Aid groups condemn Upper Nile clashes

The humanitarian community in South Sudan have condemned the ongoing violence in parts of Upper Nile State.

The clashes erupted between armed groups in Fashoda and Manyo counties in mid-November, leaving some civilians dead and injured and displacing thousands others.

Aid groups also reported incidents of sexual and gender-based violence and abduction of women and children.

“The humanitarian community in South Sudan is appalled by the continuous violence that has a devastating
impact on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary women, men and children,” said Peter Van der
Auweraert, Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim, in a statement seen by TRC.

The victims, Auweraert said, are those already affected by the dire humanitarian situation in the country.

Of the 9,100 people who have been displaced in the latest surge in violence in the area, over a quarter have sought refugee at the Malakal Protection of Civilians (POC), putting “additional pressure’ on partners providing services there.

Over 5,000 others, majority of whom are unaccompanied minors, from Manyo County have fled to Melut County, while the rest crossed over to Sudan.

Auweraert called upon the actors to cease hostilities “immediately to reduce human suffering and prevent further loss of innocent lives”.

Since 2021, there have been military clashes in the area involving the armed forces of SPLM-IO Kitwang factions of Simon Gatwich and Johnson Olony, SPLM-IO of Dr. Riak and SSPDF – which have claimed dozens of lives and displaced thousands.

He also urged the government and local authorities to ensure safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian partners to all those in need.

However, President Salva Kiir recently said he could not stop the clashes in the Upper Nile region.

“There is war in Eastern Nuer in Jakow and there is war in the Chollo Kingdom. Who are those fighting there, they are our brothers and sisters and I cannot stop them. Using a sustainable peace in our country is what I will use,’ Kiir said at the closing of the SPLM National Liberation Council event in Juba on Tuesday.

On the same day, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) urged the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to help end the hostilities there.