Tag Archives: Jonglei

South Sudan – reports of army clashes with Nuer White army

(Reuters) – South Sudan’s army fought on Sunday with “White Army” ethnic militia, accusing rebels of mobilising the force despite its offer of a truce to end the conflict in the new country.

Two weeks of fighting have left at least 1,000 dead and split the oil-producing country barely two years after it won independence from Sudan. It has also raised fears of an all-out civil war between the main Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups which could destabilise fragile East Africa.

The feared White Army – made up largely of Nuer youths who dust their bodies with ash – clashed with government troops 18 miles from the town of Bor five days after rebels were driven out, Information Minister Michael Makuei said.

A rebel spokesman denied the White Army was controlled by Riek Machar, a Nuer, the former vice president whose followers oppose President Salva Kiir, a Dinka.

Makuei told Reuters on Sunday the White Army militia had dwindled in numbers – from estimated 25,000 strong – after Nuer politicians and tribal elders persuaded them to abandoned their march on Bor.

“About 5,000 refused to abandon the march and they have proceeded with their advance on Bor. They then dislodged (government troops) from Mathiang, about 18 miles from Bor,” Makuei said by phone from South Sudan’s capital, Juba, 190 km (120 miles) south of Bor by road.

The White Army are recognised by the ash, prepared from burnt cow dung, with which they cover themselves to ward off insects. They are armed with machetes, sticks and guns.

Rebel spokesman Moses Ruai Lat said that rather than being under Machar’s control, the armed Nuer youth were an “independently organised force”.

Army spokesman Philip Aguer said the rebels were mobilising youths and armed civilians for another attack on Malakal, the capital of the oil-producing Upper Nile state. Rebels were pushed out of the town on Friday.

Toby Lanzer, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, told Reuters by phone from Malakal that about 25,000 people are seeking refuge in the town’s U.N. base. He said streets were empty and the town’s busy market had been looted.

“There is palpable sense of fear among people who have either lost everything or been caught in the crossfire, or who simply don’t feel safe enough to be home,” Lanzer said, adding that the U.N. estimates at least 180,000 people have been displaced during the 15 days of fighting in South Sudan.


The United Nations said the involvement of the White Army brought another volatile ingredient.

“South Sudan does not need another escalation of the crisis involving armed youth, pitching communities against communities. This can end in a vicious cycle of violence,” U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary General Hilde Johnson, said in a statement.

Machar made no immediate comment on the rebel force or on the government’s offer of a ceasefire on Friday.

Witnesses spoke of panicked civilians fleeing Bor to escape another round of bloodletting.

The scene of a massacre of Dinka in 1991 by Nuer fighters loyal to Machar, Bor was retaken by government troops last Tuesday after several days of heavy fighting.

If there were a repeat of the tactics of 1991, “nothing will prevent devastation”, Aguer said, appealing to Machar to stop the youths.

A U.N. helicopter spotted a group of armed youths 50 km (30 miles) from Bor but could not confirm their numbers.

The army said rebels also advanced on Sunday to seize Mayom, a strategic town some 90 km (55 miles) from Unity state capital Bentiu, the main rebel stronghold.

Among the civilians trying to escape Bor was Juuk Mading.

“We are very scared,” Mading, a father of four, said from a crowded river jetty as he waited in the fierce heat for a boat to cross the White Nile river to a neighbouring state.

Some 60,000 people are seeking refuge in U.N. bases across South Sudan.

As well as offering a truce, President Kiir’s government said it would release eight of 11 senior politicians, widely seen to be Machar allies, arrested over an alleged coup plot against Kiir



Ethiopia and Kenya try to broker South Sudan peace deal

Sudan Tribune
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

December 26, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn and Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, on Thursday arrived in Juba, South Sudan in an attempt to mediate between the government members of the ruling party and army who have defected.

The two leaders later on Thursday concluded their first round of talks with President Salva Kiir, but the consultations, which are part of regional efforts for solutions to the conflict in South Sudan, are due to continue in the coming days.

Following the first talks, Ethiopian foreign minister, Tedros Adhanom, told reporters that the leaders condemned any attempt to unconstitutionally remove a democratically elected government. Any such actions are unacceptable, he said, adding that political disputes should be resolved through dialogue.

Although President Kiir accuses those he has arrested and those who have rebelled against him as staging coup, this is denied by those who oppose him.

The Ethiopian prime minister is believed to have visited the 11 senior members of the ruling SPLM who have been detained in Juba in connection with the alleged coup attempt.

“IGAD member states and the two leaders (of Ethiopia and Kenya) will do their level best to resolve the crises amicably” he said.

South Sudan’s information minister Michael Makuei Lueth said on Thursday that world leaders have urged for dialogue and immediate stoppage of violence in which thousands are feared killed.

The United States, Norway and Ethiopia are leading efforts to open peace talks between Kiir and his political rivals. Kiir said in a Christmas address that he is willing to engage in “dialogue” with all his opponents.

Leuth said the government has not yet established formal contact with Machar, who has been accused of leading what the government insists, was a failed coup plot. Machar, he said, was expected to first renounce rebellion.

“For us, we are not talking with him,” Lueth said, referring to Machar, whose whereabouts remains unknown.

Government troops are trying to retake control of Bentiu, the capital of oil-rich Unity state, from forces loyal to Machar. Fighting was reported overnight in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state, according to Lueth.

Upper Nile and Unity are the country’s key oil-producing states. South Sudan gets nearly 98 percent of its government budget from oil revenues.

Although the capital, Juba, is now calm, fighting appears to be spreading across the country, stretching the limits of humanitarian workers and aid agencies.

The Ethiopian Premier, who also is the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and Chairperson of the East African regional body, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), is also expected – during his stay in Juba – to review the implementation of the peace proposal forwarded by IGAD foreign ministers.

“Given its peacekeeping and peacemaking role in the Horn of Africa region and being the current chair of the African Union, Ethiopia is believed to play a key role in bringing together the parties to the conflict in South Sudan,” Ethiopia’s ministry of foreign affairs in a statement today.

The UN says some 1,000 people have died in violence however as conflict continues to escalate in different regions of the country; the death toll is expected to surpass the stated figure.

Over 60,000 people have sheltered at UN bases and more than 92,000 have fled their homes, seeking refuge from the ongoing fighting between the army and forces loyal to sacked vice-president Machar, who remains on the run.

Machar has announced that he is sending his negotiating team to Addis Ababa for peace talks with representatives of Kiir.


Meanwhile, as East African leaders head to Juba to mediate peace talks, the African Union (AU) and the regional bloc, IGAD, on Thursday renewed a call for an immediate ceasefire in South Sudan as fears rise that the fighting could spark a civil war.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia, and the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, have reiterated the AU’s and IGAD’s call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in South Sudan, said a joint statement, which further urged the two warring parties to engage in dialogue.

“The AU and IGAD are profoundly concerned by reports of the mobilization of tribal militias in South Sudan, which threaten to further escalate the conflict and transform it into an exceptionally destructive inter-ethnic violence that would put in danger the very existence of South Sudan.”

The joint statement stressed a need from all South Sudanese stakeholders to fully be aware of these perils and their responsibilities to save their two-year-old state.

Dessalegn and Dlamini-Zuma urged both Kiir and Machar to act with a sense of patriotism and responsibility towards the entire community of South Sudan.

“The AU and IGAD reiterate the urgent imperative of an inclusive dialogue among all concerned stakeholders based on the rejection of the use of force, respect for human rights and dignity, the rule of law and constitutional legality, and their readiness to facilitate such a dialogue” the statement added.

After the talks with Kiir, the Ethiopian prime minister has left for Kenya for further consultation with IGAD members on ways of finding an all inclusive solution to the political crises in South Sudan.

In Nairobi, Ethiopian premier and other IGAD members are expected to consult on how a peace proposal presented by IGAD foreign ministers could be implemented by the two sides, ahead of Kiir and Machar’s representatives meeting in Addis Ababa.


The United Nations is investigating reports of mass killings. South Sudan’s top UN humanitarian official, Toby Lanzer, said on Monday that he believed the death toll has surpassed 1,000.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously to beef up its peacekeeping force in South Sudan on 24 December. It condemned targeted violence against civilians and ethnic communities and called for “an immediate cessation of hostilities and the immediate opening of a dialogue.”

South Sudan peacefully broke away from Sudan in 2011 following a 2005 peace deal. Before that, the south fought decades of war with Sudan. The country, one of the world’s least developed, and has suffered from cyclical tribal clashes over cattle and land disputes.

The UN says that an additional $166 million is needed between now and March next year to save lives amid continuing violence.

Ethiopia’s Hailemariam Desalegn (L), South Sudan’s Salva Kiir (C) and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta meeting in Juba December 25, 2013 (Photo Reuters/James Akena)



South Sudan – Kiir denounces killing of civilians as massacres of Nuer reported

South Sudan
Kiir denounces killing of civilians on tribal basis say “criminals”
December 25, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has denounced killing of innocent civilians on tribal basis, warning that he ordered security forces to hold accountable those “criminals”.

The warning statements of president Kiir come after reports by rights groups and activists about the targeting of civilians because of their since violence erupted on Sunday, 15 December in the country.

It was reported that around 450 people many of them Nuer were killed in Juba, following what reports from Bor said rebel soldiers led by Gen. Peter Gatdet killed civilians from the Dinka ethnic group. Also UN officials disclosed that some 75 bodies of Dinka civilians or belonging to the SPLA were killed in Bentiu the capital of Unity state.

Addressing the church congregation in the Cathedral Church at Kator in Juba on Wednesday, president Kiir admitted that elements of his forces had carried out killings in the residents of Juba.

He said that “this orientation is “unacceptable”. “It will only lead to one thing and that is to turn this new nation into chaos”.

The president said he ordered security forces to not harass civilians or to loot their properties. “All the unruly and undisciplined soldiers who are behind such terrible acts and who are randomly bent to killing innocent people are criminal and will not escape the long arm of justice and will have to be published”, he stressed.

Kiir also called on the former South Sudanese president “Dr. Riek Machar Tney and forces supporting him to do the same”.

Both Kiir and Machar have agreed to talks mediated by other East African countries but so far no progress have been made. Meanwhile the conflict has spread to other parts of the young nation.




UN calls for more aid for displaced in Sudan and S Sudan


More than 350,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes in three states in Sudan and South Sudan, according to the UN refugee agency.

Two of the states – South Kordofan and Blue Nile – are in Sudan, while the third – Jonglei – is in the world’s newest nation.

In Blue Nile and South Kordofan, 100,000 people each have been forced out of their homes. Jonglei, in South Sudan, remains the worst affected, with inter-tribal violence having driven 150,000 from their homes.

In the six months since the independence of South Sudan, 360,000 people have arrived in the newly formed nation but Guterres said, “there is almost no economy, no infrastructure”, leaving those arriving to the south with little in terms of integration into the young state.Speaking to Al Jazeera on Friday from the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit in Davos, Switzerland, Antonio Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), said that the issues facing the three states are ultimately political ones – about borders, oil, and citizenship status after the formation of South Sudan last summer.

“There is never a humanitarian solution for humanitarian problems. The solution is always political,” Guterres said, referring to the situation as a “massive humanitarian emergency”.  Read more…

UN says South Sudan attack by Lou Nuer repelled


Thousands of youths from a South Sudanese ethnic group which attacked a rival community, reportedly killing at least 150 people, have been repelled by government troops, the UN says.



The UN’s humanitarian co-ordinator in the region, Lise Grande, says 6,000 members of the Lou Nuer ethnic group have left the besieged town of Pibor.

The clashes took place between the Lou Nuer and their rivals, the Murle.

The fighting follows long-running disputes over cattle raids.  Read more…

South Sudan: conflict in Jonglei leads to civilian deaths and displacement

Sudan Tribune/allAfrica

The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) should immediately declare a state of emergency and establish a Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) buffer zone in the conflict areas of Jonglei state, a civil society entity said on Wednesday.

In a statement published ahead of a planned visit by government officials to assess the security situation in the state, Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) argues that such measures will help resolve the tense situation between the Luo Nuer and the Murle communities.

Displaced civilians in Jonglei



According to section 187 (1) of South Sudan’s transitional constitution, “The president, may upon the occurrence of an imminent danger, whether it is war, invasion, blockade, natural disaster or epidemics, as may threaten the country, or any part thereof or the safety or economy of the same, declare a state of emergency in the country, or in any part thereof, in accordance with this Constitution and the law.”

On Monday, at least 24 people, mostly civilians, were reportedly killed in a clash involving Lou Nuer and Murle ethnic communities in Pibor County, Jonglei state, authorities said on Tuesday.  Read more…

South Sudan: rebel attacks continue

Daily Nation/allAfrica

Juba — Fresh fighting erupted in South Sudan on Sunday following a rebel assault on civilian and police bases in Pigi County in the troubled Jonglei state, officials said.

Militiamen loyal to rebel leader and former army renegade General George Athor Deng attacked Atar village from four directions, killing scores of villagers and wounding others, deputy governor Hussein Maar Nyuot said.

“I am informed they attacked from many directions. They killed civilians and the fighting is continuing,” Mr Maar said.


According to eyewitnesses, villagers fled towards Malakal in Upper Nile state to seek safety.

The attack comes barely weeks after the rebels failed to reach an agreement with a government delegation in Nairobi, after which General Athor vowed to instigate more violence.

General Athor took up arms for the bush after losing a race for state governor last year when he ran as an independent candidate, claiming the elections were rigged in favour of the incumbent SPLM’s Kuol Manayng Juuk. Read more…