News / Africa

Kerry Warns of Genocide Risk in South Sudan

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry holds a news conference in Addis Ababa, May 1, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry holds a news conference in Addis Ababa, May 1, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is warning of the risk of genocide in South Sudan if four months of deadly fighting there is not stopped. Kerry on Thursday discussed the violence with regional foreign ministers and African Union officials in Addis Ababa.
 
 Kerry says those responsible for what he calls "unspeakable violence" in South Sudan must be brought to justice to prevent the conflict from deteriorating further.
 
"There are very disturbing leading indicators of the kind of ethnic, tribal, targeted, nationalistic killings taking place that raise serious questions, and were they to continue in the way that they have been going could really present a very serious challenge to the international community with respect to the question of genocide," he said.


 
John Kerry (2nd L) participates in a meeting with Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom (2nd R), Kenyan FM Amina Mohamed (3rd R) and Ugandan FM Sam Kutesa (R) in Addis Ababa, May 1.John Kerry (2nd L) participates in a meeting with Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom (2nd R), Kenyan FM Amina Mohamed (3rd R) and Ugandan FM Sam Kutesa (R) in Addis Ababa, May 1.
x
John Kerry (2nd L) participates in a meeting with Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom (2nd R), Kenyan FM Amina Mohamed (3rd R) and Ugandan FM Sam Kutesa (R) in Addis Ababa, May 1.
John Kerry (2nd L) participates in a meeting with Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom (2nd R), Kenyan FM Amina Mohamed (3rd R) and Ugandan FM Sam Kutesa (R) in Addis Ababa, May 1.
The secretary of state says he is working with regional leaders to avoid that by moving "to put people on the ground who can begin to make a difference" separating people and providing security.  

He met here in Addis Ababa with foreign ministers from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, who he says all agree on the need for African troops under a United Nations mandate.
 
He also pushed them to join U.S. moves toward a travel ban and assets freeze on those responsible for the violence but said Washington is "absolutely prepared" to move on its own.
 
"We may well move on our own," he said.  "But each of the foreign ministers today accepted the responsibility for also doing sanctions."
 
Kerry says some of the violence is the responsibility of individual generals with their own agenda, "but the place to start is the place where it started," and that is with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar.

 
South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar speaks to rebel General Peter Gatdet Yaka (not seen) in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State, Feb. 1, 2014.South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar speaks to rebel General Peter Gatdet Yaka (not seen) in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State, Feb. 1, 2014.
x
South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar speaks to rebel General Peter Gatdet Yaka (not seen) in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State, Feb. 1, 2014.
South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar speaks to rebel General Peter Gatdet Yaka (not seen) in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State, Feb. 1, 2014.
The most serious fighting began in late December, soon after the Kiir government accused Machar of trying to seize power.  While a senior State Department official says Washington does not "buy into the narrative of a coup attempt," Kerry says there is a clear distinction between the men whose "personal anger" is fueling this violence.
 
"The current president of South Sudan is the elected, constitutional president of a country.  And Mr. Machar is a rebel who is trying to unconstitutionally take power by force.  And there is a clear distinction.  There is no equivalency between the two," he said.
 
Kerry says Machar "needs to think clearly about that," particularly in the wake of allegations that ethnic Nuer rebels killed hundreds of civilians in the town of Bentiu last month.

A U.N. report said the rebels "separated individuals of certain nationalities and ethnic groups and escorted them to safety, while the others were killed."  A rebel spokesman has denied that allegation.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: James lwany from: South Sudan
May 02, 2014 1:38 AM
Is too late mr. Kerry. Let's died at all then you com to take the oil.

by: Gerald
May 02, 2014 1:30 AM
"Doesn't always do what is right for the people" is profoundly true, but a reality check throughout Africa shows major countries have failed to intervene, as it would necessitate fighting an "unpopular" war on another continent, involving conscription and ultimately the duration and withdrawal, apart from monetary costs, which would impact on their economy. The ICC pressure you refer to, is difficult to enforce, and words without action, well just look at some countries where "rulers" have escaped trial at the ICC and continue to do so.

by: Wilhelm from: Zambia
May 01, 2014 8:39 PM
I think right from the beginning or even before South Sudan became a state the administrative structures within SPLA were never democratic and this culture of intolerance to opposition was not only continued but got worse after independence, the west should not have been so naïve in thinking things would change. I think lessons should be learnt here i.e a liberation party is not the people and doesn't always do what is right for the people. Good Kerry has indeed brought out the threat of more mass killings and pointed out the culprits Kiir and Machar maybe the added pressure of having them brought before the ICC might cease the meaningless loss of life.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs