AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Massacre in the UN camp: governmental military accused

Friday, 19 February 2016 armed groups  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - 18 people died and forty were injured in the massacre in the IDP camp in Malakal, located in the base of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UMISS, see Fides 18/02/2016). "The toll was reported by Médecins Sans Frontier that runs the health facility within the camp" say local sources to Agenzia Fides. "The UN statement on the facts is rather reticent but now it seems that the South Sudanese military intervened in the camp, firing, to quell a clash which broke out between Dinka and Shilluk displaced persons", say our sources.
According to Radio Tamazuj, between 50 to 100 soldiers of the South Sudanese army (SPLA) entered the camp and then started firing on civilians, looting their property and burning the plastic tents. "We received direct confirmation of this reconstruction of the facts", said Fides sources. "The fire started by the military caused very serious damage and now thousands of people find themselves without shelter".
"The clash broke out in the camp during the night of February 18 and the peacekeepers tried to disperse with tear gas the two factions that were fighting with iron bars and sharp weapons. At some point the government soldiers in support of the Dinka (the ethnic group of President Salva Kiir, ed.) that used firearms on the Shilluk arrived. Clashes among refugees had already occurred in the past and the Blue Helmets, who do not have an easy task, managed to restore calm, albeit with some victims and injured. Such a heavy toll had never been reached".
"The Shilluk interpret this dramatic episode as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing of the city of Malakal, which in the new administrative division of 28 States was assigned to a primarily Dinka State" adds our source.
"We need to address the issue of the new administrative division that is likely to further divide the Country after the civil war that began in December 2013. South Sudan is composed of multiple ethnicities. If there are political decisions which are exacerbating ethnic differences there is a risk of dividing the Country. We need to find political solutions in order for all the people of South Sudan to live together in peace and justice", say our sources. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 19/02/2016)