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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs