News / Africa

At Least 26 Dead in Juba Unrest, Toll Expected to Rise

  • A United Nation soldier stands guard as civilians arrive at the UNMISS compound adjacent to Juba International Airport to take refuge.
  • South Sudan President Salva Kiir tells reporters at a news conference in Juba on Monday, December 16, 2013 that the government has "full control" of the situation in the capital after what he says was an overnight coup attempt.
  • Civilians crowd inside the United Nations compound on the outskirts of the capital Juba in South Sudan, December 17, 2013.
  • Civilians seek protection at the U.N. compound near Juba airport after fighting broke out on Sunday evening.
  • Civilians arrivie at the UN House compound in the southwestern outskirts of Juba, seeking protection from recent fighting in the capital.

Juba Unrest

— At least 26 people have been killed in Juba and dozens more treated for gunshot wounds since fighting broke out late Sunday in the South Sudanese capital, officials said Tuesday.

The death toll is expected to rise as officials gain access to more parts of the city, where gunfire still punctuated the air on Tuesday and the streets were deserted except for military vehicles, as residents heeded warnings to remain indoors.

Health Undersecretary, Dr. Makur Matur Kariom, said that since Monday, medical staff at Juba Teaching Hospital have recorded 26 deaths caused by the violence in the capital and treated dozens of people, mainly for gunshot wounds.

The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said it has treated 39 people, including five children, at a clinic at one of its compounds. UNMISS reported no deaths.

The U.S. Department of State warned against all travel to South Sudan and recommended that "U.S. citizens currently in South Sudan depart immediately" as the fighting stretched into a third day. 

The government made no official statement Tuesday about the unrest and there was no news about whether anyone has been detained in connection with what President Salva Kiir has said was a failed bid to oust him, carried out by soldiers loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.

Garang's Widow: 'I'm Under House Arrest'


But Rebecca Nyandeng, the widow of John Garang, the late leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), which fought the government in Khartoum for more than two decades in a civil war that that ended in 2005, said she was placed under house arrest Tuesday and many other officials have been arrested.

"They said we are disgruntled and they said it led to a coup, which is not true," Nyandeng told VOA News, which has been unable to confirm Nyandeng's claims.

A high-ranking member of the ruling SPLM party, Nyandeng has been a critic of the government since South Sudan became an independent nation in July 2011.

Machar has also been critical of Kiir since the president fired him in a sweeping overhaul of his cabinet in July. The former vice president has accused Kiir of leaning toward dictatorship and has vowed to challenge him for the leadership of the SPLM ahead of general elections in 2015.

Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman Mawien Makol Arik said there was fighting on Tuesday morning near the compound in Juba where Machar lives.

"We are not sure who was inside. Up to now we don’t know where the vice president is,” Arik said.

Fighting Expected to End Soon, Government Says


Speaking at the end of a cabinet meeting on Tuesday with Kiir and other top army officials, Arik said the government does not expect the unrest in Juba to last much longer. Government officials went to work Tuesday, he said, describing the situation in the capital as "relatively calm."

But in the city's neighborhoods, only military vehicles plied the streets, shops were shuttered, and residents who haven't fled for the safety of villages and compounds outside Juba heeded warnings to stay indoors.

UNMISS has reported gunfire in seven different neighborhoods and said that thousands of residents of Juba have sought shelter at U.N. facilities.

Margret James went to the Episcopal Cathedral in Juba when the fighting broke out on Sunday and has been holed up there since then, with dozens of other people.

“They started shooting. We ran here to the church. We thought it was safe, but still gunshots are heard nearby. It’s very difficult to stay. We wish we could go somewhere safe, but there is no safe place in Juba now,” she said.

A VOA News reporter said that after an overnight lull in the fighting, "serious shooting" broke out Tuesday morning near the airport and the part of Juba where government buildings are clustered.

The airport remains closed for a second day and officials said all border crossings have been temporarily shut down.

Residents who have stayed in Juba face food and water shortages, as private vehicles, including food and water delivery trucks, have been unable to get into the city.

Outside Juba, the situation remains calm for the most part. Officials in Eastern Equatoria state, which neighbors the state that includes the capital, have imposed an 8 p.m.curfew, but a state government spokesman said officials were "just being cautious."

"The security situation in Eastern Equatoria state is normal and people are doing their job as usual. We condemned what has taken place in Juba and we feel that we have organized our state well and the normal situation continues,” Eastern Equatoria spokesman Clement Laku said.

In Unity state, in the north of the country, Deputy Governor Mabeak Lang de Mading vowed that his state would remain peaceful.

“The government and the people of Unity State will not and shall never allow anything to happen in this state that might be rooted to this act,” he said.

Church leaders have offered to act as mediators between the two factions fighting in Juba, but neither side has indicated that they might take them up on the offer.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid