News / Africa

    Broken Bodies, but Still Bloodlust, in South Sudan Hospital

    Wounded fighters from the Lou Nuer ethnic group, most of whom suffered gunshot wounds from recent fighting with Murle in Jonglei state, recover at a hospital in the state capital Bor where the atmosphere is more boastful and vengeful than sombre.
    Wounded fighters from the Lou Nuer ethnic group, most of whom suffered gunshot wounds from recent fighting with Murle in Jonglei state, recover at a hospital in the state capital Bor where the atmosphere is more boastful and vengeful than sombre.
    Hannah McNeish
    Violence between two ethnic groups in South Sudan’s Jonglei state has raged for over a week, leaving hundreds wounded, many with gunshot wounds. Aid agencies fear that countless others are wounded or lost in the bush as fighting continues and civilians flee attackers.

    Both of the surgical wards at Bor hospital are packed, and dozens of men and boys have flopped onto mattresses wedged between supplies in a store room, nursing gunshot wounds.

    ​16-year-old Dut Kuoth marched with many other Lou Nuer from northern Jonglei to Pibor county to mete out their revenge on their rivals, the Murle. The groups have been caught in a worrying cycle of ethnic violence that claimed at least 1,000 lives last year.

    In the last major flareup of violence, in January 2012, some 8,000 Lou Nuer and others descended on Murle villages, looting cattle, attacking women and children, massacring and burning.

    Hundreds, or even thousands died, and hundreds more in northern Jonglei in a spate of smaller revenge attacks.

    But the blood debt has not been paid, and a recent disarmament campaign marred by abuses by government security forces has now pushed many of the Murle into the arms of rebel leader David Yau Yau.

    Kuoth says that deadly attacks by Yau Yau prompted men in his Lou Nuer village and many others to come south and release their grief through centuries-old violence made increasingly deadly by modern weaponry.

    Dot Kuoth says they are fighting forces under the control of Yau Yau now.  He says the Lou Nuer have captured Yau Yau's military base and his heavy weapons. But Dot Kuoth says he was injured by a rocket propelled grenade.

    On Tuesday, scores of wounded Lou Nuer hobbled or were carried off army helicopters at Bor airport, and the aircraft quickly took off again to go and pick up more.

    But thousands more fighters are said to be weaving their way south, and to date there have been no Murle casualties arriving at Bor, with some at the state hospital saying that they would be not be welcome there.

    Some 13,000 Murle have fled to South Sudan's capital, Juba, and others have sought refugee status in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.

    But many fled into the bush with nothing months ago, as government forces waged war with Yau Yau’s militiamen and also looted medical facilities, shops and United Nations food stores in Pibor town.

    Roland Kaya, who is running operations in Bor for the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, says the group expects more injured to come in and fears for those they can’t reach.

    “Currently we can say all medical agencies are working with the Ministry of Health and are concerned about this and are trying to find a way to reach them, but we cannot say how we are going to reach them," he said. "At least we are taking care of the ones who are coming in the hospital.”

    A wounded man recovers in Bor hospital, capital of South Sudan'sJonglei state, where over 100 people are being treated for gunshot wounds after violence between two ethnic groups flared, July 16, 2013.A wounded man recovers in Bor hospital, capital of South Sudan'sJonglei state, where over 100 people are being treated for gunshot wounds after violence between two ethnic groups flared, July 16, 2013.
    x
    A wounded man recovers in Bor hospital, capital of South Sudan'sJonglei state, where over 100 people are being treated for gunshot wounds after violence between two ethnic groups flared, July 16, 2013.
    A wounded man recovers in Bor hospital, capital of South Sudan'sJonglei state, where over 100 people are being treated for gunshot wounds after violence between two ethnic groups flared, July 16, 2013.
    The mood in the wards of Bor hospital is anything but somber, as the bandaged get fired up about old grievances and bemoan the fact that they got injured before killing rival clansmen.

    ​Fifteen-year-old Lou Nuer fighter Duol Puol said there were too many other people in front of him to fire his first shots without hitting one of his own.

    He fractured his still fragile bones falling down a hole while fleeing from heavily armed attackers in military uniform.

    But that doesn’t mean that Puol won’t go back to quench the thirst for Murle blood in retaliation for his parents, who were killed in a 2010 raid.

    He said the Yau Yau forces have 15-year-olds coming to attack but he says the Lou Nuer will also come back, until they make the fighting end.  He said if they don’t stop, neither will we.

    Meanwhile, army spokesman Philip Aguer said the military has its hands full with fighting Yau Yau.

    The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan has reminded the government that its first and foremost job is to protect its people, and the U.S government has expressed its deep concern over escalating violence and called on both the U.N. and the government to intervene.

    But for now, it seems that nobody is listening, as countless battles are waged in the bush.

    You May Like

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora