A week ago I carried a report entitled “South Sudan: UN staff barricaded themselves in to prevent other UN staff killing them” on this blog. I subsequently received further information which I posted entitled “Update: UN staff attack UN staff confirmed.”
I have now been contacted by Joe Contreras, the UNMISS Head, Outreach Unit, Public Information Office, with the statement below. I am carrying it in full and without comment and will do what I can to investigate the situation further.
With regard to recent reports that some of its national staff had locked themselves in a bunker in Malakal “to prevent other local UN staff from murdering them,” UNMISS can confirm that it is unaware of any incidents of violence amongst its national staff members since the crisis in South Sudan began on the evening of 15 December 2013.
According to a report filed on the evening of Sunday, 23 February by the UNMISS Field Security Coordination Officer assigned to Upper Nile State, an incident did occur near the UNMISS Logistics Base in Malakal last week that involved three internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had sought shelter at the Mission’s compound. During an altercation, an SPLA In Opposition soldier reportedly shot one of the IDPs. UN Security in Malakal confirmed that no UN staff member was involved in that incident, which occurred outside the Mission’s compound located! one kilometer north of the Malakal International Airport terminal.
The mission continues to do its utmost to ensure the security of all of the more than 75,000 persons sheltering in eight UN protection-of-civilians sites.
Head, Outreach Unit, Public Information Office