JUBA, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations top relief official in South Sudan on Thursday called for an immediate cessation of hostilities following renewed violence in Upper Nile State which has displaced thousands of people.
Sara Beysolow Nyanti, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan condemned the heavy fighting between armed factions in Tonga town and neighboring areas in Panyikang County, Upper Nile State which has resulted in civilian deaths, injuries, and further displacement.
"This kind of violence, in an area hosting displaced civilians, is unconscionable. All parties need to remember their obligations under International Law and ensure civilians are protected, no matter where they are," Nyanti said in a statement issued in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
Since mid-August, thousands of people have been displaced across many areas of the Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Unity states, following heavy fighting between armed factions in Tonga town and neighboring areas in Panyikang County, Upper Nile State, according to a statement from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Nyanti said all partners are engaged in a race against time to save those at risk of drowning in their haste to flee the violence amid unconfirmed reports that about 300 people have been killed in the attacks.
On Wednesday, fighting erupted near Adidiang in Upper Nile State where several thousands of the displaced had taken refuge. According to the UN, initial reports describe unimaginable scenes of Adidiang set ablaze, humanitarian structures established as recently as two weeks ago destroyed, and civilians fleeing the fighting by canoes and boats, leading to several people drowning.
"We will continue supporting people in need to the best of our ability. But we need an immediate cessation of hostilities and a resolution to the conflict. Without peace, civilians will continue to suffer and die under our watch," Nyanti said.
She said humanitarians have swiftly mobilized available resources and are working to provide life-saving assistance to meet urgent needs. ■