News / Africa

    Mediators Face Delicate Task in S. Sudan Talks

    S. Sudan Rebels Want Prisoners Released at Peace Talksi
    X
    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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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 suffered.my 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
    KIIR FAILED TO LEAD THE COUNTRY DUE TO LACK OF DECISION MAKING CAPACITY. MANY PROBLEM WILL HAPPENED BECAUSE HE DON'T KNOW TO DIFFERENTIATE A MILITARY RULING SYSTEM AND PRESIDENTIAL RULING. TO WORK IN YOUR MAM LAND WITH WHAT SO CALLED DEGREE/OR OFFICIAL ORDER IS BORING. THIS TIME IS A TIME OF CIVIL SOCIETY TO MAKE NOISE.

    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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.