News / Africa

    S. Sudan: Opposition Leader Can't Make Ceasefire Hold

    South Sudan's Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, poses for a photo after a cabinet meeting  in Juba January 17, 2014. South Sudan's Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, poses for a photo after a cabinet meeting in Juba January 17, 2014.
    x
    South Sudan's Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, poses for a photo after a cabinet meeting  in Juba January 17, 2014.
    South Sudan's Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, poses for a photo after a cabinet meeting in Juba January 17, 2014.
    Reuters
    South Sudan's defense minister said on Friday thaat Riek Machar does not have enough control over fighters battling government forces to make any ceasefire hold, as peace talks dragged on with no sign of a deal.
     
    Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk also told Reuters the two sides were still fighting over two strategic towns and said his government could ask Sudan for military help if the conflict in the world's newest nation threatened South Sudan's oilfields.
     
    Sudan, from which the south split in 2011, relies on revenues from fees charged for use of its pipeline that carries South Sudan's oil exports to international markets.
     
    Troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels backing Machar, the deputy he sacked in July, have been fighting since mid-December. The conflict has increasingly followed ethnic lines, pitting Kiir's Dinka group against the Nuer of Machar.
     
    Juuk said Machar had used a spiritual leader, who he named as Dak Kueth, to stir up people to fight.
     
    “(Machar) is not in control of these people. So even if a peace agreement is signed, or cessation of hostilities, these people who are not under the control of Machar will continue creating insecurity for the people and government,” he said.
     
    “We cannot make a unilateral ceasefire because it is they (the rebels) who are attacking the civil population and government positions,” Juuk added.
     
    The two sides are negotiating a ceasefire deal in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, but there has been no clear progress. Rebel demands include that Ugandan troops deployed in South Sudan stop supporting government forces in combat.
     
    Sudan role
     
    Uganda's military support of Kiir has raised worries that other regional players could be drawn into the conflict, in which a U.N. envoy said on Friday thousands had been killed and “mass atrocities” had been committed by both sides.
     
    South Sudan has also asked Sudan for engineers to help maintain oil output which has slipped to about 200,000 barrels per day, from about 245,000 bpd before the fighting.
     
    Asked if South Sudan would seek a joint security force with Sudan to protect fields, Juuk said: “Until now we have not asked the Sudan government to send in their forces.”
     
    “Should there be a threat, anything threatening the oil field, definitely the government of South Sudan may ask the Sudan government to come in and support,” the minister said.
     
    Juuk said the government was in control of Bentiu, the capital of oil producing Unity state, and that the two sides were still fighting over Malakal in another oil area and the flashpoint town of Bor.
     
    All three places are north of South Sudan's capital Juba.
     
    The rebels have acknowledged the loss of Bentiu but the fate of the other two towns has been unclear as fighting has raged.
     
    International medical organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it was forced to suspend activities in Malakal following the looting of its compounds. It said fierce fighting had broken out in Malakal on Jan. 13.
     
    Juuk shrugged off the rebels' criticism of the role of Ugandan troops in South Sudan.
     
    “We have requested support from Uganda. It is not a new situation, countries seek support from other countries whenever they are in trouble,” he said.
     
    U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic called on Friday for the speedy establishment of an independent, impartial fact-finding commission on the conflict.
     
    “Clearly the crisis, which started as a political one, has now taken on an inter-ethnic dimension that urgently needs to be addressed,” he said after a four-day visit to the country.
     
    “People on both sides are absolutely convinced that the other side is to blame, which makes the situation even more dangerous,” he said.
     
    Simonovic said the United Nations would issue a report on human rights violations since fighting began on Dec. 15 and said the crimes included mass killings, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and arbitrary detentions.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, here's what the history of take-out food tells us about changes in American society

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora