News / Africa

    South Sudan Agrees to Ceasefire to End Violence

    Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (L), Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn (MR), and Somalian President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (R), after the (IGAD) meeting on the situation on South Sudan, Dec. 27, 2013.
    Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (L), Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn (MR), and Somalian President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (R), after the (IGAD) meeting on the situation on South Sudan, Dec. 27, 2013.
    Gabe Joselow
    South Sudan's government on Friday has agreed to a ceasefire in a bid to end fighting that swept across Africa's newest nation that has left at least 1,000 people dead and led more than 60,000 civilians to seek refuge at U.N. bases.

    A spokesman for South Sudan's foreign ministry, Mawien Makol Arik, said the government's ceasefire will begin immediately. Arik says Vice President Riek Machar, the leader of the rebellion, has three days to respond to the ceasefire call.

    Machar was not at the summit and had no immediate reaction to the announcement.

    Watch Zlatica Hoke related video report

    Humanitarian Group Warns of Camp Conditions in S. Sudani
    X
    December 28, 2013 12:19 PM
    Humanitarian workers worry that the spread of infectious diseases could add to the death toll in South Sudan, where fighting has killed about 1,000 people in less than two weeks. More than 100,000 people have been displaced since the violence broke out December 15. As Zlatica Hoke reports, the political fight that started in the capital, Juba, has quickly spread to the rest of the world's newest country and appears to be turning into an ethnic conflict.

    In another development Friday, the first reinforcements arrived for the U.N. peacekeeping force in South Sudan. The United Nations says an additional 72 Bangladeshi police officers came from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

    The U.N. Security Council voted last week to temporarily increase its troops in South Sudan from 8,000 to nearly 14,000.

    The development came as regional leaders meeting Friday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, as part of the regional grouping IGAD, urged both sides in the conflict to seize "the small window of opportunity" and begin peace talks.

    At the same time the leaders said they would not accept the "unconstitutional overthrow" of South Sudan's government.

    South Sudan's President Salva Kiir got a boost on Friday after government forces defeated rebels loyal to his former deputy, Machar in Malakal, the capital of South Sudan's major oil producing state of Upper Nile, after four days of heavy fighting.

    Spokesman Arik confirmed the development and said government forces are prepared to defend themselves if attacked. 

    A communiqué issued at the conclusion of the summit called for “urgent measures in pursuit of an inclusive dialogue” and said face-to-face talks between the stakeholders in South Sudan’s crisis should occur by Tuesday, December 31.

    Riek Machar

    -Born 1953 in Sudan
    -Former rebel leader
    -South Sudanese President Salva Kiir dismissed him from vice presidency in July
    -Criticized current government for alleged corruption, tribalism and insecurity
    -Announced plans to run for president in 2015
    -Kiir accused him in December, 2013 of plotting a coup
    It also welcomed a commitment by South Sudan’s government to end hostilities and called for former South Sudan vice president Machar and other parties to do the same.

    Violence erupted in the country on December 15 and has spread across the country as a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and Machar, his main political rival, has intensified.

    The fighting has divided the military against itself in some areas, and has raised inter-ethnic tensions.

    Both Machar and Kiir have agreed in principle to holding talks, though the government has rejected Machar’s conditions, including the release of his political allies who were jailed in the early days of the crisis.

    In a speech at the summit, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said efforts should be made to include the detained political leaders.

    “The detainees are part of South Sudan’s leadership and as such are part of the solution. South Sudan’s legal system must process them as it should while they are treated humanely and quickly enabled to be an integral part of the dialogue that will solve the underlying political problems that have brought us to this unfortunate crisis,” Kenyatta said.

    Kiir has accused Machar and his supporters of attempting a coup. Machar denies the allegations, but has called for the military to overthrow the president.

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the current chair of IGAD, told the summit that authority in the country lies with the president.

    “It should be underscored that the legitimate government of South Sudan under President Salva Kiir Mayardit is the duly elected representative of the people of South Sudan and it has every responsibility to restore peace and stability throughout the country,” he said.

    Kenyatta and Hailemariam met with Kiir in Juba Thursday to discuss the prospect of talks. Kiir was not present at Friday’s summit.

    • Members of the South Sudan rebel delegation attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
    • Taban Deng Gai, left, head of the rebel delegation and South Sudan's leader of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
    • Unidentified members of the delegation from the South Sudan government and western observers meet at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
    • A displaced mother and her baby, one of the few to have a mosquito net, wake up at a refugee camp, Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 2, 2014.
    • A young displaced girl carries a bucket of water back to her makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound. The compound has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
    • Displaced people gather inside a mosquito net tent as they flee from the fighting between the South Sudanese army and rebels in Bor town, in Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013.
    • A displaced woman hangs up laundry on the plastic sheeting wall of a latrine at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
    • Yared, 2, is held by his mother, Madhn, who fled from the town of Bor a few days ago. She receives medicine for her child at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical tent, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
    • A young displaced boy rests on the wheel arch of a water truck while others fill containers from it, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Africa, Dec. 31, 2013.
    • A family makes tea outside their makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
    • A general view of a camp for displaced people set up in a United Nations compound in Bor, South Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.
    • South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora