News / Africa

South Sudanese Take Dangerous Journey Out of Battle-Ridden Bor

A women, right, displaced by the fighting in Bor county washes herself as another washes kettles, in the village of Mingkamen, in South Sudan, Jan. 14, 2014.
A women, right, displaced by the fighting in Bor county washes herself as another washes kettles, in the village of Mingkamen, in South Sudan, Jan. 14, 2014.
Gabe Joselow
As South Sudan’s military advances on the rebel-held city of Bor, citizens are fleeing in enormous numbers, taking refuge across the river in the small village of Mingkamen.

Reverend Daniel Garang wears a priest’s collar around his neck, and a Kalishnikov rifle on his back.
 
“I am carrying the bullets, but really I did not shoot anything. This is 30 [bullets in the cartridge], and 31 inside [the gun], but I did not release any bullets because I am not in a position of fighting. But I can hold it for defense,” said Garang.
 
He has just arrived here in the village of Mingkamen on the banks of the Nile River with a group of nearly 100 people whom he helped shepherd to safety from Bor, a rebel stronghold under military assault.
 
He says they hid in the wilderness around Bor for four weeks, before sneaking out by boat in the dead of night.
 
A day earlier, they narrowly escaped a rebel cattle raid.

South Sudanese RefugeesSouth Sudanese Refugees
x
South Sudanese Refugees
South Sudanese Refugees
Violent struggle

The gun, Garang said, gives him some measure of protection as the country becomes increasingly militarized. But more than anything, he hopes for a peaceful solution to the crisis that has torn the country apart.
 
“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," he said. "You can see me as military because I’m military-minded, but I’m a civilian.”
 
A political power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his top rival, former vice president Riek Machar, erupted into violence in the capital a month ago, and has since spread to other parts of the country, dividing factions of the military against one another.
 
Some of the fiercest fighting has taken place around Bor, the capital of Jonglei state.
 
Tribal tensions in the country have been reignited by the fallout between Kiir, from the Dinka community, and Machar, a Nuer.
 
Almost all the people in Mingkamen are Dinka, and in the recent fighting they see echoes of the 1991 massacre of Dinka citizens in Bor, which they also blamed on Machar.

Humanitarian crisis

Elizabeth Yar Garang said she lost four family members, including her children in 1991, when Machar led a rebel faction, and three more, including her husband, three weeks ago.
 
“Why does this man Machar kill people?” she asked. "Old, young, women and children, and now he wants to be a leader. He has done this twice and we cannot forget.”
 
At last count, 84,000 had fled across the river to Mingkamen and other areas west of the river.
 
The humanitarian needs are vast. There is little shelter here, and families huddle under the shade of trees.
 
The British charity Oxfam has had success with a filtration system to purify Nile River water, producing about 350,000 liters a day.
 
As rainy season approaches, though, Oxfam field coordinator Ferrán Puig said the risk for water-borne disease will rise. He said the local government wants to move people away from the riverside.
 
“This area is quite low, it’s quite close to the river, and most of the people are here by the riverside. So they prefer for people to move inland just to prevent the consequences of floods,” he said.
 
Many of those who can afford to leave this place, taking buses to refugee camps in Uganda.
 
And those who cannot continue to wait for peace, as talks on a cease-fire in Addis Ababa make scant progress and battles continue across the country.

  • Three children walk through a spontaneous camp for internally displaced persons at the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba, Jan. 9, 2014.
  • People unload the few belongings on Jan. 9, 2014 at Minkammen, South Sudan, that they were able to bring with them to camps for the displaced.
  • Displaced men recuperate from their injuries as they rest on the floor at a United Nations hospital in Tomping camp, near Juba, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • A displaced man, undergoing treatments for his injuries, is seen at a United Nations hospital at Tomping camp, near Juba, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Soldiers from Rwanda serving under United Nations Mission in South Sudan keep watch from an observatory point at Tomping camp, near Juba, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Displaced people wash their clothes in a drainage canal at Tomping camp, near Juba, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Displaced people prepare their meals at Tomping camp near Juba, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya, Jan. 7, 2013.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda rest and await transportation from a transit center in Koboko, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda are seen in Koboko, Jan. 6, 2014.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid