Nicholas Haysom, the UN secretary-general’s special representative in South Sudan, called on the authorities to urgently launch an investigation and hold perpetrators to account.
"This violence is unacceptable and was in sharp contrast to the message of the Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to South Sudan, which called for peace and reconciliation," Haysom said in a statement issued in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
He said at least 2,000 people, mainly women and children, have become internally displaced, including 30 unaccompanied children.
The UN expressed concern about the resurgence of killings and violence stemming from long-standing tensions between cattle-keepers and host communities in Central Equatoria State and in other parts of the country.
Over the past two weeks, the UNMISS said, escalating violence has resulted in at least 45 deaths among unarmed civilians in Kajo-Keji and Mangalla Payam, among other areas in Central Equatoria.
Haysom urged South Sudanese leaders to encourage restraint and avoid fueling any conflict, noting that the UNMISS is increasing patrols to the affected areas, and engaging the authorities as well as community leaders, to end these hostilities and seek peaceful solutions.
The UNMISS said it welcomes the government’s deployment of troops to the area to ease tensions and protect internally displaced persons