News / Africa

Mediators Face Delicate Task in S. Sudan Talks

S. Sudan Rebels Want Prisoners Released at Peace Talksi
January 03, 2014 6:26 AM
South Sudan's army continues to battle rebel forces, even as negotiators from the warring sides expect to begin talks Friday aimed at ending the violence that has pushed the world's newest country toward civil war.
Watch related video from VOA
Delegates for South Sudan's government and the rebels fighting to push it from power have opened talks aimed at ending nearly three weeks of violence. Some experts warn the situation will worsen if the East African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), continues to condemn the actions of the rebel group.

The representatives for South Sudan's government and the rebels have met separately in Addis Ababa with mediators trying to broker a cease-fire. As of Friday afternoon, the two delegations had not met face-to-face.

Jok Madut Jok of the Sudd Institute, an independent research organization in South Sudan, says the immediate cessation of hostilities is more important to the people of South Sudan now than political settlement.

“What people are waiting and hoping for right now in South Sudan is for the factions, these warring parties, to have [an] immediate cease-fire," he said. "That’s really most urgent as people are extremely desperate under the circumstances they find themselves now.”

The United Nations estimates that more than 1,000 people have been killed and around 200,000 displaced from their homes due to the ongoing clashes in South Sudan.

Away from the talks, fighting continues, with military clashes being reported around the rebel-held cities of Bor, in Jonglei state, and the Unity State capital, Bentiu.

Last week, the East African bloc IGAD urged both sides in the conflict to seize "the small window of opportunity" and begin peace talks.

The five nations in IGAD also warned the rebels led by former vice president Riek Machar that they will not accept the "unconstitutional overthrow" of South Sudan's government.

Jok says the regional mediators will find themselves in a delicate situation as they try to end the conflict.

“The East African grouping, the IGAD - on the one hand, they want to send signal to South Sudan and any other country in the region that the use of violence as the avenue to a political power must be and should be discouraged at all cost," he said. "And so they might be trying to condemn the former vice president for his action, but by doing so they risk pushing away into a kind of a civil war.”

  • Displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile, prepare to sleep in the open in the town of Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A young displaced boy rests on the wheel arch of a water truck while others fill containers from it, at a United Nations compound on the outskirts of Juba, the South Sudanese capital.
  • Yared, 2, is held by mother Madhn who fled from the town of Bor a few days ago, as she receives medicine for her child at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical tent at a United Nations compound.
  • Displaced people gather under a mosquito net tent as they flee from fighting between the South Sudanese army and rebels in Bor town, 180 km (112 miles) northwest from capital Juba December 30, 2013.
  • A soldier from South Sudan's army stands guard in Malakal in the Upper Nile State of South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A young displaced girl carries a bucket of water back to her makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in the Jebel area on the outskirts of Juba.
  • The U.N.'s top humanitarian official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, assesses the situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, Unity state, South Sudan, Dec. 24, 2013. (UNMISS)
  • A pirogue packed with passengers arrives at a dock after crossing a waterway near the town of Malakal, seen from an airplane over South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • U.N.'s top humanitarian official in the country Toby Lanzer, left, makes a visit to assess the humanitarian situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, in oil-rich Unity state, in South Sudan, Dec. 24, 2013.

Bloodshed in the world's newest country erupted when renegade soldiers attacked a South Sudanese army headquarters on December 15. President Kiir accused former vice president Machar of a coup attempt.

The violence split the country along ethnic lines, with supporters of Mr. Kiir, a member of the Dinka tribe, and supporters of Machar, from the Nuer tribe, targeting each other.

Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Juba has ordered the evacuation of more staff due to the "deteriorating security situation" in South Sudan.

An embassy statement urged all U.S. citizens to leave and promised the State Department would arrange an evacuation flight Friday.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Both Tongyik Chan from: Ethioipia
January 06, 2014 7:01 AM
Kiir emerged to power without the concern of citizens, people who know his character. General Mayar is bad physically, mentally, emotionally. if these thing lacking according to leadership theory, an individual can not be allowed to lead people. I observed My brother Kiir, sitting with leaders having good background,posture,peace,and equality in their leadership style, while destroying his home. I would feel boring, I were my brother Kiir. since earth and heaven still existing, My brother Kiir ! you will not lead the south sudan.

by: Bol from: Bor
January 04, 2014 9:54 PM
So Mr Jok Madut is insinuating that his friend Riek Machar actions won't be entirely condemned by the IGAD members as they did, but to praise his actions?

Gosh ! these are the intellectuals the West produced for South Sudan? If this is the stand of this so-called intellectual; then Jok Madut also belongs in jail like the other coup plotters like Pagan Amum and other US cloned who think they can now do thing differently.

When in fact they all failed South Sudanese. Jok Madut himself is even worse than Kiir, who do not have the level of formal education Jok Madut has.

But when he was in the same Kiir's government line-up, as so do many thieves who are currently leading the rebellion, What did Jok Madut achieved or did differently under his last assignment?

All of them who are currently claiming that others are good guys and others are bad guys, are same people who rowed the same boat they are now claiming to be sinking right after they were sacked by their boss.

South Sudanese would be fools if they would ever again want to trust any of these people who now pretending to be the good guys while painting others the bad guys; they are all bad guys as far we know. They are only after power, not after South Sudanese interests.

Unless we hear from somebody who was not part of the same rotten system that has badly failed South Sudanese; then the chameleons like Jok Madut should just give South Sudanese a break, for he isn't any different from the thieves who are now being touted by their US bosses that they will rule South Sudanese again.

Something many clear seeing South Sudanese would not buy comes 2015.

by: Deng madingbor from: Bortown
January 04, 2014 9:47 PM
my information to everybody
I went to ethiopia and the cause of the problems were crimals who are killing still civils if they not stopping this now, we will inform to stopping their not
To distory our flag of south
Sudan.i donot like the words
Of arab said that,we can not
Rule ourselves,we arenot allowance
Never happen to us,president and those
Members who are confusing young
We arenot giving up because we
Were child when we left home
They kill people alway for their benefit
We will take care of this situation.i praise
That people consider that time
Our indenpent the wrongs tallest building must be burn down.they more
People who donot know our suffered in
Ethiopia getting check and our
Names are missing we needs our
Lists now,and thanks and that way
Win this war.i need to interview
because i was parenr
Were by riek in 1991 and i was
In pochalla i disagree with those
Who went for peace with crimak
Riek machar.we need him for cr
Crimal court, we have rule in si
South sudan

Willbe burn down

by: Both Tongyik Chan from: Ethiopia
January 04, 2014 11:09 AM

by: lino garang from: USA
January 03, 2014 8:07 PM
For my opinion, This devil Riek Machar will not live in south Sudan for life.

by: Deng Barjok from: kampala
January 03, 2014 10:33 AM
why Dr riek machar is saying that he form rebel groups because of imbalance leadership of salva kiir and wat of 1991 wen he killed many innocent civilians in bor town was salvakiir a president of south sudan by that time please guys let him claim for negative though
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 04, 2014 2:40 PM
Dr riek machar is evil and will never lead South Sudan with that Nuer brain

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs