South Sudan: UN steps up patrols, probing rights abuses
Posted on Jan 31 2014 | IBNS
New York, Jan 31 : The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan is seeking to verify reports of human rights violations in the conflict that erupted just over a month ago, a spokesperson on Thursday said, as peacekeepers are boosting patrols in the world's youngest nation.
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is working throughout the country to collect evidence and document abuses including in the capital Juba, and Bor, Jonglei State, where UN police and peacekeepers are sheltering more than 10,000 civilians.
Overall, 79,000 civilians are sheltering at eight bases throughout the country, according to a UN spokesperson.
Briefing journalists at UN Headquarters in New York, a spokesperson cited UNMISS confirming that it had conducted 264 military and 61 police patrols in various parts of the country in the last 24 hours.
In Leer, in Unity State, the Mission has received credible reports of ongoing fighting in the town, but it is not in a position to verify and confirm this independently at this point, the spokesperson said.
Fighting between anti- and pro-Government troops has displaced more than 100,000 South Sudanese, the majority of whom have fled to neighbouring Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.
Acting on the recommendation of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Security Council last month unanimously approved a temporary increase in the strength of the UNMISS of up to 12,500 military and 1,323 police from a current combined strength of some 7,000, through the transfer of units if necessary from other UN forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Darfur, Abyei, Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia.