News / Africa

South Sudan Cease-Fire May Hinge on Release of Detainees

South Sudanese soldiers listen during a briefing at the army general headquarters in Juba, Jan. 8, 2014. South Sudanese soldiers listen during a briefing at the army general headquarters in Juba, Jan. 8, 2014.
x
South Sudanese soldiers listen during a briefing at the army general headquarters in Juba, Jan. 8, 2014.
South Sudanese soldiers listen during a briefing at the army general headquarters in Juba, Jan. 8, 2014.
Marthe van der Wolf
— Talks to end fighting between South Sudan's government and rebels have made only minor progress.  The rebels have signaled they are unlikely to sign a proposed cease-fire agreement unless the government frees 11 pro-rebel officials detained soon after the fighting began last month.  
 
The talks kicked off Tuesday in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, under the mediation of the East African bloc IGAD, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development.
 
Mediators traveled to South Sudan's capital, Juba, to discuss the proposed cease-fire with South Sudanese President Salva Kirr.  They were expected to return to Addis Ababa on Tuesday, but were not back by late Wednesday.
 
The head of the South Sudanese government delegation, Michael Makuei, believes once the mediators come back, an agreement can be signed quickly:

“We are optimistic that will be in a position to sign cessation of hostilities soon so that we will stop this fighting,” he said.

But the rebel delegation seems less positive.  The rebels have maintain the release of the 11 detainees is a critical point.  

The pro-rebel officials were arrested and accused of attempting a coup last month.  South Sudan's government said Tuesday it will not free the men until "legal prodcedures" are completed.
 
The head of the rebel delegation, General Taban Deng Gai, says the detainees should be released unconditionally.
 
“We believe that cessation of hostilities [is] also very important.  The two issues, the release of detainees and cessation of hostilities, are the same face of the same coin,” he said.

The talks are expected to continue despite reports of continued fighting.

A South Sudanese radio station said the town of Mayom in Unity State has been "destroyed" after two days of heavy fighting between army forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and defectors who back the president's rival, Riek Machar.

The U.N. mission in South Sudan said Tuesday that most villages along the road from Mayom to nearby Pariyang appeared to be burned or looted. U.N. humanitarian official Toby Lanzer said Wednesday he would go to Unity State to learn more.

The rebels said in the last 48 hours they have repelled government attacks on their positions west of the capital, Juba, and south of Bor, the rebel-held capital of Jonglei state.
 
Fighting broke out December 15 in South Sudan, after a clash in the army headquarters.  The fighting soon grew to include ethnic violence, with members of the Nuer and Dinka tribes attacking each other. The violence has raised fears of resulting in an all-out civil war.  IGAD member Uganda has sent in troops to support the government of South Sudan.
 
The violence has created a humanitarian crisis in the world's newest country, with more than 1,000 killed and more than 200,000 displaced from their homes.  

  • Three children walk through a spontaneous camp for internally displaced persons at the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba, Jan. 9, 2014.
  • People unload the few belongings on Jan. 9, 2014 at Minkammen, South Sudan, that they were able to bring with them to camps for the displaced.
  • Displaced men recuperate from their injuries as they rest on the floor at a United Nations hospital in Tomping camp, near Juba, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • A displaced man, undergoing treatments for his injuries, is seen at a United Nations hospital at Tomping camp, near Juba, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Soldiers from Rwanda serving under United Nations Mission in South Sudan keep watch from an observatory point at Tomping camp, near Juba, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Displaced people wash their clothes in a drainage canal at Tomping camp, near Juba, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Displaced people prepare their meals at Tomping camp near Juba, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya, Jan. 7, 2013.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda rest and await transportation from a transit center in Koboko, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda are seen in Koboko, Jan. 6, 2014.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
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 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 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.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid