News / Africa

Violence in South Sudan Town Shuts Down Hospital

An MSF doctor examines a baby in Pibor town in South Sudan's Jonglei state in this 2012 file photo.
An MSF doctor examines a baby in Pibor town in South Sudan's Jonglei state in this 2012 file photo.
Jill Craig
The humanitarian situation in a rural area of eastern South Sudan appears to be worsening after a hosptial run by an international medical group was heavily damaged in violence last week.

Residents are fleeing Pibor town, which is in Jonglei state, near the border with Ethiopia, and some NGOs are evacuating staff from the area.

The local hospital, which was run by the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), has suspended its operations.

Speaking from Brussels, the MSF coordinator of Operations for South Sudan Richard Veerman said that stepped-up tensions caused the group to begin evacuating staff three weeks ago.

“We’ve been able to have a look the day before yesterday and found out that not only are we missing our food stocks and beds, but more worrying has been the deliberate attempt to make our facility inoperable,” he said.

“Electric cables were cut, drugs were smashed on the floor and stamped, offices were [damaged], air conditioning of our pharmacy was ripped off the wall and stomped on the floor… so this makes it very difficult for us to get back to operations."

Now that the hospital is inoperable, Veerman said his biggest concern is the health and safety of residents, who already had a tough time obtaining medical services before this latest incident.

“Normally,” he said, “we talk about a population of roughly 100,000 who have no access to healthcare. We were the only place that was providing healthcare in the larger area around Pibor. These people have no access to healthcare at the moment.”

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said in Juba on Tuesday that it is concerned about reports of incidents carried out by what it calls “allegedly defected and ill-disciplined members of security forces.” It’s also concerned about statements coming from David Yau Yau’s militia telling civilians to leave Pibor and Kapoeta, in Eastern Equatoria state.

Ding Akol, the minister of local government in Jonglei state, was serving as the acting governor when the hospital was looted. He said the government is investigating who is behind the violence.

“You know what happened in Pibor is that there was a rumor circulating among the civil population in Pibor town that Yau Yau is going to attack Pibor. So he created a commotion in town, so the civilians, most of them left the town, fearing that the town will be attacked by the Yau Yau,” he said. “And in that, some few elements from the other organized forces – police, prison, they left. And they are the ones we suspect broke into the MSF compound.”

PLAN International is a children’s rights NGO that works in the area. Its South Sudan country director, Gyan Adhikari, said they are concerned about the security situation in Pibor, especially in light of the looting of the MSF hospital, and has been withdrawing its non-essential staff from the area over the last few days.

He said he doesn’t know when they will be able to return.

“It depends upon the government’s actions, you know. How far, how fast the government takes action and returns the peace, the security over there,” he said. “So we can go as soon as possible because we are ready. I can’t predict the date but I am hoping two to three weeks’ time, it will get better. But that’s my prediction. It might work, it might not work.”

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated on Thursday that the UN Mission in South Sudan has a “full-time” presence in Pibor and that UNMISS peacekeepers have clear instructions to assist in protecting the civilian population there.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid