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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid