Gunmen killed at least 20 people and wounded 70 others when they stormed a UN base in South Sudan on Thursday, the US envoy to the world body said.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power strongly condemned the “brazen, inhuman attack on unarmed civilians” in the war-ravaged town of Bor.
The UN had previously said dozens of civilians from a rival tribe had been wounded in the “unprovoked” attack before peacekeepers fought them off.
Almost 5,000 civilians are sheltering inside the fortified base of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), one of the most bitterly contested regions in the conflict splitting the country.
“The United States strongly condemns the recent attacks by armed groups in South Sudan that have purposefully targeted civilians as well as UN Mission in South Sudan sites and personnel,” Power said.
She called the latest attack “particularly egregious,” adding that the heavily armed group of attackers used rocket-propelled grenades to breach the compound and fire on the internally displaced people there.
“This latest outrage against the people of South Sudan is an affront to the international community and violates fundamental principles of civilian protection,” Power said, adding that UNMISS sites should be considered “inviolable.”
The US will collaborate with its allies to determine who is responsible for the “horrific attack” and bring its perpetrators to justice, she said.
Power also urged countries that have committed additional forces to UNMISS to speed up their deployment.
“The people of South Sudan deserve the opportunity to begin rebuilding their country, and to develop the national and local institutions they need to put South Sudan back on a path toward stability and democracy,” she added.