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UN reports a 35% increase in people affected by violence in South Sudan

UN reports a 35% increase in people affected by violence in South Sudan
The personal belongings of people who crossed the border from Sudan are stored   -  
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South Sudan

The number of people affected by violence in South Sudan increased by 35% in the last three months of 2023, according to the United Nations.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan, or UNMISS, has documented 233 incidents of violence affecting 862 people. Among them, 406 were killed, 293 were injured, 100 were kidnapped and 63 suffered conflict-related sexual violence, she said in a report released Monday.

This is a 35% increase in casualties compared to the previous quarter.

South Sudan is due to hold elections later this year, the first since the 2018 peace deal between President Salva Kiir and his former rival, Riek Machar, which ended a five-year conflict causing hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Violence caused by ethnic tensions and disputes over resources such as land has increased in various parts of the country in recent months, particularly in the oil-rich Abyei region.

UNMISS head Nicholas Haysom said the organization is "doing everything in its power to prevent violence and bring peace to affected areas" and urged the South Sudan government to intervene to “resolve underlying grievances and establish peace”.

It said it had carried out at least 10,000 peacekeeping patrols by land, air and sea over the past year.

South Sudan, one of the world's youngest nations, also suffers from drought and floods, making living conditions difficult for residents.

In its latest report on the country, the World Food Program (WFP) says South Sudan "remains facing a serious humanitarian crisis" due to violence, economic instability, climate change and the influx of people fleeing the conflict in neighbouring Sudan.

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