Fighting in South Sudan Escalates
NEW YORK – UN Headquarters – Amid the ongoing fighting in South Sudan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is reaching out to key leaders in the region seeking a political end to the crisis, while the Security Council has urged all parties to immediately cease hostilities and exercise restraint to prevent the further spread of violence.
The BBC is reporting that “South Sudanese rebels have taken over a key town, the military has said, as fighting continues after Sunday’s reported coup attempt.
“Our soldiers have lost control of Bor to the force of Riek Machar,” said army spokesman Philip Aguer.
“President Salva Kiir has accused Mr Machar, the former vice-president, of plotting a coup – a claim he denies”.
The fighting which began Sunday capital Juba has seen over five hundred reported deaths, and has escalated fears of a growing conflict in the region.
Britain Evacuating British Nationals
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson states, “A UK aircraft is en route to Juba to evacuate British nationals who wish to leave from Juba airport on Thursday 19 December. If you are a British national and you wish to leave Juba you should contact the FCO as soon as possible on +44 207 008 1500 or by email at email@example.com
Canada Says Don’t Go There
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) are advising against all travel to the Republic of South Sudan, including the border areas and the city of Juba, due to the present high level of armed conflict and violent crime. Military activity, including clashes, has been taking place in and around Juba since December 16, 2013, and the situation remains unstable. A curfew is in effect from 6PM to 6AM Local Time in South Sudan.
DFATD has authorized the departure of non-essential staff and dependents from South Sudan, for security reasons. The Canadian Government states, “You should make plans to leave by commercial means. In the absence of commercial flights, you are encouraged to contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa to enquire about departure options”.
If you choose to remain in the country, you should shelter in place, ensure that your travel documents are up to date, and keep abreast of the latest developments. Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) service and carefully follow messages issued through this service. Be aware that the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular assistance in South Sudan is extremely limited. Canadians requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the High Commission of Canada in Nairobi.
UN Boss Verifying Reports of Death
Mr. Ban told reporters in New York that the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is in the process of verifying reports that many people have been killed and injured amid the factional fighting, which has uprooted thousands of civilians in recent days.
Media reports say that hundreds of people have been killed since the clashes between members of the national forces, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), began over the weekend, following what the Government says is an attempted coup by soldiers loyal to former deputy president Riek Machar, who was dismissed in July.
UNMISS said it has observed a “noticeable improvement” in security conditions in much of the capital, Juba, today. The Mission lifted restrictions on the movement of its personnel, and has resumed patrols on a limited basis in the city itself and restored flight service to and from the Ugandan city of Entebbe.
“Life in the centre of town is returning back to relative normalcy. The safety of civilians in the South Sudanese capital remains a concern, however, especially on the city’s outskirts,” the Mission said in a news release.