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

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora