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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs