News / Africa

    Survivors Tell of Nightmare of Violence in South Sudan Town

    • South Sudanese refugees line up for food at the Dzaipi transit camp in Adjumani, Uganda, around an hour's drive from the South Sudanese border town of Nimule.
    • A South Sudanese government soldier stands with others near their vehicles, after government forces retook Bentiu, capital of Unity State, from opposition fighters on Jan. 10.
    • A member of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) medical team stands near a woman holding her baby on Jan. 10, 2014 at a UN compound in Juba, where thousands have sought refuge from the fighting in South Sudan. MSF medical teams are carrying out 300-500 consul
    • People unload the few belongings they fled with from Bor, capital of Jonglei state, after arriving in Minkammen, on the banks of the Nile..
    • A mother sits with her infant in a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Minkammen, 25 kilometers (16 miles) south of Bor, Jan. 10, 2014.
    • A picture shows an aerial view of a camp of internally displaced people in Minkammen, 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of Bor, Jan. 10, 2014.
    • A Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) doctor treats a girl who suffered an electric shock, at the 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,
    • South Sudanese refugees wait in line to get food at Dzaipi transit camp in northern Uganda. (UNHCR/F. Noy)
    Fleeing Violence in South Sudan
    Almash Desai has just lived through a nightmare.

    After working for four years in a tea shop in the South Sudanese town of Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, the Ethiopian national fled for her life several days ago when armed men came to her home.

    "They came at night and we were sleeping," she told VOA News in Wau, the capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal state, where she arrived Friday morning after a journey of hundreds of kilometers from Malakal.

    "I was wearing trousers and they told me to remove them, and I did. I was left with my underwear only. Two of us managed to escape. We ran naked like this and we ran behind our shop. They were searching everywhere. They brought a truck and took everything. Our friends were raped by seven or eight people but I managed to escape. They did not get me," she said.

    Desai knows she is lucky to have escaped with her life. She said she heard of many  women and girls in Bentiu who have been raped and killed. Some of them were her friends.
    Our friends were raped by seven or eight people but I managed to escape. They did not get me.

    Bentiu has been the scene of fierce battles between government and opposition forces since South Sudan plunged into violence on Dec. 15.

    The provincial capital was seized by anti-government forces in late December but was recaptured early this month by government troops.

    The United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, who visited Bentiu this week as part of a trip to South Sudan to investigate reports of rights abuses by both sides in the conflict, told reporters in Juba on Friday that Bentiu has been wiped off the map.

    The town "simply did not even exist any more," said Šimonović.

    "It was completely burnt down.
    There were just a couple of buildings including a hospital that were still standing," he said of what was once the capital of South Sudan's second largest oil-producing state.

    Ali Ismael Osmaan spent three weeks at U.N. Mission in South Sudan's (UNMISS) compound in Bentiu after the shop he ran there for six years was broken into and looted.  In the end, the Sudanese national also fled to Wau, which has so far been unaffected by the fighting in South Sudan.

    Bentiu simply did not exist any more. It was completely burnt down.
    "All the shops are destroyed and all the goods have been looted," Ali said, blaming both soldiers and civilians for the widespread looting.

    "We have some brothers and sisters who have been killed, and others who had money and mobile phones taken from them. Even those who managed to get to U.N. compounds, some were killed and some were threatened. We really lost everything," he said.

    Huda Fadul, a mother of five children from northern Darfur in Sudan, arrived in Wau on Friday morning.

    "We don’t have anything left. We just came with the clothes on our backs. We were in Rubkona county," in Unity state, she said.

    "I have seen many people killed... We thank God we have arrived in Wau safely," she said, adding that she wants to make her way back to Darfur to be with her family.


    Half a million displaced by fighting


    The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Friday nearly half a million people are estimated to have been displaced by the fighting in South Sudan. More than 118,000 have left Unity state and 113,500 have fled Jonglei state, where government and opposition forces are battling for control of the capital, Bor.

    Aid organizations have only reached 200,000 of the internally displaced people so far, OCHA said.

    Around 1,000 people are leaving South Sudan every day to seek refuge in neighboring countries, the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, said Friday, projecting that refugee numbers will top 100,000 by the end of January if the fighting does not stop and the exodus continues.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: loki David from: Uganda
    January 19, 2014 11:15 PM
    The crisis of south Sudan is getting beyond our nose the south Sudanese citizens. We are not enjoying our peace that God granted us two years ago. We live in fear,no freedom of speech,no freedom of movement. Please God we need you to our rescue.

    by: Ghazi Malik from: London
    January 18, 2014 11:20 AM
    This pogrom has been in the making since the African Bureau of the US State Dept. planned snd executed this cession of the southern region of the Republic of Sudan against the wish of all of its poeple including southern tribed other than the murderous Dinka and Morli tribes military militia nurtured by Israel politicians such as Menachem Begin, Shamir and Sharon.

    by: Tash from: Ambara
    January 18, 2014 10:03 AM
    I think these all crimes victim express their views are committed by Rebel & their fugitive leader Riak. Looks, the all these days those places are in Rebel control, there no any access of media even victim are clear!
    "God help SS with people"

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.