UN moves peacekeepers to South Sudan ahead of offensive against militants
Iran Press TV
Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:17PM GMT
Hundreds of UN peacekeepers have been deployed to a volatile state in South Sudan before an expected government offensive against a militant group in the country.
According to an unnamed UN envoy, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has moved the peacekeepers to Jonglei state. The deployment comes ahead of an operation by the Sudanese government against fighters loyal to militant leader David Yau Yau.
“We are expecting a military operation against David Yau Yau to happen quite soon,” UNMISS chief Hilde Johnson said, adding, “If the military operations start… we will have to be present on the ground to protect civilians to the maximum extent possible.”
In July 2011, South Sudan voted to break away from Sudan following a two-decade civil war that killed about two million people in Africa’s biggest country. But the new oil-rich nation, which is one of the least developed countries in the world, has had to confront ethnic tensions and rebellions of its own.
Yau Yau rebelled against the government in Juba after he was defeated in the elections of April 2010. However, he accepted amnesty in June 2011, a month before South Sudan won independence from Sudan after decades of civil war.
Juba says Sudan supports Yau Yau and airlifts weapons and supplies to remote corners of Jonglei. However, Khartoum denies the allegation.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern about “extrajudicial killings” and other abuses by the South Sudanese army during its crackdown on militants.
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