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South Sudan: Over 6,000 Flee Fresh Fighting, Sheltered At U.N. Camps

South Sudan: Over 6,000 Flee Fresh Fighting, Sheltered At U.N. Camps

The United Nations has given refuge to about 6,000 people escaping violence in the eastern regions of South Sudan after a surge in attacks.

Armed groups targeted a village outside Pibor, near the border with Ethiopia, on Wednesday and more people are expected to seek protection as tensions mount, according to the UN mission in the oil-rich country.

“This conflict is not simply intercommunal between ethnic groups,” David Shearer, the head of the mission, said in an emailed statement. “Other political figures are at work. External actors need to stop deliberately stoking the conflict for the sake of local communities.”

Fighting between groups erupted months ago, leaving hundreds of people dead and starving as harvests and livestocks are destroyed in the East African nation.

It also threatens to unravel a long-negotiated peace agreement that helped bring to an end five years of civil war in a nation with sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil reserves.

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A power-sharing government was formed in February, led by President Salva Kiir and former rebel leader, Riek Machar, as vice president.

The area where the attack occurred was already badly hit by displacement, flooding, hunger and Covid-19 and humanitarian agencies are struggling to support the people affected, Shearer said.

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