JUBA, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Tuesday decried renewed clashes between rival armed groups in South Sudan's Upper Nile State, a northern region.
The UN mission expressed concern about the safety and security of thousands of civilians caught up in the clashes, calling on all parties to respect international law and safeguard freedom of movement for humanitarian organizations in the Upper Nile area.
"Over 200 of the displaced persons have sought refuge at the UN Protection of Civilians site in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile State. Many children are reported to be missing or separated from their families," UNMISS said in a statement in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
The renewed fighting that began last week in Tonga town has displaced more than 15,000 people, while flooding is hindering their access to humanitarian aid and safer areas while others sought refuge at the UN base.
It said it is engaging with the affected communities, government, and local authorities, to quell tensions and support efforts toward a peaceful resolution.
UNMISS urged feuding parties to immediately stop the violence and adhere to the Revitalized Peace Agreement.
The UN mission said it supports the movement of humanitarian organizations and deploying additional peacekeepers to the UN protection site to increase security and mitigate the risk of spillover fighting.
The latest fighting between the splinter group of the rebel factions of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) in Upper Nile State was sparked by a power struggle between the rebel group led by the former rebel chief of staff of the SPLM/A-IO Simon Gatwech Dual and his deputy General Johnson Olony.
South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 following a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his then deputy Riek Machar leading soldiers loyal to the respective leaders to fight.
The conflict killed tens of thousands and displaced more than 2 million people both internally and externally. ■