April 18, 2014
Gunmen wounded dozens of people when they stormed a UN base in South Sudan. From AFP:
The top UN aid official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, said he was “outraged” by the assault in the war-ravaged town of Bor, in which two peacekeepers were also wounded.
Almost 5,000 civilians are sheltering inside the fortified base of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), one of the most bitterly contested regions in the four-month-long conflict splitting the country.
UNMISS condemned “heinous murders” in the attack, although it has not officially confirmed any deaths.
“The armed mob forced entry into the site and opened fire on the internally displaced persons sheltering inside the base,” the UNMISS said in a statement, saying its forces returned fire — first firing warning shots and then taking part in a ferocious gun battle — before the fighters retreated.
The gunmen had initially approached the camp “under the guise of peaceful demonstrators” intending to present a petition to the UN, before opening fire and breaching the compound, the statement added.
The civilians fled into the base weeks ago amid brutal ethnic massacres in the world’s newest nation.
Information Minister Michael Makuei said that a “huge number” of gunmen had come seeking revenge for the rebel capture of the oil town of Bentiu two days ago hoping to kill the trapped civilians, many of them children.
The conflict in South Sudan has left thousands dead and forced around a million people to flee their homes since fighting broke out on December 15 in the capital Juba before spreading to other states in the oil-rich nation.
Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, has swapped hands several times during the conflict.
The latest clashes in Bor echo an attack by gunmen in December on a UN base in Akobo, also in Jonglei, killing at least 11 civilians and two Indian UN peacekeepers.