News / Africa

S. Sudan Rebels Want Prisoners Released at Peace Talks

S. Sudan Rebels Want Prisoners Released at Peace Talksi
X
January 03, 2014
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid