News / Africa

South Sudan Peace Talks Resume as Fighting Rages

Residents of the South Sudanese town of Bentiu flee toward the U.N. base after fresh fighting and targeted killings rocked the town.
Residents of the South Sudanese town of Bentiu flee toward the U.N. base after fresh fighting and targeted killings rocked the town.
Andrew Green
Peace talks for South Sudan resumed in Addis Ababa Monday as fresh fighting was reported around the country, including in once-peaceful Western Bahr el Ghazal state, and the international community railed against alleged targeted ethnic killings.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating the peace process, said negotiators for President Salva Kiir's government and the opposition, led by former vice president Riek Machar, arrived in the Ethiopian capital to resume talks after a three-week break.

IGAD said its mediating team  held consultations with both sides during the recess to try to speed up the peace process and prevent a further escalation of the conflict.

But as the new round of talks got under way, clashes were reported around South Sudan, including in oil-producing Unity and Upper Nile states, Jonglei and Western Bahr el Ghazal.  

Army officials say at least five soldiers were killed in an attack at a military training base in Mapel in Western Bahr el Ghazal, which has up to now avoided becoming embroiled in the conflict raking South Sudan.

The trainee soldiers, who were reported to be members of the Nuer ethnic group, were attacked by family members of other soldiers at the base.

Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer said it was unclear what prompted the attack on Friday.

He rejected opposition claims that more than 200 soldiers were "killed in cold blood" by the SPLA because of their ethnic background and to avenge the capture by rebel forces of a town in Duk County, in Jonglei state, that happens to be the hometown of the slain soldiers' commander, Major General Malual Majok.

Aguer insisted the SPLA was not involved in the attack on the recruits.

A day after the attack, four SPLA brigadier generals and other officers based in the Western Bahr el Ghazal capital, Wau, left their posts. They are reported to have defected to the opposition.

Deputy Governor Zachariah Joseph Garang said the state government has lost touch with the officers.
Fighting in Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei

In addition to the fighting in Western Bahr el Ghazal, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported  heavy fighting in Upper Nile state last week, especially in Renk county, which houses South Sudan's largest oil field.

Government and opposition officials said they have been doing battle for Mayom, in Unity state, and for areas in Duk County.

No one gave casualty figures for any of the fighting, but OCHA said more than 1.2 million people have been forced from their homes by the ongoing violence, including attacks on civilians that have drawn international condemnation.

The White House, State Department and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power joined a chorus of international officials condemning targeted killings of civilians in Bentiu, which the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has blamed on opposition forces.

The rebels have denied that they carried out the killings.

The international community has also spoken out against an attack by an armed mob on the U.N. compound in Bor, where dozens of people, including aid workers and civilians sheltering from violence, were killed. 

Nearly 80,000 people have sought refuge at eight U.N. bases around South Sudan, including some 700 civilians who fled to the U.N. base in the town after the killings at Mapel and the alleged defecions of the SPLA officers, saying they feared they would be targeted following the two incidents. 

Philip Aleu, Lucy Poni and Karin Zeitvogel contributed to this report.

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Comment Sorting
by: Bol from: Bor
April 29, 2014 3:29 AM
I wonder what will these white trashes achieved by falsely reporting on things that they know will have negative consequences on some innocent people?

The corporate America and Europe media propaganda have been in forefront in falsely reporting things that are not fact checked in this war the US its self is sponsoring against the South Sudanese people that the war is a war between the Dinka and Nuer, which is not true on the Dinka side.

When the war the US-US and the UN is sponsoring against the elected government of South Sudan is a war between the Nuer tribe armed rebellion against the government of South Sudan.

If the war is between the Dinka and the Nuer, then why are the Nuers still in Warrap, Lake, Northen Bhar el Gazelle stateS; which are 100 percent Dinka?

There is no 100 percent Nuer state in South Sudan, however, there are some 100 percent Nuer towns, for example, Anasir in the upper Nile state. Can these Americans and Europeans visit Anasir and to find out if they will find out an Equatorian in Anasir let alone a Dinka?

The US and European are asking for a war between the Dinka and the Nuer for a long time now; but when the Dinka starts fighting back later as a besieged tribe, then there will be no Nuers in South Sudan trust that and the US and European corporate media propaganda machine will be held responsible.

The US, the UNIIMISS, the OXfam UK, the USAID and MSF still don't know that they have been found out deep up to their necks in the mire in this war against the South Sudanese people and they still behaved as if their dirty game have not been noticed and is not being monitored by the South Sudanese people.

South Sudanese people are not sleeping be warned!
In Response

by: Gatnyagaak
April 29, 2014 12:13 PM
Cross check your report before slamming the blame on Weatern media outlets. Western nedia are not receiving second or third information, they do know the actual facts. Once again, the town you mentioned is not Anasir it is Nasir town.

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