At least five people have been killed and 30 injured in fresh violence at a UN compound in Malakal city, in war-torn South Sudan. Fighting erupted between the Shilluk and Dinka ethnic groups who used machetes and other weapons in the deadly clashes.
"United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) police in charge of maintaining order within the protection sites immediately intervened with tear gas to disperse the crowd," UNMISS said in a statement, according to Reuters." Casualties were brought to the international NGO clinic on the site.
"U.N. troops have increased perimeter patrolling while physically securing areas in the vicinity of the Protection of Civilians site. UNMISS is also engaging with local authorities in Malakal to de-escalate the situation."
The clashes erupted days after President Salva Kiir reappointed rebel leader Riek Machar as vice- president as part of a peace deal aimed at tackling a civil war which has been running for more than two years.
What caused South Sudan conflict?
In November 2013, Kiir – from the Dinka ethnic group – dismissed the then vice-president Machar – from the Nuer group – and his cabinet. The dismissal followed Kiir's decision to replace members of the army and government following rumours of a possible coup. Kiir also sparked outrage after dismissing all the main organs of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement arguing that their tenure of office had expired.
August 2015 peace deal: the key points
- Both parties commit to immediate cessation of violence
- Machar to be reinstated as vice-president
- Foreign troops to pull out
- Military personnel in Juba to be replaced by police and guards
- Creation of transitional government which will stay in power for 30 months
- Presidential elections to be held 30 days before end of transitional government mandate
- Probe into abuses committed during conflict
Full document here
Tensions further escalated when Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup in December 2013. The accusations sparked violence in the country, where factions loyal to both Kiir and Machar engaged in tit-for-tat violence across several villages.
Ethnic-related violence also started to spread with militia groups carrying out attacks in villages and areas known to be inhabited by either Dinka or Nuer tribes. More than 10,000 civilians have so far been killed in the conflict amid allegations of crimes against humanity committed by both sides including extra-judicial killings, abductions, rape, torture and use of child soldiers.
The two warring factions have signed at least seven peace deals, the latest, last August. However, the violence has continued, and a January report from the African Union blamed both leaders of the warring sides for the ongoing unrest.