A grenade explosion injured 10 civilians last week in the displaced persons camp inside the United Nations base in Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan’s Unity State.
The incident took place on 29 March during clashes between two groups in the camp, according to the UN’s humanitarian arm OCHA.
OCHA said in a weekly report that the incident appeared “criminally motivated.”
A mine action team was dispatched to the accident site and found no remnants of explosive remnants which might pose further dangers to civilians.
Relatedly, the head of the mine action program of South Sudan’s rebel group SPLM/A-IO says that his movement is not using any landmines and he invited international observers to verify this.
This comes after the government demining commission chairman, Jerkoc Baraj, accused rebels of planting mines.
Simon Jundi Both, Acting Executive Director of the SPLM/A Mine Action Program (MAP) said in a press statement that the accusation of Jerkoc are false and baseless, aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the SPLM/A-IO.
“The SPLA/M-IO is abiding to all international and regional treaties, conventions and covenants to use only conventional weapons in this conflict and the Leadership of SPLA/M is against any use of unconventional weapons such as landmines and clusters bombs. This to formally inform the regional and International community that SPLA/M has no any stockpiles of landmines and has no any intention to acquire international unconventional and ban weapons,” he stated.
The rebel official continued, “The Juba regime forces and their allied foreign mercenaries are the party who resorted to use and continues to stockpiles the unconventional and internationally banned weapons such as cluster bomb which it used against unarmed civilians in Jonglei State and today planted many anti-personal landmines at their current military garrisons in Greater upper Nile Region.”
He claimed that his mine action unit recorded nearly 60 incidents relating to anti-personal landmines and unexploded ordinance in Nasser, Adong, Dolieb Hill, Canal, Kaka, Dukduk, Ayod, Gadiang, Mayom, Bentiu, Pariang and Renk.
“The SPLA/M –IO Forces is against any use of landmines in the ongoing conflict because our primary objective is to protect the innocent civilians and their properties from the genocidal regime of Salva Kiir and their foreign mercenaries. The MAP team on the ground is working to identify the dangerous areas due to landmine and UXO and panning to educate citizens to avoid dangerous areas where government forces laid landmines,” he added.
Simon also noted that the SPLM/A-IO Mine Action Program will be willing to work with international mine action organizations for verification and information-gathering.
Independent ceasefire monitors under the East African body IGAD recently said that a government general admitted to planting landmines around Nasser.
IGAD has urged government forces to remove the alleged new mines and take action against the officers responsible.
The ceasefire monitors did not accuse any rebel forces of planting mines.
156 killed in Rumbek
Meanwhile, a deadly raid on Dinka cattle camps in Rumbek North by suspected Nuer rustlers from Unity State resulted in the death of at least 24 Dinka herdsmen and 132 of the attackers.
National Courier quotes county authorities saying the attacks on Pamker and Panyang cattle camp failed.
The county authorities warned the rebel leadership who control the areas where the attackers originated, to put a stop to it because it might fuel retaliatory attacks against Nuer IDPs in Lakes State.