9 September 2010 – UNMIS Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan David Gressly ended a two-day visit to Warrap and Western Bahr El-Ghazal states by inaugurating the peacekeeping mission’s Warrap office in the state capital of Kuajok.
During his stay, Mr. Gressly met with Warrap State Governor Nyandeng Malek and Western Bahr El-Ghazal State Governor Brig. Riziq Zakaria Hassan as well as members of the two states’ referendum high committees and assured them that UNMIS would provide robust logistical support and technical advice to the self-determination referendum scheduled to take place in Southern Sudan next January.
“In an effort to strengthen UNMIS presence before the conduct of referendum, I am happy today to open officially the Warrap Team Site,” said Mr. Gressly, adding that the facility in Kuajok would work closely with the referenda support bases that the mission plans to establish in all of the state’s seven counties.
The UNMIS Regional Coordinator also praised the rapid growth and development that has transformed the city of Kuajok, which as recently as four years ago had only a handful of permanent buildings.
“We have been seeing UNMIS presence all over the South except in Warrap State, but at last we are happy to see that UNMIS is now present here with us,” said Ms. Malek, who became Southern Sudan’s first elected female governor when she won the Warrap State gubernatorial election last April.
She noted the recent formation of an UNMIS-trained anti-theft livestock patrol unit in Jonglei State and called for the introduction of a similar unit in Warrap.
“Cattle raiding is a real problem for us,” said Ms. Malek, who recently met with Lakes State Governor Chol Tong Mayay to discuss continuing castle rustling by residents of Tonj South County in her state and the Lakes county of Cueibet.
Her counterpart in Western Bahr El-Ghazal state noted a series of challenges facing authorities as they prepare to hold the 2011 referendum during the first day of Mr. Gressly’s visit to the area.
Governor Riziq Zakaria Hassan cited clashes in the vicinity of Balbala and the still unresolved border dispute with Southern Darfur in the Kafia Kingi area as problems that need to be settled before the referendum can be carried out.
The brigadier also warned about the danger to the referendum posed by the presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army, whose gunmen have been sporadically active in Western Bahr El-Ghazal in recent months.