31 March 2011 - Against the backdrop of a series of violent clashes in recent weeks between the Sudan People's Liberation Army and at least four separate militia groups operating in the area, Upper Nile State Governor Simon Kun Puoch opened a one-day security-planning workshop today in the state capital of Malakal.
The workshop was organized by the US-based Conflict Mitigation and Stabilization Initiative (CMSI) project in conjunction with the Government of Southern Sudan's Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA).
Ministers, advisors and representatives of different security organs in Upper Nile State attended the workshop and discussed issues related to the causes and triggers of armed conflict in the area.
"This is a crucial time, you must be vigilant to protect civilians and their properties," said Governor Puoch, who thanked the MoIA and CMSI. "(The) police is the friend of the community, therefore you should work for their safety."
At the end of the workshop, participants drew up a list of recommendations that included the peaceful disarmament of communities, demarcation of state and county borders, the provision of food security and deployment of police officers for civilian protection to help ensure peace and security in Upper Nile State.
CMSI was launched four months ago in the United States to identify security and instability challenges facing Southern Sudan.
"Our purpose is to support the state governments to ensure peace, reconciliation and law enforcement," said CMSI Project Manager Chris Johnson, adding that such support would extend to all of the south's 10 states.
CMSI has conducted similar workshops in Jonglei, Warrap and Northern Bahr El-Ghazal states since its launch last year.