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UN deploys more peacekeepers to S. Sudan’s Unity state

May 17, 2018 (JUBA) - The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is sending 150 peacekeepers to Unity state to protect civilians who are being targeted in clashes between the government and rebel troops, the world body announced on Thursday.

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The map of Unity state

The move comes just days after the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock urged all the warring parties involved in South Sudan’s conflict to cease hostilities and protect civilians and aid workers.

"The conflict in South Sudan is now in its fifth year. Ordinary people are suffering on an unimaginable scale. The peace process has so far produced nothing. The cessation of hostilities is a fiction. The economy has collapsed," he said after a two-day visit to the country.

The senior UN official, as part of this tour of the war-torn nation, met South Sudan government officials, members of armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO), various humanitarian entities and UN partners.

"Belligerents use scorched-earth tactics, murder and rape as weapons of war. All these are gross violations of international law. Seven million people need humanitarian assistance in 2018. And things are simply getting worse," he said.

According to the world body, about 4.3 million people have been displaced, including more than 1.76 million who are internally displaced and about 2.5 million in neighboring countries.

Fighting broke out in mid-December 2013 between troops loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir and the former first vice president, Riek Machar, killing tens of thousands of people.

(ST)