News / Africa

UN River Convoy Attacked in South Sudan

A United Nations peacekeeper on patrol in the town of Malakal, Upper Nile State.
A United Nations peacekeeper on patrol in the town of Malakal, Upper Nile State.
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan strongly condemned an attack Thursday on a convoy of U.N. barges taking supplies to staff and displaced civilians in Malakal, Upper Nile State.  

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters the attack, which injured four crew members and peacekeepers, was unprovoked.

“The barges came under small arms fire, and rocket-propelled grenades were also fired at the convoy of four vessels,” he said.

This is the second time this month U.N. operations in South Sudan have been targeted, following a mob attack on a U.N. base in the town of Bor April 18.

The U.N. mission says Thursday's attack took place as four barges steamed east on the Nile River, carrying food and fuel to the U.N. base in Malakal, Upper Nile State, where thousands of civilians have taken refuge from violence.

The U.N. mission has not yet identified the gunmen who attacked the barges as they made their way along the Nile River towards the U.N. base in Malakal.

Both the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and SPLA in Opposition forces have denied responsibility for the attack and said their fighters were not present in the area.

The United Nations said it received all necessary clearances from the government before the convoy set out six days ago.

The U.N. Security Council has condemned two other recent acts in South Sudan - a massacre in Bentiu, where more than 200 civilians were reportedly killed, and a mob attack on a U.N. base in Bor.  

The Council has warned President Salva Kiir and his rival, former vice-president Riek Machar, that they must publicly state all attacks on civilians are unacceptable and hold perpetrators accountable.

The Council has said it is willing to take additional measures, which could include targeted sanctions on those sponsoring or encouraging unrest, should the violence continue, and has also U.N. human rights office to investigate the massacre last week in Bentiu, where civilians were killed along religious and ethnic lines.

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power called on the international community to sanction those who are targeting civilians or acting as "political spoilers."

On Twitter, Power also accused South Sudan's government of inciting violence against peacekeepers.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said Wednesday that neither the South Sudan government nor rebels has shown real interest in taking part in peace talks to defuse the ongoing crisis. He also faults the government for not adequately protecting its people.

"The United Nations is doing everything it can to protect the civilians that are fleeing the violence, the war," he said. "But let us never forget that the primary responsibility for protecting civilians is with the government. We are there to support but it is the government of South Sudan to make it so that its citizens are not killed."

Also Thursday, spokesman Haq said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon telephoned leaders in the regional bloc, IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority for Development), to express support for their efforts to bring South Sudan's government and rebel forces back to the negotiating table.

“The secretary-general feels that the two parties need to be warned strongly of the consequences of their actions before the country descends into yet further violence,” he said.

The United Nations, which has is nearly 8,500 peacekeepers in the country, is sheltering 78,000 civilians at eight U.N. bases in Juba, Malakal, Bentiu and Bor.

Fighting between pro- and anti-government forces that erupted in South Sudan in mid-December has killed thousands and displaced more than one-million South Sudanese.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth 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.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs