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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid