"Demonstrate leadership" South Sudan's politicians urged

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Civilians seeking refuge in the UN compound in the city of Wau, South Sudan. UN Photo

Amidst renewed fighting that news reports indicate has led to at least 150 deaths, the UN Security Council has urged South Sudan's government to "demonstrate leadership" and get back on course to deliver "lasting peace".

The world's youngest country marked its fifth anniversary of independence at the weekend, while violent clashes took place between government and opposition soldiers across the capital, Juba.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “shocked and appalled” by the heavy fighting and said in a statement that UN compounds and protection of civilians sites had also been “caught in the crossfire”.

He said he was “deeply frustrated” by the renewed fighting.

Matthew Wells has more.

The Council statement "strongly condemned" the fighting between soldiers of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, or SPLA and the so-called SPLA in Opposition; or in other words, the forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to the recently re-installed Vice-President, Riek Machar.

The violence continued through the weekend according to news reports, despite a statement made by the two leaders, appealing for calm.

The President and his deputy signed a peace agreement nearly a year ago, after several years of bloody civil war, but the so-called Transitional Government of National Unity only came into effect in April.

The Council statement expressed "deep concern over the parties' lack of serious commitment to implementation of the Agreement" and warned that if fighting escalated then "additional measures" would be taken in line with Security Council resolutions.

The statement "stressed the importance" of military forces being "held accountable for their actions and emphasized the importance of command and control".

Members of the Council urged government members to investigate the attacks, "take steps to end the fighting" and reduce tensions between rival factions.

The Council called for all parties to allow the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to continue delivering vital humanitarian aid, support and protection to civilians caught up in the fighting.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'11"

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