Violence turns UN bases into refugee camps
From RAJI BASHIR in Kartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – FOLLOWING the latest outbreak of violence, thousands of South Sudanese civilians have fled their homes and sought refuge at United Nations bases, which are more secure than refugee centres.
The violence has broken out between the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) and armed groups.
Some 10 000 civilians have fled the strife in Wau, where agencies are concerned by the immediate humanitarian consequences on the civilian population.
Wau is 650 kilometres northwest of Juba, the capital of Africa’s newest country.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said its military forces had created a security cordon around an area adjacent to the UN base and peacekeepers are conducting active patrolling to ensure the safety of the displaced civilians within this area.
UNMISS is currently negotiating with the SPLA for access to Wau town to conduct additional patrols to protect the civilian population in the town.
Opening its gates is not UNMISS’ first line of response in the protection of civilians but an exceptional measure of last resort to be undertaken only when all other means of protection have been exhausted.
UN bases are not designed to serve as shelters for displaced populations.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Deputy Head of Delegation for South Sudan, Gregor Mueller, said the latest upheaval would greatly harm people’s ability to feed and shelter their families after two-and-a-half years of fighting across the country.
The long-term conflict that has triggered severe food needs in parts of South Sudan.
– CAJ News
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