News / Africa

    'We Want Peace' but Kiir Must Go, South Sudan's Machar Says

    • 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
    John Tanza
    Former South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar, who has been accused by President Salva Kiir of sparking the deadly violence that has rocked the world's newest nation for more than two weeks, said Wednesday he has sent a delegation to Ethiopia for peace talks.

    "The mediators when they contacted me, I have sent a delegation to Addis so that this issue can be discussed. We hope the dialogue will bring about a solution," Machar told VOA News in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location.

    I don't think Salva Kiir can unite the people any more.
    But Machar insisted that Kiir has to step down for peace to be restored in South Sudan, where the United Nations has said it has "mounting evidence" that serious human rights abuses, including targeted ethnic killings, massive displacements and arbitrary detentions have been committed since unrest broke out on Dec.15.

    "We want peace, but peace cannot be achieved under Salva Kiir Mayardit," he said.

    "He has disunited the country. There's a massacre in Juba, ethnic cleansing in Juba. I don't think Salva Kiir can unite the people any more," Machar said.



    The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said that evidence it has gathered shows that South Sudanese citizens are being targeted in the fighting because they belong to Kiir's ethnic group, the Dinka, or to his former vice president Riek Machar's ethnic Nuer group.

    Kiir said days ago that he would be willing to hold talks with Machar to try to end the fighting that the United Nations says has claimed at least 1,000 lives and displaced tens of thousands, but only if there are no conditions attached to the negotiations.

    Machar, meanwhile, has repeatedly said that he will not enter into talks with Kiir unless he meets certain conditions, including that the president should free all 11 high-ranking members of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) party who were detained when the unrest started.

    Machar said Wednesday that, although he has sent a delegation to Addis Ababa for the talks, he still wanted Kiir to free the detained SPLM party members because they were key members of the team he wanted to send to the peace talks.

    A VOA reporter confirmed that delegates from Machar's side have arrived in the Ethiopian capital for peace talks, but said it was unclear if anyone from the government side had arrived.

    Ethiopian government officials said the talks were unlikely to begin before Thursday, reporter Marthe van der Wolf said.



    The East African bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating the talks, had set a deadline of Tuesday for the two sides to come to the negotiating table to end the violence in South Sudan.

    A source close to the government, who asked not to be named, said the officials who have been named to represent Kiir at the talks were unable to get a flight from Juba to Addis Ababa by the IGAD deadline, but it was impossible for VOA News to independently confirm the information.

    South Sudan plunged into violence in mid-December after what Kiir said was a failed bid to oust him, orchestrated by Machar.

    Machar, who was vice president of South Sudan until July, when Kiir fired him in a sweeping cabinet reshuffle, has consistently denied being behind a coup.

    He went to ground immediately after the unrest broke out and said Wednesday that he would only emerge from hiding "when we attain peace."

    An ally of Machar said Tuesday that fighting was still raging in parts of South Sudan, even as negotiators headed to Ethiopia to talk peace.

    "There is bombardment going on... Some of the areas that are controlled by Riek Machar are being bombarded and, as I speak to you, there is fighting going on in parts of Unity state," Hussein Mar Nyuot told a news conference in Nairobi.

    "So far there is no ceasefire or cessation of hostilities," said Mar Nyuot, who left his position as deputy governor of Jonglei state on Tuesday to go over to Machar's side in the conflict.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    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 Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    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.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora