As South Sudan approaches a critical juncture in its political history with this young nation gearing up for its first-ever elections in 2024, communities in Western Equatoria, and indeed, across the country are still contending with frequent outbreaks of conflict, criminality and rebuilding their lives as best as possible in the aftermath of past civil wars.
In this context, boosting rule of law and ensuring civilians are protected is, therefore, a key mandated priority for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The UN Peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Yambio recently handed over a newly constructed police post in Mundri East county, through its Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) programme, which uses small-scale, infrastructure-focused interventions to address urgent public needs.
Located in Lakamandi payam [administrative division], where residents have been plagued by a rising crime rate, this new police post answers many residents’ hopes as, in the past, perpetrators have not been brought to justice since there was no law enforcement presence in the area, reveals Charles Uro Damata, acting payam chief for Lakamadi.
“This is a great achievement for us in Lakamadi and signals the beginning of a fully functioning justice system and enhanced security in the area,” he stated.
Acting Police Inspector for the greater Mundri area, Colonel Pelegon Fraizer, agreed.
“This police post is bound to stabilize the security situation in Lakamadi and deter crime. When an area is stable, development automatically happens. So, we can expect long term benefits as well and residents can now access services, farm their lands without fear,” he said.
For Pastor Jacob Samson Lion of the Episcopal Church in Lakamadi, the newly built police post is a beacon of hope that will promote accountability and ensure that every offender, no matter how highly placed they are in society, will face the consequences of their actions.
“This initiative tells us that we must abide by the laws of our land. Nobody is exempt from justice and any bad behaviors must and will be corrected,” he averred.
Constructed by local implementing partner Community Youth Development Aid organization (CYDA), the new structure consists of five offices and four detention cells meant to accommodate male, female, and juvenile offenders separately.
Thomas Bazawi a representative from the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Protection, Transition and Reintegration Section encouraged community members to cooperate with the police.
“This project has many aims: It inspires confidence in communities, builds better relationships between civilians and law enforcement personnel, upholds the rule of law and, importantly, enhances human rights of prisoners by giving them a dignified detention so that upon completing their sentences, they can reintegrate and become productive members of society,” he stated at the handover ceremony.
“I urge all community members to work with the police and build sustained peace not only in Lakamadi but in surrounding areas as well.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).