From this morning, there has been heavy fighting in and around Malakal between the SPLA in Opposition and the Government forces. Simultaneously, inter-communal clashes flared up within the Protection of Civilians site within the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound, which also came under cross fire. The latter situation was contained by UNMISS troops and Formed Police Units, but unfortunately, casualties were later sustained.
A total of ten persons died in the UNMISS Hospital from injuries received both outside the compound and from the clashes within the POC area. Firearms were not used in the latter clashes. A number of IDPs have also received medical treatment.
The Mission’s Malakal compound protects 21,568 internally displaced persons (IDPs). The fighting outside the compound compelled UNMISS troops to concentrate on protecting the perimeter of the camp from this external threat. Violence then re-erupted in the Protection of Civilians area within the UNMISS compound.
The situation was brought under control, and all UN staff stationed at the UNMISS Malakal compound are safe and accounted for, and none has required medical attention.
The Mission strongly condemns those who instigated the inter-communal violence inside the PoC area and reserves the right to take appropriate action against these individuals.
UNMISS further stresses that both parties to this conflict must respect the inviolability of the premises and facilities of the United Nations. It also reiterates UNMISS’ impartial role in the current crisis and its commitment to protect all civilians, whatever their background.
UNMISS is deeply concerned about the attack on Malakal town in Upper Nile State. Continued fighting between the parties over control of the state capital will only exacerbate an already dire situation for the civilian population and undermine the efforts to stabilize the situation in South Sudan.
It is imperative that both parties fully comply with the Cessation of Hostilities-agreement, signed under the auspices of IGAD. It falls upon both sides to ensure a swift establishment of the monitoring and verification mechanism, which is critical for progress in the negotiations and for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in South Sudan.