Civilians flee threatened South Sudan town

2014-01-18 16:02
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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New York - Civilians have again fled the flashpoint South Sudan town of Bor ahead of a looming new assault by government forces, the UN said on Friday.

Numbers taking refuge in UN compounds or fleeing the country are also rising, a UN spokesperson said.

"In Bor, the [UN] mission said that there are no civilians and that it has received reports of the Sudan People's Liberation Army advancing towards the town," said deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq.

Almost 10 000 people have taken refuge at the UN base in the capital of Jonglei state, which has become a symbol of the conflict between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar.

Bor has changed hands three times since hostilities erupted on 15 December. Aid groups say up to 10 000 people have died in the fighting.

The UN has described Bentiu, capital of Unity state, as a "ghost town" with the bodies of civilians led in the street.

Haq said there are now 22 000 people packed into the UN base at Malakal in Upper Nile state and 67 000 in compounds across South Sudan.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said there are now 86 000 South Sudanese registered in camps in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia and the figure would be 100 000 by the end of the month.

Malakal, in South Sudan's oil region, has also seen fierce fighting in the conflict in which both sides have been accused of committing "atrocities" against civilians.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it had halted operations in Malakal after its base was looted on Thursday.

"Armed men entered the MSF compound in Malakal twice yesterday, where they looted and physically threatened the team," said Arjan Hehenkamp, MSF general director.

The group said more than 80 people wounded in attacks and looting in Malakal had gone to their hospital on Thursday.

"Large numbers of people have also gathered at the hospital with their belongings, in search of refuge," it added in a statement.

Read more on:    un  |  unhrc  |  msf  |  salva kiir  |  riek machar  |  south sudan  |  refugees  |  central africa
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