The U.N. has about 7,000 peacekeepers and international police in the world’s newest nation. One diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to disclose the information to the media, said he expects the secretary-general to request 5,000 additional troops.
Ban said the situation in South Sudan “is of mounting urgency,” with tens of thousands of people displaced and about 45,000 seeking protection at U.N. bases.
In a message to the Sudanese people, the secretary-general said: “The United Nations will stay with you. We will do our utmost to protect you, to provide the humanitarian assistance you need, and most of all to help the country regain the path to peace.”
Bor is the city where rebel forces fired on three U.S. military aircraft Saturday, forcing the Ospreys — advanced helicopter-airplane hybrids — to abort their evacuation mission. On Sunday, the U.S. evacuated Americans by civilian U.S. and U.N. helicopters.
The U.S. over the past week has evacuated 380 Americans and 300 others from South Sudan, which has seen vicious, ethnically targeted violence pulse through the nation.
Lanzer, who spent the weekend in Bor, said the city is experiencing tense, sporadic clashes and “fairly consistent gunfire and heavy machine gunfire.”
South Sudan forces are advancing toward Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, but have not yet confronted forces that defected and pledged allegiance to the former vice president, South Sudan military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said.
The violence began late on Dec. 15. South Sudan President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, has said an attempted military coup triggered the violence, and the blame was placed on former Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer. Other officials have since said a fight between Dinka and Nuer presidential guards triggered the fighting.
New fighting was reported Sunday night in Upper Nile, one of South Sudan’s two oil-rich states. Warrior Security, a private company, reported on Monday the deaths of 20 people in Nasir County in a dispute involving Machar supporters. Doctors Without Borders said it received 24 gunshot victims at its medical facility.
The U.S. over the weekend deployed about 46 troops to help evacuate American citizens. That was in addition to 45 troops sent to the capital, Juba, last week to protect the U.S. Embassy. Four U.S. troops were wounded in the evacuation attempt Saturday.