Number of the displaced in Upper Nile clashes rises to 40,000 – UNICEF

The number of the displaced persons in the ongoing violence in Upper Nile State has risen to 40,000 people, the United Nations Children Agency, UNICEF, has announced.

In a press statement issued on Monday, UNICEF says 75% of the displaced persons by the clashes between armed groups in Fashoda County are women and children.

Deaths, injuries, and abductions continue to rise forcing the vulnerable groups to flee their homes in search of safety to neighboring settlements, UN bases and others into the bush and swamps.

While thousands have reportedly travelled to the border or crossed into Sudan.

The children Agency says it is deeply disturbed and alarmed by the situation unfolding Upper Nile State.

“Grave human rights violations are being reported against children and women, along with increasing numbers of deaths and injuries. Children have been separated from their families, and schools have become shelter for those fleeing for their lives,” states Jesper Moller, acting UNICEF representative in South Sudan.

The UN agency believes that the fighting in the area continues to expose children and women to serious humanitarian crisis.

Three primary healthcare facilities have been reportedly suspended in the area, with reports of looting and destruction to the facilities stopping vital health and nutrition services for women and children.

The agency appeals for immediate intervention to save children and women’s lives.

“No violence against children is justifiable and we must see an end to the fighting – children’s lives depend on it,” Moller adds.

Last week, the president directed the chief of defense forces to deploy the unified forces in the area to quell violence – a move which the religious leaders from Upper Nile said it would worsen the situation, saying “Violence can’t solve Violence.”

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.