[QODLink]
Africa

South Sudan on brink of famine: UN chief

Ban Ki-Moon says up to one million will starve unless there is immediate action, as rebels announce gains in oil areas.

Last updated: 17 Apr 2014 03:44
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

The UN has given warning that up to a million people could face famine in conflict-torn South Sudan unless there is immediate action, with rebels taking control of oil rich areas and threatening the capital, Juba.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said on Wednesday that "life and death'' issues were facing the world's newest nation: "fighting, malnutrition and dire humanitarian conditions". 

He said "millions are going hungry today'' and the UN was seeing extremely high levels of malnutrition among hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the conflict, especially women and children.

South Sudan has been swept by violence since December, when fighting broke out between troops loyal to the president, Salva Kiir, and his former deputy Riek Machar.

Rebels on Wednesday said they had seized the capital of oil-producing Unity state, Bentiu, and have warned oil firms to pack up and leave within a week.

"The recapturing of Bentiu marks the first phase of liberation of oil fields from [the] anti-democratic and genocidal forces of Kiir," Lul Ruai Koang, a rebel spokesman, said in a statement quoted by the Reuters news agency.

Machar said on Monday that his forces would move on the capital, Juba, to remove Kiir, whom he described as "the dictator".

Thousands are believed to have been killed, and more than one million people have fled their homes in the fighting.

A ceasefire signed in January has been broken frequently and peace talks in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa have stalled often.

The US, the UK, the EU and Norway have threatened measures against the country's rival sides.

Last month, the US president, Barack Obama, authorised possible targeted sanctions against those committing human rights abuses or undermining democracy and obstructing the peace process.

281

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.