Renewed clashes in South Sudan force thousands to flee

Last month the United Nations (UN) warned that fighting had escalated in war-torn South Sudan, forcing up to 100,000 people to flee their homes.

The UN’s humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, said the displacements were as a result of intensified clashes between rebels and government troops. “Since the beginning of May, military activities south of Bentiu in Unity state have forced up to 100,000 people from their homes,” Lanzer said in a statement, adding that “People should never be harmed, and certainly not targeted or forced to flee from their homes.” Also two global aid agencies, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), had to evacuate their international staff from part of the country fearing clashes.

MSF was previously forced to abandon Leer in January last year when fighting over the town made it too dangerous to stay. When aid workers were able to return four months later they found the hospital burned and looted and vehicles stolen.

Violence in the world’s youngest nation has been characterised by rape, attacks on civilians and medical facilities and ethnic massacres. Tens of thousands of people are believed to have been killed since South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011.