UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The clashes between government and opposition forces continued in Equatorias region and other parts of South Sudan over the weekend, a UN spokesman said Monday, citing the UN mission in the country.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan, or UNMISS, is "deeply concerned" by the clashes between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and oppositions in the Equatorias and other areas of South Sudan, including Nassir in the Upper Nile area, Farhan Haq told a regular briefing.
"The UNMISS mission calls on all parties to return to their bases and allow the movement of humanitarian aid to affected areas," said Haq, adding that tensions persist in the capital city of Juba.
The mission also said that since the flare-up in tensions over the past weeks, there have been reports of "widespread sexual violence," including rape and gang rape, of women and young girls, by soldiers in uniform and also by unidentified armed groups of men in plainclothes.
"These incidents have been reported from a number of locations, including areas in the vicinity of the Protection of Civilians sites near UN House, and also in other neighborhoods of Juba," UNMISS said in a statement.
The mission said that it is now protecting some 200,000 civilians in various locations throughout the country and has intensified patrols in and around the protection sites, as well as in the wider Juba city area since the start of the fighting which erupted in Juba early July.
South Sudan won independence on July 9, 2011 from Sudan after more than two decades of war that ended in a bitter divorce.
The country again plunged into conflict in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup, which led to a cycle of retaliatory killings.