News / Africa

    UN: Militants Surround South Sudan Base

    Handout photo taken Dec. 20, 2013 released by  UN Mission in South Sudan shows the remains of two UN soldiers from the Indian Battalion who were killed in the attack at Akobo in Jonglei state. (AFP Photo /UNMISS/Rolla Hinedi)
    Handout photo taken Dec. 20, 2013 released by UN Mission in South Sudan shows the remains of two UN soldiers from the Indian Battalion who were killed in the attack at Akobo in Jonglei state. (AFP Photo /UNMISS/Rolla Hinedi)
    Margaret Besheer
    The United Nations Security Council's president says about 14,000 civilians have taken shelter at a U.N. base that is now surrounded by up to 3,000 armed men. There are fears the situation could turn deadly, much like an attack Thursday that killed 11 civilians.

    French Ambassador Gerard Araud said Friday that Indian peacekeepers are protecting the base in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state. He urged the parties to stop fighting and go to the negotiating table before the crisis escalates out of control.

    “It is a political crisis, basically; first a political crisis within the leadership of the SPLM [Sudan People's Liberation Movement]. But as I have said, you have the political crisis and you have a powder keg which is the ethnic question. So the political crisis could lead to a general political civil war if we don’t solve very quickly the political crisis through dialogue," said Araud.

    On Friday, the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, said some 2,000 ethnic Lou Nuer youth surrounded a U.N. base at Akobo on Thursday. They opened fire in the direction of the 32 Dinka civilians who had taken refuge inside the compound, killing 11.

    In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 and released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), civilians fleeing violence seek refuge at the UNMISS compound in Bor, capital of Jonglei state, in South Sudan.In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 and released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), civilians fleeing violence seek refuge at the UNMISS compound in Bor, capital of Jonglei state, in South Sudan.
    x
    In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 and released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), civilians fleeing violence seek refuge at the UNMISS compound in Bor, capital of Jonglei state, in South Sudan.
    In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 and released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), civilians fleeing violence seek refuge at the UNMISS compound in Bor, capital of Jonglei state, in South Sudan.
    The youth also attacked the 43 Indian peacekeepers at Akobo, overwhelming them and seizing their weapons and ammunition. Two peacekeepers were killed and one was seriously injured.

    The U.N. mission sent helicopters to Akobo on Friday to evacuate the peacekeepers and other personnel, who were taken to a Sudanese Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) camp for their safety.

    After an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting Friday, Araud told reporters that the situation is very fluid and tense in several parts of the country.

    “For the moment, the UNMISS is directly protecting 35,000 civilians. We have numerous reports of human rights violations, ethnic targeting. The government estimate was at least 500 killed in Juba," he said.

    The East African regional group IGAD has sent a delegation to Juba, the South Sudan capital, where they hope to mediate the situation. Ambassador Araud expressed the Security Council’s support for their mission.

    The U.N. Secretary-General has also called for calm and dialogue to resolve the crisis.

    The Lou Nuer are associated with Riek Machar, South Sudan's former vice president. President Salva Kiir fired Machar in July.

    Kiir, a Dinka, accuses Machar and his supporters of trying to stage a coup against his government earlier this week, setting off the deadly violence.

    The United Nations has a force of about 7,600 troops and police in South Sudan whose mandate includes the protection of civilians.   

    • 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.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Nigeria
    December 20, 2013 11:29 PM
    Reform the UN and equip them with Helicopter gun ship or Armored tanker to crush any militia treat to its compound ,its personal and its mandate to protect,its high time the UN and International community stand up to their responsibility of protecting human lives.

    by: JKF from: Great North (Canada)
    December 20, 2013 8:48 PM
    History appears to be repeating itself; the conditions around the UN protected base, full of unarmed civilians, is starting to be very remeniscent of the situation faced by the civilians of the UN protected enclave of Srebreniza, in Eastern Bosnia/Herceg which resulted in the worst massacre of civilians since WWII in Europe. It is absolutely clear that more force assets, tactical air and bombers, need to be stood up and rellocated nearby to ensure they can react and defend the civilians in the UN Base, to ensure that a massacre does not take place against these helpless unarmed civilians. Let us hope we will not see another massacre of civilians, while the world stands by looking the other way!

    by: Mark from: Portland
    December 20, 2013 3:46 PM
    Carpet bomb the militants. Protect the UN and civilians.

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    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 Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    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.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora