UN Mission extracts 30 civilians from airstrip in South Sudan as violence continues
Civilian casualties so far from the week's fighting include one dead and eight wounded, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement today, as a result of a renewed outbreak of violence in two towns in the country's North.
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the resumption of hostilities between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition forces in Bentiu and Rubkona in Unity State.
He also called upon President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to cease immediately all military operations, and reminded them of their obligation to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.
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 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.
The Mission is currently protecting some 100,000 displaced civilians countrywide, 49,000 of them in Bentiu alone.