Gunshots at UN base Juba, UNMISS chief runs to US embassy

UN base Juba

United Nations Mission in South Sudan [UNMISS] has reported heavy fighting outside its main in the capital Juba this morning.

“Gunshots, heavily armed exchange UN House area once again; going on now since approx. 08:25,” UNMISS said in a tweet, adding that clashes were still ongoing at UN House area.

According to the mission, a sustained clash has been ongoing since approximately 08:25 with armed men treating IDPs to the sound of heavy weapons including mortars, RPGs and heavy ground assault weaponry.

This was at the same time SPLA and opposition forces were clashing in Jebel area.

Since Friday, UN patrols have been stopped from leaving their two bases in Tongpiny and Jebel.

The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan Ellen Løj is said to be in the US embassy, according to media reports.

Some international organisations have begun to evacuate their staff, including the International Monetary Fund and the Overseas Development Institute.

Foreign embassies are discussing whether to evacuate staff.

The UNMISS said that several rounds hit buildings in the UN House compound near Jebel on Friday evening, and that hundreds of civilians have fled inside.

More civilians are also reportedly taking shelter in the Tomping site.

“UN peacekeepers have increased their presence on the perimeters of PoC sites 1 and 3 [at UN House], and enhanced their patrolling both inside and in the vicinity of the sites. UNMISS is providing medical assistance to injured civilians from the PoC 1 site,” UNMISS said.

According to UNMISS, the mission chief Løj calls on the parties “to cease hostilities, and avoid the mistakes of the past in order for South Sudan to move forward in peace.”

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