Fears are growing of a return to civil war in South Sudan after renewed fighting between forces loyal to the country’s president and vice president.
More than 270 troops and civilians in the capital Juba have been reported killed forcing scores of residents to seek shelter in UN compounds.
The UN has 13,500-strong force in South Sudan. The mission in known as UNMISS.
Over night the UN Security Council met in emergency session. Concerns have been raised following the death of a UN peacekeeper and the fact that UN compounds have come under heavy weapons fire.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called for both leaders to disengage their troops and for South Sudan’s neighbours to help in efforts to restore order.
The fighting first erupted on Thursday, when troops loyal to President Salva Kiir stopped and demanded they be allowed to search vehicles of Vice President Riek Machar loyalists.
Although both men have called for calm there is huge mistrust between them and it is unclear if the leaders can still maintain control over their own forces.
Machar and Kiir have spent months wrangling over details after signing a peace deal last year.
Fighting since 2013 has left swathes of the country of 11 million people struggling to find enough food to eat. It has also disrupted oil production, by far the government’s biggest source of revenues, leaving South Sudan mired in poverty.