The United Nations said a peacekeeping base in South Sudan came under attack Thursday, potentially raising the stakes in a conflict that already threatens to destabilize the entire country.
Deputy U.N. Seretary-Gernal Jan Eliasson said there were casualties at the base in the restive Jonglei state, but did not have more details, Reuters reports. A spokesperson told Reuters the U.N. will send 60 troops to reinforce the base on Friday after receiving reports that fighters forced their way into the temporary operating base in Akobo.
Clashes between rival groups split along tribal lines entered their fifth day on Thursday, with as many as 500 dead. The government said Wednesday that it had lost control of Bor, the capital of oil-rich Jonglei, and ethnic fighting continued across the state.
The U.N., which has roughly 8,000 peacekeepers in South Sudan, according to Reuters, has said it has given about 20,000 people shelter within U.N. compounds. The U.N. spokesperson, Farhan Haq, said the Akobo base was sheltering 32 civilians as of Wednesday night.