News / Africa

    IGAD Condemns New Fighting in South Sudan

    Slain bodies of civilians killed in attacks in May 2014 lie along a road in Bentiu, Unity state.
    Slain bodies of civilians killed in attacks in May 2014 lie along a road in Bentiu, Unity state.

    The East African organization that has been trying for months to broker peace in South Sudan on Friday condemned the latest violation of a seven-month cease-fire deal after fighting raged for hours in Bentiu.

    The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) condemned "in the strongest terms the continued flagrant violation of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement that was signed on 23 January 2014 by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and SPLM/A – In Opposition."

    IGAD said in a statement that it was "particularly dismayed by the latest fighting that happened just days away from the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government summit meeting and less than 48 hours after the departure of the U.N. Security Council team that visited the region."

    Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) logoIntergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) logo
    x
    Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) logo
    Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) logo

    IGAD repeated a message to the warring sides in South Sudan "that military advances to gain more ground by will not achieve anything except to worsen the already catastrophic humanitarian situation and to cause further devastation."

    IGAD was notified of the fighting in Bentiu by a Monitoring and Verification team that is deployed in Unity state. Monitoring and Verification teams were a key provision of the January 23 peace deal, but have been slow in getting off the ground.

    Clashes in Jonglei state

    Lt. Col. Joseph Marier Samuel, a spokesman for the army, confirmed that there had been clashes in Bentiu and said rebel forces also attacked SPLA positions in Ayod, in Jonglei state, early on Friday.

    Jonglei, South SudanJonglei, South Sudan
    x
    Jonglei, South Sudan
    Jonglei, South Sudan

    "In this attack, the rebels have been repulsed leaving behind 120 dead on the ground," Marier said. "On our side we lost six soldiers and 11 wounded.” 

    Marier called the clashes "a continuous violation of the ceasefire agreement" by the opposition.  He insisted the SPLA has always respected the January 23 Cessation of Hostilities agreement and only engaged in combat in self-defense.

    Opposition says SPLA attacked first

    The opposition had an entirely different version of events, saying its forces had been attacked by government troops.

    “Government forces launched fresh attacks on our positions east and south of Bentiu and we engaged them in a three-hour battle," opposition military spokesman Lul Ruai Koang told South Sudan in Focus.

    Koang said the fighting started in Thou Mangue and spread to the Unity state capital, Bentiu, as "government forces retreated under heavy artillery fired from our forces."

    He said the fighting had ended by the afternoon and the opposition was "doing mop-up operations.”

    Koang refused to comment on the death toll in the fighting. 

    More civilians seek UN protection

    The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said in a statement that some 400 civilians fled the fighting in Bentiu and sought shelter with UNMISS troops stationed at the airport. UNMISS escorted the civilians to the UNMISS compound outside Bentiu once the fighting had died down.

    U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, shown here addressing a news conference in Juba on Sat., June 14, 2014.U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, shown here addressing a news conference in Juba on Sat., June 14, 2014.
    x
    U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, shown here addressing a news conference in Juba on Sat., June 14, 2014.
    U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, shown here addressing a news conference in Juba on Sat., June 14, 2014.

    The United Nations' humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, praised the "swift action" taken by UNMISS "to protect the people who sought shelter at the airport."

    Nearly 100,000 civilians have sought shelter at U.N. compounds around South Sudan since fighting first erupted in Juba in December, before spreading to other parts of the country.

    Bentiu has been the site of fierce fighting during the eight-month-old conflict, on which the January 23 peace deal had little impact.

    In April, UNMISS accused opposition forces of carrying out targeted killings, including of children, and inciting "vengeful sexual violence" against women after they once again captured Bentiu from government troops.

    Lucy Poni contributed to this report from Nairobi.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora