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More UN peacekeepers needed for South Sudan

25 November 2015, 13:43

New York -UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants 1 100 extra peacekeepers to be sent to South Sudan to help protect civilians who continue to face attacks despite a peace deal signed three months ago.

Ban made the request in a report to the Security Council last week that paints a pessimistic picture of the conflict in the world's youngest nation.

Breaches of the ceasefire by both the government and rebel forces "call into question their commitment to the peace process and the political buy-in for the implementation of the peace agreement," said the report obtained by AFP on Tuesday.

Ban recommended that 500 additional military troops and 600 police be deployed to South Sudan, along with 13 helicopters and transport planes to quickly move peacekeepers across the country.

The UN chief also requested a field hospital in Bentiu, where nearly 100 000 people have taken refuge in the UN base, and an upgraded medical facility in Juba to provide essential emergency services.

South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of planning a coup.

Clashes are likely

Both leaders signed a peace deal in August, but fighting has continued, with ongoing ethnic attacks, killings of civilians, recruitment of child soldiers and rape.

Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict and 2.3 million have been driven from their homes while several regions face the threat of famine and a malaria epidemic.

Clashes are likely to continue between the government, rebels and splinter groups, with revenge killings and retribution expected to increase, said Ban.

"The atrocities committed during the twenty months of conflict and general collapse of state authority ... imply that revenge killings and increased inter-communal violence will also constitute major risks during the transition period," he said.

In all, nearly 180 000 people are sheltering in six UN bases, but the Unmiss mission has registered more than 2 900 violent incidents including killings, sexual violence, crimes and attacks against UN and aid personnel.

Ban said more UN vehicle and food patrols will be needed to protect aid convoys and ensure safe delivery of humanitarian aid by the 12 500-strong mission.

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