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Middle East

'Celebrating' S. Sudan troops fire on UN base, wound child

U.N. peace keepers secure a section of the airport as members of the United Nations Security Council arrive in the South Sudanese capital, Juba August 12, 2014. (AFP Photo/Samir Bol)

JUBA: South Sudanese soldiers opened fire on a U.N. peacekeeping base sheltering 40,000 civilians, wounding a child and spraying bullets across the camp, the United Nations said Tuesday.

Troops "were firing in the air in celebration of war veterans' day," the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan said in a statement.

"All indications are that the firing into the air was done in the direction of the UNMISS Bentiu base."

The "sustained gunfire" lasted for 30 minutes Monday, with nine bullets smashing into U.N. office and housing blocks.

More than 40,000 civilians are crammed into the camp in the capital of the northern oil state of Unity.

Like almost 100,000 civilians in U.N. camps across South Sudan, the people fled to the Bentiu base in December to escape killings and massacres, and are now too fearful to return home with over eight months of civil war still raging.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than 1.5 million have fled civil war sparked by a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar.

The United Nations has said the food crisis is the "worst in the world," with aid workers warning of famine within weeks if the conflict continues.

 

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