JUBA, South Sudan — The United Nations says it has closed the first of seven protection camps that have sheltered more than 200,000 civilians during South Sudan’s civil war.

More than 560 people are being voluntarily relocated from the camp in Melut in Upper Nile State, with some moving to another camp in Malakal.

The unprecedented move by the U.N. to open its doors to civilians has been controversial since the conflict began four years ago, with government officials worrying that citizens have become reliant on handouts.

U.N. mission chief David Shearer says further camp closures will depend on the local situation. Most residents say they’re too terrified to leave and will remain until the fighting is over.

The camp’s closure comes as high-level peace talks are under way in neighboring Ethiopia.

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