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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid