Act Alert: South Sudan Conflict
1. Brief description of the emergency and impact
Tension within the South Sudanese ruling party SPLM grew over several month since President Salva Kiir reorganized his entire cabinet. On the evening of 15 December, violence erupted in Juba amongst the military. The circumstances around the violence starting are still unclear. Fighting in Juba has been most intense between the evening and morning (particularly from the evening of 15 December to the morning of 17 December). On 16 December the President ordered a curfew from 18.00 to 6.00. Since 18 December there has been relative calm within Juba though sporadic gunfire continues. The situation however, is getting increasingly tense in several of the States including Jonglei.
Thousands in Juba have sought refuge in UN compounds. According to OCHA, roughly 20,000 people are being sheltered in the two main UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compounds in Juba. According to media reports 400-500 people, mostly soldiers in Juba, are estimated as killed during the conflict. Other sources report house to house killings, taking place within Juba leading to the allegations of this being an ethnic conflict.
Fighting has been reported in Bor and Pibor town in Jonglei state. Media reports have stated that Bor, the capital of Jonglei, has been taken by rival troops (reportedly those loyal to Machar). OCHA has stated that several hundreds of civilians have sought refuge at the UNMISS compound in Pibor town as well. Also in Jonglei state, fighting in Akobo was reported yesterday when an armed group attacked the UNMISS compound there - two people were killed and one UN military personnel. Violence has also been reported in Unity State (Bentiu) and Lakes State (Rumbek) although the details are still unclear.
On 16 and 17 December the airport in Juba was closed for both domestic and international flights, including commercial airlines and UNHAS. Flights resumed on 18th December including the evacuation of international staff from Juba.