Heavy fighting in South Sudan, refugees flee

South Sudanese President Kiir speaks during a news conference with his Sudanese counterpart al-Bashir at Khartoum Airport

President Salva Kiir of South Sudan

17 April 2014, News Wires – Heavy fighting near numerous South Sudanese towns and refugee camps displaced hundreds of civilians, many for the second time, aid organisation, World Vision, said on Thursday.

The country’s second city, Malakal, had been completely razed and plundered, according to World Vision staff member, Katharina Witkowski.

“Malakal is a ghost town today. People were shot in their hospital beds, and you see human skeletons lying all over the town,’’ said Witkowski.

The start of the rainy season in about two weeks’ time could cause flooding and an outbreak of water-borne diseases, World Vision warned, especially since many refugee camps were now overcrowded.

Earlier this week, the UN said South Sudan was at risk of famine.

An armed conflict in the world’s youngest nation had left thousands dead and displaced more than 700,000 people since a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, turned violent in mid-December.

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