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.
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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More