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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
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 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.
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