South Sudanese authorities Monday barred the ceasefire monitoring team from reaching Yei to assess the security situation in the troubled Central Equatoria region .
In a statement, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) said one of its teams was ‘denied freedom of movement while trying to reach Yei to conduct an assessment of the area and carry out its mandated activities’.
The ceasefire monitoring mechanism said they got the green light from all the concerned authorities including the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission since early this month.
“However when the MVT began their journey from Juba this morning they were stopped at a check point on the outskirts of the city and told they would not be allowed pass beyond that point,” said the statement.
The ceasefire mechanism called on the Transitional Government of National Unity to intervene to ensure that its teams can visit Yei.
” The CTSAMM would like to reiterate that it has a legal right to be present in South Sudan as stipulated in Chapter II of the ARCSS, and condemns, in the strongest terms, the denial of freedom of movement for the CTSAMM MVTs,” said the statement.
In line with the peace agreement, the CTSAMM is tasked with the monitoring of the implementation of the Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements (PCTSA).
Since last summer, different reports emerged from areas in Yei speaking about attacks by armed opposition elements in the area who are described as ‘terrorists’ or ‘anti-peace elements’ by the local authorities. Other reports also cited violent counterinsurgency operations by the government army in the area.
On November 12, Adama Dieng, UN special adviser on prevention of genocide, called to probe the human rights violations in Yei, stressing the gravity of the situation there ‘merits immediate intervention – a full scale fact-finding investigation and enhanced humanitarian support’.
Also, Dieng mentioned reports about the expulsion of farmers from their agricultural plots into Yei town.
“These farmers have lost their homes and belongings, livestock and land. Property has been looted and villages have been burned,” he said.