17 March 2011 - A delegation of UNMIS and Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) officials visited Upper Nile State for a three-day security assessment following a 12 March attack on the state capital Malakal by rebels aligned to militia leader Olony.
The ongoing clashes between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and militia in Malakal have contributed to a growing sense of insecurity among local residents.
In an effort to de-escalate tensions and restore confidence among residents, a joint delegation comprising UNMIS Regional Coordinator David Gressly, Principal Civil Affairs Officer Sylvia Fletcher, Malakal Head of Office Hendrik Bruyn and GoSS Presidential Advisor for Religious Affairs Tijwok Hather Agwet and Minister for Investment Oyay Deng Ajak visited Owachi village on 16 March.
The delegation met with Shilluk King Kwongo Dak Padiet and discussed ways to boost security and rebuild the confidence of the civilians in the security forces.
On the previous day, the delegation held a meeting with State Governor Simon Kun Pouch in Malakal before proceeding to Owachi, south of Malakal County, where Olony's militia clashed with the SPLA on 6 March. Civilians from Alel, Dur and Dot villages had lost their property due to the recent violence and fled to Malakal for safety.
The joint delegation acknowledged that the displaced residents were in need of humanitarian assistance in the form of food, shelter and essential household items including jerry cans, mosquito nets and cooking tools, and a reassurance of security from the state government.
Between 7 and 8 March, armed forces loyal to militia leader Olony clashed with SPLA forces in Upper Nile State, followed by recent clashes in Malakal on 12 March leaving scores dead and wounded.