News / Africa

    Violence Intensifies in South Sudan’s Jonglei

    Internally displaced men sit inside a United Nations Missions in Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Juba December 19, 2013.
    Internally displaced men sit inside a United Nations Missions in Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Juba December 19, 2013.
    Margaret Besheer
    The United Nations has warned that the situation in South Sudan’s Jonglei State has deteriorated after an attack Thursday on a U.N. base in Akobo sheltering civilians. The U.N. has lost contact with the base and plans to send aircraft to Akobo Friday to remove its personnel and learn what has happened to the civilians.

    The United Nations says a group of youth, reported to be from the Lou Nuer ethnic group, forcibly entered the temporary operating base belonging to the U.N. Mission in Akobo.

    At the time, 43 Indian peacekeepers, six U.N. police advisers and two civilian U.N. staff were there, in addition to 32 Dinka civilians who had sought refuge at the base.
    The U.N. mission, UNMISS, said it plans to dispatch aircraft early Friday to evacuate U.N. personnel who are safe at a Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) camp in the area.

    Communications with the U.N. base have been cut off, and the mission wants to know what has happened to the 32 civilians who were there at the time of the attack, as well as three peacekeepers who are unaccounted for.

    An additional 60 peacekeepers are expected to be deployed to Akobo to reinforce the base.  

    U.N. Deputy-Secretary General Jan Eliasson told reporters they are working to verify reports of possible casualties.

    “Our base in Akobo, Jonglei state, was attacked and we have reports that lives were lost.  We do not have the details of that yet.  Of course the secretary-general and I both condemn this attack in the strongest terms," said Eliasson.

    The Lou Nuer are associated with Riek Machar, South Sudan's former vice president, who was fired by President Salva Kiir in July.

    Kiir, a Dinka, has accused Machar and his supporters of trying to stage a coup against his government earlier this week, setting off violence that officials say has killed about 500 people.

    Eliasson urged both sides to begin talks, saying it is the only way to prevent an escalation of the violence.

    “This is a political crisis and urgently needs to be dealt with through political dialogue.  Violence is spreading and could spread even further.  We need all South Sudan leaders and political personalities now to immediately appeal for calm and call on their supporters to suspend hostilities," he said.

    Meanwhile, the U.N. said the situation in Juba, where the violence erupted on Sunday, appeared calmer Thursday. However, civilians are still seeking protection, including a group of several hundred students at Juba University and between 2,000 and 5,000 people at another location in Juba, called the Kator complex.

    The United Nations has a force of about 7,600 troops and police in South Sudan whose mandate includes the protection of civilians.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora