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

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground 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.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid