UN: 36,000 Civilians Seek Shelter in South Sudan Capital
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The United Nations called on Tuesday for free movement and protection of civilians fleeing fighting in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, where it said at least 36,000 displaced people are seeking shelter in UN sites and other locations.
"Access to those in need is limited by the ongoing fighting and insecurity," UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told a news briefing in Geneva, Reuters reported.
Access to the UN compound is being blocked for civilians, who are trapped in churches and schools without access to water and sanitation, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, adding that it was sending trauma kits.
Meanwhile the UN refugee agency called on neighboring countries to keep their borders open to people seeking asylum and said it was gearing up for possible refugee outflows.
Earlier, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir ordered a unilateral ceasefire after days of fierce fighting between troops loyal to Salva Kiir and rebels backing former vice president, Riek Machar, claimed hundreds of lives in the capital Juba.
Information Minister Michael Makuei at 6:00pm local time on Monday announced on state broadcaster SSBC that President Kiir had issued directives for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
The president called for the implementation of a peace deal signed between the two sides in August last year, the minister added.
However media reports indicate that heavy gunfire was heard in Juba after the order.
This came as Juba has been mired in fresh fighting since Thursday when troops loyal to Kiir and Machar clashed, raising fears of a return to a full-blown conflict after a two-year lull.