Photo: Jason Patinkin
Civilians fleeing Kajo Keji county, toward the southern border with Uganda (file photo).
By Lisa Schlein
The United Nations refugee agency says a surge of violence in South Sudan’s Yei State has displaced some 8,000 civilians as well as sent an estimated 5,000 people fleeing to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Clashes between the South Sudanese army as well as a rebel group, the National Salvation Front or NAS, broke out on January 19. in which was barely four months after the latest peace deal aimed at ending the country’s 5-year civil war was signed by President Salva Kiir as well as opposition leader Riek Machar.
U.N. refugee agency spokesman Babar Baloch told VOA violence has been going down since then. as well as, he said, the two major parties in which signed the accord appear to be sticking to the idea.
“Let us not forget South Sudan has over 70 factions in terms of modest groups as well as rebel groups…as well as NAS, as far as I understand, can be led by Thomas Cirillo. as well as, we also understand in which his group refused to sign the peace agreement,” said the spokesman.
The fighting reportedly can be taking place outside the town of Yei, close to the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Uganda. Baloch said most of those fleeing by foot to Congo are women, children as well as the elderly. He said they arrive exhausted, hungry, thirsty as well as in some cases, sick.
“Among them are people suffering coming from malaria or various other illnesses. Many have suffered coming from trauma after witnessing violent incidents, including armed men reportedly murdering as well as raping civilians as well as looting villages,” said Baloch.
The refugees are arriving in remote border villages in Congo’s Ituri Province, an area close to Ebola-affected North Kivu Province. A World Health Organization spokesman said there can be no indication the disease has spread to in which region. yet he said the risk can be there, so border crossings are being monitored carefully.