sudan glad south sudan.jpg
Photograph: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

Some 26,000 people have reportedly fled a refugee camp in South Sudan after ethnic clashes broke out at the UN facility, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said Friday.

At least 18 people have died and more than 90 have been wounded since the fighting between ethnic Dinka and Shilluk broke out Wednesday in the camp in Malakal, UNHCR spokesman Andreas Needham told reporters in Geneva.

Shots were fired in the camp for people displaced from their homes within South Sudan after the Sudanese army entered on Thursday, he said.

"Humanitarian partners on the ground reported shooting, looting of properties and burning of houses," he said, adding that the fighting had subsided but that there were still some gunshots on Friday morning.

When fighting broke out between displaced Shilluk and Dinka youths in the camp, UN forces immediately intervened, the UN mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) said in a statement.

But men reportedly wearing government army uniforms also fired into the camp, the mission said. "UN troops exchanged fire with them and eventually pushed them outside of the UN compound," according to UNMISS.

Among the 18 fatalities were two staff members of the international medical group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) who were attacked in their shelters, the organization said in a statement.

Three hours of fighting forced about 600 people to seek safety inside the MSF hospital, it added.

The camp that had housed nearly 48,000 people has been heavily damaged. UNHCR has been unable to verify how many people have really fled.

MSF representative Marcus Bachmann demanded that "armed groups stop these actions," while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reminded "all concerned, including government security forces, of the inviolability of the United Nations compounds."

UNMISS said that an attack against the UN may constitute a war crime.

The UN is housing about 200,000 people in six camps in South Sudan, where a military power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than 2.3 million people.

A peace agreement signed in August has stopped most of the fighting between the government and rebels, but militias continue to operate in South Sudan.

Ban's spokesman said "the secretary-general notes with concern the rising inter-communal tensions between the Dinka and Shilluk" and "warns all parties against stoking ethnic disputes."

The South Sudanese conflict has had a strong ethnic component, with massacres reported between Kiir's Dinka and Machar's Nuer ethnic groups.

Related stories

UN chief calls for arms embargo against South Sudan

Clashes kill five at UN camp in South Sudan

Top South Sudan army general resigns, citing ethnic cleansing

South Sudan exodus exceeds 1.5 million as fighting rages

UN: Tens of thousands face hunger in South Sudanese town

Latest news

Bayern round the clock - German champions launch own TV channel

Bayern Munich fans will be able to follow goings on at the Bundesliga record champions in a new way from next week when the club launches its own television channel.

'Weather bomb' hits transport, cuts power to 56,000 homes in Ireland

Storm Doris brought winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour to large areas of Ireland and Britain on Thursday, disrupting transport links and causing power cuts to tens of thousands of homes.

Croatia's registered unemployment rate rises to 15.4% in January

The registered unemployment rate in Croatia rose from 14.8% in December 2016 to 15.4% in January 2017, increasing for the fourth month in a row, the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) said Thursday.

Norway's telecom group Telenor to leave Indian market

Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor said Thursday it was leaving the Indian telecom market and transferring its businesses there to Bharti Airtel.

Iraq claims advance in retaking Mosul airport from Islamic State

Iraqi forces wrested back half of Mosul's airport from Islamic State Thursday, shortly after entering the facility during their ongoing campaign to drive the extremist militia from its last key stronghold in the country.

Rights group: Video shows Cambodian police beating election candidate

A video posted on YouTube shows eight Cambodian paramilitary police beating a man identified as an opposition candidate at a Phnom Penh shopping mall, a rights group said Thursday. 

Malaysia asks Interpol to issue alert for suspects in N Korean death

Malaysia on Thursday requested that Interpol issue an alert for four North Koreans suspected of involvement in last week's killing of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

British suspect arrested in Deutsche Telekom hacking

A 29-year-old British citizen suspected of involvement in a cyberattack that left nearly 1 million Deutsche Telekom customers without services last year has been arrested, German federal police said on Thursday.

Eight killed as bomb targets restaurant in Pakistan’s Lahore

A bomb ripped through a high-end restaurant in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Thursday, killing eight people, officials said, marking another attack amid a surge in violence by Islamist militants that has ended months of fragile calm.

Philippine court orders arrest of top Duterte critic

Senator Leila De Lima, one of the most outspoken critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, was on Thursday ordered arrested on illegal drug charges by a Philippine court.

Hrvatski Telekom reports 2016 net profit of HRK 934 mn

Hrvatski Telekom (HT) generated a net profit of HRK 934 million in 2016, which is 1% more than in 2015, the telecommunications company said on Thursday in a report on its financial results in 2016.

FDI in Croatia totals EUR 1.2 bn in Jan-Sept 2016

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Croatia totalled EUR 1.227 billion in the first nine months of 2016, which is 552 million or 82% more than in the same period in 2015, analysts at Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA) said in a report on Thursday, citing data provided by the Croatian National Bank.