A U.N. peacekeeping base in South Sudan was attacked Friday by a mob of angry youths. Fifty-eight people were killed and about 100 others were injured at the base where an ethnic minority had sought shelter.
According The Associated Press, the attack happened in Bor in Jonglei state on Thursday where ethnic Nuers fled after fighting broke out in the country in mid-December.
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The U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement, said most of the 58 people killed were Nuer but there were also casualties on the other side.
South Sudan saw massive violence sweep the country in December, when fighting broke out between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and those loyal to former vice president Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer who was fired last July by Kiir. Thousands of people are believed to have been killed, and more than 1 million have fled their homes.
Since December, Bor has changed hands four times between South Sudan's military and rebels loyal to Machar.
In Thursday's attack, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said "the assailants, a mob of armed civilians, came to the base under the guise of peaceful demonstrators intending to present a petition ... The armed mob forced entry on to the site and opened fire on the internally displaced persons sheltering inside the base."
The U.N. official said a surgical team from Doctors Without Borders flew into Bor to help treat those injured in Thursday's attack. The United Nations has also reinforced security at Bor, the official said.
The U.N. mission in South Sudan and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the "unprovoked attack."
The mission called for a full investigation into the "heinous murders."
Ban stressed that any attack on U.N. peacekeepers "constitutes a war crime," Dujarric said Thursday.
The secretary-general warned Wednesday that up to 1 million people face potential famine-level hunger because of the fighting.
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