News / Africa

    South Sudan Detains Soldiers Suspected of Ethnic Killings, Official Says

    South Sudanese government soldier in Unity State, South Sudan, Sunday, Jan 12, 2014. A government official says an unspecified number of SPLA soldiers have been detained on suspicion they carried out targeted ethnic killings.
    South Sudanese government soldier in Unity State, South Sudan, Sunday, Jan 12, 2014. A government official says an unspecified number of SPLA soldiers have been detained on suspicion they carried out targeted ethnic killings.
    Charlton Doki
    The South Sudan government has arrested an unspecified number of members of the security forces who are suspected of targeting and killing civilians on the basis of their ethnicity, an official said Thursday.

    “We know that some individuals from the military, from the SPLA who were accused of targeting some groups are now under detention. And they are going to be investigated as to why they did that and whenever they are found guilty then they will be dealt with,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Mawien Makol Arik said.

    The announcement of the detentions came hard on the heels of a report released by Human Rights Watch, which documented widespread killings of Nuer men by members of the South Sudanese armed forces in Juba since fighting erupted in the capital city on Dec. 15.

    The report also said ethnic Dinka were killed by opposition forces in other parts of the country.

    Human Rights Watch said many of the crimes committed in South Sudan are "serious violations of international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity."

    Makol said the government has launched a campaign to explain that the fighting that continues to wrack South Sudan, a month after it started, is not a conflict between Nuer and Dinka.

    He said the government has established a committee that is "going to go around South Sudan to tell the people... that that the thing that happened was not a tribal thing. It was not based on any tribal affiliation, it was politically motivated.”

    Makol accused opposition forces of stoking ethnic tensions in a bid to gain support for themselves.

    “This issue of tribal affiliations has been used by the rebels to try to rally support so that they get people to support them," he said.

    Last month, the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said it had "mounting evidence" that serious human rights abuses, including targeted ethnic killings, were being committed in South Sudan.

    The majority of what UNMISS described as "the more brutal atrocities" were reportedly carried out by "people wearing uniform," the U.N mission said in a statement.

    Human Rights Watch compiled its report after interviewing more than 200 victims of and witnesses to abuses in Juba and Bor. Violence is still raging in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, but Juba has been relatively calm for several weeks.

    In addition to targeted ethnic killings, Human Rights Watch said it has received multiple reports of looting of medical and humanitarian facilities, and of the government denying authorization for aid workers to travel to areas where people are in desperate need of aid.

    International medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told VOA Thursday that its compound in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state where the two sides have been fighting for several days, was looted by unidentified gunmen.

    "The South Sudanese government and leaders of opposition forces should ensure unhindered access by U.N. and independent humanitarian agencies to displaced and other civilians in need of assistance and protection," Human Rights Watch said.

    "Both sides should respect medical and humanitarian facilities, material and staff, as required by international law. Anyone who blocks or otherwise doesn’t cooperate with independent humanitarian activities should be held accountable," it said in its report.

    You May Like

    Water Scarcity Could Push Conflict, Migration by 2050

    Warning comes in a new report from the World Bank titled "High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy"

    What Your First Name Says About Who You Support for President

    Bobby, Betty and Curtis tend to support Donald Trump while people named Juan, Liz or Mohammad are more likely to lean toward Hillary Clinton

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    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