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Security situation improving in troubled southern Sudanese town, says UN mission

Security situation improving in troubled southern Sudanese town, says UN mission

The security situation inside the southern Sudanese provincial capital of Malakal is steadily returning to normal, the United Nations peacekeeping mission to the country has reported, after last week’s outbreak of deadly violence in the town.

Joint patrols carried out by UN military observers, UN civilian police, local police, Sudanese armed forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) are “contributing significantly in restoring calm and order in Malakal,” the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said in a news update released yesterday.

UN military observers are also continuing to monitor the redeployment of troops from the SPLA and the Sudanese armed forces to their respective positions before their clashes, which injured more than 400 people and caused a “heavy loss of life,” UNMIS added.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the clashes as a serious violation of the security arrangements of last year’s comprehensive peace agreement that ended a 21-year civil war in southern Sudan.

He appealed to the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan, which were both established in the wake of the power-sharing agreement, “to make all possible efforts to contain the situation.”

Normal business has now largely resumed across all areas of the town, the capital of Upper Nile state in southern Sudan, and UNMIS said damage to Malakal’s infrastructure is relatively limited considering the intensity of the fighting over two days last week. UN staff are also continuing to provide medical aid to the wounded and assisting local authorities in burying the dead.

Several of Malakal’s water pumps have broken down, prompting some residents to draw drinking water from the Nile River. UNMIS has expressed concern over the possibility of cholera outbreaks.