Fighting broke out between SPLA forces and a rebel group in Kajo Keji county of South Sudan’s Central Equatoria state over the weekend.
The Saturday incident, according to a church leader, resulted in the death of three civilians.
Anglican Rt. Rev. Anthony Poggo is quoted by Radio Tamazuj saying gunfire erupted a few metres from the market in Kansuk, Nyepo Payam while traders and civilians were busy buying and selling goods.
Poggo said the shooting forced people to scatter and at least one military pick-up was burned.
The clashes displaced about 1500 people who sought shelter in schools and churches, including hundreds of unaccompanied children.
“Our appeal as a Church is to urge our government and those in opposition to restrain from military action during to give peace a chance,” Poggo said.
“We are also appealing to humanitarian organisations, the Red Cross, the UN agencies to quickly move in to give the humanitarian assistance needed especially for the children and the elderly.”
Poggo said the displaced in schools need to be relocated so classes can resume.
He also called for deliveries of tents, blankets, medicine, food, and water.
Sudan Tribune reported that the rebels are allied to First Vice President, Riek Machar and that 21 soldiers were killed while a dozen others were wounded on both sides.
“SPLA and SPLA-IO forces clashed on Saturday. The fighting occurred in Kansuk payam of Keji Keji County. Our forces were attacked in the area by the SPLA forces,” a senior military officer of the SPLA-IO told Tribune.
He blamed the forces loyal to President Kiir for allegedly attacking their military base around Keji Keji in Kansuk area.
“We managed to chase them [SPLA forces] back into Keji Keji town,” he said.
He further claimed that at least 20 soldiers from the rival SPLA forces were killed; one tank and a number of military vehicles were either destroyed or captured.