South Sudan – Conflict and displacement (DG ECHO, UN, media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 20 April 2017)
Fighting in South Sudan has intensified towards the end of the dry season. A government offensive has continued in Jonglei State, the heartland of the main opposition tribe, the Nuer. Government forces now control the villages of Motot, Waat and Walgak. Reports indicate wide-spread destruction. Humanitarian aid workers in the area (approx. 60) were forced to flee to Akobo (close to border with Ethiopia) and later on evacuated from Akobo for security concerns. Due to the ongoing fighting, all humanitarian assistance has been suspended in this area. This could further increase the influx of refugees into Ethiopia where currently around 365 000 South Sudanese refugees are hosted.
Significant ethnic targeting and abuses have been reported in Wau (Western Bahr el Gazal State). The assassination of several senior SPLA commanders led to reprisal attacks against civilians from the Fertit and other non-Dinka groups. 16 000 new arrivals have been recorded in the Wau Protection of Civilians site and 3 000 in the Cathedral site. At the same time, fighting in Raja and attacks by government troops on civilians have resulted in new displacement, presumably towards East Darfur (Sudan).
Fighting has escalated west of Malakal (Upper Nile State) with the government having taken control of Tonga, after days of fighting. Opposition forces are reported to have launched a counter-offensive. Humanitarian agencies have been forced to evacuate from New Fangak in anticipation of a possible attack by government forces using Tonga as the staging ground.