Fist fighting has erupted among Ethiopian troops serving in South Sudan as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the world’s youngest country after a forced return to Ethiopia where most peacekeepers fears government brutality was met with resistance, several well-informed South Sudan government sources with direct knowledge have told Sudans Post this evening.
“There was a fist fight this afternoon. A good number of the Ethiopian forces working at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan as peacekeepers are being forced to return home. They are mainly from the Tigray region and they resisted and this has caused fist fight because those who refused were beaten,” the government security source at Juba International Airport said.
Another senior Juba airport staffer confirmed the fist fight and said there were no danger as all of the peacekeepers were not carrying their guns when the fist fight broke out saying heavily mounted security vehicles have been deployed at the airport.
“As I speak to you, there is a heavy presence of National Security Service and police forces at Juba airport,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “They were being forced to return home because most of the peacekeepers have concerns to their safety once they arrive in Ethiopia and I am talking about those from the Tigray region.”
Phone calls to South Sudan government spokesman Michael Makuei and the army spokesman were not responded. Police spokesman Major-General Daniel Justin said he won’t comment “until I find out what is being said to have taken place while I haven’t heard anything about it.”
“Otherwise I can direct you to the Ethiopian embassy because it is their business,” he said.
The latest development is however contrary to what was wrote a few hours ago by some outlets in Juba that there was gunfire at Juba airport attributing it to violence among Ethiopian troops serving under the United Nations peacekeeping mission.
South Sudan News Now, a subsidiary of the online blog Nyamilepedia, had reported that “fighting broke out this afternoon at Juba International Airport – JIA between the Ethiopian’s government forces and Tigray forces serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).”
UNHCR distances itself from story!
Earlier on Monday, an anonymous source who said he is an UNHCR staff said in an interview with a Sudans Post reporter that some of the Ethiopian peacekeepers involved in the airport fist fight “have already been transported to the reception center for registration as asylum seekers.”
UNHCR spokesperson in South Sudan said in an email to Sudans Post that “no member of the UNHCR team spoke to a journalist on the situation,” but could not denies or confirm if UNHCR has involved to help in the protection of the soldiers.