South Sudan: New Reports of Fighting in Northern State of Unity

Press Statement
Jeff Rathke
Acting Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 12, 2015

The United States is deeply concerned by new reports of heavy fighting in northern state of Unity following a Government offensive against Opposition forces. We remind all parties that renewed fighting is in direct contravention of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed in 2014.

In addition, we are deeply disturbed by credible reports of grave human rights abuses against civilians in the areas around Mayom and south of Bentiu. We call on the government to allow protection actors to inspect sites where violations are alleged to have occurred, to include Nhialdiu, Wathjak, and Nimni. Attacks on civilians and actions which deepen and prolong the suffering of ordinary South Sudanese are unacceptable. Those who threaten the peace in South Sudan or violate international humanitarian law must be held accountable.

We are also deeply concerned about reports of widespread displacement and of the denial of access for humanitarian actors and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to reach civilian populations in the area, leaving hundreds of thousands without life-saving assistance. This fighting has caused UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations to evacuate staff from the area. The absence of UN and other humanitarian actors will greatly reduce the delivery of life-saving aid to vulnerable populations.

We renew our call for the Government and Opposition to silence the guns and to end the suffering of the people of South Sudan immediately.