UN deploys more peacekeepers to South Sudan’s Unity state

Chinese forces serving with the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS). The UN is bolstering its presence in South Sudan’s Unity state. (Reuters)
Updated 17 May 2018
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UN deploys more peacekeepers to South Sudan’s Unity state

  • Nearly 1.76 million people have been displaced internally since fighting broke out in 2013 between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and the former vice president he sacked, Riek Machar.
  • Head of UN mission David Shearer: “What we are witnessing on the ground is the deliberate killing of civilians as well as the sexual violation and abduction of women and children.”

JUBA: The UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is sending 150 peacekeepers to Unity state to protect civilians who are being targeted in clashes between the government and rebel troops, the mission said on Thursday.
Nearly 1.76 million people have been displaced internally since fighting broke out in 2013 between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and the former vice president he sacked, Riek Machar, the UN said.
A series of peace deals signed by the parties at the behest of regional groups like the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have been violated, with the latest violence taking place in Unity state, which hosts abandoned oil fields.
“What we are witnessing on the ground is the deliberate killing of civilians as well as the sexual violation and abduction of women and children,” David Shearer, the head of the UN mission, said in a statement.
Dozens have been killed in the area in recent weeks, UNMISS said.
“Our fresh deployment will enable peacekeeping troops to patrol deeper to reach remote villages where the worst atrocities are taking place to create a protective presence and deter further fighting.”
At least 30 villages in the area had been attacked by the warring parties, Shearer said, adding that thousands of civilians were fleeing to Leer from Koch.
Those who are displaced were seeking refuge near the UN base, with the majority being children, the head of the mission said, demanding that those who are violating laws by attacking civilians should be held to account.


German court rejects call for Catalan leader Puigdemont to be rearrested

Updated 39 min 17 sec ago
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German court rejects call for Catalan leader Puigdemont to be rearrested

BERLIN: A German court on Tuesday rejected a request from prosecutors to take former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont back into custody pending a decision on whether he can be extradited to Spain.
Puigdemont was detained by German police March 25 after crossing the border from Denmark. Spain had issued a European arrest warrant and sought his extradition on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds — charges that stem from an unauthorized referendum last year on Catalonia’s independence from Spain.
He was released April 6 after a German court said it appeared he can’t be extradited for rebellion, the more serious of the two charges. But prosecutors in the northern town of Schleswig argued that new information provided by Spanish authorities suggests that would be possible.
They cited videos showing violence against Spanish police and said in a statement that “the disturbances were on such a scale that prosecutors believe that he should also be extradited over the accusation of rebellion.” The prosecutors argued that the charge is comparable to two offenses under German law — treason and breaching the peace.
They said that Puigdemont would pose a flight risk and called for him to be taken back into custody. The state court in Schleswig disagreed and rejected the request.
Puigdemont remains free with certain conditions, including reporting to police once a week.
The separatist politician has been living in Berlin, frequently receiving political allies from Catalonia including his newly elected successor as regional president, Quim Torra.
The Schleswig court said it is “still open” when a final decision will be made on whether Puigdemont can be extradited. It said that the prosecutors have yet to submit a formal application to examine whether an extradition is possible.