January 17, 2014
Medical aid group Doctors Without Borders has suspended activities in a South Sudanese state capital after what it calls the looting of its compound.
The group said Friday that armed men had entered its compound in Malakal, Upper Nile State and physically threatened the staff, and looted the premises.
Malakal has been the scene of fighting this week between pro- and anti-government forces, with both sides claiming control of the town. Doctors Without Borders said the hospital had received more than 80 wounded people on Thursday before it shut down.
In New York Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said many South Sudanese civilians are depending on U.N. peacekeepers for their lives.
“The crisis in South Sudan has reached tragic proportions. The United Nations has opened our peacekeeping bases to people in imminent danger, providing protection and shelter to tens of thousands of civilians. Many of them are alive today only because they made it in time to the UNMISS camps.”
The U.N. humanitarian agency said Friday that nearly 470,000 people are now displaced from their homes within South Sudan, and another 84,000 have fled to neighboring countries.
Talks on a proposed cease-fire between pro- and anti-government delegations continue in Ethiopia, but with no reported progress.
The U.N. assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, finished a four-day visit to South Sudan on Friday.
In a statement he said both sides have committed mass atrocities. He said the state capitals of Unity and Jonglei states have become ghost towns, abandoned by civilians fleeing heavy fighting.