UN raises death toll in South Sudan camp

Saturday March 5 2016

South Sudanese civilians flee fighting in Malakal on February 18, 2016, where gunmen opened fire on civilians sheltering inside a United Nations base. At least 25 people were killed and 120 wounded when gunmen in army uniforms attacked then torched the camp, the UN said on Friday. PHOTO | JUSTIN LYNCH |

South Sudanese civilians flee fighting in Malakal on February 18, 2016, where gunmen opened fire on civilians sheltering inside a United Nations base. At least 25 people were killed and 120 wounded when gunmen in army uniforms attacked then torched the camp, the UN said on Friday. PHOTO | JUSTIN LYNCH | AFP

By AFP
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JUBA, Friday

At least 25 people were killed and 120 wounded when gunmen in army uniforms attacked then torched a camp that was sheltering civilians in South Sudan last month, the UN said on Friday.

The updated toll comes two weeks after the two-day gun battle inside the camp in the northeastern town of Malakal, with a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)detailing failure of peacekeepers to protect civilians sheltering at the base.

More than 47,000 people lived in the camp, after fleeing for safety from a civil war that broke out in December 2013. The UN has said the attack was a possible war crime.

“Reports of troops in government army uniforms storming the camp and firing on civilians are credible”, OCHA said, contradicting initial UN claims that the fighting was between tribal youths.

“About 3,700 families shelters were destroyed or damaged during the fighting and fires, along with multiple humanitarian facilities, including clinics, water tankers, nutrition centres and schools,” OCHA reported.

UPDATED FIGURES

Residents say 46 people were killed in the February 17-18 attack, while the UN has now updated to 25 an earlier toll of 18.

Those killed included three aid workers, two of them South Sudanese health workers for medical charity Medicins Sans Frontiers.

One was murdered as he administered care, MSF said.

“Others who tried to put out fires or help the wounded were deliberately shot,” said MSF, which treated 46 people for bullet wounds.

Residents say some were burnt to death in the deliberate fires that razed sections of the camp, where civilians lived in segregated ethnic plots to dampen tribal tensions.