News / Africa

UN Base in South Sudan Attacked as Violence Spreads

Internally displaced boys stand next to barbed wire inside a United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Juba, Dec. 19, 2013.
Internally displaced boys stand next to barbed wire inside a United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Juba, Dec. 19, 2013.
A United Nations base in Jonglei state was attacked and the main city in the state fell to forces opposed to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Thursday as violence  spread outside the capital and more foreign nations evacuated their citizens.

The United Nations said one of its operating bases in Jonglei state was breached in an attack by Lou Nuer youths who were trying to get to scores of civilians who had sought shelter inside.

“Our base in Akobo, Jonglei State was attacked... We have received reports of people killed and injured and are in the process of verifying,” U.N. Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson told reporters in New York.

Eliasson called on South Sudanese leaders to begin a dialogue to settle what he called “a political crisis.”

“Violence is spreading and could spread even further and we need all South Sudanese leaders and political personalities now to immediately appeal for calm and call on their supporters to suspend hostilities. Political dialogue is the only way to prevent further escalation,” Eliasson said.

Army spokesman Philip Aguer told reporters the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) was “not in control" of Bor, the capital of Jonglei, while state assembly lawmaker Jodi Jonglei Boyoris said the city has been overrun by troops loyal to former rebel leader Peter Gatdet, who defected from the army earlier this week when the troubles began.

Boyoris said residents have told him there has been looting in Bor, but it was impossible for VOA News to confirm the reports.

Kiir has said the violence that erupted in Juba on Sunday night was a coup attempt led by former vice president Riek Machar, but Machar and other members of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement have denied the accusation.

Officials have said some 500 people have been killed and at least 700 wounded in the fighting in Juba. An official in Unity state said 16 people were killed there when fighting broke out in two oilfields, and fatalities have also been reported in Jonglei state, although no numbers were given.


Report Warns of Targeted Killings

 
A report released Thursday by Human Rights Watch said some of the victims may have been targeted for their ethnicity, raising fears aired by observers that South Sudan’s long-standing tribal tensions may be fueling the violence.
 
“Victims and witnesses told Human Rights Watch that government soldiers… and police questioned residents about their ethnicity and deliberately shot ethnic Nuer” in Juba, the report said.

Human Rights Watch has also received reports that ethnic Dinka may have been targeted in Juba and in Bor by Nuer soldiers.

“The awful accounts of killings in Juba may only be the tip of the iceberg,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“Government officials – whatever their politics – need to take urgent steps to prevent further abuses against civilians and quickly deescalate rising ethnic tensions.”
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir gestures during a news conference in Juba, Dec. 18, 2013.South Sudan's President Salva Kiir gestures during a news conference in Juba, Dec. 18, 2013.
x
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir gestures during a news conference in Juba, Dec. 18, 2013.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir gestures during a news conference in Juba, Dec. 18, 2013.

Kiir vowed to bring to justice anyone who has “taken the law into their own hands” and urged South Sudanese to bury their “tribal tendencies… once and for all.”

“We believe in diversity, and if we stick to tribalism, we cannot proceed,” Kiir told reporters late Wednesday.

“Let us embrace ourselves as South Sudanese and build our nation. South Sudan is our country, a country for all,” he said.


Thousands Seek U.N. Protection


The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) says it has provided shelter to around 20,000 people in Juba and hundreds more in Bor, with thousands more civilians asking for U.N. protection.

A U.N. spokesman said that even though Juba was “relatively calm” Thursday, hundreds of students at Juba University had asked for U.N. protection after hearing reports that several of their colleagues had been killed by security forces.

“In another location in Juba called the Kator complex, approximately 2,000 to 5,000 civilians have sought refuge and have called for UNMISS force protection from the UN Mission,” UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.

A Kenyan construction worker who was sheltering at the U.N. compound in Bor told VOA News he has had to go without food since he arrived at the facility on Wednesday.

“They provide us with a place to sleep but no food, only water,” said the Kenyan, who asked not to be named.

“I asked one officer and they said that’s the only thing they can offer because they didn’t have any arrangements, because this war has broken out while they were thinking it was already finished in Juba. They were not prepared,” he said.

Bor, South SudanBor, South Sudan
x
Bor, South Sudan
Bor, South Sudan
Kiir said Wednesday he would be willing to meet with Machar to try to end the crisis, but the former vice president, who was sacked by Kiir in July, told Radio France Internationale in an interview that the only thing he would be willing to discuss is the president’s resignation.

Britain, Italy and the Netherlands joined the United States and began evacuating their citizens from South Sudan as fighting that began four days ago in Juba also spread to two of Unity state’s oilfields, where 16 people were killed.

Unity State Deputy Governor Mabek Lang De Mading said soldiers deployed to the two oilfields by the state government have contained the fighting, and described the situation there as stable.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid