The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has destroyed weapons that were confiscated from internally displaced persons living at a UN Protection of Civilians Sites in Jonglei state On Monday.
The weapons that were confiscated by UNMISS were brought into the camp illegally earlier this year. Last year the government accused IDPs at the camp of being loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, who turned rebel leader in South Sudan.
The fighting broke out in mid-December of 2013 in Juba and quickly escalated, spreading to the three states of Upper Nile, Jonglei and Unity and raged along tribal lines with Nuer against Dinka and Dinka against Nuer in those states. This led to displacement of those who could not escape the violence. These citizens fled to UN camps for protection.
But there some few people who were loyal to Machar and who entered the UN camps with their rifles. The United Nations expressly bars people seeking protection at UN camps from bringing weapons in with them.
Jonglei state’s UNMISS Coordinator Hazel De Wet spoke to people gathered to watch the UN destroy the weapons.
“We will do whatever retake to ensure that no one enters our base with a weapon because that is not the way we operate at all. At all times and we will do regular searches and whatever we find will be confiscated and then methodology attached in order to deactivate that,” De Wet said.
Jonglei State Deputy Governor Baba Medan says the destruction of the confiscated items sends an important message for the future.
“We are very happy and we are coming here to witness what will happen and to send the message all over the world that the government of Jonglei state and government of South Sudan is committed to peace and we have a good cooperative with our UNMISS in Jonglei state.”
Authorities continue to find weapons in the Jonglei camp despite previous searches. UNMISS Police Official Colonel Komane Eddy says people are searched for weapons when they first enter the camp. A second search was conducted when the IDP camp was moved in October, and a third search took place this week. He now declares the camp weapons free.
“We have got our UN police and Bangladeshis at the exit entry point to ensure that who enter the primacies does not smuggle or enter in with an item that is prohibited,” Eddy said.
UNMISS peace keeper, Brig. General Rajeev Kumar, says the UN is working with South Sudan to end the violence so that the government can concentrate on development issues.
“We need to consolidate in terms of various institutions, institutions of government, which create capacity for the quality, strong, professional modern armed forces which binds the country together.”
By Achiek J Riak