News / Africa

South Sudan Officials Blame UN for Deadly Attack in Bor

Civilians crush up against the gates of the U.N. compound in Bor, Jonglei state, days after South Sudan erupted in violence in December.
Civilians crush up against the gates of the U.N. compound in Bor, Jonglei state, days after South Sudan erupted in violence in December.
Charlton Doki
Senior South Sudan government officials on Friday blamed United Nations peacekeepers for provoking a deadly attack on a U.N. compound in Bor by firing warning shots into the air to disperse a large group of armed civilians who had gathered outside the base.

“You don’t stop a moving mob with gunshots if you know that they are armed," government spokesman Michael Makuei said.

"In fact, it is this gunshot which provoked the situation," he said.

A precise casualty toll from the attack on the Bor base was not available as of Friday, but the U.N. said dozens of civilians are thought to have been killed and scores wounded in the violence.
Anybody who celebrates successful operations being conducted by the rebels against the government ... is a rebel, and we cannot continue to accommodate rebels inside UNMISS compounds.
Makuei said UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) should have stopped displaced people in the Bor compound from celebrating news of the capture of Unity state capital Bentiu early this week by rebel forces. Witnesses, including a health worker who lives inside the U.N. compound and one of the organizers of the protest outside the base, said the celebration was a trigger for the attack.

"UNMISS failed to control these internally displaced people so that they abide by and respect the ground rules of the camp. Not only that but they should also avoid provocative actions that may provoke others," Makuei said.

"In other words, anybody who celebrates successful operations being conducted by the rebels against the government... is a rebel, and we cannot continue to accommodate rebels inside UNMISS compounds and allow them to celebrate or do whatever they want," Makuei said.

Interior Minister Aleu Ayieny Aleu faulted what he said was the peacekeepers' lack of training, saying that by firing shots into the air, they lit the fuse under the attack in which one U.N. official said at least 40 people died. 

"Trained soldiers or trained peacekeepers or trained law enforcement agencies -- once you know that fellow is armed, you don’t control by shooting in the air," Aleu said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin was more contrite, saying he regretted that civilians died in the attack. He also tried to assure the international community that the incident will be thoroughly investigated.

“The government of the Republic of South Sudan strongly condemns the incident that happened in the UNMISS camp. You must know that the citizens, whether they are the youth, whether they are IDPs -- these are citizens of the Republic of South Sudan and we would not encourage them to kill themselves," he said.


UNMISS says attack 'unprovoked'


UNMISS has said Thursday's events were an unprovoked assault launched by a large group of armed civilians who showed up at the gates of the compound in Bor "under the guise of peaceful demonstrators intending to present a petition to UNMISS."

When the group was refused entry to the compound, "the armed mob forced entry into the site and opened fire on the internally displaced persons sheltering inside the base," UNMISS said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said in a statement released late Thursday the attackers used rocket-propelled grenades to breach the compound.

Once inside, they opened fire on the nearly 5,000 displaced persons living in the compound under U.N. protection, Power said. She condemned the attack as brazen, inhuman and an "outrage against the people of South Sudan."


UN peacekeepers sought help from SPLA


UNMISS spokesman Joseph Contreras said that around half an hour into the attack, the peacekeepers fired another round of shots into the air, and the armed mob dispersed.

UNMISS then sought help from a South Sudan army battalion stationed in the town, Contreras said.

"The commanding officer of the Indian battalion of the Mission in Jonglei met with the senior commander of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Bor, and that commander deployed SPLA troops to help secure our compound and cordon off the site from any further protests or attacks," he said.

International anti-poverty NGO Oxfam is re-assessing its security protocol following the attack on the camp, where the eight Oxfam staff are working on a water and sanitation project, Oxfam country director Jose Barahona said.

"Until yesterday, we thought we were relatively safe by staying and operating inside the UNMISS base and UNMISS bases in general. Since the incident yesterday, we cannot take that for granted,” he said.

In a statement released Thursday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said any attack that targets U.N. peacekeepers is unacceptable and "constitutes a war crime," and called on the government of South Sudan to take steps to ensure the safety of all UNMISS bases that are sheltering civilians. 
People fleeing violence in Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, South Sudan, arriving at UNMISS base on 15 April 2014 to seek shelter. Photo: UNMISS/Mihad AbdallahPeople fleeing violence in Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, South Sudan, arriving at UNMISS base on 15 April 2014 to seek shelter. Photo: UNMISS/Mihad Abdallah
x
People fleeing violence in Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, South Sudan, arriving at UNMISS base on 15 April 2014 to seek shelter. Photo: UNMISS/Mihad Abdallah
People fleeing violence in Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, South Sudan, arriving at UNMISS base on 15 April 2014 to seek shelter. Photo: UNMISS/Mihad Abdallah


A recent spate of violence in South Sudan has pushed up the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country from around 800,000 to more than 900,000, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report released Friday.

Around 80,000 of the IDPs are sheltering at U.N. bases around the country. Another 278,000 people have fled South Sudan for neighboring countries.

The majority of the displaced are women and children.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kevin Malone from: United States
April 19, 2014 8:27 PM
If South Sudanese officials were as rich in governing as they are on advice and opinions, that'd be encouraging.

“You don’t stop a moving mob with gunshots if you know that they are armed," government spokesman Michael Makuei said.

You don't allow an armed mob to march until strategic assets are at risk in the first place.

by: Oscar from: Mario
April 19, 2014 1:12 AM
Michael Makuei is deferring from the truth. Youth from Dinka Bor are not rebels but pro- kiir militia. Who gave them RPG and other big weapons? When the attack occurred SPLA and UDF were just watching and laughing at the mayhem. You will account for it.you know how to unfold the story but come on and do more. SPLA and SPLM are to the brink of collapse.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs