Thousands fled South Sudan daily in October, UNHCR says

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Thousands of people fled South Sudan in October on a daily basis due to the violence that has riddled the country, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday.

The UNHCR figures show that an average of 3,500 South Sudanese fled to Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan every day in October.

Of the people that were fleeing the country, nine out of ten were women and children, the refugee agency said.

“In these countries, UNHCR, national authorities and other humanitarian actors are racing to create safe and humane conditions for new arrivals. Nine out of every ten are women and children,” the UNHCR said.

Renewed fighting erupted in the capital, Juba, in July as forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to former first vice president Riek Machar engaged in a five-day intense gun-fight.

“Most of the arrivals are from the Equatoria regions of South Sudan. They report armed groups harassing civilians, killings and torture of people suspected of supporting opposing factions, burning of villages, sexual assaults of women and girls and forced recruitment of young men and boys,” the UNHCR said.

Tens of thousands have died and more than 2.2 million have been displaced since civil war broke out between supporters of Kiir and Machar in December 2013.

Despite the signing of a peace deal last year, the country has continued to face violence, and there are fears of a possible return to civil war by the world’s youngest nation.

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