Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has welcomed the news that a ceasefire in South Sudan, which comes after four days of heavy fighting, appears to be holding.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Intense fighting broke out in South Sudan’s capital Juba on Thursday and it has resulted in 270 deaths, with many more injured, and thousands being forced to flee their homes.

“This latest outbreak of violence risks dragging South Sudan into a civil war but I particularly welcome the news that President Salva Kiir and his rival, Vice-President Riek Machar, have called for a ceasefire and this appears to be gaining momentum.

“The attacks on civilians, as well the attacks on UN and humanitarian personnel, are an extremely worrying development. Heavy-weapons fire also hit the maternity wing of an International Medical Corps hospital.

“While I welcome this ceasefire I am appealing to all sides to step back from brink of outright war and to ensure that a fair and inclusive peace is brokered, with the help of the international community.

“I’m also aware and conscious of the fact that Irish citizens working for humanitarian organisations are based in South Sudan, and that many of them have been under lockdown for their own safety in the UN compound in Juba.

“I have been informed that the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has been in regular contact with all Irish citizens in South Sudan and that they are providing the necessary consular services. I want to broadly welcome this and the news that all the Irish based there are safe and well.”