News / Africa

South Sudan Opposition Says it Has Seized Bentiu - Again

A man carries a bed past South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers patrolling the town of Bentiu on Jan. 12, 2014.
A man carries a bed past South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers patrolling the town of Bentiu on Jan. 12, 2014.
A day after a top U.S. official warned that Washington will not hesitate to impose sanctions on anyone who blocks peace in South Sudan, army and opposition forces fought for control of Bentiu, the capital of the country's second biggest oil-producing state.
 
James Gatdet Dak, a spokesman for former vice president turned opposition leader Riek Machar, said anti-government forces took control of the town early Tuesday.

But Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesman, Colonel Philip Aguer, said army troops were still in the town as of Tuesday afternoon, and the fighting was continuing
 
“We are waiting for reports from our field command. There is still fighting over Bentiu,” Aguer said.

Neither side was able to give casualty numbers.

Gatdet said the anti-government forces have given companies in the country’s two oil-producing states, Unity and Upper Nile, one week to halt operations. The opposition wants to shut down oil production to prevent the government of President Salva Kiir from using income from sales of crude to buy weapons, he said.
 
Joseph Contreras, the acting spokesman for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, said five foreign oil workers were injured in the fighting in Unity state, two of them critically. U.N. peacekeepers evacuated 10 foreign oil workers Monday after they were caught  up in attacks on an oil refinery some 30 kilometers (18 miles) outside Bentiu.

Unity state produces around 15 percent of South Sudan's oil, while Upper Nile produces the remaining 85 percent. Both states have seen fierce fighting since unrest erupted in South Sudan in December.

Opposition forces captured Bentiu early on in the conflict, only for the town to be rectaken by the government in December before rebels seized it again in January.
An ostrich runs through empty streets and past destroyed buildings, after government forces on Friday retook from rebel forces the provincial capital of Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan, Jan. 12, 2014.An ostrich runs through empty streets and past destroyed buildings, after government forces on Friday retook from rebel forces the provincial capital of Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan, Jan. 12, 2014.
x
An ostrich runs through empty streets and past destroyed buildings, after government forces on Friday retook from rebel forces the provincial capital of Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan, Jan. 12, 2014.
An ostrich runs through empty streets and past destroyed buildings, after government forces on Friday retook from rebel forces the provincial capital of Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan, Jan. 12, 2014.


The United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, said in January after visiting Bentiu that the town "simply did not even exist any more" after weeks of fighting.
 
Gatdet said some of the thousands of residents of Bentiu who had sought refuge at the U.N. base in Bentiu were celebrating the town's takeover by opposition forces, and some of them felt safe enough to leave the U.N. facility.

“The civilians in the U.N. compound have come out dancing, singing, ululating and welcoming the rebels inside the town,” he said.

U.N. officials could not confirm that civilians were leaving the camp.
 
The United Nations, United States and other members of the international community have criticized both sides for failing to observe a cessation of hostilities agreement reached in late January.

In an interview published Monday by South Sudan in Focus, U.S. Special Envoy to South Sudan and Sudan, Donald Booth, said Washington's threat to slap sanctions on anyone violating human rights or obstructing the peace process in South Sudan is not just a hollow warning but will be put into action unless the warring sides stop fighting and respect the January peace deal.

"As I have continually warned, for those who continue to obstruct the peace process, we will take action," Booth said.

Peace talks between the two warring sides are on a three-week recess and are due to resume next week.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kim from: Juba
April 20, 2014 5:56 AM
That is an idiotic idea from you homeboy. Kiir must step down S.sudan will be Rule by the criminal He kills large number of people in South Sudan
In Response

by: lual maluese from: kampala
April 23, 2014 5:13 AM
@kim, i know you are the enemy of peace and the food lover, when ever nuer is relieve he rebel, what do u thinks about this?

by: Deng Alor from: kampala
April 16, 2014 5:28 PM
President Slave Kiir,will not step down bcoz he is elected &i personly i elected him,we are deomcratic nation rebel or USA will not remove kiir from the seat of presidency. H.E president kiir will not step down, kiir oyeee.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs