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

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent, Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail 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.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More