The UN Security Council has approved a major escalation of the UN military operation in South Sudan today, bringing the overall size of the UN force to 12,500 troops and 1,323 “police.”
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was quick to downplay the prospect of the extra troops accomplishing much in the ongoing civil war, however, saying that there is “no military solution to this conflict.”
The top UN humanitarian official in the nation, Toby Lanzer, says that the initial estimates of 500 dead in the fighting are much too low, and that he has “absolutely no doubt” that the deaths are well into the thousands.
The fighting in South Sudan started with a failed military coup last week by fighters loyal to the country’s former vice president. The fighting is split largely along ethnic lines, between the Dinka president and the Nuer tribe the vice president belongs to.