The human rights crisis in South Sudan continued to worsen on Tuesday as there are now more than 150,000 South Sudanese civilians sheltering behind the barbed wire fences of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping bases in the country according to a report.
The report said UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) bases were overcrowded with a total of 153,769 civilians severely testing their capabilities. In one camp in the nation’s Capital Juba, international aid workers were trying to deal with a cholera outbreak that has claimed 32 lives. There are 28,000 in the Juba base.
Most of the civilians fled into the camps, spread across the country, when civil war broke out in December 2013. Many have not stepped outside the bases fearing they would be killed. Since April this year, they have been joined by tens of thousands more since an escalation in fighting.
The Civil war started when President Salva Kiir accused his deputy Riek Machar of trying to organize a coup, beginning a series of retaliatory killings between different ethnic groups across the landlocked, poverty-stricken country.
More than 10,000 arrived in the camps over the past week alone, according to UNMISS figures.
There are 91,500 civilians sheltering in Bentiu, which is the main city in the northern battleground state of Unity, where a South Sudan's army recently reportedly raped then burned girls alive during a recent campaign the UN said marked by "new brutality and intensity.”
More than 30,000 are at the UN base in Malakal, the northeastern Upper Nile state's capital, which has been completely destroyed. The town is in the hands of government forces who retook in on Monday from rebels who had been firing at civilians inside the U.N. base, an attack which UNMISS says is a war crime.
The country is the world's newest nation with Thursday marking its formation's fourth anniversary since separating from North Sudan. The UN has described it as "lower in terms of human development than just about every other place on earth.”