BAN URGES S. SUDANESE LEADERS TO WORK AS ONE TEAM

NEW YORK,--UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urgred the leaders of South Sudan to sit together and make firm commitment that they will work as one team, both President and the First Vice President.

On the "troubling, most troubling situation in South Sudan," Ban expressed to the press that he is very concerned that there is continuing violence, sexual violence against women and girls, and attacks against UN humanitarian facilities and looting of humanitarian assistance which should be used for many hundreds of thousands of people.

"The looting by SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army) of WFP warehouses - stealing all the food, which was meant for at least 220,000 people - this is totally unacceptable," he said, asking for accountability and those perpetrators should be held accountable.

Even though at this time the actual violence might have stopped for the time being, there is always a danger that this violence may reoccur, he added.

Again, the UN Chief told the press that he is very much grateful for hard-working peacekeepers, and humanitarian workers, UN staff, NGOs, civil society and media who are working under very difficult and dangerous circumstances. The UN, he affirmed, is working very hard, confirming that he had very good meetings with The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leaders.

Ban was in the region just a few days ago, where he participated in the African Union summit where IGAD leaders had a summit meeting focusing on this current crisis in South Sudan.

"IGAD leaders have recommended the strengthening of the mandate and capacity of UNMISS, the UN peacekeeping Mission is South Sudan, and we sincerely hope that the Security Council will discuss the mandate of UNMISS and also take the necessary measures to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations peacekeeping Mission," he added.

Earlier, the UN deputy spokesperson to the Secretary General Farhan Haq told reporters that the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) noted that it is following up on the deeply disturbing reports of sexual violence reported earlier, including the rape and gang rape by soldiers in uniform of a number of civilians, including minors, around UN House as well as in several neighborhoods of Juba.

"The Mission reports that the number of victims could be in the dozens and that these acts have taken place since the start of the current spate of violence in Juba," he said.

Haq confirmed that the Mission's Human Rights team is currently documenting these cases, which may constitute a war crime.

However, UNMISS called on President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar to take personal responsibility for immediately sanctioning the soldiers responsible for these unacceptable acts of sexual violence.

UNMISS has stepped up its patrols in and around its Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites as well in Juba city, although with restrictions, and is taking measures to provide the required safety to women who need to go out of the PoC sites to collect firewood and procure other non-food items. The situation in the country remains tense and volatile, he said.

Source: Name News Network

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