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South Sudan Says More Civilians Displaced by Aerial Bombardment

A policeman walks past the smouldering remains of a market in Rubkona near Bentiu in South Sudan, April 23, 2012.

The government of South Sudan said thousands of people are packing up their belongings and leaving their homes after weeks of intense fighting and aerial bombardments from Sudanese forces along the border. South Sudan Deputy Minister for Humanitarian and Disaster Management Sabrina Dario said this week's bombings in Unity State killed four people and severely injured at least four others.

She said scores of people are already displaced from the counties of Bentiu, Mayom, and Abiemnhom.

“Residents of Bentiu town are said to be moving to South of town to a safer place away from the areas of conflict such as Mayendit, Leer, Koch and Guit counties," she said.

Dario decried the violence on the border and said the number of the people affected is increasing.

Even before this latest flare-up, many areas near the border were overwhelmed with Internally Displaced Persons and refugees. Officials said Unity and Upper Nile States already have over 113,000 refugees. Dario said people who have camped out in the area since 2010 need basic assistance such as food and water.

“Over 110,000 people in Agok who were displaced from Abyei still need regular assistance. 140, 000 people affected by the conflict in Jonglei may still need assistance for some time,” she said.

Austerity measures put in place after the government shut down its oil pipeline in an oil revenue-sharing dispute with Sudan has severely curtailed South Sudan's humanitarian budget.

“Everything is on hold. No transportation, no loading of IDPS’ luggage, nothing is going on at the moment," Dario said.

International aid workers are trying to help the thousands of displaced South Sudanese but it is dangerous work. Recently the U.N. compound was bombed in Rubkona.