The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission has condemned the attacks in the Abyei Administrative Area on the January 27-28 weekend that killed more than 50 people, including women, children, and two peacekeepers from the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
A further 64 people were wounded.
Armed young men from South Sudan’s Warrap State carried out the raids into the neighbouring Abyei region on Saturday, Reuters quoted Bulis Koch, the Information minister for Abyei, as having said on Monday.
“RJMEC condoles with the families of all those who lost their lives in this regrettable incident,” it said in a statement on Monday.
RJMEC, which monitors the 2018 peace agreement implementation, said the attacks did not happen in isolation, but follow a pattern of continuing violence between local communities of the area in recent weeks and months.
It said the violence claimed the life of Deputy Administrator of the Abyei Administrative Area in late December 2023, even as it urged for dialogue.
“South Sudan’s successful democratic transition hinges on the implementation of key tasks which are still incomplete, in particular the unification of forces and their deployment, and the making of the permanent constitution. With so much at stake for the people of South Sudan as they look to have their democratic aspirations met by holding their first elections as an independent nation,” RJMEC said, reminding the South Sudan government of its responsibility, as per Article 1.2.2 of the revitalized agreement, to restore permanent and sustainable peace, security, and stability.
It also called for close collaboration and collegiality at all levels of government to strengthen the processes and institutions of governance nationwide, which include dialogue and mediation.
In this way, the levels of social cohesion and public confidence needed to hold free, fair and credible elections can continue to be built, the commission said.