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JUBA – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Wednesday expressed fears of escalated violence in the country’s already fragile Jonglei State after reports that of mass mobilization among armed Nuer youth there.

“The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is deeply concerned about reported mobilization of armed Nuer youth in the Greater Jonglei area. Such mobilizations have the potential to trigger violent attacks that can gravely impact the civilian population,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Any such upsurge of conflict will undermine recent peace gains achieved through a rapprochement between the leaders of Jonglei state and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA). The Mission appreciates proactive engagements by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan with involved youth leaders to de-escalate hostilities and restore calm,” the mission added.

While stressing the loss of lives caused by similar mobilization, the UN mission said it has continued to deploy resources in a bid to help in ensuring civilians’ safety and said that protection of citizens lies in the hand of the government of South Sudan.

“While the primary responsibility for protecting civilians lies with the Government, UNMISS continues to deploy all available resources and make every effort to ensure the safety and security of affected populations,” the statement said.

“Similar incidents in the past have resulted in the loss of lives, abduction of women and children, displacement of thousands of civilians, and destruction of property,” it added.

The world mission which has been using peacekeepers to protect civilians since the outbreak of violence in December 2013 further called “on leaders of the Lou Nuer and Murle communities to exert positive and constructive influences on their youth groups, encouraging them to embrace dialogue and refrain from using violence as a means of resolving grievances.”

It also “urges community leaders to ensure the release of previously abducted women and children, and the return of looted cattle to their rightful owners, to foster reconciliation and respect for fundamental human rights.” - Sudans Post

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