News / Africa

South Sudan Fighting Continues After Alleged Coup Attempt

Overnight Curfew Declared Amid Unrest in South Sudani
X
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

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

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.
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