News / Africa

    South Sudanese Seeking Safety as Fighting Rages

    South Sudanese Seeking Safety as Fighting Ragesi
    X
    January 16, 2014 2:57 AM
    Nearly a month after a political power struggle erupted into ethnic violence, South Sudanese continue to flee the fighting that has divided the country. VOA’s Gabe Joselow has this report from a sprawling camp for tens of thousands who have been displaced.
    South Sudanese Seeking Safety as Fighting Rages
    Gabe Joselow
    A month after a political power struggle erupted into ethnic violence, South Sudanese continue to flee the fighting that has divided the country. 
     
    As dawn breaks, hundreds of new arrivals land in the tiny village of Mingkamen on the banks of the White Nile River.
     
    They are among more than 400,000 South Sudanese who have been displaced by fighting in the country.
     
    In this case, they are running from the rebel-held town of Bor, the scene of fierce battles between the divided military and allied militias.
     
    These boats have just arrived from Jonglei state around the area of Bor.  People spent eight hours traveling in the dead of night just to escape the fighting in the area.
     
    Now they’re coming here with almost everything they own, including cattle in some cases.  
     
    If they have money, they might move on to transition to other places, or they’ll stay here until it’s safe enough to go home.”
     
    Among the new arrivals is the Reverend Daniel Garang - a priest with an assault rifle.
     
    He has just helped guide about 100 people to safety after spending three weeks in hiding, narrowly escaping rebel attacks.
     
    He says he has never fired a shot, and his only prayer is for peace.
     
    “Well for me as a priest, to be peaceful is better than to be more violent.  So I wish if there is a cease-fire to stop killing the civilians and the innocent people as I came with them now.  You can see me as military because I’m military minded, but I’m a civilian," said Garang.
     
    More than 84,000 people have fled across the river from Bor. The cattle just started arriving this week.
     
    A major indication of wealth in South Sudan, the cows could not be left behind.
     
    Those who can afford to have brought them over by the boatful, another sign that people are not expecting to go home any time soon.
     
    Elijah Macnom, a local official from Duk county near Bor, says the people who have been left behind are suffering.
     
    “People will be living in fear, like now, many people are hiding in the bushes, and when they went to the bushes, there’s no food there in the bush. These are the challenges that I have witnessed there," said Macnom.
     
    Almost all who have settled here in Mingkamen are Dinka, the tribe of President Salva Kiir.
     
    They are victims of ethnic tensions that have been reignited by the president’s fallout with his top rival Riek Machar, a Nuer.
     
    Elizabeth Yar Garang sleeps under this tree with her mother.  In the recent violence, she sees echoes of the massacre of Dinka in 1991, that many blamed on Machar when he led another rebel group.
     
    “Why does this man Machar kill people?  Old, young, women and children, and now he wants to be a leader. He has done this twice and we cannot forget," she said.
     
    While Dinka have been displaced here, Nuer have been targeted with violence and displaced in other parts of the country including tens of thousands in the capital.
     
    As cease-fire talks drag on, those uprooted by the conflict remain a long way from home.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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