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BENTIU - 15 Jan 2016

Photos: Crowds of war-affected people receive Mogae in Bentiu

Festus Mogae, the leader of the commission tasked with overseeing implementation of South Sudan's peace agreement, was received by huge crowds in Bentiu yesterday on his first visit to the war-affected area.

Crowds of women, children and men greeted the former Botswana president cheering and holding painted banners depicting scenes of the war and expressing their aspirations for peace.

Mogae met community leaders, women leaders, religious groups, and youth representatives inside the UN Protection of Civilians site.

Bentiu PoC is South Sudan's largest 'protection site', an area where UN peacekeepers have defended civilians against attacks by soldiers and militia. The Bentiu site is home to more than 100,000 ethnic Nuer.

Mogae also met with state government officials and local authorities. As chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), Mogae receives reports from international ceasefire monitoring teams in South Sudan and other mechanisms created by the August 2015 peace agreement.

Bentiu is the fourth South Sudanese town visited by Mogae after Juba, Bor and Malakal. He has traveled onward to Addis Ababa for further meetings on implementation of the peace deal.

Photos courtesy of UNMISS.