News / Africa

South Sudan Rebels Hold Two Key Cities as Unrest Continues

  • Members of the South Sudan rebel delegation attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Taban Deng Gai, left, head of the rebel delegation and South Sudan's leader of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Unidentified members of the delegation from the South Sudan government and western observers meet at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • A displaced mother and her baby, one of the few to have a mosquito net, wake up at a refugee camp, Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 2, 2014.
  • A young displaced girl carries a bucket of water back to her makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound. The compound has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Displaced people gather inside a mosquito net tent as they flee from the fighting between the South Sudanese army and rebels in Bor town, in Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • A displaced woman hangs up laundry on the plastic sheeting wall of a latrine at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Yared, 2, is held by his mother, Madhn, who fled from the town of Bor a few days ago. She receives medicine for her child at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical tent, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A young displaced boy rests on the wheel arch of a water truck while others fill containers from it, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Africa, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A family makes tea outside their makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A general view of a camp for displaced people set up in a United Nations compound in Bor, South Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.
  • South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.
Violence in South Sudan
VOA News
The South Sudan government has lost control of two key cities in the world's newest nation, as violence that has claimed hundreds of lives and sent thousands fleeing their homes entered a second week Monday.

Army spokesman Philip Aguer told VOA News that soldiers loyal to former vice president Riek Machar were in control of Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, and Bentiu in oil-rich Unity state, but insisted that the military is "capable of dealing with the rebellion" and will re-establish "full control of the national army over South Sudan."

Many in South Sudan and the international community fear that the violence which began eight days ago in Juba, in what South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has said was an attempt led by Machar to oust him, is both stoking and being fueled by tribal tensions between the minority Nuer -- Machar's ethnic group -- and Kiir's majority Dinka group.

The commander of the Fourth Army Division in Bentiu, James Koang Chuol, who last week insisted that the unrest would not take hold in Unity state, took control of the city at the weekend and declared himself governor after what he said was an attempt, ordered by Juba, to assassinate him.

"The leadership of South Sudan ordered the commanding officer of the tanks unit to kill me," and other division leaders, all of whom are members of the Nuer community, Koang said, adding that his troops thwarted the assassination bid and killed all 15 members of the tanks unit.

Aguer denied that the army had tried to kill Koang or anyone else. 

Koang has imposed a curfew in Bentiu, and promised tough action against anyone caught looting. He also issued an order on state radio, calling for Governor Joseph Nguen Monytuel, who was appointed by Kiir in July, to turn himself in.

Neither Nguen nor Deputy Governor Mabek Lang De Mading have responded to text messages and phone calls from VOA News. They and other state leaders are thought to be in hiding.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed with Kiir in a phone call over the weekend "the need to prevent ethnic violence" and expressed concern for the "welfare of thousands of internally displaced persons fleeing the conflict, as well as for the safety of U.S. citizens in South Sudan."

A report released last week by Human Rights Watch said that many victims of the violence were targeted because of their ethnicity. At least 500 people were killed in Juba when clashes erupted there on December 16, and scores more have been killed as fighting spread around the country.

The U.N. humanitarian office said the violence has displaced 62,000 people across half of South Sudan's 10 states, and that more than 40,000 have taken refuge on U.N. bases and in U.N. compounds.

U.S. 'Could Take Further Action' in South Sudan


The United States has deployed nearly 100 troops to South Sudan to reinforce security at the U.S. embassy in Juba and to help evacuate Americans, and President Barack Obama said Sunday he "may take further action" to protect Americans in South Sudan.

Four U.S. military members were wounded when their military aircraft was fired on over South Sudan at the weekend during a mission to evacuate Americans from Bor.

The U.S. State Department said U.S. citizens and nationals of "partner countries" were evacuated from Bor on Sunday.

US army soldiers stand guard as a US army aircraft remains on the runway awaiting the arrival of American nationals who are being evacuated due to recent unrest and violence in South Sudan, on December 21, 2013, in Juba.US army soldiers stand guard as a US army aircraft remains on the runway awaiting the arrival of American nationals who are being evacuated due to recent unrest and violence in South Sudan, on December 21, 2013, in Juba.
x
US army soldiers stand guard as a US army aircraft remains on the runway awaiting the arrival of American nationals who are being evacuated due to recent unrest and violence in South Sudan, on December 21, 2013, in Juba.
US army soldiers stand guard as a US army aircraft remains on the runway awaiting the arrival of American nationals who are being evacuated due to recent unrest and violence in South Sudan, on December 21, 2013, in Juba.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on South Sudanese leaders to find a "political means" to address the conflict. The violence poses a "dangerous threat" to the future of the young country, Ban said.

The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) relocated non-critical staff from Juba to the Ugandan city of Entebbe on Sunday, a day after evacuating civilian staff from its compound in Bor.

At the same time, UNMISS said it will reinforce its military presence in Bor and Pariang, in Unity state, to allow it to continue to fulfill "its mandate to help protect South Sudanese civilians."

The head of UNMISS, Hilde Johnson, stressed that the mission was "not abandoning South Sudan."

"We are here to stay, and will carry on in our collective resolve to work with and for the people of South Sudan,” Johnson said.

Two U.N. peacekeepers were killed in Jonglei state last week after a large group of armed youths, suspected of belonging to the Nuer ethnic group, surrounded a U.N. operating base in Akobo at which dozens of ethnic Dinka had sought refuge, and opened fire.


Students Urge Dialogue


In Wau, the capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal state, third-year education student Benychieng Gheny Khor told VOA News he sought refuge with the United Nations mission last week after relations between Nuer and Dinka students "went very poor" when some students blamed deaths in the violence in Juba on members of his Nuer ethnic group.

But after Western Bahr el Ghazal Governor Rizik Zachariah Hassan told the students not to "create lines based on our tribes," and assured them that the state government would "provide you with security", Gheny said he was prepared to move back to his university housing.

Gheny urged the national government to learn from the example set by Western Bahr el Ghazal, where there have been no reports of fighting, and from the students at the university in Wau, where business major Akej Philip Dut -- a Dinka -- said at a meeting, "As Nuers and Dinkas and other tribes. I can assure people that we are living peacefully and never had any problems.”

“A dialogue has to be made between the two parties. The leaders have to come down for dialogue and negotiation to the round table and discuss these matters between themselves," Gheny said.

"The victims at the moment are the civilians and citizens of South Sudan,” he said.

Kiir has said he is willing to engage in dialogue to try to end the violence raking the country, and that he is open to negotiations without preconditions.

In an interview last week with Radio France Internationale, Machar said he was open to talks with foreign diplomats to try to end the fighting, but insisted that Kiir step down because "he has failed to maintain unity among the South Sudanese people, which was won after a long and painful battle."

South Sudan became the world's newest nation in July 2011, six years after the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement that ended decades of civil war in once-unified Sudan, in which some two million people died.

South Sudan Turmoil Threatens to Spreadi
X
December 21, 2013 10:45 PM
The United States and the United Nations are calling for an end to the violence in South Sudan, where the government says more than 500 people have been killed and tens of thousands forced to flee. As VOA's Kent Klein has more.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: james from: nairobi
December 25, 2013 4:04 AM
Tribal war cannot solve the problem:love ur neighbour as u loves ur self


by: Kirunda David from: Kampala
December 23, 2013 9:07 PM
Looting has been a big threat to the business community in South Sudan since the violence outbreak at New site on Sunday 15/12/2013. If it was officially prohibited by the authority in the Unity State, that is a very important security measure to appreciate.
I think a Nuer vice president would have been replaced a Nuer in order Kiir to maintain his political support from the second largest ethnic group.


by: charlie from: California
December 23, 2013 12:53 PM
Norway didn't start like this when Sweden pulled out in 1905. It looks like a very bad auger for Southern Sudan. But then Norway hadn't been fighting a pitiless war for independence for decades before 1905. It's just a miserable gift to give to an infant country and at Christmas it is doubly sad in this newest Christian land. For those ignorant of the peoples of South Sudan check out The Last of Nuba and the People of Kau. Beautiful people.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid