No concerted effort” has been made by any of the warring parties in South Sudan to adhere to a ceasefire in the country, instead there has been an escalation in the conflict there, the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, has said.
David Shearer, who is also the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, was addressing the UN Security Council in New York on Tuesday.
He told the 15-member Council that, “virtually no part of the country is immune from conflict. Yet, there has been no concerted effort by any party to adhere to a ceasefire. Instead, we are seeing an intensification of the conflict over the past month.”
Mr Shearer said that in some of the violence, government forces have responded to attacks by opposition forces, notably in Wau and the Equatorias. In others, in contrast, government-led operations such as those in Upper Nile and Jonglei appeared “more strategic in focus” and were aimed at taking opposition-held areas.
The head of UNMISS added that “significant military operations are linked to gaining tactical advantage over opposition positions before the onset of the rainy season.”
The conflict in South Sudan began in December 2013 and has led to a humanitarian crisis. Some 7.5 million people, two-thirds of the population, require humanitarian assistance. Around 1.6 million people have fled the country as refugees while a further 1.9 million are displaced internally.
Concluding his remarks to the Security Council, the Special Representative underscored that the “political process in South Sudan is not dead” however it does require “significant resuscitation.”
He added that UNMISS will work together with partners “to look for opportunities we can build upon to forge a viable solution to bring an end to the hostilities and to the suffering of the people of South Sudan.”