World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


South Sudan: Thousands Seek Refuge From Fighting at UN Bases

South Sudan: Situation Deteriorates As Thousand Seek Refuge at UN Bases to Escape Fighting

New York, Dec 19 2013 - More than 30,000 people have now sought refuge on United Nations bases in South Sudan from fighting between the Government and rebels, with fatalities reported in an attack on one of the sites, top UN officials said today, pledging their best efforts to protect civilians in danger.

“Violence is spreading and could spread even further and we need all South Sudanese leaders and political personalities now to immediately appeal [for] calm and call on their supporters to suspend hostilities,” Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York.

He added that a UN base in Akobo, in restive Jonglei state, was attacked with reports of as yet unspecified loss of life. “Political dialogue is the only way to prevent further escalation.”

Speaking separately on the issue, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said that in Akobo, where civilians have gathered, Lou Nuer youth have reportedly forced an entry into the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Temporary Operating Base to reach to those civilians.

“Fighting took place and we are yet to ascertain the situation. We fear there may have been some fatalities but can't confirm who and how many at this stage,” he said, adding that UNMISS would try and extract unarmed UN personnel from the area, while reinforcing the base in Akobo with additional 60 troops from Malakal tomorrow.

He went on to say that the Government has reported to UNMISS that there has been youth mobilization and movement towards Bor, but the Mission has not been able to verify the claim. “At present, UNMISS is providing security to over 14,000 civilians gathered around the base, while providing protection at the Bor Airstrip,” said Mr. Haq.

The Secretary-General has called on the Government to cooperate fully with UNMISS as it fulfils its protection mandate, including in the provision of basic relief to civilians in need and in conducting human rights investigations into allegations of human rights abuses in recent days.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Hilde Johnson, remains in constant contact with the Government and others with influence on these issues, where similar messages were conveyed, Mr. Haq added.

Mr. Eliasson said that UNMISS, which has over 6,800 troops and police in the country, has civilian protection as part of its mandate, “and we take that mandate very seriously, particularly in this situation when, clearly, civilians are in danger,” he stressed. “And we will do our best to protect them in the compounds and bases where they are now housed. And we will try to also make sure that they have provision of basic relief.”

Earlier in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said an estimated 20,000 people, mainly women and children, are still camped at UN premises in Juba. Others are reported to be leaving the town in fear of attack by rival groups, in what she called a rapidly deteriorating security situation.

“We have received reports of civilians killed in Juba based on their ethnicity,” she added. “I call on the Government to send a clear message on command responsibility within the SPLA (South Sudanese Army) to prevent retaliatory attacks based on ethnicity and tribal affiliation and to hold the alleged perpetrators accountable,” she added.

Media reports say that hundreds of people have been killed since the clashes between SPLA forces began over the weekend, following what the President Salva Kiir’s Government says was an attempted coup by soldiers loyal to former deputy president Riek Machar, who was dismissed in July.

“I am deeply worried about the safety and security of civilians caught in the crossfire. The risk of seeing the fighting taking on an ethnic dimension is extremely high and could result in a dangerous situation,” Ms. Pillay said, voicing “extreme concern” for people arrested by the Government and reports of numerous extra-judicial killings, and urging the authorities to clarify the whereabouts of at least 10 former senior government officials arrested in Juba two days ago.

“I urge the Government to ensure that all those detained are accorded due process and that they are promptly either charged or released.”

Mr. Eliasson welcomed reports today Mr. Kiir is willing to enter into talks and deplored the call by some from former deputy president Riek Machar camp to topple the Government. Yesterday Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council called on all parties to immediately cease hostilities and exercise restraint to prevent the further spread of violence.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On How Obama’s Supreme Court Choice Says Everything (Bad) About His Presidency

Nothing has epitomised the presidency of Barack Obama quite like his Supreme Court nominees. Time and again, Republican presidents will blithely nominate right wing ideological extremists (Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas) who only sometimes misfire and turn out to be liberals in disguise (David Souter). Yet Obama has consistently skipped over the judicially qualified liberals and gone for a succession of centrists... More>>

ALSO:

Turkey: UN Secretary-General On The Terrorist Bombing In Ankara

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack in Ankara earlier today. According to the latest reports, the explosion in the Kizilay district killed and wounded dozens of people. More>>

ALSO:

Five Years On: Fukushima And New Zealand

Science Media Centre: It was the worst nuclear event since Chernobyl. In the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a crippled Japanese nuclear powerplant went into meltdown, and the world watched as emergency workers scrambled to shut down and contain the reactors. More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF: 1 In 3 Syrian Children Has Grown Up Knowing Only Crisis

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children - have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes more than 151,000 children born as refugees since 2011. More>>

ALSO:

Franklin Lamb: Syria’s Truce Bodes Well For Salvaging Our Cultural Heritage

The tentative cessation of hostilities in Syria, which came into effect on 2/28/2016, brokered by Washington and Moscow, is only in its second week... It is well documented that there have been daily incidents of artillery shelling, airstrikes and clashes. Yet, for the nearly 12 million displaced civilians, half of Syria’s population, it’s a much welcomed respite. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Rubio’s Last Stand (And Sleater-Kinney)

Well, it certainly was entertaining to watch Rubio succeed in getting under Donald Trump’s skin the other day, in the last debate before tomorrow’s Super Tuesday multi-state sweepstakes... The real killer for Rubio was that the most recent poll from Florida which shows him losing his home state to Trump by a huge margin in the primary due on March 15. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news