The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reported heavy gunfire and mortar shelling in the country's Upper Nile State at a time when the South Sudanese government and opposition will enter into new round of negotiations on Thursday, a UN spokesman said here Tuesday.
UNMISS is observing the talks at the extraordinary session of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Assembly of Heads of State and Government which opened in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, on Tuesday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.
"The next round of negotiations between the government and the opposition is scheduled to begin on Thursday," Dujarric said.
"Meanwhile, in Upper Nile State, the Mission reports heavy gunfire and mortar shelling from the direction of Jazeera Islands on Monday," he said. "In Unity State, the Mission says that some State officials have been using Radio Bentiu to deliver hostile messages to the local community."
"UNMISS strongly condemns the use of Radio Bentiu for this purpose which is creating more divisions and undermining efforts to stabilize the situation in South Sudan," he said.
In early May, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar met in Addis Ababa for the first time since mass violence began in December.
The conflict in the world's newest state has left thousands dead and more than one million homeless.
The UN has accused both sides of crimes against humanity, including mass killings, sexual slavery and gang-rape.
An estimated 5 million people are in need of aid, the UN says.
A cessation of hostilities deal was signed by both sides in January but failed to bring an end to the violence.