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South Sudan closes universities amid security concerns

January 15, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudan has temporarily suspended university studies due to ongoing conflict in the country.

Lecturers were informed through an administrative circular issued by the higher education council.

“The higher education council sent an administrative circular informing all stakeholders that the government, given the current situation in the country, [has] decided to suspend regular classes at universities until this situation improves”, Daniel Opio Akau, acting director of the Catholic University in Western Bahr el Ghazal capital Wau, said on Wednesday.

The decision followed an emergency meeting in the capital, Juba, recently between the government and the top management of South Sudan’s various public and private universities.

Akau said the move was an important step in ensuring the safety of university students, lecturers and support staff.

The decision is expected to affect all universities across the country.

On our side as the private entity, the decision to close down was reached at the university administration meeting held recently in Juba under the leadership of university vice-chancellor, Mathew Pagan. The administration agreed and decided to close down activities so that it could monitor the current political and security situation in the country”, Akau said.

Violence erupted in Juba on 15 December after clashes between rival factions of the presidential guards. Insecurity has spread throughout the country, displacing more than 200,000 people, according to UN estimates.

Peace talks aimed at ending the conflict are currently underway in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

(ST)