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BOR - 31 Mar 2014

Bor civilians say SPLA outpost a threat to their safety

Civilians in the capital of Jonglei State say that an SPLA outpost near their residences is a threat to their safety. The outpost was set up outside the ‘protection site’ where they are living, which is defended by United Nations peacekeepers.

Rev. William Tut, representative of the Nuer community residing inside the UNMISS base in Bor, explained this after a meeting with the acting governor, who visited the UN base on Saturday to meet with community members. 

The community leader said the meeting with Governor John Kong discussed the security threats facing the Nuer residents of the camp if they try to go out from the base to return to their homes or fetch goods from the market.

There are 5,694 people living inside the camp, according to UN data. Most of them were members of the substantial Nuer minority who lived in Bor town before the national crisis broke out in December. 

In an interview with Radio Tamazuj, Rev. Tut explained that an SPLA camp has been erected near the gate of the UN mission in Bor, which increased the fears of the displaced to leave the UN-protected site.

He alleged that these forces are targeting anyone who tries to get out of the base of UNMISS. The forces are from the national army of South Sudan.

“When the governor came to us we had a meeting explaining that nobody here is willing to go out from the base to get anything from outside the base such as food because there is a force just outside the gate. If anybody goes outside, whether woman or man, they take him,” he said. 

Also he alleged that the soldiers are stopping traders of other ethnicities such as Fur or Ethiopians from taking goods into the people in the camp.

Sudan Tribune reported that during the same visit to the camp the governor was insulted by some of the displaced camp residents, who also threw stones at him and shouted pro-rebel slogans.

The online daily also quoted the governor as saying, “I came to see the difficulties you are in… There was wrong interpretation of this war, some people said it was between Nuer and Dinka. I say no, it wasn’t.”

“People who tell you that people are being killed in Juba now are lying. Yes, people were killed when this war started, but those who are in the UN camp in Juba normally go for shopping, spend some days at homes and return to the camp as they wish," he said.

Apparently none of the stones hit the governor. But one hit the chairperson of the Jonglei peace commission, James Apay, who was accompanying the governor.

Photo: Shelters of displaced people at the UN ‘protection of civilians site’ in Bor.