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

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs