South Sudan: 27,000 People Displaced in Upper Nile Amid Escalating Kitgwang Fighting

Nearly 30,000 people have been displaced by heavy fighting between armed factions in Tonga and neighboring Panyikang County in Upper Nile State, a United Nations agency said Friday.

According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the intensifying military clashes occurred between 14 and 15 August and extended further to Pakwa and Fangak County.

In a press statement on Friday, UN OCHA estimates that 27,000 people were displaced to Agunjuok, an area near Malakal town.

The agency also said some 100 people sought sanctuary at Malakal Protection of Civilian Site, with more people fleeing to locations in Fangak County in Jonglei State.

As of 19 August, clashes in Diel town in Atar Boma in Pigi County, north of New Fangak, triggered further displacements.

Additional people are reportedly moving towards Malakal town due to the volatile security situation in Tonga and Pakwa, said OCHA.

“As of 19 August, clashes are ongoing in Diel town in Atar Boma, Pigi County, north of New Fangak. Civilians, predominantly the elderly, women and children, are fleeing Diel and New Fangak leaving their belongings behind,” said the agency.

There are also allegations that a boat carrying humanitarian supplies to the conflict-torn Tonga went missing, and efforts to reach the boat captain were not successful.

The UN also added in a statement that aid organizations are coordinating with local authorities to verify the number of displaced people and are preparing to respond if the security situation permits.

Kitgwang splinter factions have been engaged in fierce battle in the recent months, following a fallout between commanders General Simon Gatwech and General Johnson Olony.

Chol Mawel