24 September 2010 – UNMIS Malakal security section is hosting a delegation of eight diplomatic security focal points, which is visiting Southern Sudan to assess the political situation at state and county levels.
“The political situation of Sudan is very interesting and challenging. On this referendum process, we want to find out on the ground how the situation is among the people of Southern Sudan,” said First Counselor Denis Douveneau of the French Embassy.
UNMIS Chief of Security Chris Du Toit said the mission had invited the delegation, who arrived on 23 November for a three-day visit, to give them an overview of the local security profile and show them how the UN works on the ground.
“We want them to share views and ideas on what they think after this trip,” Mr Du Toit said.
Accompanied by Malakal County Commissioner Shouki Aboch Ajang and Captain Jared, public outreach officer in the UN Integrated Referendum and Electoral Division, the delegation went on a boat patrol to Wau Shiluk payam in Malakal County today to visit the referendum voter registration centre.
Voter registration for the 9 January referendum, when Southern Sudan is expected to choose between continued unity with or separation from the north is currently underway.
Malakal Commissioner Mr. Ajang said Malakal had been peaceful without significant incidents, but added that voters living far away had logistical problems reaching the registration centre.
“… But we, the county authority, try our best to provide these people with transportation so they can come to register,” he said.
The delegation also met with UNMIS Malakal Head of Office Hendrik Bruyn and Sector Commander Col. Suresh Radhakrishnan for a security briefing.
“I’m optimistic that the situation will be peaceful after the referendum,” First Counselor Douveneau said.
Prior to their Upper Nile State visit, the delegation, comprising officials from Canada, France, United States, Norway,
Japan, European Commission and non-governmental organizations, visited Kadugli and Abyei.
The delegation will continue their tour with a trip to Juba on 25 November before they return to Khartoum.