News / Africa

South Sudan Army Fights to Recapture Key Towns

  • 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.
Violence in South Sudan
Andrew Green
South Sudan government troops are preparing to launch an attack to recapture Bentiu, the capital of oil-rich Unity state, which fell to forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar at the weekend, a military official said Wednesday.

“The SPLA forces are in the western part of the state and the SPLA is reorganizing. Definitely they will launch an attack on Bentiu any time,” army spokesman Philip Aguer said.

Former SPLA Fourth Division Commander General James Koang Chuol said early this week he defectecd from the  army, seized control of Bentiu and declared himself governor of Unity state after what he says was a government attempt to assassinate him.

Aguer denied the government ordered Koang's assassination.

The planned military action to retake Bentiu was announced a day after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a report that a mass grave containing at least 75 bodies had been found near the town.

Several hours later, though, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) revised the number of bodies in the mass grave downward, to 15.


SPLA Fights to Retake Upper Nile Capital


The SPLA was also engaged in heavy fighting to recapture Malakal, the capital of another oil-producing state, Upper Nile. Aguer described the situation in the town as chaotic.

"Yesterday, there was fighting and the SPLA controlled the fight yesterday. But toward the evening, a group of armed men started looting the market," he said.

"That developed until this morning, and there is still confusion in Malakal. The two groups are still inside Malakal – the loyalists to the government and the rebels seem to be in the southern part of the town. There’s rampant looting and shooting," the army spokesman said.

The SPLA retook Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, on Tuesday and were "mopping up the area and trying to make an assessment of the casualties. So far we don’t have an assessment of the dead and the wounded," Aguer said. 

Civilians fleeing violence seek refuge at UN compound in Bor, Jonglei state, South Sudan, Dec. 18, 2013.Civilians fleeing violence seek refuge at UN compound in Bor, Jonglei state, South Sudan, Dec. 18, 2013.
x
Civilians fleeing violence seek refuge at UN compound in Bor, Jonglei state, South Sudan, Dec. 18, 2013.
Civilians fleeing violence seek refuge at UN compound in Bor, Jonglei state, South Sudan, Dec. 18, 2013.
Jonglei state officials who took refuge, along with thousands of other civilians, at the U.N. compound in Bor when the unrest spread there from Juba, were unable to confirm that the army has recaptured the town. The officials asked not to be identified for security reasons.

South Sudan's capital, Juba, where the unrest first erupted 10 days ago in what President Salva Kiir said was an abortive coup, led by former Vice President Machar, was calm Wednesday. Machar, whom Kiir fired in July, has denied that he was behind any attempt to oust the president.

Tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced by the violence, many of them seeking refuge at U.N. compounds and bases. Officials have estimated that hundreds, if not thousands, have died since the unrest erupted in Juba on Dec. 15, although a precise number is not available.

Witnesses and rights organizations say the violence quickly took on tribal overtones, with many victims targeted for being Dinka or Nuer, the ethnic groups of Kiir and Machar, respectively.

In a Christmas Eve message, Kiir called on South Sudanese to stop all tribal violence and to "put the interest of our newly independent nation first." Mentioning Machar by name, he urged him and forces supporting him to do the same.

The White House has issued a message from President Barack Obama, in Dinka and Nuer, urging South Sudanese leaders to find the courage and commitment to end the violence through dialogue.


Kiir has agreed to meet with Machar, without preconditions, but the former vice president, who went into hiding after the unrest first broke out, has said he will not come to the negotiating table until 11 senior members of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) are released from prison.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs