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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora