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UN voices concern over deteriorating situation in eastern South Sudan


08:12, May 15, 2013

UNITED NATIONS, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Tuesday voiced deep concern about the deteriorating situation in some parts of eastern South Sudan, calling on the government to take immediate action on it.

"The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said on Tuesday that it is deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation in and around the town of Pibor in Jonglei State," said Martin Nesirky, UN spokesperson, at the daily briefing.

"The Mission strongly condemns the violence, looting and displacement affecting civilians and humanitarian organizations there," Nesirky said.

In addition to the significant displacement of the civilian population out of Pibor, UNMISS has recently received reports of widespread looting of civilian dwellings and humanitarian organization premises.

According to Nesirky, UNMISS also expressed its concern over statements issued by an armed rebel group demanding that civilians leave the towns of Pibor, in Jonglei, and Kapoeta, in Eastern Equatoria State.

The spokesperson quoted UNMISS as saying that the government of South Sudan has the primary responsibility to protect the population.

The Mission also called on the civilian and military authorities to "immediately take control of the situation and also to hold perpetrators to account," said Nesirky.

"Mission troops have already been patrolling Pibor and that was before the looting started, but it has reinforced its presence in the town since then. Its peacekeepers have clear instructions to assist in protecting civilians," he added.

Jonglei, the largest state in the eastern part of South Sudan, has been the scene of inter-communal violence since the African country won its independence in July 2011. Nuer and Murley, the biggest tribes in the state, have been locked in clashes due to disputes over land and cattle ownership.

The South Sudanese government has earlier declared Jonglei state a "disaster area" and sent around 3,000 soldiers to try to avoid tribal violence in the state. Around 1,000 UN troops are also deployed in the area.

Armed rebels on April 9 opened fire on a UNMISS convoy with peacekeepers aboard in the Jonglei state, killing five of the peacekeepers primarily made of Indian soldiers and at least seven civilians.

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