SOUTH SUDAN / LOBONOK PATROL

08-Aug-2019 00:03:21
Following reports of fighting in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria region, the new Force Commander of the UN Mission in the country ordered a military patrol to deploy to the area within hours to assess the security and humanitarian situation, and to deter more fighting. UNMISS
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STORY: SOUTH SUDAN / LOBONOK PATROL
TRT: 03:21
SOURCE: UNMISS
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: BARI / NATS

DATELINE: 24 JULY 2019, LOBONOK, SOUTH SUDAN
SHOTLIST
1. Various shots, Force Commander speaking to troops
2. Various shots, patrol convoy setting off
3. Various shots, peacekeepers setting up a tent
4. Various shots, Peacekeepers getting ready
5. Various shots, meeting local authorities
6. Tracking shots, farms in the villages
7. Various shots, peacekeepers setting up tents
8. Various shots, peacekeepers in meetings with locals
9. SOUNDBITE (Bari) Fozia Kiden, Kaperto Resident:
“No clothes, no food, no salt, no medicine, there is nothing. How can we stay here? We cannot stay if you people cannot do something, we will leave this country because we are suffering a lot. Since November last year we are still in the same situation. We thought we are suffering for the sake of our country but still are being disturbed. We are tired.”
10. Various shots, patrol convoy
STORYLINE
Following reports of fighting in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria region, the new Force Commander of the UN Mission in the country ordered a military patrol to deploy to the area within hours to assess the security and humanitarian situation, and to deter more fighting.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has received reports that there have been clashes between armed groups in Lobonok, located some 100kms East of the South Sudanese capital, Juba.

The new UNMISS Force Commander has been proactive in acting immediately to stem such trouble, so he swings into action, ordering a military patrol to deploy to the troubled area within three hours.

The patrol sets off, but arrival in Lobonok won’t happen on the day, as a military checkpoint mounted by government soldiers – the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces – will not let them proceed.

The soldiers give two reasons for the stoppage: it is late, and the peacekeepers do not have the right clearance for the patrol – a requirement that goes against the Status of Forces Agreement, which established the peacekeeping mission.

The Nepalese peacekeepers pitch tent at Loggo, located some 40kms from the capital, Juba.

The following day, the peacekeepers are up early, to attempt to make the trip again.

On the second attempt, they make it, but not without more questions and threats to turn them back.

In Lobonok, peacekeepers meet county authorities, who tell them they can’t proceed to Kaperto, close to where the clashes happened, but they may speak to civilians around Lobonok.

The county commissioner, who is the area security coordinator, heads out in the direction of Kaperto, where government forces have set up a military base at the only school in the area.

Without unfettered access, peacekeepers face the prospect of returning to Juba without much information about the clashes.

From Juba, the Force Commander gives another order: the peacekeepers must stay in the area for longer – until they have access to Kaperto.

They leave Lobonok and attempt to set up camp at a place nearby, before the county commissioner calls to guarantee them access to Kaperto.The following morning, the county commissioner leads the peacekeepers to Kaperto, with stops in villages along the road to interact with civilians – who share details of their displacement and needs but are restricted from speaking about the security situation.

SOUNDBITE: (Bari) Fozia Kiden, Kaperto Resident
“No clothes, no food, no salt, no medicine, there is nothing. How can we stay here? We cannot stay if you people cannot do something, we will leave this country because we are suffering a lot. Since November last year we are still in the same situation. We thought we are suffering for the sake of our country but still are being disturbed. We are tired.”

From the interactions, it becomes clear that the fighting has completely stopped, as villagers attribute it to the presence of UN peacekeepers in the area. Some ask that UN peacekeepers stay longer in the area, to guarantee their safety.

But the peacekeepers must return to Juba, as they have stayed an extra day, and their emergency deployment meant they couldn’t bring enough food and water to last them more than four days.

Despite the various challenges with access, the peacekeepers have accomplished their mission: their presence in the area has deterred further violence, and they have collected enough information about the security situation in the area, including who started the clashes, and about the humanitarian needs of displaced civilians.
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