July 26, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government has announced an expected high-level visit by key members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The visit comes more than seven months after violence erupted in the capital, Juba, following a political split in the ruling SPLM, which quickly spread throughout the country, reigniting tribal tensions.
The exact date and circumstances of the visit remain unclear, although the spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs, Mawien Makol, said it would take place in September.
“They (the UNSC) will come in September and will be stay for two days. They will visit areas affected by the conflict and the areas which have not been affected by the conflict. They will visit both places so that they get to know for themselves what actually took place from the first-hand information,” Makol told Sudan Tribune on Saturday, adding that the delegation are also expected to meet with representatives of civil society organisations and other groups.
If it goes ahead, the visit will be the first of its kind since the eruption of violence in mid-December last year, which initially broke out within the ranks of the presidential guard forces.
The fighting has pitted government troops loyal to president Salva Kiir against rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar.
The conflict has thousands of innocent civilians, predominantly women and children, to seek refuge inside UN camps in South Sudan. Millions of others have also fled to neighbouring foreign countries in search of security and safety, while an estimated 100,000 lives have been lost.
The fighting has severely disrupted agricultural activities and caused widespread destruction to public property, most of which has been damaged beyond repair, rendering schools, health centres and other key infrastructure unable to function.
A January ceasefire deal and ongoing peace talks between the warring parties have so far failed to halt the violence on the ground.
There has been renewed fighting between rebels and government forces in Upper Nile’s Nasir town since last week, with both sides claiming to be in control. The government has warned it would launch a counter-offensive against rebel positions.