'Catastrophic' fighting in South Sudan's Pibor

2016-02-24 21:59

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Juba - Fighting raged for a second day Wednesday in the eastern South Sudan town of Pibor, injuring at least 35 people and forcing some 1 000 others to shelter in a UN base, medical charity MSF said.

The violence erupted on Tuesday in the town in Jonglei state, one of the flashpoints in the civil war which has torn the world's youngest nation since December 2013.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) said its medical compound had been looted and the staff were also forced to shelter in a nearby compound of UNIMSS, the United Nations mission to the war-ravaged country.

UNMISS has deployed more than 12 000 peacekeepers across the country.

"As of 13:00 today, MSF was supporting treatment for 35 patients but there is a lack of surgical capacity to provide the level of treatment that is urgently required," a statement said.

"Fighting is ongoing in the area and MSF has witnessed a number of homes that have been destroyed."

"There are critical emergency medical needs right now in Pibor, and really limited capacity to respond and save lives," said Corinne Benazech, the head of the MSF mission in the country.

"If we cannot restart activities this could make a bad situation catastrophic, since MSF provides the only healthcare in the area," the statement added.

Civil war began in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of planning a coup, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that have split the poverty-stricken, landlocked country along ethnic lines.

Earlier this month Kiir named exiled rebel chief Machar as vice-president, as part of a repeatedly broken August peace deal.

Machar has yet to return to take up the post and fighting continues, with the conflict now involving multiple militia forces driven by local agendas or revenge, who pay little heed to paper peace deals.

Read more on:    unmiss  |  msf  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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