A new report published Monday has blamed civil war and instability for a famine in South Sudan – the first to be declared globally for six years. Some 100,000 people now face starvation, with 4.9 million more in desperate need of food.
This new warning comes as the conflict between government forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels with allegiance to former Vice President Riek Machar has spread to the Kajo Keji region near the Ugandan border.
UN reports of violence, rapes and systematic attacks against civilians have been confirmed by South Sudanese fleeing the war-torn country. The refugee influx streaming into Uganda has numbered an average of 3,657 crossings per day in recent weeks, with a peak of 6,765 new arrivals on Feb. 1, according to the United Nations.
Thousands seek out illegal border crossings, as government forces from the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) charge people the equivalent of $3 to leave the country.
In December, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon warned: "The risk of these mass atrocities, which include recurring episodes of ethnic cleansing, escalating into possible genocide , is all too real."
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