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Experts urge South Sudan to trace persons separated by conflict

Experts on Friday urged South Sudan government to step up efforts to trace over 4,000 missing persons and help to reunite them with their families after being displaced by the more than five years conflict.

Philip Arthur Mwanika, senior political advisor at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-member the regional body that mediated the South Sudan revitalized peace deal, said forced disappearances, conflict and other forms of violence like cattle rustling were responsible for separation of most of these missing people from their families.

He disclosed that South Sudan can rely on the IGAD and African Union support and institutions to help the youngest nation in high-level forensic analysis, high-level DNA analysis and population to expedite ongoing efforts by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in retracing the missing South Sudanese.

“I would like to enumerate three or four opportunities within the IGAD system one is the use of law enforcement capacity building opportunities, IGAD has what is known as the IGAD security sector program and I am aware that we are working at different levels both with correctional services and also some work with the criminal investigations department in terms of population of data,” he said.

James Reynolds, ICRC’s head of delegation in South Sudan revealed they are following more than 4,000 cases of South Sudanese who are missing after fleeing fighting or internal violence and lost contact with their loved ones.

“Each of these cases represents a family who is searching and living with the agony of not knowing what happened to their loved ones,” said Reynolds.

Daud Gideon Yellewa, executive director of remembering the ones we lost/family of the missing a local Juba-based NGO said families with a missing person need psychological or trauma support with the majority of children without parents needing services like education and health.

“We have over 4,000 missing people in South Sudan and their names are published on our website,” he said. (Xinhua)

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