1 February 2013

South Sudan Mobilises for Humanitarian Intervention in Jonglei's Pibor County

Juba — South Sudan's national government is mobilizing for humanitarian intervention in the troubled Pibor town where thousands of people were recently displaced by the clashes between the army and former rebels of David Yauyau.

Over 200 former rebels under the command of James Kuburin defected last week from David Yauyau and entered Pibor town to join the South Sudan army, SPLA.

However, a misunderstanding ensued when some of their soldiers tried to go to the market in the town with their guns, which the SPLA refused and resulted to the clashes. The rebels were then chased out of the town again into the bushes.

The fighting left at least 5 people confirmed dead, 3 of whom were civilians. Many others were wounded and half of the town was burnt down, displacing thousands of civilians into the bushes.

Over 3,000 civilians also entered the compound of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for protection, food and shelter, in a situation reported as constituting a humanitarian disaster.

In an urgent meeting on Thursday between the Vice President of the Republic, Riek Machar Teny, and the minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Joseph Lual Achuil, in the presence of the Special Representative of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, the government announced that it will lift into Pibor town emergence humanitarian assistance to the affected population of Murle community.

In a statement to the press after the meeting, the chairperson of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, Peter Lam Both, said the government's humanitarian institutions will send both food and material items such as tents, blankets, etc. to Pibor town soon.

He added that the United Nations Mission in South Sudan will assist in transporting the items to Pibor County.

Meanwhile the security situation in Pibor town is now calm, according to the deputy minister of Interior, Gen. Salva Mathok Gengdit. The deputy minister led a team of fact-finding mission to Pibor County and on Thursday briefed the Vice President on their findings as well as what they have recommended as a way forward.

In a statement to the state-owned South Sudan TV he also announced that the former Yayyau rebels under the command of James Kuburin have now again returned to Pibor town peacefully to rejoin the SPLA after the unintended clashes.

He however revealed that a number of measures will be taken including relocating from Pibor County to other areas both the SPLA forces that are currently in Pibor town and the former rebels who have joined so that confidence is built among the civil population in the area.

He also called for a thorough investigation into the violent incidence and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

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