Fighting Continues Near Major South Sudan Oilfield, U.N. Asks For Halt

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Four people were killed when two mortar bombs hit a U.N. compound and a site housing civilians in the town of Melut near South Sudan’s Paloch oilfields, and a state official said fighting between troops and rebels stretched into Wednesday. Reuters reports:

Forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with former vice president Riek Machar have been fighting for nearly 18 months in the world’s newest state, which seceded from Sudan in 2011. Ceasefires have been agreed but broken. On Tuesday, the rebel SPLA-in-Opposition told oil firms to shut down and evacuate workers from the Paloch oilfields and said its fighters had captured the area of a refinery under construction in Melut.

The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said four civilians were killed and eight others wounded in fighting on Tuesday when two mortar bombs landed in the UNMISS compound in Melut and a complex housing civilians there.

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Ban had urged investigations into the deaths and other incidents attributed to both warring sides in recent fighting including the burning of villages, and killing and rape of civilians. “The Secretary-General calls upon President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar to immediately cease all military operations and reminds them of their obligations to protect civilians,” the spokesman said in a statement.

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