The United Nation's Security Council has strongly condemned the fighting in South Sudan which has escalated in and around the capital Juba, severely affecting the civilian population. It has urged the warring factions - President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar - to prevent the spread of violence immediately.
The UN also called for deployment of additional peacekeepers even as a Chinese peacekeeper was reportedly killed in the fighting, while six others were injured.
Machar's spokesperson announced earlier on Sunday (10 July) that the world's youngest nation was "back in war" as fighting continued over the weekend leaving nearly 150 dead.
The council joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in condemning "in the strongest terms all attacks and provocations against civilians and the United Nations". According to them, the UN base and the civilian protection centre in Juba have been caught in the crossfire. Ban expressed "deep frustration" at the incidents and said the two leaders must take decisive action to rein in their forces in the landlocked African nation.
"This senseless violence is unacceptable and has the potential of reversing the progress made so far in the peace process," he said.
He urged the leaders to "prevent the spread of violence to other parts of the country; guarantee the safety and security personnel; and genuinely commit themselves to the full implementation of the peace agreement". He also called for a permanent ceasefire and redeployment of forces from Juba.
The UN mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) also expressed its outrage at the resumption of violence at its base in Tomping, and voiced concern over reports that the armed forces were preventing civilians from seeking protection.
The fighting close to the UN site in Juba has forced about 1,000 internally-displaced persons to move out of the UNMISS civilian protection site to the UN base in Jebel, a suburb of Juba, the UN said in a statement.
Gunfire was exchanged between loyalists of President Kiir and former rebel leader and Vice President Machar on Friday (8 July) at the presidential palace, where both the men were holding a meeting. It came after five soldiers loyal to the president were shot dead by Machar's troops on Thursday (7 July).