A Nepalese peacekeeper serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was shot and wounded by a government soldier near the town of Yei at the weekend, raising questions over the country’s fragile new peace agreement.
The convoy was travelling from the UN base in Yei to collect water, UN MISS said, when an SPLA soldier started shooting in the air near the convoy of four vehicles. The soldier then shot directly at one of the vehicles, hitting the Nepalese peacekeeper in the leg before escaping into a crowd. The troops were unable to return fire as they did not want to risk injuring civilians.
The peacekeeper was evacuated to the base before being airlifted to Juba for further medical treatment.
“This direct attack on UN peacekeepers here to help the people of South Sudan is unacceptable,” said David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS. “This situation is evidence of a lack of command and control of armed forces which has resulted in unruly elements who continue to commit human rights abuses in the area.”
Shearer said the government was responsible for bringing its forces under control. The incident comes just days after all parties in South Sudan’s conflict signed a peace treaty: President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar agreed to peace last week in Addis Ababa.
“It is disheartening that, despite the new agreement, fighting is continuing in the Central Equatorian region,” Shearer said, appealing for an end to the country’s civilian suffering. “All forces must disengage as required by the peace agreement and end the violence.”
Image: UNMISS file