South Sudan: amid fresh clashes in Malakal, UN mission ramps up civilian protection

Residents at the camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the UN Mission for South Sudan (UNMISS) Malakal Base in the Upper Nile State wait in line at the base''s health facility. UN Photo/Isaac Billy

<div id="fullstory" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51) font-family: ''Helvetica Neue'', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif font-size: 13px line-height: 16px"><p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">18 February 2014 – The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (<a href="http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/unmiss/" style="color: rgb(0, 86, 137) text-decoration: none line-height: inherit">UNMISS) has reported that heavy fighting broke out earlier today between pro-Government and opposition forces near its compound in the Upper Nile state town of Malakal, while condemning those who instigated the inter-communal violence that flared up inside its base.

 

<p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">The Mission said that fighting between Sudan People''s Liberation Army (SPLA) opposition forces and Government troops, which started this morning, appeared to have subsided, although there are continued reports of gunfire and mortars being heard in the area, a UN spokesperson told journalists in New York.

 

<p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">Simultaneously, inter-communal clashes flared up within the UNMISS compound where 21,568 internally displaced persons are seeking refuge.

 

<p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">The situation inside the UN compound has since been brought under control, according to the latest information from the Mission which is providing medical treatment to a number of wounded people. UNMISS says that 10 people died at its hospital from injuries received both inside and outside its compound.

 

<p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">“The Mission strongly condemns those who instigated the inter-communal violence,” according to a <a href="http://unmiss.unmissions.org/Portals/unmiss/%20Press%20Releases/02-18-14..." style="color: rgb(0, 86, 137) text-decoration: none line-height: inherit">news release from UNMISS, “and reserves the right to take appropriate action against these individuals.”

 

<p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">“Continued fighting between the parties over control of the state capital “will only exacerbate an already dire situation for the civilian population and undermine efforts to stabilize the situation in [the country],” the Mission said.

 

<p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">UNMISS, which protects some 75,000 civilians in bases around the country, stressed that both parties to this conflict must respect the “inviolability of the premises and facilities of the UN” and its “impartial role in the current crisis” along with a commitment to protect all civilians, whatever their background.

 

<p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">“It is imperative that both parties fully comply with the Cessation of Hostilities-agreement,” the Mission stressed, noting the ongoing talks under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

 

<p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">The mediation effort between the Government of South Sudan and the wider SPLA led to a ceasefire signed last month in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

 

<p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">The UN in South Sudan today called on both sides to establish a monitoring and verification mechanism for the ceasefire, which is critical for progress in the negotiations and for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the country.

 

<p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px">Over the past two months, thousands of people are believed to have been killed by fighting that began as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy president, Riek Machar. Some 870,000 others have fled their homes, 145,000 of them to neighbouring countries and 75,000 to UNMISS bases.

 

 

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