UN troops missing as South Sudan civil war fears grow

December 20, 2013 - 3:24:17 am

People arrive to seek refuge in the UNMISS compound in Juba, on December 18, 2013 


JUBA: The United Nations said yesterday that it had lost contact with one of its bases in South Sudan as continued fighting between rebels and government forces increased fears the world’s youngest state was sliding towards civil war. 

The UN said it has lost contact with a base stormed by attackers and at least three peacekeepers and civilian staff are unaccounted for. The attack on the UN base came after troops loyal to fugitive former vice president Riek Machar seized the town of Bor, army spokesman Philip Aguer said, as fighting continued in eastern Jonglei state. 

President Salva Kiir has blamed the bloodshed on a coup bid by his perennial rival Machar, who says the alleged overthrow was a fabrication to cover up a regime purge. 

Kiir has said he was ready to “sit down” but Machar, who was sacked by the president in July, rejected the offer. Some 450 people have been killed in the capital Juba since battles broke out on Sunday, including around 100 soldiers, Aguer said. 

Foreigners were being evacuated from the country, with the US and Britain sending in flights for their citizens, and others fleeing overland south to Uganda. AFP

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