• No_Ads
today's Pick
Fighting rages in S. Sudan as UN moves to boost forcePublish Date: Dec 26, 2013
Fighting rages in S. Sudan as UN moves to boost force
  • mail
  • img
A picture taken on December 25, 2013 shows the aftermath of massive looting conducted by rebels at a market, including shops burnt to ashes, in Bor, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of the capital Juba. South Sudans army stormed the rebel-held town of Bor on December 24, sending insurgents fleeing nearly a week after they captured the state capital of South Sudans power-key eastern state of Jonglei. AFP PHOTO
newvision

South Sudan's army battled rebel forces Wednesday in the capital of a key oil-producing state and prepared to storm another, as the United Nations moved to double its peacekeeping force to stave off civil war.

Thousands are believed to have been killed in more than a week of violence pitting troops loyal to President Salva Kiir against those backing his rival Riek Machar, a former vice president who was sacked in July.

Amid reports of bodies piled in mass graves, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the two rivals to negotiate an end to the spiralling violence in the world's youngest nation, which won independence from Sudan to much fanfare just two years ago

The unrest has taken on an ethnic dimension, pitting Kiir's Dinka tribe against Machar's Nuer.

Ban called the ethnic attacks a "grave violation of human rights" and reiterated that those responsible would be "held accountable".

"South Sudan is under threat -- but South Sudan is not alone," Ban said in a Christmas Day radio and video message to the people of the violence-wracked nation.

The UN Security Council voted Tuesday to send nearly 6,000 extra soldiers and police to South Sudan, nearly doubling the UNMISS force to 12,500 troops and 1,323 civilian police.

Government forces have recaptured the strategic central town of Bor from forces loyal to Machar, but battles raged elsewhere including in Malakal, capital of oil-producing Upper Nile state.

An AFP correspondent who visited Bor on Wednesday said bodies littered the streets and stores were looted, with occasional gunshots still ringing out even as civilians poured back into the town.

Government forces have said they are preparing to take back Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, the most important oil-producing region.

Fighting has spread to half the country's 10 states, the UN says, with huge numbers fleeing to the countryside and others flooding UN bases seeking shelter.

The UN said aid agencies need $166 million (121 million euros) over the next three months to distribute food, manage camps for the displaced and provide health and sanitation.

"There are at least 90,000 people who have been displaced in the past 10 days. This includes 58,000 people who are sheltering in UN peacekeeping bases," said the UN humanitarian chief in the country, Toby Lanzer.

"It is crucial that aid agencies have the resources they need to save lives in the coming months," he said in a statement.

Lanzer said Tuesday the death toll from the fighting was into the thousands, the first clear indication of the scale of the conflict.

UN rights chief Navi Pillay said a mass grave had been found in rebel-held Bentiu and cited reports of at least two more in Juba, the capital.

Around 15 bodies were found in one site in Bentiu, and another 20 bodies at a nearby river, she said.

In Juba, the UN mission was more cautious, confirming the 15 killed but saying it was still "investigating reports of such atrocities".

'Chaos' could engulf nation

Witnesses recount a wave of atrocities, including an orchestrated campaign of mass killings and rape.

"There are now people who are targeting others because of their tribal affiliation," Kiir said in a Christmas message to the country, where the population is roughly divided between Christians, Muslims and those with traditional indigenous beliefs. "It will only lead to one thing, and that is to turn this new nation into chaos."

In his Christmas message, Pope Francis called for "social harmony" and warned the violence was "threatening peaceful coexistence".

Machar has said he is ready to accept Kiir's offer of talks following days of shuttle diplomacy by African nations and calls from Western powers for an end to the fighting.

Oil production, which accounts for more than 95 percent of South Sudan's fledgling economy, has been dented by the violence, with oil workers evacuated.

Bor's recapture, without major resistance by the rebels, lifted a nearly week-long siege of the town, where about 17,000 civilians fled into the UN compounds for protection, severely stretching limited food and supplies.

UN peacekeepers had spent days bolstering fortifications ahead of the army assault, after militia gunmen last week stormed a UN compound in the Jonglei outpost of Akobo, killing two Indian soldiers and about 20 ethnic Dinka civilians sheltering there.

Nearly 100 US troops are on the ground in South Sudan, and the US military said Tuesday had deployed a "platoon-sized" Marine contingent to neighbouring Uganda. Four US troops were wounded on Saturday when their aircraft was shot at during an evacuation operation.

South Sudan gained independence in July 2011 after a bloody decades-long struggle for independence from Sudan.

AFP

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Uganda journalists to mark world press freedom day
The Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) has begun preparations to commemorate this year’s world press freedom day which will be marked with a series of activities....
Kampala RDCs defend Museveni on Besigye
Deputy Residential District Commissioners (RDCs) for Kampala have defended President Yoweri Museveni’s attack on former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Dr. Kizza Besigye and embattled Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago....
Catching more than fish: Ugandan town crippled by AIDS
When you risk your life fishing on dangerous seas, a drink in the bars back on shore seem a welcome relief, but in Uganda, it has created a culture with staggering rates of HIV....
Education minister Jessica Alupo has inaugurated the board to manage the students’ tuition loan scheme with a stern warning to members against corruption....
Man Utd sack manager David Moyes
MANCHESTER United sacked manager David Moyes just 10 months after he succeeded Alex Ferguson at the helm of one of the world's most famous clubs...
Judiciary to fill 10 vacant posts for judges
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is seeking to recruit 10 new judges to fill vacant posts for Justices of the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court, and Judges of the High Court....
WIll the national ID registration process be completed in the scheduled 4 months timeframe?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter