JUBA: Almost 200,000 South Sudanese civilians are sheltering in UN bases, the largest number in 20 months of civil war, the United Nations said on Monday.
A total of 199,602 civilians are now seeking safety behind the barbed wire of eight peacekeeping bases of the UN Mission in South Sudan, an increase of a third in just over a month.
The UN update came as peace talks between South Sudan’s rivals continued in neighbouring Ethiopia on Monday, the last day for leaders to reach a deal to avoid possible sanctions.
Many fled into the bases, in six towns or cities including the capital Juba, as war broke out in December 2013. Many have never left because they are too terrified to venture out for fear of being killed, with the number continuing to rise.
Over 121,000 civilians are sheltering in Bentiu, capital of the northern battleground state of Unity, making the camp one of the largest settlements in the country after the capital Juba. In Malakal, state capital of Upper Nile, over 16,000 have arrived since mid-July, taking the total there to 46,500, after aid deliveries via the Nile river were blockaded.—AFP
Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2015