South Sudan: UN envoy urges calm as thousands flee violence to UN bases

Civilians arriving at the UN House compound on the Southwestern outskirts of Juba to take refuge from fighting that broke out in the South Sudanese capital. Photo: UNMISS/Shantal Persaud

16 December 2013 – The United Nations peacekeeping in South Sudan is deeply concerned about a new bout of fighting that has forced an estimated 13,000 civilians – many women and children – to seek refuge at the UN base in Juba.

“I urge all parties in the fighting to cease hostilities immediately and exercise restraint,” Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Hilde Johnson, said in a statement from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

She has been in regular contact with the key leaders to call for calm, the Mission added.

In the meantime, peacekeepers are providing water and basic medical treatment to thousands of people who have fled to the UNMISS compound adjacent to the international airport and at the UN House in the Jebel Kujur area.

“We hope the security situation in Juba will quickly normalize to enable the civilians to return very soon to their residential areas,” UNMISS said in a separate news release.

It added that UNMISS denies any suggestion that it is harbouring key political or military figures.

Fighting in the world's newest country broke out Sunday evening and is continuing today, according to the Mission.

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