Over 500 staff of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have been relocated to Uganda over security fears.
By Raymond Mujuni, New Vision
April 26, 2014(New Vision) — The staff are part of the UN team that was working in South Sudan where war guns are currently sounding.
In her report to the United Nations Security Council, a copy of which NewVision has seen, the UNMISS head Hilde Johnson says the growing hostility towards UNMISS staff in South Sudan has forced them to relocate over 500 staff that are non critical at the moment to the UN base in Entebbe.
The relocation of the staff was started on 21st December last year with the relocation of 40 UN staff from battle grounds in Bentiu to Juba before finally bringing them to Entebbe. A day later, another 450 members of the UNMISS were relocated to Entebbe.
Nairobi, has also played host to another 164 UNMISS employees who have fled the violence in South Sudan.
Fighting in South Sudan has intensified with armed militia attacking UN bases in areas of Bor. The attack of UN bases forced the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces to take over control of the UN camp in Bor for two days.
UPDF spokesperson Paddy Ankunda says they had taken over the camp to provide security to civilians but have now left after reaching an understanding that they will always assist the UN in cases of emergency.
In her report, Hilde Johnson says the UN employees in South Sudan currently are those that are extremely critical to meet the programme demands of the world body in the country.
In January, the UN also relocated two members of staff whose security in the country was threatened by public threats from senior government officials.
UNMISS has over2000 staff who have been working in South Sudan.
Part of the mission’s mandate to the country includes guarding of the civilian population from the fighters and providing humanitarian aid to the internally displaced people.
There has been increased friction between the South Sudan government forces and rebels with UNMISS. UN bases in South Sudan have been consistently attacked and civilians taking refuge at the camps have been killed. The government of South Sudan has distanced itself from the massacres that happened at the UN camps saying rebel forces were the ones committing gross atrocities.
South Sudan slipped into war last year in December after the feud between Riek Mahar, a former Vice President and the President Salva Kiir deepened.