News / Africa

US Warns South Sudan Against Sliding Back into Violence

  • A tank patrols one of the main roads in the South Sudanese capital Juba, Dec. 16, 2013. The South Sudanese president declared a curfew in the capital Juba on Monday after clashes overnight between rival factions of soldiers.
  • South Sudan President Salva Kiir tells reporters at a news conference in Juba on Monday, December 16, 2013 that the government has "full control" of the situation in the capital after what he says was an overnight coup attempt.
  • US Special Envoy for South Sudan and Sudan Donald Booth (R), shown here with South Sudan in Focus host John Tanza, urged South Sudan on Monday not to fall back into violence, but refused to call the overnight unrest in Juba an attempted coup.
The United States is closely watching the situation in the South Sudanese capital where President Salva Kiir says his government has thwarted an attempted coup.
U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth on Monday urged South Sudan not to slide back into violence after clashes rocked Juba overnight, but refused to call the unrest in the capital an attempted coup.

"The situation remains unclear as to what exactly sparked the violence... We are not confirming a coup attempt yet," Booth told VOA News in an interview.

"We've been reaching out to numerous parties in Juba as well as others in the region to put together a picture of what exactly happened," Booth said, adding that "the new country cannot afford a slide back into violence." 

President Salva Kiir told a news conference earlier Monday that a group of soldiers allied to former Vice President Riek Machar, who was sacked in July by Kiir as part of a complete cabinet reshuffle, had launched an attack on army headquarters in Juba, plunging the capital into a night of violence.

His government had regained control as of Monday morning, Kiir said, even as witnesses reported hearing continuing gunfire and explosions in Juba.

The U.S. embassy issued a statement calling for all sides to settle their differences through "peaceful political means." It warned  U.S. citizens in South Sudan to remain indoors until calm has been restored.

Booth told VOA that embassy personnel in Juba are themselves sheltering in place "until they feel it's safe to move around the city."

Juba is under a dusk to dawn curfew until further notice and the international airport was closed in response to the violence. 

Although VOA reporters in other South Sudanese states said the situation there was calm, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf expressed concern that the violence could spread to other countries in the volatile region, and said Washington was continuing to monitor the situation.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said in a statement that hundreds of civilians, many of them women and children, have sought shelter at the U.N. compound near Juba's international airport and at U.N. House in the Jebel Kujur area of the city. 

In the statement, UNMISS also denied "any suggestion that the UN Mission is harboring any key political or military figures" as rumors circulated that Machar had sought refuge with the U.N. or with a foreign embassy.

Machar's whereabouts were unknown Monday, and VOA was unable to reach him or his spokesman for comment.

Since he was fired five months ago, Machar has been highly critical of Kiir, saying he has "dictatorial tendencies" and vowing to challenge him for the leadership of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) party ahead of general elections in 2015.

Booth told VOA News that the United States has been "concerned for awhile about the rising tensions between different factions of the SPLM" and said he called during recent visits to South Sudan for all sides to resolve any disputes they might have through dialogue, not violence.

 

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
December 17, 2013 6:39 AM
Us should pray for sudan not warn.No single country or president is happy when his country goes down with war.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs