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Over 600 flee renewed fight in S. Sudan’s Unity state town

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October 22, 2016 (LEER) - At least 600 civilians have fled into the United Nations camps in Leer county of South Sudan’s Unity state as a result of renewed clashes in the area between the country’s armed opposition faction led by former first Vice President, Riek Machar and forces loyal to President Salva Kiir.

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South Sudanese women collecting sorghum and oil some hours after an airdrop conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Unity state’s Leer (Photo: ICRC/Jacob Zocherman)

The fighting in reportedly heavier than previous ones that occurred in the area two weeks ago.

A spokesperson for the armed opposition-appointed governor of Unity state, Weirial Puok Baluang told Sudan Tribune that fighting between the country’s rival factions had reached the heart of Leer town.

He claimed the opposition forces were controlling the southern Leer market while government forces controlled the airstrip north-west of Leer town. Sudan Tribune could not independently verify this.

Several civilians reportedly fled Leer town with nearly 600 said to have entered the UN camp.

The spokesperson of the South Sudanese army, Lul Ruai Koang blamed rebels for the renewed attacks.

"At 10:55 am, rebels loyal to warmonger Riek Machar attacked our position," said Koang, who did not elaborate further on the attack, considered a violation of the ceasefire declared by both rival factions.

Last week, the UN mission in South Sudan said current hostilities between the country’s rival factions in Unity, Upper Nile, Western, Eastern and Central Equatoria states was the worst of all the violence in the country.

(ST)

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