The United Nations is calling on South Sudan’s security forces to exercise maximum restraint after nine civilians were killed and many more injured in incidents involving protestors and police last weekend in the city of Wau.
“The recent escalating tensions and the episodes of violence, as well as attacks on property, are of great concern,” the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) stated in a news release on the incidents that occurred in the capital of Western Bahr El Ghazal state on 8 and 9 December.
“UNMISS is investigating the use of force and other reports of violence in order to establish the facts behind these tragic events. The Mission is offering assistance to the Government of South Sudan and to State authorities in this regard,” it added.
The UN peacekeeping operation noted that investigations have begun into the events, and that the National Legislative Assembly decided on Tuesday to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate and provide recommendations to facilitate a judicial inquiry.
UNMISS also called on the security forces to exercise maximum restraint and protect civilian life. “The Mission also calls on the authorities to take prompt action to prevent an escalation of violence and to seek accountability if disproportionate force has been used during demonstrations,” it said.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July last year, six years after the signing of the peace agreement that ended decades of warfare between the north and the south. During the same month, the Security Council established UNMISS with the purpose of consolidating peace and security and to help establish conditions for development.
In a related development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Major-General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana as the Force Commander for UNMISS. Maj.-Gen. Sakyi succeeds Major-General Moses Bisong Obi of Nigeria, who completed his assignment on 18 November.