The United Nations Security Council today called for a stop to the fighting in Wau, South Sudan, and urged access for the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to some 9,000 civilians reportedly sheltering in a school and in other parts of the town.
In a statement released this evening, the Council expressed alarm at the fighting that broke out on 24 June and has displaced an estimated 70,000 people.
Of those, at least 12,000 people are sheltering near the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Wau.
The Council expressed its appreciation for UNMISS's efforts, but stressed that the primary responsibility for protection of South Sudanese civilians remains with the Transitional Government of National Unity – the name given to the government headed by President Salva Kiir with his two deputies, Riek Machar and James Wani Igga.
In the statement, the Council notes that the Transitional Government has formed an investigation committee to look into the situation in Wau, and to hold those responsible to account.
“Attacks against civilians may constitute war crimes and those involved could be potentially subject to sanctions,” the Council members said, pointing to resolution 2206 (2015) on actions that threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan.
The members of the Security Council also expressed deep concern over the ongoing violence throughout the country and called for all actions to restore peace.