The number of rape cases, abductions and slaughters have increased in South Sudan since the civil war started early in 2014, the United Nations (UN) said on Tuesday.
After UN and aid agencies left the territory due to ongoing fighting, more than 100,000 people fled their homes and over 300,000 civilians have been left without basic needs met in the ‘northern battleground state of Unity’.
“Increasingly concerning reports from Guit and Koch counties in Unity state, towns and villages being burned, killings, abductions of males as young as 10 years of age, rape and abduction of girls and women, and the forced displacement of civilians,” the UN peacekeeping mission said.
Fearing clashes, two global aid agencies, Doctors without Borders (MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) evacuated their staff from South Sudan and warned that escalating fights between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar forced thousands of civilians to flee for their lives.
"We withdraw again with a heavy heart, because we know how civilians will suffer when they are cut off from critical, lifesaving medical care," Paul Critchley, head of mission at MSF said.
“Government checkpoints and bad roads have prevented aid workers and UN staff including human rights monitors from reaching areas affected by the fighting,” said UN Spokesman Joe Contreras.
Unity state governor Joseph Monytuil said late Monday that government troops aimed to take the city of Leer from opposition forces within days. "Our forces are now pursuing them to where they came from," he added.
The President of South Sudan, Mr. Kiir and former Vice President of South Sudan Mr. Machar signed a ceasefire deal in January last year, but violence has continued in parts of the country.
The UN estimated 10,000 people have been killed and another 1.5 million displaced since the conflict began.
Kiir's term as president ends in July, four years after South Sudan gained independence to become the world's newest country.