The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has handed over a newly renovated road to community members in Nhialdiu Payam in Rubkona.
The 45-kilometre road connecting Nhialdiu Payam to Bentiu town was revamped by UNMISS, through its Quick Impact Projects initiative, in partnership with the local charity, Child AID South Sudan, and will facilitate the safe return of displaced civilians to their homes in greater Rubkona, as well as restore the free flow of public transport and commerce.
“We are very happy because of what UNMISS has done,” said local chieftain, Mawang Dador. “This road is our life.”
Abduolie Jagne, a Relief, Reintegration, and Protection Officer in the peacekeeping mission’s Bentiu Field Office, underscored that the improved road conditions will ensure that humanitarian assistance continues to reach those who need it most.
Moreover, the project will make the hopes of those wanting to return to their homes more attainable.
However, there are still concerns about the safety situation along the road.
“We need our government to deploy security forces along major roads to prevent further attacks against civilians by criminals,” said Mary Nyapak Gatnyai, a resident of Nhialdiu Payam.
Last month, four people were killed, and another five injured, in an attack on a passenger’s vehicle driving along the Nhialdiu-Bentiu road. Additionally, in April 2018, a South Sudanese aid worker was killed, and in December 2018, the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières reported that more than 100 women and girls were raped while travelling on the same road.
Pawel Commissioner William Chieng Dador appealed to community members to own the project and do what they can to contribute to the rise of stability.
“UNMISS has done a lot to improve the security situation in the area, including through frequent patrolling,” he said. “But I am also urging the community to be productive and do what they can to sow the seeds of peace in the country.”
During a recent peace conference in Bentiu, the government and opposition forces in Northern Liech agreed to form a joint force to be deployed to areas where criminals and armed groups are operating out of to fortify security along major roads across the region.