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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    '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.