JUBA/MALAKAL/BOR: What appears to be spontaneous and uncoordinated pro-UN rallies have been reported across several towns in South Sudan as hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDP’s) have been seen pour into the streets from their UN camps chanting anti-government slogans and calling on the UN to stay.
“Hilde for President of South Sudan,” read one slogan.
Another praised UN’s role in providing the protection that – without it, according to the slogan, would have meant the murder of the holder’s entire family.
In the past few days, several government-backed protests across country have called on the UN to stop arming the rebels with the gas canisters – a high tech land mine that, according to the government, is capable of taking out airplanes and gunship helicopters.
In the past few days, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the government had a diplomatic fall out after the latter intercepted what it believed was a shipment to rebels, accused the former of meddling in its internal affairs.
The thousands of IDP’s who choose to sought protection in UN compounds from weapon yielding undisciplined tribal militias allied to either rebel leader Machar or fast-becoming-unpopular president Kiir do not seem to agree with the government.
“Anti-aircraft landmines!! Either the rebels are too intelligent to turn gas canisters into that, or… can a landmine blow up a plane?” wondered one pro-UN protester.
It is not clear how long the protests will continue or whether government will issue any statement to this regard.