The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Tuesday called on South Sudan leaders to allow unhindered access to mission patrols to protect the civilian population.
Welcoming the ceasefire agreement announced by both President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar on Monday, the UN mission urged all parties to adhere to it as well as allow civilians to move freely to places of refuge and to lift movement restrictions
“The government must uphold it responsibility and open up corridors to allow UN and humanitarian actors to provide vital supplies and other assistance to the affected civilians, as well as access for medical evacuations,” the mission said.
“This includes undertaking urgent measures to secure and reopen Juba International Airport as a matter of priority,” it said in a statement issued in Juba.
The resurgence in violence began last week following skirmishes between government and opposition forces that left several soldiers dead and signalled increased tensions in Juba.
The violence escalated dramatically on Friday, leading to reports of several hundred casualties. Following a relative calm on Saturday, heavy fighting resumed on Sunday, spreading through the town and continued through yesterday until the ceasefire was announced.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ellen Margrethe Loj called on Kiir and Machar to ensure that the ceasefire order is conveyed through all security force chains of command in their respective forces so that soldiers return to their barracks, the cessation of hostilities is achieved and order established.
Loj expressed concern about reports of violence spreading to other parts of South Sudan and urged all leaders and military commanders to prevent further tension escalations.
The latest fighting is not the first wave of violence to grip South Sudan in recent weeks. On 24 June, heavy fighting broke out in the northwest town of Wau, forcing an estimated 19,700 people to flee to the nearby UNMISS base and displacing thousands more in the town and outlying villages.