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APO International

Surge in Intercommunal Conflict Causing Immense Harm to Civilians in South Sudan, according to the Latest United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Quarterly Brief

todayMarch 18, 2024

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Civilians are bearing the brunt of a surge in intercommunal conflict in pockets of South Sudan with 862 victims documented as being killed, injured, abducted, or subjected to conflict-related sexual violence during these incidents in the last quarter of 2023.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) brief on violence affecting civilians, covering October to December 2023, documented 233 incidents of violence across the country with 862 victims affected (406 killed, 293 injured, 100 abducted, and 63 subjected to conflict-related sexual violence). Compared to the previous quarter, this represented a four percent increase in incidents (215 to 223) and 35 percent increase in victims (641 to 862).

Intercommunal violence by community-based militias and/or civil defense groups accounted for 86 percent of all civilians affected during the period (740 victims). The main conflict hotspot, Warrap State, experienced a sharp increase of victims by 87%, compared to the previous quarter, from 244 to 457.

More than half of those affected by overall subnational violence were caught up in retaliatory attacks related to the ongoing border dispute between Dinka Twic Mayardit in Warrap and Dinka Ngok communities in the Abyei box, with 263 killed and 186 injured.

“Intercommunal conflict continues to cause immense harm to communities across the country. UNMISS is doing all it can to prevent violence and build peace in the affected areas, but urgent intervention by authorities at the national, state and local levels is needed to resolve underlying grievances and build peace,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS, Nicholas Haysom.

The brief also reported a 54% increase in abduction victims, from 65 to 100 (21 men, 18 women, 48 boys and 13 girls), compared to the previous quarter. Small-scale attacks by alleged armed Murle elements from the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) make up 43% of all abductions in South Sudan.

The brief notes that 104 victims were subjected to sexual violence. Of these, 63 (including 12 minors) experienced conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). Another 41 victims (33 girls, seven women and one boy) suffered sexual and gender-based violence. While this represents a 20 decrease in victims compared to the previous quarter, the report notes that SGBV remains one of the most critical threats to the protection and well-being of women and children.

UNMISS continues to protect civilians across the country with at least 10,000 peacekeeping patrols conducted by land, air, and boat over the past year. The Mission also helps to bring communities together to reconcile and build peace through dialogue, and actively supports political and peace processes, including security and justice sector reform, constitution-making, and preparations for elections.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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