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Fighting and a collapsed economy in South Sudan fuelling civil war - UN envoy

South Sudan

The U.N. South Sudan envoy Ellen Loj has told the Security Council that parts of South Sudan remain volatile, with frequent attacks that have disrupted supply of essential goods, including food.

The United Nations chief has warned that three-year old conflict continues to push the country towards further division and risks a full-scale civil conflict.

Political rivalry in South Sudan between President Kiir and his former deputy Machar, led to civil war in 2013.

Ellen Loj was speaking in New York City where said the situation could render national cohesion almost impossible to achieve.

“The deterioration of the economy and the increasingly fragmented conflict, often with ethnic undertones that we are seeing, have placed the country on a potential downward slide towards greater divisiveness and risk of a full-scale civil conflict that could render national cohesion almost impossible to achieve,” said Loj.

Oil-producing South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011 but in December 2013 slid into a two-year civil war after a dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.

The pair signed a shaky peace deal last year, but fighting has continued and Machar fled the country in July.

The fighting has hurt oil production, a major source of revenue, which has also been hit by falling prices.

The most recent conflict has killed thousands of people and driven more than 2 million people from their homes, with many of them fleeing to neighbouring countries.

U.N. peacekeepers currently protect nearly 200,000 civilians at six sites around the country.

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