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News / Nation & World

UN reports a 35% increase in people affected by violence in South Sudan

By DENG MACHOL, Associated Press
Published: March 19, 2024, 8:00am

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — The number of people affected by violence in South Sudan surged by 35% in the last three months of 2023, the United Nations reported.

The U.N. Mission in South Sudan, or UNMISS, documented 233 incidents of violence affecting 862 people. Of that, 406 were killed, 293 were injured, 100 were abducted and 63 subjected to conflict-related sexual violence, it said in a report released Monday.

It was a 35% increase in the number of victims reported from the previous quarter.

South Sudan is to hold elections later this year, the first since a 2018 peace deal between President Salva Kiir and his former rival, Riek Machar, that ended a five-year conflict that killed hundreds of thousands.

Violence caused by ethnic tensions and disputes over resources such as land has increased in various parts of the country in recent months, particularly in the oil-rich region of Abyei.

The head of UNMISS, Nicholas Haysom, said it is “doing all it can to prevent violence and build peace in the affected areas” and urged the South Sudan government to intervene and “resolve underlying grievances and build peace.”

It said it has conducted at least 10,000 peacekeeping patrols by land, air and boat over the past year.

South Sudan, one of the world’s youngest nations, also suffers from drought and flooding, making living conditions difficult for residents.

The World Food Program in its latest country brief said South Sudan “continues to face a dire humanitarian crisis” due to violence, economic instability, climate change and an influx of people fleeing the conflict in neighboring Sudan.