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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid