More than 355,000 displaced in South Sudan: UN

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-1-14 10:33:33

Some 355,000 people have been uprooted in South Sudan since the conflict erupted a month ago between President Salva Kiir's forces and those of former deputy president Riek Machar, a UN spokesman confirmed here Monday.

"The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that some 355,000 people are now internally displaced in South Sudan, nearly half of whom have been reached with aid," UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters at a daily news briefing.

He added that more than 42,000 people have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) continues to protect nearly 60,000 civilians inside 10 bases across the country, said Nesirky, adding that the mission is creating a new site in Juba, the capital city, where 30,000 displaced people are already seeking shelter at two UN locations.

According to UNMISS, anti-government forces are in control of Bor in Jonglei state, amid reports of sporadic gunfire close to the UN base there, while Bentiu in the north, where nearly 9,000 civilians are being protected by 570 UN peacekeepers, remains relatively calm.

Aid agencies are extremely concerned about reports of violence against civilians and aid workers, and the looting of humanitarian compounds and commandeering of vehicles, Nesirky said.

South Sudan gained independence in 2011 after seceding from Sudan. On Dec. 15 fighting erupted in the world's youngest country when Kiir claimed that soldiers loyal to Machar, dismissed last July, launched an attempted coup.

During the past few weeks, South Sudan has witnessed violent clashes between two armed factions. The fighting has divided South Sudanese society into supporters of President Kiir along with members of his tribe, the Dinka, and supporters of Machar and members of his tribe, the Nuer.

Posted in: Africa

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