We do not have a problem with the United Nations and therefore not wise to just feed the public with incident which has not been fully investigated and proved to have carried out by our forces.”

The official was reacting to the Security Council’s condemnation of the attack, which reportedly came from the direction of a government-held territory in Leer. Members of the Security Council, in a statement, strongly condemned the attack on its South Sudan mission (UNMISS) in Leer. The incident took place on the 3 May.

The UN Council expressed appreciation for the actions taken by UNMISS peacekeepers to repel the attack, pointing out that individuals, who, directly or indirectly, engage in attacks against UN missions, international security presence, or other peacekeeping operations, or humanitarian personnel, may be designated for targeted sanctions.

“The members of the Security Council further condemned the continued violence committed by all parties in South Sudan, including the ongoing military offensives, and called on all parties to immediately adhere to the permanent ceasefire as called for in the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan and to remove all obstacles to delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance,” partly reads the statement.

Relations between South Sudan government and the world body soured when conflict erupted in the young nation in mid-December 2013, forcing thousands of unarmed civilians to seek protection various camps and compounds manned by the U.N from the fighting. The government accused UN of sheltering rebels inside its bases.

A January 2014 incident in which UNMISS barred the country’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth from entering its base in Jonglei after his bodyguards were found in possession of weapons worsened ties between government and the UN.

However, in events that followed, President Salva Kiir accused the world body of seeking to take over the war-torn nation, reinforcing speculations by members of his government that U.N mission in the country may have pushed his main political rival, Riek Machar, to rise up against him. The president later retracted his accusations.

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