FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The United States strongly condemns the recent attacks by armed groups in South Sudan that have purposefully targeted civilians as well as UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) sites and personnel.
Particularly egregious is today’s armed attack on an UNMISS compound in Bor by a heavily armed group that used rocket-propelled grenades to breach the UNMISS compound and opened fire on the nearly 5,000 internally displaced persons under UNMISS protection at the site. This brazen, inhuman attack on unarmed civilians resulted in the deaths of at least 20 civilians and the injury of more than 70 others.
This latest outrage against the people of South Sudan is an affront to the international community and violates fundamental principles of civilian protection. All parties should regard UNMISS sites as inviolable, and should afford protection to citizens sheltering at those locations. The United States will work with our international partners to establish who was responsible for – or complicit in – this horrific attack and seek to bring the perpetrators to justice. We reaffirm our steadfast support for UNMISS and applaud its personnel who, under tremendously challenging conditions, continue to try to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian assistance across South Sudan. We urge those countries that have committed additional forces for UNMISS to work with the United Nations to accelerate their deployment.
The people of South Sudan deserve the opportunity to begin rebuilding their country, and to develop the national and local institutions they need to put South Sudan back on a path toward stability and democracy. But that process can only begin in earnest when all parties to the conflict adhere to the January 23 Cessation of Hostilities agreement, lay down their weapons, and engage constructively in inclusive political negotiations led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. South Sudan’s leaders must put the safety and wellbeing of their fellow citizens above their own short-sighted political and economic interests, or risk the future of their country, the welfare of their people, and strong international consequences.
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