The United Nations said Thursday that aid agencies will need $166 million for aid efforts amid the continuing violence in South Sudan that has left more than 1,000 dead, days after it ordered a doubling of UN forces in the country.
Some 58,000 people have taken refuge in and around UN bases in the country and an estimated 90,000 people have fled their homes as a result of the fighting, which has raised fears of a civil war in the world's newest country.
The latest violence erupted after a December 15 fight among presidential guards that pitted soldiers from President Salva Kiir's Dinka ethnic group against those from the Nuer ethnic group of former vice president Riek Machar.
Machar told FRANCE 24’s sister station RFI (Radio France Internationale) last week that he had called on the army to remove Kiir, who he accused of committing violence against his own people.
"He has to leave because he cannot unite the people, and he kills them like flies,” Machar told RFI. “So I have appealed to the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) and the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) to remove Salva Kiir from the leadership of the country.”
The two politicians have been at odds since July, when Machar was fired from the vice presidency. Machar responded by criticising Kiir’s leadership and declaring his intention to run for president in the 2015 election.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn arrived in South Sudan on Thursday for talks with Kiir on starting peace negotiations with his political rivals.
The Security Council on Tuesday unanimously authorised almost a doubling of the United Nations peacekeeping force now based in South Sudan to nearly 14,000 in the face of what it called “a rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian crisis” that has already left more than 1,000 civilians dead.
The increased forces will come, if necessary, from transferring UN forces based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur, Abyei, Ivory Coast and Liberia, a statement from the UN said.
A UN mission to investigate reports of mass killings being carried out in South Sudan in currently under way.
In a Christmas Day appeal broadcast into South Sudan, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on South Sudan’s leaders to settle their differences peacefully and pledged UN help to end the upsurge in violence in the country, which gained its independence in 2011 after seceding from Sudan.
“We know many of you are suffering from horrific attacks. Families are fleeing their homes ... Innocent civilians are being targeted because of their ethnicity. This is a grave violation of human rights,” Ban said in his radio message on Wednesday.
Ban also said that South Sudan's rivalling politicians would share responsibility for the violence.
“I have warned all responsible for crimes that they will be held accountable,” he said.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)
Date created : 2013-12-26