UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday ordered United Nations officials to extend all possible assistance to the victims of the latest "heinous" surge of violence in southern Sudan, where 161 people, including 100 women and children, were reported to have been killed on Sunday.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson Michele Montas, Ban voiced his "extreme concern" at the killing in Akobo in Jonglei state, where 50 men and 11 soldiers from the regional Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) were also killed.
More recently, violence has flared periodically from various quarters, with the secretary-general warning last month that escalating inter-tribal fighting was jeopardizing the stability of the entire country and putting at risk key milestones in implementing the 2005 pact, known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Attacks by the notorious Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), have also wrought havoc in border regions in the south, reports said.
In his Moday statement condemning the latest violence, Ban directed the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) "to extend all possible assistance to those affected by this heinous act and work with local authorities to restore calm."
He called on the regional government of Southern Sudan "to bring to justice those responsible for these events and take the necessary measures to protect civilians across Southern Sudan."