News / Africa

For Some, Fear Still Stalks Bustling South Sudan Capital

South Sudanese children displaced by the fighting are seen in a camp for displaced persons in the UNMISS compound in Tongping in Juba, South Sudan, Feb. 19, 2014.
South Sudanese children displaced by the fighting are seen in a camp for displaced persons in the UNMISS compound in Tongping in Juba, South Sudan, Feb. 19, 2014.
Hannah McNeish
— South Sudan's capital, Juba, is bustling after months of internecine fighting devastated it and many of the young nation's other major towns. But not everyone is sharing in the city's turnaround. One ethnic group remains plagued by fear of violence.

At Juba's largest market, music from rival stereos overpower the chatter of pedestrians and the clamor of hawkers competing for customers. It is a very different scene from the days following the eruption of fighting on December 15, when city streets in South Sudan were lined with soldiers and the deathly silence of day contrasted with the crackle of gunfire at night.

Abdalla Ossua, a Ugandan businessman, said the majority of foreign traders here fled to neighboring countries along with what is now around 200,000 South Sudanese who feared for their lives. He said, however, many of the merchants have returned.

“Most of the Ugandans, like 80 percent, they went back to Uganda in December because of the war. But now it's almost like 65 percent, they are back”

Ugandan troops

Ossua said the sight of Ugandan troops in Juba has restored confidence among foreigners anxious to get back to work.

That confidence is not shared, though, by the country's second-largest ethnic group, the Nuer. They are caught in a violent political struggle between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, who comes from the country's largest Dinka tribe, and his former deputy and now arch-enemy Riek Machar, from the second biggest Nuer group.

More than 45,000 Nuer remain in two base camps belonging to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

Anna Cilliers, a nurse working for the emergency medical charity Doctors Without Borders, said she sees a lot of malnourished children, and diseases such as measles and severe diarrhea in the camps.

“Because people are living very densely, very close together. And people are still scared to go outside. That is what I know,” said Cilliers.

Displaced persons

Many of the displaced live near their homes, much of which were destroyed by soldiers in tanks who reportedly went house to house in predominantly Nuer neighborhoods, razing, killing and looting.

Some camp residents say their houses are intact. And they long to get out of the squalor, where strips of cloth and plastic sheeting are tied together in long lanes.

Some still talk of those who left to check on homes but disappeared, and of soldiers firing into the camp or breaching security to look for people.

Across the country, others in U.N. displaced camps report executions within and outside establishments by whichever side is currently in control.

Student John Chol said people here are still too mistrustful of security forces to go anywhere. He questions the wisdom of trying to travel to Uganda on southbound trucks, given the country's support to government troops now fighting Machar forces that include a large Nuer militia.

“They make it a kind of civil war between the Dinka and the Nuer. And they make it another tribal war, and they target Nuer people; not all South Sudanese. And the President Salva Kiir takes it as all Nuer, targets Nuer areas,” said Chol.

While life continues as normal outside the camp walls, people here say they are trapped in a tribal war that civilians did not start, and do not know how to escape.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid