News / Africa

South Sudan: Army Retakes State Capital from Rebels

South Sudan army soldiers are seen standing in a vehicle in Juba Dec. 20, 2013.
South Sudan army soldiers are seen standing in a vehicle in Juba Dec. 20, 2013.
VOA News
South Sudan's government says its army has retaken one of two state capitals seized by renegade soldiers last week.
 
The government said in a Twitter message that its forces have retaken Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, and are clearing out rebel forces.
 
A local radio station, Radio Tamazuj, reported fighting in the town and said witnesses confirmed that the rebels had withdrawn.
 
Bor, South SudanBor, South Sudan
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Bor, South Sudan
Bor, South Sudan
The United Nations Security Council voted Tuesday on a resolution to send 5,500 additional peacekeepers to South Sudan, boosting its force to 12,500.
 
Fighting that followed an alleged coup attempt last week has left hundreds dead and displaced more than 80,000 people, amid reports of violence between members of the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups.
 
The United States says 150 Marines have been moved to Djibouti, ready to enter South Sudan to evacuate Americans and protect U.S. facilities.
 
On Tuesday, the U.N. human rights office said a mass grave has been discovered in the town of Bentiu, capital of Unity State.  Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told VOA that a U.N. official saw 14 bodies in a grave and 20 at a nearby riverside.
 
She indicated the bodies could be those of some 75 Dinka army soldiers unaccounted for and feared dead.
 
Bentiu is the other capital seized by soldiers believed to be loyal to former vice president Riek Machar. 
 
President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, blames Machar, an ethnic Nuer, of masterminding the alleged coup attempt December 15.
 
Kiir told U.S. special envoy Donald Booth on Monday that he is willing to hold talks with Machar without preconditions.
 
The country's foreign minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, told VOA that Kiir stressed in remarks to parliament that talks are the way to end the violence.
 
"President Salva Kiir, being an elected president democratically, is responsible for the lives of the people of South Sudan, including the foreigners in this country, so it is his absolute constitutional right and mandate to see that peace is achieved.  And I hope Dr. Riek Machar should also be able to see the same, that the people of this country suffered so much and cannot be losing their lives because of a power struggle," said Benjamin.
 
On Tuesday, the White House released Dinka- and Nuer-language versions of a recent statement by President Barack Obama, appealing for an end to the violence.
 
Machar told Reuters on Monday that he will take part in dialogue immediately if Kiir releases detained opposition leaders. 
 
The government said Tuesday it "will not release anybody accused of a coup."

  • 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.

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by: archlingua from: Guatemala City, Guatemala
December 24, 2013 9:19 PM
It’s extremely important that the U.S. learn from the past and cease acting like the world’s policeman; so let the South Sudanese find their way out of the mess they have made of their country. The way to peace is not only through having it as a lofty ideal; it also has to come through weariness of war and trouble, as so much of humanity has realized.
When the South Sudanese face up to their obligation to compromise in an imperfect world, we in the West in general, and in the U.S. in particular, can help them without becoming thoroughly embroiled in quarrels that are not ours to begin with.


by: Dan L. from: London
December 24, 2013 8:18 PM
I should take an issue with the map-maker. You're giving away a lot of South Sudan territory to its neighbours (Abyei, Ilemi Triangle, and Kaffia Kingi). I'd advise you mark the disputed area.


by: dZimphoza from: south africa
December 24, 2013 2:23 PM
Sorry people but you are unfair to the US who must give leadership when there is a deficieny thereof wake up and stop your malice towards the Americans


by: vijeyaraj mahalingam
December 24, 2013 11:23 AM
This is how the whole story goes! The Americans wanted the Lion's share of the oil-revenues and a permanent seat in that part of Africa, where other former colonial actors like the Frenchmen are very active to get hold of the Africa's natural resources, both to plunder and a possible invasion of Sudan proper to get rid of an Islamic and anti-Western state. China's interest are at stake here, the West especially the US instigated the so called Arab-spring, using the new found social media and exploiting the long standing grievances of the Arab-mass, to eliminate the Chinese inroads into Africa.

Now having ousted the Chinese, there's business as usual in these countries. Syria could see the same thing after the removal of chemicals. It's sheer madness on the part of African ethnic group fighting each other to invite these blood-sucking creatures under the hood of so called UN, which is none other than a cover to further the colonial activities.


by: Insider from: D.C.
December 24, 2013 10:49 AM
The CIA created, runs, fund$, trains, and arms Al Qaeda from offshore banks. Wake up to the FACTS people, and expose this SCUM organization.


by: Jef from: USA
December 24, 2013 10:04 AM
I think it would be a great idea to make a nice big glass parking lot is S.S.


by: Elly from: Kenya
December 24, 2013 9:28 AM
I think it's a great idea for US to come to S.S and put to an end of this war going on there.. Talks should also be under way to know where the problem is so that it can be solve

In Response

by: Frederic Mulika from: Marietta
December 24, 2013 2:44 PM
Bravo USA, go in and get these criminals who hate peace.


by: Haron from: Afghanistan
December 24, 2013 8:51 AM
I think it is good idea that US provide troops to South-Sudan to terminate (put over) the violence on there. and it could be good to build a peaceful South-Sudan with new face (picture) of civilization.

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