June 19, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan government blocked members of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) from carrying out their activities over what it said were preventive measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus, a UN report has revealed.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said during a regular report to the UN Security Council on Monday that South Sudan security forces who said they were acting upon orders of the high-level taskforce restricted UN staffs from movements to prevent the spread of the virus.
Guterres said the incident has happened several times between February 15 and May 31 in several parts of the world’s youngest country where the world mission has a mission including Malakal, Rumbek, and Torit.
The report said South Sudanese security services “blocked movements in and out of UNMISS compounds in Juba” (United Nations House), Kuacjok, Malakal, Rumbek, Torit, and Yambio.”
The report added that South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) in Torit “warned UN personnel not to leave their compounds and threatened to arrest anyone found outside and impound their vehicles.”
“UNMISS patrols to several locations were restricted on the grounds of COVID-19 prevention. The security forces claimed they were acting on instructions from the high-level task force,” stressed the report.
The UN report also said the security forces physically assaulted a UNMISS national staff member, preventing him access to the United Nations House in Juba.
“On 9 April, following the engagement of my Special Representative with the authorities, the Government lifted restrictions in Juba, and subsequently on UNMISS compounds in Rumbek, Malakal, Kuacjok and Yambio,” reads the report.
“With the onset of the pandemic, the South Sudan Peoples’ Defence Forces continued to impede the Mission’s mandated activities in the area citing the implementation of COVID-19 prevention measures,” added the report.