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South Sudan weekend road ambush leaves 21 dead

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Peacekeeper troops from Ethiopia deployed by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), patrol on foot outside the premises of the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Juba, South Sudan / AFP PHOTO / ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN

Peacekeeper troops from Ethiopia deployed by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), patrol on foot outside the premises of the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Juba, South Sudan / AFP PHOTO / ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN

A road ambush blamed on South Sudanese rebels left 21 people dead over the weekend, police said Monday, as the UN warned of a surge of violence in the world’s youngest nation.

Police spokesman Dominant Kawcgwok said a group of mostly women and children — fleeing violence further north — were travelling in a lorry between the capital Juba and the southern city of Yei when it “fell into ambush”.

“We lost something like 21 people,” and another 20 were wounded, he said.

The government has blamed the attack on rebel forces supporting former vice president Riek Machar, who fled to Khartoum after fighting broke out in Juba in July.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said in a statement it had received “deeply disturbing reports of horrific violence” against civilians in Yei.

UNMISS “is extremely concerned by the continuing deterioration of the security situation in Yei, Central Equatoria, where the Mission continues to be denied access,” read the statement.

In another incident on Monday, three passenger buses travelling between Juba and the Ugandan capital Kampala were attacked by unknown gunmen, Kawcgwok said. He said the attackers torched one of the buses, but that none of the passengers were harmed.


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