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Silence has engulfed thousands of homes burnt down in different locations across the southern part of South Sudan’s Unity State. A February and April attack saw about 40,000 locals flee for their lives. The UN Mission in the country called for healing and reconciliation as displaced residents fight to survive.
“Many other people were killed in the village, and all our property was looted,Nyariey Waithie Kutiek a displaced woman says. We ran to this place for protection and to see if we could get something to eat.”
The recent spate of attacks in the area has caused the death of up to 155 people including a humanitarian worker. The UNMISS team leader of Civil Affairs in Unity State wants the perpetrators to be held accountable: “The Mission has always called for accountability of perpetrators, and we believe that this is something that should not be left to go like that,Paul Ebikwo insists.You will recall that it is about the second time that southern Unity is witnessing this kind of problem.”
Soldiers loyal to Sudanese president Salva Kiir and former rebel leader Riek Machar have spent the last few years training together, in a bid to completing the unification of the army command. It is one of the promised reforms of the 2018 peace deal. Soldiers from both armed groups were allegedly involved in the recent violence, each accusing the other of what happened.
James Kuok Gai, an administrator for Thornyor Payam (administrative division) doubts the deal did take effect: “To be frank, we are wondering whether the revitalized peace agreement is, in fact, being implemented or not, because now our lives are threatened as we do not have peace.”
Last April Kiir and Machar signed a new agreement which provides for a division – 60% for the president’s camp and 40% for vice-president’s Machar – of leadership positions in the army, police and national security forces.