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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs