News / Africa

South Sudan Fighting Continues After Alleged Coup Attempt

Overnight Curfew Declared Amid Unrest in South Sudani
December 17, 2013 7:37 AM
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir declared an overnight curfew in the capital after the government foiled what he called an attempted coup.
Gabe Joselow
Fighting continued in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, Tuesday, just one day after the president accused supporters of his political rival of attempting a coup.  According to the government, at least 26 people have been killed in the violence, while thousands of civilians have been displaced.

Witnesses in Juba heard sporadic gunshots and heavy artillery fire throughout the day, as soldiers patrolled the streets.
On Monday, President Salva Kiir declared a nighttime curfew in the city, after fighting broke out between soldiers at army headquarters.
Kiir said the violence was part of an attempted coup by the supporters of former Vice President Riek Machar, although the details of how the fighting started are murky.
Emma Jane Drew, the South Sudan director for the British charity Oxfam, said in an interview with VOA from Juba that some 14,000 people have been displaced by the violence, while others are taking cover in their homes and compounds.
“I think most people are sheltering from the gunfire just as a result of the stray bullets, which is exactly what we’re also doing," Drew said. "I don’t think there’s anyone in Juba that is not affected at the moment.”
Security forces have also been going door-to-door, searching for those blamed for the fighting. A number of former government ministers have been arrested, while Machar’s whereabouts are unknown.
An outspoken critic of Kiir, Marchar has declared his own intentions to run for president and was fired from his post during a Cabinet reshuffle in July.
International observers have expressed concerns that the rift between Machar, from the Nuer ethnic group, and Kiir, a Dinka, could fuel further violence in the country often wracked by inter-communal fighting.
In a statement Tuesday, the U.N. special representative to South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, called on leaders to “refrain from any action that fuels ethnic tensions.”

The U.S. Embassy in Juba remained closed Tuesday and reported that most cellular telephone service in the city was not working.

The U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, told VOA English to Africa on Monday that the United States was very concerned about the developments. He said the United States could not yet confirm a coup attempt and was trying to learn what sparked the violence.

"The situation remains a bit confused. The embassy in Juba has not been able to get out much due to the fighting around town. Right now they are sheltering in place until they feel it's safe to move around the city," he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was deeply concerned by the fighting and what he said was "the risk of targeted violence against certain communities."  He said the government must guarantee the security of all civilians regardless of which community they come from.
Speaking to VOA, South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin downplayed the concerns, saying the alleged coup plotters were ethnically mixed.
“There are some elements who want to shift it to make it look like ethnic, and that’s what is needed to be avoided so that some people don’t try to push it into that direction," he said.
Benjamin added that those arrested will be investigated and taken to court to, in his words, “prove their innocence.”

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs