Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged an immediate end of all hostilities in South Sudan amid a renewed outbreak of violence in two towns in the country’s North, the United Nations confirmed today.
In a statement attributable to UN his spokesperson, Mr. Ban today strongly condemned the flare-up in hostilities between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition forces in the towns of Bentiu and Rubkona, located in Unity State.
South Sudan has experienced several bouts of violence over the past few months, including an incident in which the UN base in Bentiu came under fire resulting in the wounding of one child. Meanwhile, a prior attack caused hundreds of people to seek shelter at the nearest airport. Approximately 340 civilians took shelter with UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) troops, and then were escorted to safety.
Political in-fighting between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, started in mid-December 2013 and subsequently turned into a full-fledged conflict that has sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to UNMISS bases around the country. The crisis has uprooted some 1.5 million people and placed more than 7 million at risk of hunger and disease.
“This resumption of hostilities is yet again a serious violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and undermines the ongoing IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in South Sudan,” Mr. Ban continued, referring to ongoing regional efforts to bring peace to the young nation.
In addition, the Secretary-General reminded all parties of the inviolability of all UN premises, including UNMISS Protection of Civilian sites, where the Mission is currently protecting some 100,000 displaced civilians – including 49,000 of them in Bentiu alone.
“The Secretary-General also urges both parties to participate constructively in the ongoing political negotiations in Addis Ababa and reach urgently an agreement on inclusive and comprehensive transitional arrangements,” the statement added.