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UN mission camp in S Sudan attacked

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-12-20 10:51

UNITED NATIONS - A UN peacekeeping mission camp in Jonglei, South Sudan was attacked Thursday as the country's instability continues following the clashes within the army, said UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.

Eliasson told a news briefing here that a base of UN Mission in South Sudan in Akobo, Jonglei State was attacked and "we have reports that lives are lost", though casualty details were unavailable.

"In Akobo, on Thursday, where civilians have gathered including 32 as of Wednesday night, Lou Nuer youths have reportedly forced an entry into the UNMISS Temporary Operating Base to reach to those civilians," UN spokesperson Fahran Haq said later, adding that fighting took place and "we are yet to ascertain the situation."

According to the spokesperson, the situation in Jonglei has deteriorated. The UN mission is trying to extract unarmed personnel and reinforce the base in Akobo with 60 troops from Malaka, as early as Friday.

Violent clashes erupted Sunday night in the capital Juba between two groups of the presidential guard. South Sudan's presidency said in a statement that the armed clashes were a military coup attempt planned by sacked vice president Riek Machar.

Deep differences emerged between two groups within the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement after South Sudan President Salva Kirr removed Machar from office in July. In central Juba, while the situation appears to have calmed down to some extent, allowing limited movements of UN personnel, reports of civilians seeking protection continue.

Following unconfirmed reports of several students killed by security personnel in Juba University on Wednesday, several hundred students have requested assistance from the UN mission, said the spokesman, adding a patrol was assigned for the area on Thursday afternoon.

Between 2,000 to 5,000 civilians have sought refuge in another part of Juba and have called for force protection from the UN Mission. A patrol was en route, Haq added.

Eliasson welcomed the report Thursday morning that South Sudan President Salva Kirr is willing to start talks with the opposition.

UN Secretary-General's Special Representative Hilde Johnson is in constant contact with South Sudan government and others with influence on these issues, Haq said.

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