South Sudan: Malakal, site of recent clashes, ‘tense, deserted,’ UN peacekeepers report

A volunteer in the South Sudanese town of Bor arranges corpses, victims of repeated clashes between government forces and rebels. Photo: IRIN/Hannah McNeish

24 February 2014 – The South Sudanese city of Malakal is looted and burned, with more than 100 bodies scattered along the route, United Nations peacekeepers in the country reported today.

UNMISS, the UN Mission, conducted multiple patrols over the weekend to the capital of the Upper Nile state where the situation is said to be “tense.”

According to information from a UN spokesperson in New York, the Mission visited various civilian sites in the town, including churches and a hospital.

“At the Malakal Teaching Hospital, the patrol observed approximately 100 patients, most of whom were wounded or sick,” the spokesperson said.

It added that UNMISS extracted 13 patients “requiring urgent medical attention” to its hospital within the Malakal base where it continues to protect some 22,000 civilians. More than 50,000 other people are seeking refuge at UN bases throughout the country after violence flared up in mid-December between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and former deputy president Riek Machar.

A report released Friday by UNMISS outlines some of the human rights abuses committed by both sides since 15 December, including rapes, mass killings and torture, and warned that civilians in the world’s youngest nation continue to be targeted.

The report notes that large numbers of civilians were deliberately targeted and killed along ethnic lines and many more were displaced for similar reasons.


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