UNMISS vows not to allow genocide happen in South Sudan

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The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) says it will work tirelessly not to allow genocide and further destruction to occur in South Sudan.

Nadeem Bashir, senior protection of civilians advisor said the visit of a six-member UNMISS team to the area was to reinforce efforts to prevent acts of genocide. He was speaking in a meeting with religious leaders in Yei on Wednesday.

He said the visit was to instill confidence in the communities with a view to promoting messages of peace, unity and reconciliation.

Bashir’s comments come at a time when the UN Undersecretary General on the Prevention of Genocide has been visiting Yei.

“This is not going to happen here…UNMISS and United Nations Agencies Funds on programs are…doing everything they can do in relation to prevention of genocide,” Bashir said in a meeting with different religious leaders at Yei Catholic secretariat.

Bashir said UNMISS, the transitional government and international actors are stepping up efforts to bring peace and stability to pave way for reconciliation in the country.

Bashir told religious leaders that UNMISS will work with them, elders and civil society groups to try and put a halt to the hate messaging that seems to be dominating and galvanizing within and outside Yei.

Yei has been experiencing rising insecurity, resulting to killing of civilians, looting and destruction of property as well as closure of most roads.

The UNMISS team visited Yei from the 19th to 24th last month. Nino Gerardo Lasin, UNMISS civil affairs officer said the team proposed a “forward operating base” in Yei. However, he could not explain when the work will start in the proposed area.

“We don’t know yet how to proceed, we don’t know yet if ever we are going to proceed with it. But in the event, it will happen, there will be some UNMISS presence here,” he said.

The presence of UNMISS in Yei, Nino said, will be a deterrence and an effort in protection of civilians.

Yei Catholic Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe commended UNMISS for the visit, saying the visit shows the concerns of Yei are attracting the attention of peace partners.

He said the situation had gone from bad to worse, in reference to the worsening humanitarian and security situation before UN agencies hurriedly distributed food items last week.

“This visit is very important to lower the tension,” he said.

The violence that erupted in July in Juba, between President Salva Kiir’s forces and those of his former first deputy Dr. Riek Machar, worsened the humanitarian and security situation in Yei.

Church leaders said the violence led to mass fleeing of residents as armed opposition groups and government forces intensified clashes in nearby areas in Yei River state.

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