UN chief in S.Sudan to urge for peace

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is visiting South Sudan to urge both sides involved in the country’s conflict to abide by a peace deal they signed in January, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Mr. Moon’s visit comes four days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir leading to Mr. Kiir’s announcement that he is ready for talks with the rebel leader, former Vice President Riek Machar.

But government troops over the weekend attacked the rebel—held city of Bentiu, the capital of Unity state and the rebel stronghold of Nasir, in Upper Nile state.

Mr. Moon will call on the participants in South Sudan’s war to implement the >cease-fire agreement they signed on Jan. 23. Neither side has honoured the peace deal.

South Sudan has been rocked by violence since December, when Mr. Kiir accused Mr. Machar of attempting a coup. Thousands of people are believed to have been killed and 1 million people have fled their homes. The violence has taken on an ethnic dimension between Mr. Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group and Mr. Machar’s Nuer tribe leading to fears of genocide.

The U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday that it is seeing a sharp increase in the number of refugees fleeing South Sudan’s violence to western Ethiopia.

Over the past 72 hours some 11,000 people have crossed into the Ethiopian town of Burubley along Baro River, which divides the two countries, after South Sudan government forces captured a key rebel stronghold of Nasir, said U.N. refugee agency spokesman Adrian Edwards.

Many more refugees are massed on the South Sudanese side of the border, waiting to cross the river on one of the few small ferry boats, Mr. Edwards told reporters on Tuesday in Geneva.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 8:33:27 AM |

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