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

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid