UNISFA expresses concern over “forceful” relocation from Northern Bahr el Ghazal state

 

The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei says it is concern over the forceful relocation of its troops in some parts of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.

“The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has expressed grave concern over the recent developments in some areas in the Northern Bahr el Ghazal’s Aweil North and Aweil East counties leading to the forced relocation of UN troops and closure of the Kiir Adem and War Abar team sites,” the mission said in a statement.

Last month, the peacekeepers in War Abar and Kiir Adem in Aweil vacated the sites to Gok Machar, the mission headquarters, following communities’ protests.

On 30 August, the local community of Aweil North County demanded in writing the complete withdrawal of UNISFA/ Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism from Gok Machar within 48 hours.

The troops were deployed along the Safe-demilitarized Border Zone that straddles 10 kilometers from the border between South Sudan and Sudan. Their mandate is to ensure the border is respected.

The local communities have accused the mission of annexing their territory to Sudan demanded them to leave the area.

They also alleged that the troops were sexually exploiting local girls and women, but the mission has dismissed it.

The Spokesperson of UNISFA, Daniel Adekera says the acting Head of Mission (HoM) reiterated that UNISFA will continue to carry out its mandated activities where it is present.

“In the meantime, despite the significant drawback caused by the forced relocation of troops and equipment from both team sites, acting HoM reiterates that UNISFA will continue to carry out its mandated activities where is it present,” he said.

“The Mission has duly informed UN Headquarters of these developments and requested that UN Security Council be kept abreast of this unfortunate situation. It also apprised the Sudanese authorities on the matter since both Parties had given prior approval on the location of the Sector HQ and the two Team Sites.”