20 May 2015 – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has said today that it is deeply concerned by the disregard for civilian lives, UN personnel and facilities shown by combatants in the country after four civilians, including a woman and a child, were killed when artillery struck a Mission base in Melut, Upper Nile state.
Two mortar bombs landed within the UNMISS compound and the protection of civilians’ site yesterday evening, according to a statement released by the Mission, causing injuries to eight civilians who are currently receiving treatment for their wounds, as well as the four deaths.
“I want to remind the parties of their obligation to take all measures not to harm civilians and guarantee the safety of international aid organizations and United Nations personnel and assets,” said Ellen Margrethe Løj, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) and Head of UNMISS, strongly condemning the recent upsurge in fighting in the country. “I call upon them to respect the sanctity of UN installations and staff, so the United Nations can continue to implement its activities and UNMISS its protection of civilians’ mandate.”
Until the outbreak of the recent fighting, UNMISS had been protecting almost 1,000 civilians on its base in Melut. A further 270 displaced persons arrived yesterday on the UNMISS base while another 250 to 350 are currently staying in an area adjacent to the compound.
The statement said that UNMISS remains deeply concerned by the overall escalation of the conflict, and once again called on the Government and Opposition leadership to immediately cease all hostilities and resume negotiations with a view to signing a comprehensive peace agreement.