News / Africa

    S. Sudan's Youth Return Home to Fight Government

    FILE - A man from the Luo Nuer tribe carries his gun in Yuai Uror county, South Sudan.
    FILE - A man from the Luo Nuer tribe carries his gun in Yuai Uror county, South Sudan.
    Marthe van der Wolf
    Young South Sudanese who fled the conflict in their country are returning to fight against the government; hundreds have already returned, and more are packing their bags.
     
    About 100 South Sudanese between the age of 18 and 40 left the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, this past week, and up to 300 more are expected to leave in the coming two weeks.
     
    Gatdet, 31, fled to Ethiopia one month ago. He is an ethnic Nuer and feared for his life in Juba, where he worked as a sales representative. Gatdet said he must go back and fight for his country, on the side of the opposition.
     
    “I don’t have a country basically now so I have to fight for it to go back and live there. The people in the opposition, they were part of SPLM, then they had wanted SPLM internal reforms which president refused. They refused to sit together and have internal dialogues, and discuss problem and way forward. We have to fight with opposition because first time this problem started, then the president refused democratic transition to move forward," said Gatdet.
     
    More than 500 young South Sudanese have shown an interest in going back home and fighting. The elders in South Sudanese refugee communities have tried to discourage some, especially the students, saying education is more important, but their arguments are barely heard.
     
    James, 38, fled to Ethiopia shortly after fighting broke out in December. He received military training as a child as part of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, but never actually fought. He said he is now ready to defend his country and is scheduled to leave in two weeks.
     
    “The fact [is] that the war was imposed on the majority of South Sudan. We feel that if the leadership does not see dialogue as a mean of peaceful solution of things, then now we have violence. We, the population, accept war, so let us go into the field and let us see who is going to win this and if we win military. Then we will prove whoever who imposed this war on us wrong,” said James.
     
    Both Gatdet and James said they are going home voluntarily and have not been recruited by the opposition. The returning South Sudanese also include a few females among them. From Addis Ababa, they will fly to Ethiopia’s southwestern region, Gambella. From there they will cross the river into South Sudan and travel to opposition-held areas. After receiving military training and a rank, everyone will be tasked with specific duties, which include frontline fighting.
     
    Fighting in South Sudan broke out mid-December after President Salva Kiir accused his former vice president Riek Machar of planning a coup. The East African bloc IGAD has been mediating peace talks and announced last week that a stabilization and protection force should be send to South Sudan.
     
    Gatdet said he does not support the intervention of foreign troops and doubts their credibility.
     
    “Why are they collecting troops? In that case it will be a question of how these troops are going to be neutral. Because if you put them on the oil field, why are they protecting oil fields? It means they are also strengthening the government which is killing its own people,” said Gatdet.
     
    Peace negotiations between the two fighting parties have made little progress. Although two agreements were signed in January, including a cessation of hostilities, fighting continues and the talks have been postponed till late March.

    You May Like

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: walter Donge from: United State
    March 11, 2014 4:39 PM
    Us Nuer men, we know children don't learn-from people who don't love them. Us Nuer men you can count on others but it's better to use your own fingers and toes. Always do what you say you are going to do. it is the glue and fiber binds successful relationships.

    Today i will find out how to do it myself and then do it for ever. There are victories of the soul and spirit sometimes, even if you lose, you win. Everybody has to be somebody to somebody to be anybody. When we turn to each other, and not on each other, that's victory.

    President Kiir didn't remember the forgotten shreds of simplicity in our quet hearts and didn't know the key to everything is patience. you only get the chicken alive by hatching the egg, not by smashing it. Kiir must leave South Sudan forever and never come back. Because he make wrong history of South Sudan.

    by: yoyo jj from: juba
    March 11, 2014 4:36 PM
    the president should realize that with out people he will not carry the title the early the better people are dieing he should ignore what the former vice did and resolve it peacefully

    by: kim from: gai
    March 11, 2014 6:28 AM
    The time it's for dialogue not for fighting and we are now the boss side killing the civilians for nothing the only resolution for this war is dialogue

    by: Wango Benjamin from: Nairobi
    March 11, 2014 6:11 AM
    any force fighting for the freedom of the country must have the national identity. but these thugs of Lou 're just upto no proper mandate and missions as well, firstly; they 're all Nuer and from the same region of Upper Nile, at least it could make sense if you can find an Equatorian, a Dinka, a Shilluk, Murle, Anuak and so forth fighting along with them. in Kiir's forces, even Nuer still outnumbered the national army which possibly make some sense when it comes to being united as a country.

    by: Sudani from: kc mo
    March 10, 2014 10:30 PM
    it make sense if this youth fighiting for their people, but we are all one people if you think about it somewhere in nuer their is dinka blood running in them, and not all dinka are fighting nuer, if you go many places in dinka land they are not arming people to fight nuer, but i think a lot of nuer youth are not educated that's the biggest problem that's why Riek took adventage of that, don't be his next victim, and Riek grandfather is dinka he got dinka in him too.
    In Response

    by: Kidepo from: Kampala, Uganda
    March 11, 2014 7:13 AM
    I am not Nuer or dinka but from other minorities group in the RSS. President Kiir has already mess our country with killing of innocent blood of Nuer on Dec 15, 16, 17 and up to now. Under Kiir the dinkas are behaving like dynaosur in the RSS with no respect to minorities as though the RSS belongs to dinka alone. Dinkas have grabb lands, loot properties, institutionalized corruption, intimidate others and did all HR abuses just to mention but few.

    Kiir must go most of other non dinkas in the RSS are fed up of kiirocrazy tribalistic regime

    by: nora from: u s a
    March 10, 2014 3:00 PM
    Why nuer are saying they are fighting for they country? . they are fighting for their tribes to a leader in s.Sudan.

    by: Abel Ogah from: OJU Nigeria
    March 10, 2014 12:14 PM
    Young man, remember that he who lives by the sword shall die by it. Is that the better option?
    In Response

    by: Casray from: Western
    March 12, 2014 9:43 AM
    On contrary what is happening in Nigeria.

    by: hoth from: uganda
    March 10, 2014 10:57 AM
    its reasonable for the youth to join that war dearly due to their love towards change with in the country ss i agree.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous from: USA
    March 10, 2014 6:01 PM
    This senseless killing should be put to an end. There shiuld be a way to resolve this conflict if both Salva and Rick want to stop it but both want the power so bad, they will sacrifice the youth of South Sudan. In my my option both should stand down and pave the way for new leadership and let them retired from politic. Because if Rick become a president tomorrow again another group will pick arm and start fighting again so it's an ending cycle of violence, my fear is if we Southern and international communities don't up enough attention on this conflict, this will be another Somalia in the making...
    In Response

    by: me from: South Sudan
    March 10, 2014 12:31 PM
    I do not think you young are going back to fight for your country, you are going back to fight for democracy. South Sudan is belonging to all of us do not use the language that does not make sense. Do not write for yourself write for others to read. Whatever you write would be read by thousands of people. What you think for others Southern Sudanese if you say South Sudan is belonging to Nuer? I am sorry for the way you people write to readers. Through your language God will never make you win your democracy thank you.
    In Response

    by: Both from: Juba
    March 10, 2014 11:58 AM
    I do completely agree with the war. It's the only thing that kiir understands. The blood of innocent Nuer could not go in vain. Kiir has to go.

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.