News / Africa

UN Bars South Sudan Official from Camp for Displaced

UN officials denied a South Sudanese government minister access to the United Nations compound in Bor, shown here on Dec. 25, 2013, where thousands have sought shelter from fighting.
UN officials denied a South Sudanese government minister access to the United Nations compound in Bor, shown here on Dec. 25, 2013, where thousands have sought shelter from fighting.
Philip AleuLucy Poni
South Sudan's information minister was refused access at the weekend to the United Nations compound in Bor, where some 10,000 people have sought shelter as heavy fighting between pro- and anti-government forces raged in the town, U.N. and army officials said Monday.

Ariane Quentier, the spokeswoman for the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), told VOA News that Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth tried to enter the U.N. compound in Bor but was refused access because the two bodyguards accompanying him were armed.

She said none of the eight U.N. protection sites in South Sudan, which are currently providing temporary shelter to some 70,000 people who have been displaced by five weeks of fighting around the country, allow access to any outsiders carrying weapons.

Makuei's bodyguards reportedly threatened U.N. staff who refused them access to the camp, but eventually withdrew.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement he was "disturbed" that United Nations personnel were threatened by members of the South Sudanese military during the incident, and demanded that all parties to the conflict in the young nation "respect the sanctity of UNMISS protection sites.”

Makuei could not be reached for comment, but South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aguer called the United Nations' refusal to allow a government minister to enter the camp astonishing, and said it raised questions in the minds of South Sudanese about the goings-on inside the camp.


"We are surprised if the United Nations can deny a host Minister of Information, the honorable Michael Makuei, who wanted to visit the United Nations camp. So people are wondering what was inside the U.N. camp that a minister of the incumbent government should not see,” Aguer said.

Quentier insisted that the United Nations is merely enforcing its own rules and trying to maintain a neutral position in the conflict, which pits supporters of President Salva Kiir against anti-government forces, most of whom back Kiir's former deputy, Riek Machar.

Bor 'destroyed' in fighting


Makuei's attempt to visit the camp in Bor came as the two sides continued slow-moving peace talks in Addis Ababa while fierce fighting raged in parts of South Sudan.

South Sudan army soldiers stand next to a destroyed motorcycle near Bor airport on Dec. 25, 2013. The government says it has recaptured Bor from opposition fighters.South Sudan army soldiers stand next to a destroyed motorcycle near Bor airport on Dec. 25, 2013. The government says it has recaptured Bor from opposition fighters.
x
South Sudan army soldiers stand next to a destroyed motorcycle near Bor airport on Dec. 25, 2013. The government says it has recaptured Bor from opposition fighters.
South Sudan army soldiers stand next to a destroyed motorcycle near Bor airport on Dec. 25, 2013. The government says it has recaptured Bor from opposition fighters.
The South Sudanese government said at the weekend that its forces have recaptured Bor, which is one of three provincial capitals that have been the scene of bitter battles between pro- and anti-government troops in the five weeks since the world's newest nation plunged into violence.

Authorities in Jonglei state said the provincial capital was reduced to rubble during the fighting.

Jonglei state's caretaker Governor John Koang Nyuon told VOA that nearly every building in the town was destroyed. 


State Assembly Speaker Peter Chol Wal said looters ransacked his office, and  appeared to be targeting official documents.

He said state officials will form a special committee to assess the damage but warned that it would probably take years to rebuild the provincial capital and the rest of the state.

"I think it will take time for rehabilitation of Jonglei state to get back to its place, like it was before," Wal said.

"I think it will take us three years because they were targeting the documents -- I think it will be very hard work," he said.

He said many people fled into the bush or swamps weeks ago to shelter from the fighting and were still too frightened to come out.

Government forces earlier this month recaptured the capital of Unity state, Bentiu, which a high-ranking U.N. official said has been wiped off the map by days of heavy fighting between the two sides, and Aguer said the army was preparing to launch an offensive to recapture Malakal, the capital of oil-rich Upper Nile state.

A woman stands with her daughter in the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic set up at the camp for displaced people in the grounds of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba, South Sudan, on January 12, 2014.A woman stands with her daughter in the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic set up at the camp for displaced people in the grounds of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba, South Sudan, on January 12, 2014.
x
A woman stands with her daughter in the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic set up at the camp for displaced people in the grounds of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba, South Sudan, on January 12, 2014.
A woman stands with her daughter in the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic set up at the camp for displaced people in the grounds of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba, South Sudan, on January 12, 2014.
A source in Malakal, who asked not to be identified, told VOA last week that opposition forces were "in full control" of Malakal and were preparing to advance on two key oil-producing areas in Upper Nile, which produces around 85 percent of South Sudan's key revenue-generating resource.

More than half a million people have been forced from their homes by the fighting, and although no precise death toll is available, U.N. officials have said they believe many thousands of people have been killed.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: matur from: south Sudan
January 21, 2014 11:43 AM
Oh u better to be silent instant to talks something u don,t knows Mr as u say your name is Bol

In Response

by: jack from: brazil
January 21, 2014 4:03 PM
I visited Juba and Malakal in 1955, when I was a student; before you were born. Nuer, Dinka & Shilluk were my friends. All tribes lived happily together then, apart from the occasional cattle raid.

Why was the minister frightened to go into the camp unless his 2 bodyguards were armed? He could have gone in without them -- the UN has nothing to hide. The UN escort would have stopped the refugees from strangling him with their bare hands -- being of a different tribe.


by: Apllys from: Juba
January 21, 2014 11:31 AM
Indeed it is too sorry for a minister to force UN to lost its mandates. I don't know what make them like these, if you have no rule and regulation in your office please don't force trained and educated people, so cook your mind for the next step in your regime!


by: Bol Deng from: German
January 21, 2014 1:47 AM
I can not blame Makui Lueth because he doesn't know the UN rule. He might thought that it's their government that they run without constitutions like the rest of the world. It is a good lesson to learn from UN.
Look your fail government guys!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid