Thousands of South Sudanese flee to Ethiopia as fighting escalates  

File photo: UNHCR staff in western Ethiopia help move a wounded South Sudanese refugee, who fled across the Baro River to escape the violence. (UNHCR/L.Godinho)

ESAT News (July 12, 2017)

UN officials said about 5,000 civilians have been forced to seek refuge in neighbouring Ethiopia due to escalating clashes near Pagak in Upper Nile, the headquarters of the opposition group led by former first vice president Riek Machar, according to a report by Radio Tamazuj.

Thr radio quoted David Shearer, head of the UN mission in South Sudan, who told reporters Wednesday in Juba that the advance on the opposition headquarters in Pagak area will not serve the interest of peace in the world’s youngest nation.

“The situation in Pagak is worrying because of the fighting that is going on. The fighting is displacing people and a number of people have withdrawn from Mathiang down to Pagak to seek safety,” the Radio quoted Shearer as saying.  

He pointed out the civilians who are living in Pagak area may cross the border to Ethiopia due to insecurity. “The hostilities should cease to allow people to go back to their homes. There is no reason for fighting in that area,” he said.

The civil war in South Sudan has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 3.5 million people, many of them to neighbouring countries.

Thousands of South Sudanese shelter in refugee camps in Gambella, Ethiopia.Cross-border raids by the Murle of South Sudan against the Anyuaks in Gambella resulted in the death of nearly 200, the abduction of women and children and the displacement of hundreds of Anyuaks.