January, 21, 2014 (JUBA) – The United Nations on Tuesday expressed concerns over the “continued” extra-judicial killings in South Sudan, saying it will investigate all reports received on the matter.
- Some of the displaced people heading to the UN premises in Juba, December 17, 2013 (Photo: Moses Lomayat)
Speaking at a briefing on the South Sudan situation, Farhan Haq, a spokesperson for the UN Secretary General said its mission had improved patrol activities, having conducted 49 police and 112 military patrols in Juba, Unity State and Upper Nile State capitals.
The violence that erupted in South Sudan in mid-December has since killed in excess of 1,000 people and displaced nearly 500,000 civilians, UN figures show. As many as 80,000 people have also fled the new nation into neighbouring Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.
ARMY CONTROLS MALAKAL
The UN has also confirmed that the South Sudanese army (SPLA) appears to be in control of Malakal, the Upper Nile capital, after heavy fighting with anti-government forces on Monday.
“This Mission reports continued small scale fighting in the town today,” said Haq, further citing reports of rising tensions in Unity state with the SPLA reportedly advancing towards Leer town.
According to the world body, relative has now returned to the vicinity of its base in Bor, the Jonglei state capital, currently comprising 1,000 UN troops and police protecting 10,000 civilians sheltered at its protection site.
“The mission continues efforts to organise resupply flights from Juba to its bases in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity States”, Haq stressed.
Meanwhile, the UN mission in South Sudan vowed to continue protecting the over 70,000 civilians inside its bases in eight locations across the country, emphasising that it would continue keeping its gates open to all civilians fleeing the violence.
It, however, urged government leaders and all public figures to desist from making public statements and comments that could cause further violence.
“Comments by senior public figures, from both the government and the anti-government side, against the mission, risk inflaming the situation and being taken by others as incitement to violence against civilians sheltering inside UNMISS bases and against UN personnel”, said Haq.
In such a volatile situation, it is a time for careful, measured public statements, aimed at calming, not inflaming, the situation, he added.
A senior South Sudan government minister, along with SPLA soldiers on Sunday, attempted to forcefully enter the mission’s protection site in Bor, an action strongly condemned by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
“We condemn the threats made against UN personnel and demand that all parties to the conflict respect the sanctity of UNMISS protection sites”, partly read Ki Moon’s statement.