UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer, on Thursday sounded the alarm over the lack of information on the situation of some 20,000 internally displaced people on the west bank of the Nile in the northern of the world's youngest country, a UN spokesman told reporters here.
The UN mission believes that the 20,000 people have fled Wau Shilluk to Kodok, the deputy UN spokesman, Farhan Haq, said at a daily news briefing here. "Fighting between government and opposition forces has expanded geographically across the west bank over the past week and shows no signs of abating, forcing more people to flee their homes."
Also on Thursday, UN peacekeepers attempted to carry out a foot patrol to Wau Shilluk but were prevented from doing so by government soldiers, which Shearer has described as "very frustrating," Haq said. "He said the UN wants to find out what has happened to those people and provide them with assistance, if needed."
Shearer, also described the lack of the relevant information as a "real problem" as he was making his first field trip to the town of Malakal after taking up his position as the mission chief four weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the statement issued by the UN mission noted that UNMISS has described government relocations by air of internally displaced people through Juba into Malakal as unsustainable if they are not also supported with humanitarian assistance on arrival.
The Shilluk population of Malakal has abandoned the town and 33,000 people are currently taking refuge in the camp administered by UNMISS.