News / Africa

US Begins Evacuating Citizens from South Sudan as Unrest Spreads

At Least 400 Dead in South Sudan Violencei
X
December 18, 2013 9:09 AM
Hospitals in South Sudan have told the United Nations that days of fighting in the country's capital have killed at least 400 people and wounded 800 others.
The United States began evacuating Americans from South Sudan Wednesday as fighting that has rattled Juba for three days spread to neighboring states.

Three groups of U.S. citizens were "safely and successfully evacuated" from South Sudan on board two U.S. military aircraft and a private charter flight, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

Among those airlifted out of South Sudan were non-emergency staff from the embassy, Ajani Husbands, the public affairs officer at the U.S. embassy in Juba, told VOA News.

The British embassy has also evacuated personnel from South Sudan.

The evacuations come three days after gunbattles broke out in Juba in what President Salva Kiir has said was an attempted coup led by former Vice President Riek Machar.

UNMISS said more than 20,000 civilians have sought shelter at two U.N. compounds and the World Food Programme's compound in Juba.

U.N. officials said they are investigating reports that several hundred people have been killed or injured in the fighting, while the Red Cross has reported that more than 300 patients have been treated at two hospitals in Juba.

That marked a sharp uptick from the toll reported Tuesday, when Health Undersecretary, Dr. Makur Matur Kariom, said that medical staff at Juba Teaching Hospital have recorded 26 deaths caused by the violence in the capital.

  • 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.


While Juba was relatively calm Wednesday, officials in Jonglei state said the fighting has spread there.

Jonglei Deputy Governor Hussein Maar said clashes erupted overnight at two military barracks around 10 kilometers outside Bor, the state capital of Jonglei, triggering panic and sending hundreds of people fleeing to United Nations' facilities for protection.

"Because of that fighting, the local people here got scared that it will spill over to the town and people are running about in town," he said.

Six people were killed just outside Bor, but it was unclear if those deaths were related to the fighting, Maar said.

The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said the fighting near Bor was heavy and lasted for four hours.

"The violence triggered an exodus of civilians out of Bor, and thousands have sought shelter at the Mission’s compound on the southeastern outskirts of the city," UNMISS said in a statement.

Kiir Open to Talks to End Violence


U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told a news conference that he has spoken to Kiir and "impressed on him the need to resume dialogue with the political opposition."

"I welcome the reports this morning that President Salva Kiir is willing to enter into such talks," the U.N. Secretary General said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a speech given in the Philippines, where he is visiting the typhoon-ravaged city of Tacloban, that the people of South Sudan deserve better than a backwards step into violence.

"They have endured many years of conflict and sacrifice, far too much for their country to now go backwards and descend back into violence," Kerry said.

"Political differences need to be resolved by peaceful and democratic means, and those have been hard fought for. The government should respect the rule of law, and the people of South Sudan should be able to realize their full potential in peace," he said.

The U.S. State Department said Ambassador Susan Page "raised the arrests of several opposition members" when she met with Kiir on Wednesday.

Ten people have been arrested in connection with the violence, and five more, including Machar, are still at large, according to the South Sudan government's website.

Machar's whereabouts are still unknown, but he is reported to be in South Sudan.

Kiir fired Machar in July as part of a complete overhaul of his cabinet. Since then, Machar has been an outspoken critic of the president, accusing Kiir of having dictatorial tendencies.

But the former vice president has denied having anything to do with the unrest or with organizing an alleged coup.

Juba is still under a dusk to dawn curfew, with no indication as to when it will be lifted.

Most major land border crossings remained closed Wednesday, but the government ordered that the airport in Juba be reopened to commercial flights.

The U.S. embassy confirmed in a tweet that the airport had reopened but warned that there were "reports of multiple checkpoints" on the road leading to the airport.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid