Soldiers in South Sudan have tried to forcibly enter a United Nations compound in the city of Bor where thousands of civilians have taken shelter from ongoing violence, a UN spokesman says.
Martin Nesirky said in a statement that senior government figures and troops threatened UN staff on Sunday when the latter “refused to allow armed soldiers to accompany civilians” into the compound of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Bor in the restive state of Jonglei.
Nesirky, who is UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman, said, the UN chief “condemns the threats made against UN personnel and demands that all parties to the conflict respect the sanctity of UNMISS protection sites.”
The government’s attempt came a day after it retook Bor from rebel fighters loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.
The historical town has already switched hands four times since the outbreak of the intense fighting in South Sudan some five weeks ago.
The UNMISS says it faces growing threats from both sides as they shelter nearly 70,000 civilians at its bases across the country since the conflict erupted on December 15, 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused Machar of attempting to stage a coup.
Nesirky added that the use of threat is “just one of a growing number of violations” of the UN accord with the South Sudan government, “making it increasingly difficult for UNMISS to implement its mandate and dangerous for United Nations staff working in South Sudan.”
Up to 10,000 people are believed to have been killed so far in the violence in South Sudan. According to the United Nations, about 400,000 civilians have also fled their homes in the wake of the heavy fighting the African country.