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UN Chief Visits Worsening Malakal

Moustapha Soumaré,

The United Nations Deputy Special Representative for South Sudan visited the increasingly fierce Upper Nile State capital, Malakal on Monday to meet with local officials and community leaders of some 26,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) who are being sheltered by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The recent tribal tension in the oil rich state that is one of the three worst affected resulted into fighting between youths from the Dinka and Shilluk communities triggering an influx of more than 4,000 new IDPs into the UN protection sites in Malakal alone two weeks ago while some 13,000 were also displaced in other areas in the same state.

Moustapha Soumaré, Deputy Special Representative for South Sudan, toured the Mission’s two protection sites, as well as an extension site currently under construction to relieve overcrowding at the existing facilities for displaced people, a UN spokesperson said on Monday at a press briefing at UN headquarters, New York.

During his visit, Mr. Soumaré said he was impressed by the progress made in the building of a new extension that will host these recently arrived civilians, as well as other people who have been under UN protection for many months.

The UN’s Mission in South Sudan is currently sheltering more than 117,000 displaced people throughout the world’s youngest nation, which is the highest number since December 2013, when this current crisis started.

According to the UN, about two million people are displaced internally in South Sudan, half a million to all neighboring countries except the equally troubled Democratic Republic of Congo and over 20,000 lives have been lost.

The bloodiest internal conflict in the country unfolded when President Salva Kiir bitterly disagreed with his former vice president Dr. Riek Machar, breaking the national army SPLA into two fierce antagonizing forces.

The two factions are yet resume peace talks in the neighboring Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa after failing ink and agreement on 6th March.

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