Inter-communal violence in the northern Jonglei state of South Sudan has left hundreds of people wounded and villages looted following the outbreak of clashes in mid-February, a global charity said on Wednesday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it has evacuated dozens of injured people for surgical care and called on those engaged in the clashes to respect human life and the principles of humanity. “It is the first time we are forced to mobilize all three surgical units we run in the country for one series of related incidents,” Katja Lorenz, ICRC’s deputy head of delegation in South Sudan said in a statement issued in Juba on Wednesday. The charity treated nearly 70 people suffering from gunshot wounds over the past two weeks, as fighting broke out between thousands of armed men in several parts of Jonglei State.”We have received hundreds of requests for medical evacuations and we are struggling to meet the needs,” Lorenz disclosed.

ICRC noted that the latest violence also forced hundreds of families to flee their homes in various parts of Jonglei State. It observed that these clashes come as a new unity government was formed, an important milestone in the country’s peace process. ICRC said that violence between communities, driven by competition over resources and fueled by easy access to guns, continues. It also disclosed that other parts of the country are also affected by high levels of violence. Between November 2019 and February 2020, clashes between different communities close to Rumbek in central South Sudan killed more than 250 people and injured over 300, it said.

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