Notes to correspondents
Note to Correspondents on the situation in South Sudan
New York, 29 December 2013
The United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) continues political engagement with senior Government officials and opposition figures.
Up to 180,000 people are estimated to have been displaced since 15 December when the recent wave of fighting broke out in South Sudan. Of those, up to 75,000 people have sought refuge in UNMISS bases in the country, including in Juba, Bor, Bentiu, Malakal and Pariang.
UNMISS issued a press statement today, stating that it was extremely concerned that large numbers of armed youth may be advancing towards the Jonglei State capital of Bor.
UNMISS confirms that it has been tracking reports of the movement of armed groups for some days, but that it cannot independently confirm the size or precise location of these groupings. UNMISS today conducted aerial reconnaissance and reports that they have identified some armed groups approximately 50 km north-east of Bor.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, has been in contact with a number of political and community leaders, calling for their engagement to use their influence to convince the armed youth to halt their advance.
The Mission reports that Bor is largely under Government control.
The Mission reports that in Upper Nile State the Malakal airport was open on Saturday, and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in UNMISS Toby Lanzer travelled to Malakal to assess the situation.
In Unity State, the Mission reports that the situation around the capital, Bentiu, remains calm but tense. There have been reports of heavy fighting in Mayom town.
UNMISS reports that in addition to the first group of UN Police who arrived in South Sudan on 27 December, C-130 aircraft from the peacekeeping operation in DR Congo, MONUSCO, has been providing support for
UNMISS operations. The first Formed Police Unit platoon today arrived in Bor, Jonglei State, to provide support for security and order inside the UNMISS base in the town.
Aid agencies have been able to provide assistance to an estimated 106,000 displaced people, both inside and outside the UN peacekeeping bases.
Humanitarian organizations remain concerned about the protection of civilians as well as people’s access to adequate food, health care, water and sanitation support.
They urgently require $166 million to address the most pressing needs of those struck by this crisis.
Notes to correspondents on 29 December 2013