News / Africa

S. Sudan Opposition Accuses Government of Deadly Weekend Attack

An SPLA tank drives past the remains of a rebel soldier killed near Bor on January 26, 2014, days after a peace deal was signed. South Sudan opposition forces accused the government of fresh attacks at the weekend, including on the hometown in Unity state of former vice president Riek Machar. REUTERS/George Philipas
An SPLA tank drives past the remains of a rebel soldier killed near Bor on January 26, 2014, days after a peace deal was signed. South Sudan opposition forces accused the government of fresh attacks at the weekend, including on the hometown in Unity state of former vice president Riek Machar. REUTERS/George Philipas
Lucy Poni
South Sudanese opposition forces on Monday accused government troops of attacking the Unity state hometown of former vice president Riek Machar, who fled into hiding in December after President Salva Kiir accused him of triggering nearly six weeks of violence around the country.

Lul Ruai Koang, a spokesman for Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army In Opposition, said government forces, together with rebels from Sudan, attacked Leer town over the weekend, and killed civilians as they tried to flee the fighting.

“On Saturday, a combined force comprised of units from Justice and Equality Movement and South Sudan Liberation Army militias advanced on Leer in the afternoon," Koang told VOA.

After opposition forces made what Koang called "a tactical withdrawal," the troops "entered Leer town and started burning down the... town and the surrounding villages," he said.

"And, not only that, they went as far as hunting down women and children and the elderly who had gone to hide in the nearby bushes and swampy areas, and they started killing them,” he added.

Koang said he believes Leer was attacked because it is the hometown of Machar, who Kiir has accused of trying to oust him in December, setting off weeks of violence that claimed thousands of lives and displaced more than three-quarters of a million people. 

“There is no strategic, operation or tactical importance attached to Leer in terms of military perspective," Koang said.

"It is a small town on the banks of the White Nile River. The only important thing is that it is the home of the vice president, and that’s what the government is capitalizing on," he said.

The anti-govenrment side in South Sudan's recent conflict, which erupted on Dec. 15 when fighting broke out in Juba, also alleged that government forces attacked their positions in the Doliep Hills, south of the Upper Nile state capital, Malakal, and in another part of Unity state at the weekend.

If confirmed, the attacks would violate a cessation of hostilities agreement signed nearly two weeks ago by the two sides. The agreement calls for fighting to halt immediately, for all foreign forces that were invited in to South Sudan to fight to be withdrawn, and for an end to attacks on women, children and the elderly.

South Sudan's leader of the government's delegation Nhial Deng Nhial (L) exchanges a signed ceasefire agreement with the head of the rebel delegation Gen. Taban Deng Gai (R) to end more than five weeks of fighting.South Sudan's leader of the government's delegation Nhial Deng Nhial (L) exchanges a signed ceasefire agreement with the head of the rebel delegation Gen. Taban Deng Gai (R) to end more than five weeks of fighting.
x
South Sudan's leader of the government's delegation Nhial Deng Nhial (L) exchanges a signed ceasefire agreement with the head of the rebel delegation Gen. Taban Deng Gai (R) to end more than five weeks of fighting.
South Sudan's leader of the government's delegation Nhial Deng Nhial (L) exchanges a signed ceasefire agreement with the head of the rebel delegation Gen. Taban Deng Gai (R) to end more than five weeks of fighting.
Koang accused the government of "intensifying the war" rather than ending the violence. "It is bringing in foreign fighters from Darfur, from Blue Nile, from Rwanda, from Congo and within a very short time we are going to have a regional war taking place in South Sudan,” he said.

Vice President James Wani Iga denied that the government had attacked opposition-held towns, saying, "We don’t intend to fight. We are for the agreement which was signed and this is actually what we are abiding with.”

A team from the regional body that brokered the cessation of hostilities agreement, IGAD, arrived in Juba on Sunday to begin setting up bases to monitor the peace deal signed in Addis Ababa on Jan. 23.

The head of the IGAD monitoring team, Ethiopian Major General Gebreegzabher Mebrahtu, was unable to confirm the opposition's claims of renewed fighting over the weekend.

Charlton Doki and Andrew Green contributed to this report from Juba.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: john three gabriel from: egypt
February 04, 2014 3:11 PM
what the government of south Sudan want is not good we are all looking for peace and they are fooling the whole wide world, of not accepting what they did they attack the SPLM/A in opposition and the so called vice president denied it. what kind of system is this? suppose rebel should deny things not the government

by: Anonymous
February 04, 2014 7:47 AM
Leer town havebeen burn down and all primary school,EMMA secondary,MSF-HOLAND building,churches are destroy while many life of citizens are lost by gvt side,therefore i call upon regional communities and humanitrian aids agency to over see what is doing by Salva kiir and Yueri Moseveni gvt.
In Response

by: Maguangdit from: Cam
February 04, 2014 1:27 PM
Keep crying Nyigateen! This is a war you imposed on your own when nobody needs war in South Sudan. South Sudan is not only for Nuer and Dinka and you have to accept this reality. Some stupid Nuer like Riak Machar and his stupid militia will never be allowed to destroy South Sudan. You better reap what you sow now. Just enjoy it; it is cool!
In Response

by: Makuel Madol Betiem from: Juba-South Sudan.
February 04, 2014 12:30 PM
The destructions by Kiir's troops doesn't matters alots. What matter is the resignation of the mr. President Salva Kiir where by all South Sudanese will rebuild the destroyed towns without fear of re-destruction.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More