PEACEKEEPING: SIX FIJIANS CAUGHT
IN SOUTH SUDAN BATTLE FOR JUBA
Battle is raging between two South Sudanese factions metres away from the United Nations House in Juba – where six Fijians have taken shelter.
Five Police officers and a Republic of Fiji Military Forces officer are amongst United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) members sheltering in United Nations House. The violence in South Sudan comes just months after President Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and rebel leader Riek Machar, a Nuer, formed a new power-sharing transitional government, under a deal to end two years of civil war . Some of the most recent outbreaks saw a UN building attacked, and a Chinese United Nations peacekeeper killed.
At least 300 people have already been killed in the latest round of violence. Yesterday Contingent commander ACP Unaisi Vuniwaqa posted on Facebook: “Today was one of those days in mission. As reported in the media, heavy shooting between the two factions here in Juba, SSudan near UN House re-commenced at about 8am this morning, Sunday 10th Jul. “It lasted the whole day and ceased at about 8.30pm when Divine Power intervened through heavy rain and thunderstorm. Whether the shooting will continue in the days ahead remains to be seen but we urge our dear families and friends not to be alarmed as the Lord is in control. “We are all safe and thank God for his protection for He is ever faithful! Many thanks to all for prayers offered on our behalf. Please continue to pray for South Sudan and her people and for all Fijians in Peacekeeping missions through-out the world. “Luv and Prayers from our end! God bless!” ACP Vuniwaqa also posted a photo which looked like a bullet hole with the caption: “Below is just a small souvenir on our wall as a reminder of how powerful our God is! Our Shield and Protector.” RFMF chief of staff Colonel Litea Seruiratu yesterday confirmed that the Fijian contingent in Juba is now on high alert.
“As of 0600 hrs on 10/07 (Sunday), area security alert for Juba had been upgraded. This was due to sporadic shooting that took place that night around Juba. “However at 0830hrs, heavy shooting started again near the UN House between the two factions (SPLA Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the SPLA – IO Sudan People’s Liberation Army In Opposition).
“Five Fiji Police Force officers and one RFMF officer are billeted at the UN House. All Fiji Contingent in Juba are safe but on high alert,” Colonel Seruiratu confirmed. Police Commissioner BrigadierGeneral Sitiveni Qiliho said he has been in touch with his officers and they continued to closely monitor the situation.
“Any decision to evacuate our officers from South Sudan would be made by the United Nation’s securities division,” he said. The UN Security Council urged both sides to end fighting and called for more peacekeepers after a meeting on Sunday. The council’s 15 members demanded Kiir and Machar “genuinely commit themselves to the full and immediate implementation of the peace agreement, including the permanent ceasefire and redeployment of military forces from Juba”.
Our officers in Juba, the capital of South Sudan are posted there under the United Nations Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS). Edited by Rosi Doviverata
Please continue to pray for South Sudan and her people and all Fijians in peacekeeping missions around the world.
‘Smoke rises as gunfire rages on at Jebel Kujur, near Eye Radio and UN base. Photo: Eye Radio Juba