The Governor of Yei River State, David Lonkonga Moses, says the state has enjoyed at least a fortnight of relative quiet because of measures his leadership has put in place.
Measures taken in the area include arresting and punishing those members of the security forces who are looting or harassing civilians.
Mr. Lokonga said that he had formed a para-military force comprising Military Police, Civil Police, the Fire Brigade Unit and the Wildlife Unit to help patrol the streets of Yei town.
“Soldiers in plain clothes roaming the town with firearms are more criminal than those in military uniforms”, he said, speaking during a visit to Yei by teams representing UNMISS and the Ceasefire and the Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) respectively.
Jacob Aligo, Minister of Physical Infrastructure in Yei River State, said that the residents of Yei are yearning for peace, which would allow the displaced people to safely return to their homes.
“Thousands of civilians are trapped in the bushes without food, shelter and medical care”, he added.
Muki Batali Buli, Advisor to the Yei River State Governor, said that the major challenge in bringing lasting peace is the inability of relevant stakeholders to make contact with leaders of the armed groups.
Mr. Buli said that continued dialogue would help chart a new page, deescalate tensions and build confidence and trust in the community.
“We also have to talk to our own soldiers to stop harming civilians, so that the soldiers will help restore hope to the people and reduce the soaring mistrust between them”, he said.
Dan Lizzul, a member of CTSAMM, said all armed forces in the country must respect international humanitarian and human rights laws during combat.
“Professional armies fight only other professional armies. They do not attack, rape or harass civilians”, Mr. Lizzul stated.
He urged all armed forces to do everything they can to distinguish between civilians and combatants and thus avoid unnecessary suffering of their people and prevent collateral damage to property.