News / Africa

    Violence Spiking in South Sudan’s Jonglei State

    A woman from the Dinka tribe stands in front of her shelter near Bor, Jonglei state, in South Sudan, March 31, 2012.
    A woman from the Dinka tribe stands in front of her shelter near Bor, Jonglei state, in South Sudan, March 31, 2012.
    Hannah McNeish
    Medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders is warning of a marked increase in violence in South Sudan's troubled Jonglei state. The group, known by its French acronym MSF, says rising numbers of women and children are being stabbed, shot, and beaten - with the youngest victim being just four months old.

    MSF says Jonglei state is now the “the epicenter of violence” in South Sudan - a country trying to establish stability after almost five decades of war.

    In a report released Tuesday, the medical aid group says traditional cattle raiding has evolved over the last 18 months into a new, more violent dynamic, with escalating cases of maiming, rape, and beatings.

    Vile cruelty

    Speaking to reporters in Juba, MSF Operations Manager Chris Lockyear expressed dismay at the brutality.

    “We’ve seen patients who have been stabbed, shot and patients that have been beaten, and a large proportion of these patients are women and children. And a large proportion of these patients have had their injuries inflicted at a very close range," said Lockyear. "The brutality of some of these attacks, when you hear of a pregnant woman who’s had her stomach cut open so her baby falls out, is horrendous. What we’re trying to do is to highlight the nature of the violence and extent so that hopefully it doesn’t happen again this year.”

    MSF attributes the surge in violence to ethnic clashes, a government crackdown and a rebellion.

    At the end of 2011 - just six months after South Sudan gained its independence from the north - the new nation was rocked by violence between the rival Lou Nuer and Murle ethnic groups. Thousands of Lou Nuer marched on Murle areas threatening to wipe them out. Smaller Murle groups carried out a spate of revenge attacks. United Nations and local officials put the death toll between 900 and 3,000 people.  

    Escalating violence

    The new government responded with troops and a disarmament campaign. Rights groups say the effort to quell the ethnic conflict, however, was marred by government forces committing abuses against civilians.

    Some analysts say that pushed already disgruntled youths into the hands of rebel leader David Yau Yau, who has been fighting government forces in Jonglei state for months. And that has only incited more hatred and violence.

    Stefano Zannini, head of MSF Belgium in South Sudan, said his group has since seen a jump in women and children in Pibor county seeking treatment.

    "So 74 percent of the victims of violence treated in the area of Pibor were women and children, with brutal cases, like a one-year child being beaten in front of the mother who was raped," said Zannini.

    Sexual crimes

    The charity group is also concerned about seeing cases of sexual violence for the first time in Jonglei state, in a country where it is generally considered taboo to report rape.

    “The new dynamic I think it is important to highlight is that, present since 2005 in the area of Pibor, MSF never treated, had never seen any cases of rape," said Zannini. "And if you look, for example at 2012, we have received 26 cases of sexual violence - 18 of them rapes and eight attempted rapes. This is one of the things we are very concerned about.”

    MSF Operations Manager Lockyear also expressed concern that MSF medical facilities are starting to come under attack.

    “The pattern that we’ve seen has been extreme. Four out of six of our health facilities in Jonglei have been razed or looted to the ground.  Nobody has told us why that was and nobody has admitted responsibility to us,” he said.

    MSF condemns attacks on its neutral staff, and calls on armed groups to respect the safety of its impartial medical team, but said it remains committed to bringing urgently needed care to the people of Jonglei.

    You May Like

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.