UN Condemns Escalated Fighting in South Sudan

A peacekeeper with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Photo: UNMISS
A peacekeeper with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Photo: UNMISS

The United Nations has condemned the escalation of hostilities in the past ten days between Government and opposition forces in Unity and Upper Nile states in South Sudan.

In a statement released by his spokesperson Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored that the renewed fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition and allied groups is unacceptable.

It was stated that the fighting is part of a series of violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed by the parties on 23 January 2014, and undermines the ongoing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) efforts to find a political solution to the conflict.

The stateme said Mr. Ban is appalled by the reports of human rights violations committed by the SPLA and their allied forces, including the burning of villages, and the killing and rape of civilians, in the course of their military operations in Unity state.

The Secretary-General called upon President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar to immediately cease all military operations and reminded them of their obligations to protect civilians under international human rights and humanitarian law, after two mortar bombs landed within the UNMISS compound earlier this week, killing four people.

As well as the four civilian deaths, eight civilians were injured and are currently receiving treatment for their wounds, according to a statement released by the UN Mission (UNMISS), which also expressed deep concern about the disregard for civilian lives, UN personnel and facilities shown by combatants in the fighting.

Until the outbreak of the recent fighting, UNMISS had been protecting almost 1,000 civilians on its base in Melut. A further 270 displaced persons have arrived on the UNMISS base while another 250 to 350 are currently staying in an area adjacent to the compound, the UN said in its statement.

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Rakesh Raman