SPLA-IO calls for investigation into UNMISS operations in South Sudan
A spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) has called on the United Nations to investigate the activities of the UN mandate in South Sudan, while charging the UN with supporting South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his government.
In a statement issued by SPLA-IO spokesman William Gatjliath Deng, the rebel forces said United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) helicopter were spotted airlifting Juba-aligned forces from the fighting in Tonga and evacuating them to Bentiu.
“The UN was doing this, while Juba regime forces involved in the operations were actively killing and committing atrocities against non-Dinka civilian population in the area,” the SPLA-IO said. “This is not the first time the UN facilitated the movements and operations of Juba regime forces.”
The statement alleges that previous instances of UNMISS assisting South Sudan’s government forces include access to facilities for unlimited use of communications and surveillance equipment, and mapping and monitoring of SPLA-IO forces.
“Although the UN has occasionally decried restrictions imposed on its movements by the Juba regime including access to targeted and severely affected non-Dinka civilian populations across South Sudan,” Deng added, “the same UN has continued facilitating the movements and operations of the very Juba regime forces killing and committing atrocities against the civilians the UN is supposed to protect.”
The UN issued a statement at the weekend calling on all parties to cease hostilities and protect civilians, and stressing that there can be no military solution to the crisis in South Sudan. It also said the first members of a 4,000-strong UNMISS Regional Protective Force have arrived to protect key facilities and travel routes in Juba.
Serge Tissot, the OCHA coordinator in Juba, said Monday that both parties need “to ensure immediate, free and unhindered humanitarian access to civilians, wherever they may flee, including for trucks to safely access the river and carry water to locations where IDPs are sheltering.”