UN warns of worsening crisis in South Sudan
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said on Sunday that about 180,000 people had been displaced by the conflict in the world’s youngest country.
The UN said up to 75,000 refugees have been sheltered in UN bases in Juba, Bor, Bentiu, Malakal and Pariang since fighting broke out in South Sudan in mid-December.
Aid agencies also warned about the separation of thousands of children from their parents as a result of the violence.
The UN reported earlier that forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar are approaching the capital of the eastern state of Jonglei. It said the forces of the rebel leader are gearing up to attack Bor amid reports of heavy fighting in some areas.
“UNMISS today conducted aerial reconnaissance and reports that they have identified some armed groups approximately 50 kilometers northeast of Bor,” the UN said in a statement.
The news of the rebels’ mobilization has cast a shadow over the peace talks proposed by regional leaders to stop two weeks of bloodshed in South Sudan.
More than 1,000 people have died since fighting began in South Sudan on December 15, after President Salva Kiir accused Machar of attempting to stage a coup.
On December 28, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon once again called for all violence, attacks and human rights abuses in the country to end immediately.
Ban reiterated that those responsible for the violence will be held accountable.
The UN chief also urged all the concerned sides to ensure that the rights and security of civilians are protected.