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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid