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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs