Crime & Investigation

S.Sudan Clashes: UN Calls for Punitive Action Against Military Leaders

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) provides protection to civilians fleeing violence in Wau. Photo: UNMISS

As South Sudan marks its fifth anniversary of independence on Saturday, medical http://consolibyte.com/scripts/build/build_20130709/quickbooks.php United Nations officials have expressed concern over the continuing violence in parts of the country and the resulting forced displacement of people, sildenafil http://chatterblast.com/wp-admin/includes/class-language-pack-upgrader-skin.php both internally and throughout the neighboring region.

“I am deeply alarmed by the ongoing fighting in Juba between soldiers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement released Friday night.

“This outbreak of hostilities in the capital, on the eve of the country’s fifth anniversary of independence, is yet another illustration of the parties’ lack of serious commitment to the peace process and represents a new betrayal of the people of South Sudan, who have suffered from unfathomable atrocities since December 2013,” he added.

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Guards of President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar fought in a deadly gun battle on Friday night, leaving many soldiers dead.

The gunfire shook the presidential palace where Kiir and Machar were holding a security meeting.

The two principals would later address the media, calling for calm and restraint. An investigation has since been opened into the recent clashes that have pushed the country to the brink.

The UN chief underscored that he is also gravely concerned by the resurgence of violence in Wau and Bentiu, which he said could lead to a “dramatic deterioration” of the security situation across the country.

Demanding that international humanitarian law be respected and that unfettered access to those in need by UN and humanitarian partners be ensured, Mr. Ban also strongly condemned attacks on UN and humanitarian operations, the latest of which was on a senior UN agency official in the capital last night.

“I urge President Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar to put an immediate end to the ongoing fighting, discipline the military leaders responsible for the violence and finally work together as partners to implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan,” the Secretary-General said.

He added that the UN remains committed to working with all South Sudanese, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union and international and regional partners, to support the return of the country to peace and stability.

Suffering

At the biweekly press briefing in Geneva on Friday, Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the agency remains gravely concerned over the situation in South Sudan, noting that nearly one in four of the country’s citizens is displaced within its borders or in neighbouring countries, which is affecting some 2.6 million people – a large majority of them children – against a population that stood at 11.3 million in 2013.

“Civilians in South Sudan continue to bear the brunt of armed conflict. Sporadic clashes are commonplace, while growing food insecurity and deteriorating economic conditions foretell a grim outlook for the country at large,” Ms. Fleming said.

UNHCR noted that South Sudan has spent much of its short life at war with itself, riven by a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his then former Vice-President Riek Machar that erupted into full-blown conflict late in 2013.

Some 2.4 million people fled their homes in fear, before an August 2015 peace deal ended the major offensives. The country is preparing to make the fifth anniversary of its independence on 9 July.

Despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the war, conflict and instability has spread to previously unaffected areas in the Greater Equatoria and Greater Bahr-El-Ghazal regions.

This past month, deadly clashes in Wau resulted in the deaths of more than 40 people, while up to 35,000 fled their homes. Such fighting is characteristic of the trend that produced fresh refugee outflows this year, the UNHCR spokesperson said.

In the nine months that the ceasefire has been observed, there has been no major return movement from countries of asylum. In that period, the number of internally displaced people rose by 100,000, while UNHCR registered nearly 140,000 new refugees.

There are now more than 860,000 South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries, making it the world’s fourth-largest refugee producing country, and second largest in sub-Saharan Africa after Somalia.

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