News / Africa

US Evacuation Aircraft Hit in South Sudan

South Sudan Turmoil Threatens to Spreadi
X
December 21, 2013 10:45 PM
The United States and the United Nations are calling for an end to the violence in South Sudan, where the government says more than 500 people have been killed and tens of thousands forced to flee. As VOA's Kent Klein has more.
VIDEO: The United States and United Nations are calling for an end to the violence in South Sudan, where the government says more than 500 people have been killed and tens of thousands forced to flee. VOA's Kent Klein has more.
VOA News
The U.S. military says unidentified gunmen have opened fire on American planes involved in a rescue mission in South Sudan.
 
The U.S. Africa Command says four U.S. service members were wounded as a result of gunfire directed at their military aircraft. 
 
The incident took place on Saturday as U.S. forces were trying to rescue Americans from Bor, a town north of the capital, Juba. The mission was aborted and all three planes were diverted to neighboring Uganda.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday sent 45 U.S. service personnel to the region on a mission he said is aimed at protecting U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy.

Bor, South SudanBor, South Sudan
x
Bor, South Sudan
Bor, South Sudan
In a White House statement issued Saturday, Obama stressed the importance of the U.S. evacuation mission and said South Sudan's leaders have a responsibility to assist the U.S. efforts.
 
South Sudan's government says rebels have overrun Bor, which has been the scene of some of the country's worst fighting over the past week.
 
The violence erupted after President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, accused former vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup. The Juba government says more than 500 people have been killed, and the unrest has forced tens of thousands of people to flee from their homes.
 
Evening and overnight curfews have been enforced in the capital, where military tanks and armored vehicles remain on the streets and the airport has been overrun with people attempting to flee situation.
 
"Hundreds of people [are] trying to leave by charter flight or by any means possible, even with a single bag, because they are so worried that this violence has just spiraled out of control already and they don't trust that the government of South Sudan can protect them any longer," said Juba-based VOA correspondent Hannah McNeish, explaining that many fear what started as a political power struggle is turning into a deeply ethnic conflict.
 
The prevailing unrest within the capital, she added, is nothing compared to events unfolding in other parts of the country.
 
"We've got fighting in Jonglei state, where rebels have taken over the state capital, Bor," she said. "We've also got heavy fighting, apparently, in Unity state, where the oil fields and rebels are battling government forces for control of these."

Story continues below
  • Members of the South Sudan rebel delegation attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Taban Deng Gai, left, head of the rebel delegation and South Sudan's leader of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Unidentified members of the delegation from the South Sudan government and western observers meet at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • A displaced mother and her baby, one of the few to have a mosquito net, wake up at a refugee camp, Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 2, 2014.
  • A young displaced girl carries a bucket of water back to her makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound. The compound has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Displaced people gather inside a mosquito net tent as they flee from the fighting between the South Sudanese army and rebels in Bor town, in Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • A displaced woman hangs up laundry on the plastic sheeting wall of a latrine at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Yared, 2, is held by his mother, Madhn, who fled from the town of Bor a few days ago. She receives medicine for her child at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical tent, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A young displaced boy rests on the wheel arch of a water truck while others fill containers from it, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Africa, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A family makes tea outside their makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A general view of a camp for displaced people set up in a United Nations compound in Bor, South Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.
  • South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he is sending a special envoy to South Sudan to encourage talks between opposing factions. Ambassador Donald Booth is heading to the region as soon as possible.
 
The U.N. Security Council president Gerard Araud said Friday that South Sudan's President Kiir and former vice president Machar have agreed to "unconditional dialogue" despite their recent history of bitter recriminations. Mediators from East African countries met with Kiir Friday in what they called productive talks, but what form the Kiir-Machar "dialogue" will take is unclear.
 
On Friday, the U.N. said at least 11 civilians and two peacekeepers had been killed in an attack a day earlier on a U.N. base in the town of Akobo.
 
The U.N. Mission in South Sudan says the peacekeepers and civilians were shot after about 2,000 armed youth, believed to be ethnic Nuers, surrounded the base and opened fire on members of the Dinka ethnic group taking shelter at the U.N. compound.
 
About 35,000 civilians are believed to have fled to U.N. compounds since the latest unrest began.
 
South Sudan is the world's newest country, gaining its independence from Sudan in 2011.

Some information was provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Chuol Both Met from: Ethiopia
December 22, 2013 6:00 PM
The media has been dominated by news from Salva Kiir's side of government since the beginning of the conflict. Will those lies really provide any lasting solution to this conflict? Kiir calls the incident, a failed coup attempt. How misleading this statement is? If it was a coup why did the authority deliberately targetted and killed only one innocent ethnic civilian in the city and displaced them? Moreover, how can a civilian(Machar) who has no enough forces in the city and who has confidence that he may win the election make a coup?
Later on, after his home was raided, Machar did not even fight back to defend himself. He had no army around him. Instead, he just ran out for his life. Can we call that incident a coup? That is all false. That does not reflect the definition of coup at all. Kiir himself is a criminal who has targetted and killed innocent members of one ethnic group to remain in power because he is worried about Machar's popularity. But the question is, will he manage to solve the country problem with foreigners without the involvement of other concerned citizens whom he hated? Will such a goverment inpested by isolation and ruled by one ethnic group fully materialize without other groups such as those that constitute the second largest population in the country?

In addition to his accusation of Mr Machar of such a coup, Kiir also misled the public, saying that Juba is calm and peaceful while the people who were victims of his brutal raids and still sheltering at UNMISS bases in the city are afraid to go back to their homes. Instead, they want to go to their repective states within the country. On the other hand, no one even talks about the falsely arrested representatives of the people, why the people are afraid to go to their homes, how they feel about the government or how the general public outside Juba and whose family members have become victims of Kiir's brutal act feel.

How difficult will it be to solve the country problem by giving attention to the lies of one side or one ethnic group? Is it a democratic system or another dictatorial system against one ethnic group? Is AU forcing citizens who have legitimate rights in their own country to choose their leader to recognize and accept Salva Kiir who has become a threat to their security and their lives? I guess any attempt to solve this conflict that way is just a waste of time and resources. Such a dialogue will not produce any lasting solution. Instead, it will cause more damage to the whole peace process if you keep pushing that way.

Eventually, if you are really looking for a lasting solution, first of all you need to remember what the Bible says. "Speak the truth and the truth will set you free". Denying the truth sometimes creates more trouble. In this case, if you want the truth, release all the arrested representatives and speak to all sides' represntatives openly including those arrested and consider what they say in the resolution process. Lack of understanding is a problem. Hence, if you do understand the situation on the ground, you may realize that Kiir has chased one ethnic group population out of the capital city, Juba. As I have learnt from contacts I made with some of these people, no one actually wants to go out there and live among Kiir's remaining tribe any more. As a matter of fact, the mediators need to be careful in handling the situation, if they are there to bring a lasting solution to the problem or really willing to help the people of South Sudan get a lasting solution. Let them not take sides as Uganda is doing. That will cause more damage to the peace process than expected. It is only open dialogue that will help.

by: Both Tongyik Chan from: Gambella/west-Ethiopia
December 22, 2013 5:01 AM
the problem is not from Nuer tribe, even kiir believed that. what happened in Akobo is retaliation of what when wrong in Capital Juba. Unimiss is assistance to all tribes rather than helping one group. when the fighting broke out in Juba they felt to protect Nuer who were under condition. why ? Nuer die in Juba where there were unimiss. just do not blamed Nuer Please !

by: Andrew oforma from: Nigeria
December 22, 2013 1:52 AM
The so called proposed negotiation should start now. Not when all non combatants have been killed before it can commerce. Early the better. World leader Please! Save the defenceless and innocent people from unwarranted power tussle.

by: CE Emeh from: Nigeria
December 22, 2013 1:11 AM
It truly worrisome that a disagreement between two individuals has plunged the entire country into this crisis and taken a great toll on innocent civilians who ordinarily have no business with their personal ambition. When will the ordinary people learn to distance themselves from being used in this kind of situation?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs