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MALAKAL - 14 Jan 2016

Mogae visits war-affected citizens in Malakal

The Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana, visited war-displaced citizens in Malakal yesterday.

At the 'Protection of Civilians' site in Malakal, he was welcomed by crowds of camp residents demonstrating in support of peace.

According to a press release by JMEC, Mogae's visit was intended to provide him an opportunity to meet with government officials, representatives of South Sudanese society, as well as humanitarian agencies, the Monitoring and Verification Teams of the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) and United Nations officials.

He is scheduled to continue his travel today to Bentiu where similar meetings are planned, before continuing on to Addis Ababa for further meetings in support of the implementation of the Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), according to the JMEC statement.

Unity State Minister of Information Peter Makuoth Malual welcomed the visit by the chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission to Bentiu town in order to acquaint himself with citizen’s situation there.

“As head of the commission he should go there to acquaint himself with the preparedness of the citizens for peace, so it is important and we welcome it as government” he told Radio Tamazuj.

Makuoth described the move as very important and that it will pave the way for committees that will be set up by the government and the armed opposition to enlighten the citizens about peace in the war-affected areas in Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states.

Mogae's visit to Malakal comes amid controversy over Salva Kiir's order to create 28 states, which has been rejected by armed and unarmed opposition parties. Upper Nile would be divided into smaller states, with concern over which state gets Malakal town.

Mogae has said that the creation of 28 states is a violation of the peace deal, saying it is a complicating factor for creating peace.

During Mogae's visit, Mathew Bichok, the representative of the displaced people, said the creation of more states reminds him with abrogation of previous agreements signed without commitment.

“As people of greater Upper Nile state, we we need peace that was signed based on 10 states,” he said.  

The displaced person, who is also the head of peace and reconciliation committee inside the UN base appealed to the international community to help the people of South Sudan to end their suffering.

In the photo gallery, provided courtesy of UNMISS, Mogae is seen attending an event held in the Protection of Civilians site. He heard from community representatives, religious leaders, women leaders, elders, and youth representatives.