News / Africa

South Sudan Accuses Rebels of Mobilizing 'White Army'

Bodies appearing to be those of rebel-soldiers allied to former vice president Riek Machar beside wrecked military vehicle, Bor, Dec. 28, 2013.Bodies appearing to be those of rebel-soldiers allied to former vice president Riek Machar beside wrecked military vehicle, Bor, Dec. 28, 2013.
x
Bodies appearing to be those of rebel-soldiers allied to former vice president Riek Machar beside wrecked military vehicle, Bor, Dec. 28, 2013.
Bodies appearing to be those of rebel-soldiers allied to former vice president Riek Machar beside wrecked military vehicle, Bor, Dec. 28, 2013.
Reuters
South Sudan accused rebels on Sunday of mobilizing a feared ethnic militia for new attacks despite a government offer of a truce to end two weeks of conflict in the young state.

A 25,000-strong force of the “White Army” - made up largely of ethnic Nuer youths who dust their bodies with ash - was marching on the town of Bor, recaptured by loyalist forces last Tuesday, an army spokesman said.

“We are prepared to engage them,” Sudan People's Liberation Army spokesman Philip Aguer said by phone from South Sudan's capital, Juba, 190 km (120 miles) south of Bor by road.

Fighting has left at least 1,000 dead and split the east African country barely two years after it won independence from Sudan. It has also raised fears of an all-out civil war between the main Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups which could destabilize the fragile region.

The White Army rebels, loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, were likely to clash with President Salva Kiir's troops near Bor within the next day, the army spokesman said.

Machar made no immediate comment on the rebel force or on the government's offer of a ceasefire on Friday.

Witnesses spoke of panicked civilians fleeing Bor to escape another round of bloodletting.

The scene of a massacre of Kiir's Dinka ethnic group in 1991 by Nuer fighters loyal to Machar, Bor was retaken by government troops after several days of heavy fighting.

The White Army are recognized by the ash, prepared from burnt cow dung, with which they cover themselves to ward off insects. They are armed with machetes and sticks as well as guns.

“They are a wildcard whose intervention in the theater of conflict outside Bor could ratchet up the conflict even further and also put at even greater risk the lives of innocent civilians,” Joe Contreras, a spokesman for the U.N. mission in Sudan, told the BBC.

The army said rebels were also mobilizing youths and armed civilians for another attack on Malakal, the capital of the oil-producing Upper Nile state. Rebels were pushed out of the town on Friday.

Among the civilians trying to escape Bor, capital of Jonglei State, was Juuk Mading.

“We are very scared,” Mading, a father of four, said from a crowded river jetty as he waited in the fierce heat for a boat to cross the White Nile river to a neighboring state.

A Reuters cameraman who visited Bor on Dec. 25, a day after the rebels were pushed out, said burnt corpses lay in the streets. Traumatized civilians spoke of mass killings by marauding youths.

As well as offering a truce, President Kiir's government said it would release eight of 11 senior politicians, widely seen to be Machar allies, arrested over an alleged coup plot against Kiir.

Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk told Reuters politicians in Juba were speaking to the White Army members to tell them that this is not an ethnic-based conflict and to convince them to abandon their march on Bor.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid