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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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