UN ready to help relocate ex-South Sudan opposition fighters from DRC

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Said Djinnit. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine (file)

The United Nations stands ready to help South Sudan address the issue of former opposition fighters who fled the country for neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the wake of deadly violence last July.

That's according to UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, speaking to reporters in the capital, Juba, on Monday

South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, has been rocked by what the UN humanitarian office, OCHA, has described as "multiple and interlocking threats," including armed conflict and inter-communal violence, as well as economic decline.

Dianne Penn reports.

This was the UN Special Envoy's first visit to South Sudan, where he met with the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai.

Discussions centred on the country's implementation of a 2013 peace and security agreement for the DRC and the region, signed by 11 countries.

He also raised the issue of former opposition fighters located in the DRC.

The combatants have been disarmed and are now in the custody of the UN peacekeeping operation there.

"The government of the DRC has demanded the United Nations to help in relocating them outside the region, but the government has also decided on amnesty. We want to have the views of the government of South Sudan, and we as the UN stand ready to help in addressing this issue, relocating them either returning them to South Sudan or relocating in neighbouring countries, but in a manner that is acceptable to all, but in a manner that can in anyway sustain and support stability and peace in this country and also strengthen relations between South Sudan and its neighbours."

Mr Djinnit also expressed concern over on-going fighting in South Sudan and its humanitarian implications, both for the country and its neighbours.

He underlined the UN's strong support for the peace process.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’18″

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