Thousands flee as SSPDF, NAS clash intensify in Yei River State

South Sudanese refugees in DRC-South Sudan border. Photo: UNHCR

Juba, February 12, 2019 (SSNA) — Fighting between the government forces (SSPDF) and the National Salvation Front (NAS) has intensified in Yei River State, sending at least 13,000 South Sudanese refugees to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says.

The refugee agency disclosed that thousands of refugees, many of whom women, elderly, and children arrived on foot last weekend in a village located in the Congolese town of Ingbokolo.

Sources close to the government confirmed that heavy fighting between NAS and SSPDF has been ongoing in Yei River state.

Last month, the South Sudanese government secretly deployed its troops along the South Sudan-DRC border, a move which the NAS interpreted as a tactic to by Juba to prevent civilians to flee. The SSPDF has in the past warned the NAS over its refusal to back the September 2018 peace deal. The NAS says the agreement failed to address the roots cause of the war and that the pact is basically a recipe for more conflicts.

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