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Bentiu - 30 May 2023

SSPDF boss in Unity State commends UNMISS for protecting civilians

Vietnamese peacekeepers parading before receiving UN medals for their medical services in and around Bentiu in 2022. ( UNMISS photo)
Vietnamese peacekeepers parading before receiving UN medals for their medical services in and around Bentiu in 2022. ( UNMISS photo)

The commander of the South Sudan People's Defense Forces (SSPDF) in Unity State has lauded the efforts of the United Nations Peacekeepers in protecting civilians in the state.

Maj. Gen. William Manyang Mayak who was speaking during the commemoration of International Peacekeepers’ Day on Monday in Bentiu town said that without the presence of the UN Peacekeepers, there would no longer be any civilians in Bentiu and much of South Sudan.

“South Sudan still has a vulnerable population because when the fighting broke out in 2013, it was only the UN Peacekeeping who did their work in protecting the civilians. Without them (UNMISS), there would be no civilians in South Sudan, particularly in Bentiu,” he said. “We are very thankful for that. On behalf of the government, let me say that we have a lot of work to do in Bentiu because we have an influx of refugees from Sudan.” “They need proper registration and welcoming from the border so let us all, including the UN, be vigilant at the border,” Gen.  Manyang added.

He said UNMISS had supported several community dialogues and peace conferences to end intercommunal violence and revenge killings that have caused the loss of human lives and destruction of property over the past years.

“We are working side by side with the United Nations and that is why the insecurity has reduced in Bentiu,” the army officer said. “Currently, revenge killings have reduced because of the peace conferences organized by UNMISS.”

For his part, the UNMISS Sector Commander in Unity State, Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Lokasora, said they remain focused on the protection of civilians and facilitation of the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance.

“At the heart of our mission lies the people of South Sudan and their hopes and aspirations for a better future. We can make a tangible difference in their lives through our collaborative work with the local government and the community,” he said. “By actively listening to their needs, engaging in dialogue, and building trust, we can forge meaningful connections that foster peace, liberate their fears, and facilitate peace and nation-building.”

The UNMISS commander also commended the Unity State government’s steadfastness in ensuring peace and stability.

“We appreciate your steadfast commitment and willingness to assist us anytime we call upon you and all the security forces. We appreciate your collaboration and commitment with UNMISS in our shared operations to achieve the UNMISS mandate,” he said. “Let us wholeheartedly embrace the theme of “peace begins with me’ and together let us forge ahead united in purpose and determined to make a difference.”

May 29, annually, is celebrated as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. This year's celebration marks 75 years since the inception of the UN peacekeeping mission in 1948.