Washington: The United States has strongly condemned the attack on a UN base in South Sudan by a mob of armed civilians in which 15 people were killed.
The assailants yesterday attacked the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Bor in Jonglei state where some 5,000 ethnic Nuers have sought safety since fighting in South Sudan broke out in mid-December.
"We reiterate our call upon the Government of South Sudan to end the violence and to fulfil its primary responsibility to maintain law and order and provide full support for the UNMISS mission to protect civilians," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said.
She said the US condemns recent attacks and counter-attacks in the town of Bentiu by anti-government and pro-government forces in violation of the January 23 Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) agreement.
The deliberate targeting of civilians during these attacks is unacceptable and those responsible for such acts must be held accountable, she added.
Harf said these incidents underscored yet again the need for the government and opposition forces to stop fighting and cooperate with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM).
"We look forward to the MVM report on the incident in Bentiu. We call on both sides of the conflict to honour the CoH agreement signed on January 23, end all military actions, halt all attacks directed at civilians, and enter into an inclusive, political dialogue aimed at ensuring peace, justice, security and economic stability for the people of South Sudan," Harf said.
In a separate statement, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the latest outrage against the people of South Sudan is an affront to the international community and violates fundamental principles of civilian protection.
The United States will work with its international partners to bring the perpetrators of this horrific attack to justice, she said.
"The people of South Sudan deserve the opportunity to begin rebuilding their country, and to develop the national and local institutions they need to put South Sudan back on a path toward stability and democracy," Power said.
"But that process can only begin in earnest when all parties to the conflict adhere to the January 23 Cessation of Hostilities agreement, lay down their weapons, and engage constructively in inclusive political negotiations led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development," she said.