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

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

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