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'Thousands' killed as South Sudan slides towards civil war

Published on Dec 25, 2013 9:14 AM
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United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) personnel guard South Sudanese people displaced by recent fighting in Jabel, on the outskirts of capital Juba on Dec 23, 2013. Thousands of South Sudanese have been killed in over a week of violence with reports of bodies piled in mass graves, the United Nations (UN) said on Tuesday, as the Security Council agreed to nearly double its peacekeepers in the young nation threatening to slide into civil war. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

JUBA (AFP) - Thousands of South Sudanese have been killed in over a week of violence with reports of bodies piled in mass graves, the United Nations (UN) said on Tuesday, as the Security Council agreed to nearly double its peacekeepers in the young nation threatening to slide into civil war.

The top UN humanitarian chief in the country Toby Lanzer said Tuesday there was "absolutely no doubt in my mind that we're into the thousands" of dead, the first clear indication of the scale of the conflict engulfing South Sudan, which won independence from Sudan to much fanfare just two years ago.

However, the government also celebrated on Tuesday the important and strategic recapture of the key town of Bor after a nearly week-long rebel occupation, although large areas of the country remain out of their control.

Earlier, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said a mass grave had been found in the rebel-held town of Bentiu, while there were "reportedly at least two other mass graves" in the capital Juba.

 
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