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More civilians displaced in wake of violence in Pibor

Fresh communal violence has displaced over 7000 households in Gumuruk and Kongor areas of Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA), a local official said on Thursday.

The conflict that erupted in GPAA between groups of armed youth from Greater Pibor and the neighboring Jonglei state have resulted in the death of more than 50 people and dozens of injured.

 “The conflict which started on Monday in the Gumuruk and Kongor towns of Pibor has displaced 7, 716 households from the two locations, and they are now in Greater Pibor Administrative Area headquarter,” said Abraham Kelang Jiji, minister of information for GPAA in an interview with The Juba Echo.

Kelang said that the security situation was now under control in spite of the continued presence of armed youth from Jonglei around GPAA.

“We have many people who came to us from two locations, we have 7716 households from two locations,” he said.

Earlier on 42,440 civilians had arrived in headquarters of GPAA following the first round of fighting on December 24th.

A separate UN statement issued on Thursday placed the number of displaced people at around 30,000.

“People have suffered enough. Civilians – especially those most vulnerable – women, children, the elderly and the disabled – bear the brunt of this prolonged crisis,” said Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan in a statement.

She said the latest violence follows massive displacement of civilians due to fighting in mid-November in Fashoda County, Upper Nile State.

“The violence must stop. The whole humanitarian community calls upon all armed elements to immediately cease hostilities, respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians and humanitarian workers,” said Nyanti.

“Impunity is a perpetuating factor and root cause for conflict and insecurity. There must be accountability,” she added.

Protracted violence in South Sudan has affected over 2.2 million people who are unable to return to their homes, she said.

“I am deeply concerned about the continuous deterioration of people’s physical and mental well-being, living standards and coping mechanisms,” said Nyanti.

Lokoli Ame Bullen, Chief Administrator of GPAA said some humanitarian clusters came to make an assessment on the situation.

“We are still working on it so they can give a concrete number,” said Bullen.

“But the number we see, we cannot report it until the NGOs who are making assessment and SRC come up with concrete numbers of affected civilians,” he added.

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