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JUBA, Sudan - More than 800 people have died in south Sudan violence since January and almost 94,000 people fled

'You have to be worried'

UN: 94,000 people fled their homes following violent internal clashes among groups in south Sudan.

 

 

 their homes, posing a major challenge for the fledgling state, the top UN aid official for the region warned on Wednesday.

The nation in waiting has seen an upsurge in bloody clashes since January's largely peaceful referendum, in which southerners voted almost unanimously to split with the north.

The number of people displaced by violence has doubled in the past month to 93,780 people, according to figures released by Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Sudan.

"In the last month, if you have seen a doubling of the number of the people who are displaced, you have to be worried -- and we are," Grande told reporters in the southern regional capital Juba.

There have been clashes between rebel groups and the southern army, and between rival ethnic groups over resources such as land and cattle, as well as sporadic attacks by rebels of the originally Ugandan-based Lord's Resistance Army, which has moved much of its operations into the south.

"We're worried that, with at least seven militias out there, with inter-communal (violence) continuing, and the LRA out in Western Equatoria, this is not a good picture," Grande said.

"If security continues to deteriorate as we have seen recently, then we are going to have to expect that we will see more and more people who will need emergency aid," she said.

The grim figures announced on Wednesday compare badly with 2010, when some 980 people were killed and 215,000 displaced during the whole year, according to UN figures.

Analysts have warned that security will pose a major challenge for the Juba authorities in the run-up to international recognition in July.

But Grande said she was still optimistic the fledgling state could pull together for its formal independence.

"The euphoria of being free, of being born into a new state, having your own republic, I think this will be a tremendously unifying time," the UN official said.

"What we hope is that spirit of unification carries forward, so we can get on with the business of... standing up a strong, transparent democratic state."

 

 

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