Concerned by gunfire near its compound in Juba, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has called on all parties to respect the work and inviolability of UN premises, which are protecting some 43,000 civilians in its sites in the capital.
Juba is “tense” with some shots fired in the vicinity of the UN House, a UN spokesperson told journalist in New York citing the latest information from UNMISS.
“Firing also occurred close to the UN House yesterday evening. However, the situation within the compound is calm,” the spokesperson said, adding that at least one person was injured.
On a patrol in the Upper Nile State town of Malakal yesterday, the Mission reported “much of the town empty of Opposition forces, with the Opposition forces' headquarters abandoned.”
Following heavy clashes and reports of people being killed in churches and hospitals in the northern town in February, fighting has spread further north in the State. There are now fears that 30,000 or more civilians may be freshly displaced.
Meanwhile, the UNMISS today confirmed that it will investigate an error in the transport of weapons for a new Ghanaian peacekeeping contingent.
The cargo was apparently mislabeled and transferred by road as part of a cargo of general goods.
Calling the incident “regrettable”, the Mission said an investigation team will look into this matter on an urgent basis, in cooperation with the Government of South Sudan.
“It is the policy of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) that during the crisis in South Sudan all arms and ammunition for the peacekeeping contingents are flown into respective areas and not taken by road,” a spokesperson said. “This is an important security measure.”
The Mission continues to protect some 75,000 civilians overall at various sites across the country.
Thousands of people are believed to have been killed and some 870,000 others have fled their homes, 145,000 of them to neighbouring countries and 75,000 to UN bases within the country, since fighting broke out on 15 December between the forces of President Salva Kiir and deputy president Riek Machar.