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UNOCHA calls for immediate cessation of hostilities in S Sudan

UNOCHA calls for immediate cessation of hostilities in S Sudan
SSPDF soldiers riding on a pickup | Credit | Courtesy

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has called for immediate cessation of hostilities in conflicting areas in South Sudan.

It says the constant vicious clashes are escalating the humanitarian situation.

On the eve of Christmas, fighting escalated between armed youths of Jonglei and Pibor administrative area leading to killing of at least 56 people, and 17 others injured both sides in Gumuruk on Monday this week.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says an estimated 30,000 people have been reportedly displaced following recent violent clashes by armed elements in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

The violence led to cattle raiding, destruction of properties, and displacement of thousands of people.

In a press statement seen by The Radio Community, it states that Some 5,000 internally displaced people, including women and children, have arrived in Pibor town after fleeing the conflict areas of Gumuruk and Lekuangole.

“People have suffered enough. Civilians – especially those most vulnerable – women, children, the elderly and the disabled – bear the brunt of this prolonged crisis,” says Ms. Sara Beysolow Nyanti, Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan.

“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.

For her part, Ms. Hamida R. Lasseko, UNICEF Representative in South Suda, said conflicts have left some vulnerable people fleeing for safety in various directions in desperate need of support.

As a result, she stated that the United Mission in South Sudan is accessing the ongoing humanitarian situation.

“This puts additional strain on the humanitarian response and resources. We are forced to prioritize immediate lifesaving needs of the newly displaced population,” Ms. Lasseko added.

Estimated 9.4 million of the most vulnerable people in South Sudan will need urgent life-saving assistance and protection in 2023, compared to 8.9 million in 2022. In 2023, humanitarian partners target 6.8 million people with urgent life-saving support and protection services.

As of 28 December, the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan was funded at 67.4 per cent. South Sudan continues to be the most violent context for aid workers, followed by Afghanistan and Syria.

Since the beginning of 2022, nine humanitarian workers were killed in the line of duty in South Sudan. Across the country, aid workers – mostly national humanitarian workers – are affected by the impact of armed violence, bureaucratic impediments, and targeted violence.