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UN reported 39 thousand people displaced to Leer, Unity state and appeal for calm

UN reported 39 thousand people displaced to Leer, Unity state and appeal for calm
Women and children fleeing from their villages in the areas around Leer County in Unity State due to armed conflict on 14th February 2022

The United Nations in South Sudan says more than 39,000 people have been displaced by recent armed clashes to Leer town in a unity state. The displaced persons are reportedly arriving from the conflict-affected areas.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan is appealing to national and local leaders, and armed groups to immediately stop the violence in Unity State. It says nine women were raped according to the local health facilities in Leer town.

The UN reported that fighting that began in Mirmir Payam, Unity State, between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition and armed youths has spread to several villages in Koch, Mayiandit and Leer. Over the past two weeks, civilians have been killed, injured, and forced to flee their homes. Civilian property was destroyed, and humanitarian supplies looted.

At least over 20 people killed and thirty others wounded during the clashes.

In a Statement, the deputy head of UNMISS, Guan Cong, strongly condemns the violence saying it will increase human suffering and urges national and local authorities to take immediate measures to reduce tensions.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also said the services, including food, shelter, non-food items, health, nutrition, protection, and water and sanitation support, remain critical.

“The conflict has had a significant impact on humanitarian operations. The humanitarian warehouses in Padeah, Leer County, and MirMir in Koch County were looted and vandalized. A health and nutrition facility in Tutnyang, Mayendit County, was also looted by the armed group during the fighting,”

OCHA stated that affected people are traumatized and struggling for their lives. Access to services is problematic, particularly for women and children in remote areas. Reports we received indicate that people’s houses and properties were looted, burnt, and destroyed, cattle stolen during the clashes.

“The security situation in Leer and neighboring counties of Koch and Mayendit in Unity State remains tense, and locals are worried there is a likelihood of fighting spreading into many locations.”

It warned that the continued fighting had impacted the areas where people displaced by flooding in 2021 are returning.

The UN Coordination Affairs expressed concern that renewed fighting in the area impacted humanitarian activities to help those affected by floods and sub-national violence before the rainy season.

The Minister of Information in Unity state, Mr. David Gai said the security situation has improved, and authorities are working closely with local leaders for peace dialogue.

Earlier this week, the Commissioners of the three counties have been criticized of supporting the armed youth groups from their communities, making it hard to address the problem on time.