Fresh communal violence has displaced over 42,000 civilians in South Sudan, an official said on Thursday.
More than 50 people have been killed and dozens injured in clashes this week in Gumuruk and Kongor, towns in the Greater Pibor administrative area, according to officials.
Groups of armed youth from Greater Pibor and the neighboring Jonglei state have been involved in the fighting.
“At least 42,440 people have been displaced in the fighting,” Abraham Kelang Jiji, the information minister for Greater Pibor, told Anadolu Agency.
The situation is returning to normalcy, he said, although groups from Jonglei are still around the Greater Pibor region.
A separate UN statement placed the number of displaced people at around 30,000.
“People have suffered enough. Civilians – especially those most vulnerable – women, children, the elderly and the disabled – bear the brunt of this prolonged crisis,” Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, said in a statement on Thursday.
She said the latest violence follows massive displacement of civilians due to fighting in mid-November in Fashoda County, Upper Nile State.
“The violence must stop. The whole humanitarian community calls upon all armed elements to immediately cease hostilities, respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians and humanitarian workers,” said Nyanti.
“Impunity is a perpetuating factor and root cause for conflict and insecurity. There must be accountability,” she added.
Protracted violence in South Sudan has affected over 2.2 million people who are unable to return to their homes, she said.
“I am deeply concerned about the continuous deterioration of people’s physical and mental well-being, living standards and coping mechanisms,” said Nyanti.
“Peace is the prerequisite for people to rebuild their lives,” she added.
Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF representative in South Sudan, said the “ongoing fighting has had an adverse impact on overstretched humanitarian operations in South Sudan.”
“This puts additional strain on the humanitarian response and resources. We are forced to prioritize immediate lifesaving needs of the newly displaced population,” she said.
“The escalation of violence in areas across the country has left some vulnerable people fleeing for safety in various directions in desperate need of support,” she added.
Source: Anadolu Agency