South Sudanese security forces are deliberately preventing some people from leaving the country in the wake of the latest flare of violence, Amnesty International says.
The rights group says it has received reports from two charter companies that National Security Service officers have ordered them not to carry South Sudanese citizens, particularly men.
“This arbitrary conduct by the South Sudanese security forces is totally unacceptable. South Sudan must respect people’s right to freedom of movement, including the right to leave their own country,” said Elizabeth Deng, Amnesty International’s South Sudan Researcher.
“It is absolutely critical that both parties to the conflict do not obstruct safe passage of civilians fleeing to places of refuge both inside and outside of the country.”
Close to 300 people were killed and around 40,000 displaced by the five-day gun battle between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to the first vice president Riek Machar.
The two leaders declared a ceasefire on Monday.
Machar left the capital with his troops to the outskirts, but said he is not planning for war.
President Kiir has reached out to him to return to the capital in order to engage in talks to see the ceasefire hold.
Kiir also said he will not allow any more foreign troops into the country, saying that would deteriorate the situation further.