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UNMISS Force Commander visits Warrap following an upsurge of tensions

UNMISS Force Commander Lieutenant-General Mohan Subramanian visits Warrap to get insights about the security situation on the ground. Photo by Zejin Yin/UNMISS.

WARRAP – In South Sudan, subnational violence continues to be an issue, especially in hotspots across the states of Unity, Jonglei, Lakes and Warrap.

Warrap, in particular, has witnessed persistent cross border clashes between the Dinka Twic and Dinka Ngok communities over territorial disputes in the Abyei Administrative Area, which has led to loss of lives and properties, abductions as well as largescale displacement since last year.

It is against this complex backdrop that Lieutenant-General Mohan Subramanian, Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), travelled to the Greater Bahr El Ghazal region last week.

“I routinely visit all states and temporary bases where our Blue Helmets are stationed,” said Force Commander Subramanian.

“But this trip to this region and to Warrap is one that’s focused on evolving security issues. I wanted to experience firsthand the challenges that our peacekeepers are facing here. It’s important because this way, we can make informed decisions about proactively protecting civilians,” added the UN Peacekeeping mission’s top military official.

Another key aspect that Lieutenant-General Subramanian was keen to explore: The impact of the ongoing crisis in Sudan.

“Engaging with communities, state authorities, uniformed personnel and traditional leaders gives us a bird’s eye view of not only entrenched conflict triggers such as land disputes and cattle raids, but also provides us with a better understanding of how regional instability, such as the situation in Sudan right now, has resulted in tens of thousands of returnees and refugees flocking through porous borders into the country,” he explained.

“This influx has strained already limited resources and humanitarian aid capabilities. It, thus, has the potential to create tensions between host communities and newcomers, which is something we are keen to ameliorate in partnership with key stakeholders,” added the Force Commander.

Since 2023, hostilities in and around Warrap have been making the headlines and while UNMISS peacekeepers are doing their best to protect civilians, Force Commander Subramanian says he believes that stronger governance mechanisms are needed.

“As part of our core mandate as a UN peace operation, our Blue Helmets are consistently patrolling across Warrap, shoring up community confidence and trust. But, at the end of the day, we cannot be everywhere at once. Sustaining peace and protecting civilians is first and foremost the responsibility of the Government of South Sudan. There must be political and community-based engagement by the leaders themselves to ensure that the citizens of Warrap are safe. We are here on the ground to support them to the very best of our capabilities and resources,” he concluded.