News / Africa

S. Sudan Rebels Want Prisoners Released at Peace Talks

S. Sudan Rebels Want Prisoners Released at Peace Talksi
X
January 03, 2014 6:26 AM
South Sudan's army continues to battle rebel forces, even as negotiators from the warring sides expect to begin talks Friday aimed at ending the violence that has pushed the world's newest country toward civil war.

Watch related video from VOA.

TEXT SIZE - +
Marthe van der Wolf
— Releasing their imprisoned colleagues will be a top priority for South Sudanese rebels during peace talks that are to start Friday in Ethiopia.  The government arrested some pro-rebel officials during the initial outbreak of fighting in South Sudan's capital, Juba, last month.

Delegates of former South Sudanese vice president Riek Machar see the release of detained prisoners as an important goal during the peace talks.
 
The rebels and delegates of the South Sudanese government are set to start face-to-face negotiations Friday.
 
Spokesperson for the rebel troops Hussein Mar Nyuot said the issue of the detainees is a very serious matter, as he feels they should also participate in the negotiations:
 
“With the prisoners, they were actually detained because of [the] alleged coup.  And these are the senior members of the SPLM, which is actually the ruling party of the country.  And we want them to be part of these talks because what caused the problem is actually an issue of conflict within the SPLM,” said Nyuot.

Number of South Sudan Refugees by LocationNumber of South Sudan Refugees by Location
x
Number of South Sudan Refugees by Location
Number of South Sudan Refugees by Location
​Delegates arrived in Addis Ababa on Wednesday and Thursday, and are separately meeting with officials of the East African bloc IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development).
 
The negotiations will start while fighting continues in South Sudan. Rebels reclaimed the key city of Bor Wednesday, 120 kilometers outside Juba.  They also control Jonglei state and the two oil-rich states of Upper Nile and Unity.
 
Along with a possible ceasefire, negotiators will likely discuss the outbreak of ethnic violence between supporters of Machar, a member of the Nuer tribe, and supporters President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka.
 
But spokesperson Nyuot said the topics to be discussed have not been decided.
 
“We are positive, and will see how it goes tomorrow.  I do not want to predict.  I do not want to set the agenda before people actually agree on the agenda.  I do not want to expose our agenda, what we are coming, because the mediators will have to put the agenda together,” said Nyuot.
 
Fighting in South Sudan started December 15, when a group of soldiers attacked army headquarters in Juba.  The next day, President Kiir accused Machar of attempting a coup.
 
The fighting has killed more than 1,000 people and displaced about 200,000 others.  It is feared the conflict might escalate into an all-out civil war.
 
President Kiir has said there will be no power-sharing deal.
 
South Sudan is the world's newest nation, having separated from Sudan in July 2011 after decades of war.

  • 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.

Additional reporting by VOA's South Sudan in Focus:

Machar told VOA South Sudan in Focus Wednesday that President Kiir was responsible for much of the unrest, and that peace cannot be achieved under Kiir's leadership.

"He has disunited the country.  There is a massacre in Juba, 'ethnic cleansing' in Juba," he said. "I don't think Salva Kiir can unite the people anymore."

Machar said South Sudan's citizens should join him in a bid to force the president to step down, if he does not do so voluntarily.

Listen to our full interview with Riek Machar conducted by John Tanza:

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Blackstar Deng Bol Deng from: Juba
January 02, 2014 11:14 PM
I remmeber the last suffers of 90s and again now, will our life delivery like that? You cann,t kills to be a leader.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid