JUBA - Fighting between South Sudan's army, rebels and rival tribes has sent thousands of people fleeing into the bush in the east of the country, UN and aid officials said on Sunday.
South Sudan's army is facing a rebellion from local politician David Yau Yau in the vast Jonglei state, and new clashes have broken out between rival Lou Nuer and Murle tribes.
Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full civil war, undermining stability in the young African country, which is awash with arms after decades of conflict with Khartoum that led to its secession from Sudan in 2011.
The United Nations said thousands of people were hiding in the bush outside Pibor town in Jonglei to escape from conflict between the army and Yau Yau, who says he is fighting corruption, army abuses and one-party rule in South Sudan.
"The communities are in urgent need of medical attention," Toby Lanzer, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, said in a statement.