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10,000 civilians under UN shelter as violence escalates in South Sudan

10,000 civilians under UN shelter as violence escalates in South Sudan

South Sudan

Renewed violence between the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) and armed groups, in Wau, northwest of the country has left tens of thousands of people displaced over the weekend.

Ten of thousands who fled for their lives from urban violence in #Wau #SouthSudan this weekend, now seeking safety, food & medical care

— MSF South Sudan (@MSF_SouthSudan) June 27, 2016

The violence resulted in the sacking and subsequent arrest of the governor of Wau, Elias Waya Nyipuoc for suspicion of being behind the insecurity in the town.

Local media report that he was arrested on Saturday “on directives from higher authorities … just hours after President Salva Kiir sacked him from office in less than nine months since his appointment”. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) says it is providing protection and shelter to approximately 10,000 civilians in Wau adjacent its base.

“This area is currently secure and humanitarian partners are providing basic assistance to the displaced people,” it said in a statement on Monday.

#UNMISS provides protection to 10,000 civilians in Wau following outbreak of violence. #SouthSudan unmissmedia pic.twitter.com/XcN4U5QhWR

— Radio Miraya (RadioMiraya) June 26, 2016

UNMISS added that it is currently negotiating with the SPLA for access to Wau town to conduct additional patrols to protect the civilian population in the town. It however stressed that it opened its gates because all means of protection have been exhausted.

“UN bases are not designed to serve as shelters for displaced populations … UNMISS will consider additional measures in line with its mandate should the security situation deteriorate further,” it said.

The United Nations Secretary-General has however called on the warring factions to cease fire and to provide access to UNMISS and cooperate with humanitarian partners to facilitate the delivery of assistance.

“He urges all parties to agree to dialogue to resolve their political disputes,” Ban Ki-moon said in a statement released by his spokesperson.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also condemned the clashes as it expresses concern over the immediate humanitarian consequences on the civilian population.

“We again ask those involved in the fighting to not target civilians, medical facilities and humanitarian workers. Aid workers must be allowed to work … People trying to escape hostilities must be allowed to travel unimpeded. These are obligations mandated by International Humanitarian Law,” Gregor Mueller, ICRC’s Deputy Head of Delegation for South Sudan said.

He added that ICRC teams will do their best to respond to medical needs as they arise.

The number of lives lost in the renewed violence is not readily available.

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