UN envoy calls for peace in New Year's message for South SudanListen /
The senior UN official in South Sudan is calling on the country's people to work for peace in the wake of political turmoil and violence which has killed upwards of 1,000 people since mid-December.
In a New Year's Day message, Hilde Johnson, head of the UN mission in the country (UNMISS), called the escalation of violence a tragedy, adding that the perpetrators must be held accountable.
"The escalation of violence is a tragedy. What started as a political struggle took a violent turn and has since spilled over into the communities. Some elements have exploited this fragile situation, pitting members of one community against the other. Terrible acts of violence have been perpetrated. The perpetrators have to be held accountable."
Talks between representatives of the government of South Sudan President Salva Kiir and deputy leader Riek Machar opened on Thursday in Ethiopia.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.