South Sudan conflict has killed 50,000, says UN

South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar signing the peace accord in Addis Ababa, in August last year

South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar signing the peace accord in Addis Ababa, in August last year

About 50,000 people have died in the two-year civil war in South Sudan, an unidentified senior official at the United Nations has said.

The figure is far higher than that previously reported by various humanitarian agencies operating in Africa’s youngest nation.

Another high ranking UN official, Herve Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations echoed the anonymous official’s concerns saying the number of victims in South Sudan is in the “Tens of thousands” and that “we’ve lost count.”

Mr. Ladsous took aim at the warring parties for “dragging their feet” in implementing the 2015 peace accord and end the catastrophic turmoil that has displaced more than two million people.

“We still don’t have a government of transition and the economic and humanitarian situation is catastrophic and continues to deteriorate,” he added.

The conflict in South Sudan broke out in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir fell out with his Vice President Reik Machar. Machar subsequently resigned his position and formed a rebel group fighting the government,

Following months of intense fighting and multiple attempts to sign a peace agreement, the pair finally agreed to a peace deal in August 2015 but President Kiir has been accused of impeding its implementation by controversially creating 28 states, a move that has angered the opposition, rebels and the international community.

Both the government and the rebels in South Sudan have been accused of gross human rights violations including rampant rapes and executions. The UN has sanction top army commanders from both sides.