The current situation in Tambura has triggered wider concerns from the international body United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The international agency is deeply worried and concerned about the safety and wellbeing of children and other vulnerable people amidst conflict in the greater Tambura area in Western Equatoria State.
The fighting has displaced an estimated 40,000 people, with some 17,000 of them seeking refuge in the neighbouring Ezo County. Additionally, several thousands of displaced persons are sheltering near the peacekeeping mission’s temporary operating base in Tambura.
Following the recent ordeals that have psychologically tortured the victims and according to survivors went to the farm with our parents plugging groundnuts and suddenly three men came from the bush. They arrested our parents, but we managed to run away, and then we heard gunshots. I sneaked back into the farm and found the dead bodies of my mother and father. We then started the journey to Ezo County. We didn’t meet anyone along the way, so we didn’t have food and water,” he says.
Currently, there are a lot of protection concerns, especially for children, they are in a dire need of humanitarian assistance and are very vulnerable. However, the situation might lead to many things: one, it may increase incidents of sexual gender-based violence, especially among girls. It may also increase domestic violence and even criminality. Many children may be recruited by armed groups because we have been seeing armed youth around and we don’t know most of them.
In an exerted effort to prevent children’s rights from being violated, Child Protection and Human Rights Officers have been engaging with the organized forces in greater Tambura to create awareness on the Mission’s mandate, fundamental human rights principles, and the relation between the revitalized peace agreement and the need to keep boys and girls out of harm’s way.
The most remarkable deal would be to have a ceasefire, followed by sustainable peace, which is what is needed, according to the peacekeeper and one of the Political Affairs Officer.
The area needs urgent attention and commitment from all parties involved to rescue this challenging event. Once peace prevails, development cant is inevitable from happening.
This explains why making the organized forces understand the content of the peace agreement is vital to help bring lasting peace in the region. A larger part of the peace deal focused on security arrangements is particularly important to implement without further delay.
With tensions rising high, the UNMISS Force Commander, Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar, has however pledged that peacekeepers will continue to protect civilians in the area for a reasonable time.
It’s however sad that the civilians say they have food in their villages but are afraid of going there due to the looming insecurity. UNMISS Force Commander has however said they will provide security in the areas where people can go back and collect what they need. He also promised to mediate between the communities and help them get together and resolve the disputes which have risen recently.
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