SUDAN WATCH: URGENT: South Sudan army says it and UN unable to protect civilians in Jonglei State. Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full civil war. (UPDATE 1: Added YouTube video link)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

URGENT: South Sudan army says it and UN unable to protect civilians in Jonglei State. Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full civil war. (UPDATE 1: Added YouTube video link)

  • Fighting in South Sudan cuts off 100,000 people from aid
  • South Sudan army says it and UN unable to protect civilians in Jonglei
  • Fighting in South Sudan forces thousands into bush
  • South Sudan fails to protect civilians in east, US say
  • Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full civil war   

Note by the Editor of Sudan Watch:
HERE below is an alarming news report by Agence France Presse (AFP), published online yesterday (Wednesday 17 July 2013).  If the report is true and accurate, and considering what happened between the Lou Nuer and Murle people in December 2011 (reportedly, thousands were massacred), it could be a dreadful warning that many people in South Sudan are about to lose their lives. 

The AFP report copied below is followed by a few news reports.  I selected the reports for this blog post.  Note that one of the reports by Reuters ends by saying:  "A cycle of tribal violence has killed more than 1,600 people in Jonglei since South Sudan's secession, hampering plans to explore for oil with the help of France's Total and U.S. firm Exxon".

Finally, here are a few points taken from some of the other news reports, particularly regarding tribal clashes in Jonglei State, South Sudan:
  • Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full civil war   
  • UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos said the new fighting made it impossible to supply some 100,000 people in Pibor county in Jonglei State with "life-saving assistance.  The fighting is threatening the lives of ordinary people," Amos said in a statement.   The United Nations did not have enough helicopters to deliver aid to Jonglei where overland travel is impossible in the rainy reason, she said.  
  • Medicins sans Frontiers (MSF), one of the few aid groups operating in Jonglei, said more than 120,000 people had been forced to flee clashes between the army and Yau Yau rebels.
  • Last week, the United States, South Sudan's biggest ally, said Juba was not doing enough to protect civilians and urged the army to stop attacking U.N. staff and looting aid agencies.
  • Separate tribal clashes were also reported in Unity state, site of several oilfields

South Sudan army says it and UN unable to protect civilians:  Minister
Wednesday 17 July 2013 - JUBA, South Sudan (Agence France Presse (AFP)) - South Sudan's deputy defence chief has said neither his troops nor United Nations peacekeepers are able to protect civilians in conflict-wracked Jonglei, where thousands of rival ethnic militiamen are fighting.

Video footage from eastern South Sudan's Jonglei shot by UN officials and seen by AFP show columns of heavily armed fighters from the Lou Nuer people marching past, watched on by a small force of government troops and UN peacekeepers.

"Much as we believe in the ideals of the responsibility to protect, our mandate as the government and the mandate of the UN cannot match with resources that are there," South Sudan's deputy minister of defence Majak D'Agoot told AFP late Tuesday.

The video was shot Sunday in the village of Manyabol in Pibor County, when the UN went to support the pickup of some 200 wounded fighters -- casualties from almost two weeks of fighting in the latest round of reprisal attacks sparked by age-old ethnic rivalry and cattle raiding.

The video shows fighters apparently returning towards their homelands, some leading stolen cattle.

The numbers of fighters suggest attacks on a scale comparable to those of December 2011, when some 8,000 Lou Nuer marched on Pibor, home town of their long-term rivals, the Murle people.

The UN later estimated more than 600 people were massacred in those attacks, although local officials reported the figure to have been far higher, while killings continued in a series of reprisal attacks.

D'Agoot said that in Manyabol the army had only one company, alongside a handful of UN peacekeepers, and that they were vastly outnumbered by as many as 7,000 militia gunmen.

Taking action in those circumstances would have been "suicidal", he said.

Hilde Johnson, head of the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said she had not seen the video her force had shot, but said that peacekeepers had sighted Lou Nuer forces and were "verifying that they were moving north on their return home".

Tit-for-tat cattle raids and reprisal killings are common in this severely under-developed state, awash with guns left over from almost two decades of civil war.

But recent attacks are on larger scale, with organised and well armed forces fighting.

South Sudan's rebel-turned-official army has also been fighting in the region to crush a rebellion led by David Yau Yau, who comes from the Murle people, since 2010.

View original report reprinted at:
http://www.omantribune.com/index.php?page=news&id=148596
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RELATED NEWS REPORTS

Fighting in South Sudan cuts off 100,000 people from aid
Wednesday 17 July 2013 - JUBA, South Sudan (By Andrew Green, Reuters) - Fighting between government forces, rebels and rival tribes has cut off 100,000 people from urgently needed food and medical aid in South Sudan's east, U.N. and aid officials said on Wednesday.

South Sudan's army is facing a rebellion from local politician David Yau Yau in the vast Jonglei state, and new clashes have broken out between the rival Lou Nuer and Murle tribes.

Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full civil war, undermining stability in the young African country, where weapons are plentiful after decades of conflict with Khartoum that led to its secession from Sudan in 2011.

U.N. humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos said the new fighting made it impossible to supply some 100,000 people in Pibor county in Jonglei State with "life-saving assistance".

"The fighting is threatening the lives of ordinary people," Amos said in a statement. The United Nations did not have enough helicopters to deliver aid to Jonglei where overland travel is impossible in the rainy reason, she said.

Medicins sans Frontiers (MSF), one of the few aid groups operating in Jonglei, said more than 120,000 people had been forced to flee clashes between the army and Yau Yau rebels.

A United Nations source said armed Lou Nuer youth had attacked several Murle villages in the past two weeks. Fighters loyal to Yau Yau, who is popular with his Murle tribe, had come to help fight back.

Separate tribal clashes were also reported in Unity state, site of several oilfields. In one incident, attackers apparently burnt a hut in a village with a woman and three children inside, said a U.N. source, asking not to be named.

The United Nations has not published any casualty figures of the Jonglei fighting despite a large presence of peacekeepers. Critics say the world body does not want to embarrass the government.

South Sudan accuses Khartoum of supplying Yau Yau with weapons. Diplomats say the claims are credible but South Sudan's army is also fuelling dissent with abuses such as rape, killings and torture committed during a state disarmament campaign.

Last week, the United States, South Sudan's biggest ally, said Juba was not doing enough to protect civilians and urged the army to stop attacking U.N. staff and looting aid agencies.

South Sudan has struggled to turn its army, a loose group of former guerrillas formed during the civil war, into a professional force.

Tribal violence has killed more than 1,600 people in Jonglei since South Sudan's secession, hampering plans to explore for oil with the help of France's Total and U.S. firm Exxon.
(Reporting by Andrew Green in Juba and Ulf Laessing in Cairo; Editing by Michael Roddy)

View original report at:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/07/17/uk-southsudan-fighting-idUKBRE96G11N20130717
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Fighting in South Sudan forces thousands into bush
Sunday 14 July 2013;  12:17pm EDT - JUBA, South Sudan (By Andrew Green, Reuters) - Fighting between South Sudan's army, rebels and rival tribes has sent thousands of people fleeing into the bush in the east of the country, U.N. and aid officials said on Sunday.

South Sudan's army is facing a rebellion from local politician David Yau Yau in the vast Jonglei state, and new clashes have broken out between rival Lou Nuer and Murle tribes.

Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full civil war, undermining stability in the young African country, which is awash with arms after decades of conflict with Khartoum that led to its secession from Sudan in 2011.

The United Nations said thousands of people were hiding in the bush outside Pibor town in Jonglei to escape from conflict between the army and Yau Yau, who says he is fighting corruption, army abuses and one-party rule in South Sudan.

"The communities are in urgent need of medical attention," Toby Lanzer, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, said in a statement.

At least 200 wounded people had arrived in the Jonglei town of Manyabol after fleeing clashes between the Lou Murle and Murle, the U.N. said. Bringing in aid was difficult as the rainy season had made overland travel impossible.

A United Nations source said armed Lou Nuer youth had attacked at least three Murle villages in the past two weeks. Fighters loyal to Yau Yau, who is popular with his Murle tribe, had come to help fight back.

South Sudan's army spokesman Philip Aguer confirmed there had been new fighting in Jonglei but gave no details.

South Sudan accuses Khartoum of supplying Yau Yau with weapons. Diplomats say the claims are credible but South Sudan's army is also fuelling dissent with abuses such as rape, killings and torture committed during a state disarmament campaign.

Last week, the United States, South Sudan's biggest ally, said Juba was not doing enough to protect civilians and urged the army to stop attacking U.N. staff and looting aid agencies.

South Sudan has struggled to turn its army, a loose group of former guerrillas formed during the civil war, into a professional force.

A cycle of tribal violence has killed more than 1,600 people in Jonglei since South Sudan's secession, hampering plans to explore for oil with the help of France's Total and U.S. firm Exxon.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing in Cairo; Editing by Andrew Roche)

View original report at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/14/us-southsudan-fighting-idUSBRE96D08120130714
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South Sudan fails to protect civilians in east, U.S. says
Wednesday 10 July 2013 - JUBA, South Sudan/KHARTOUM, Sudan (Reuters) - The United States issued a rare criticism of South Sudan on Wednesday, saying the African state was failing to protect civilians in the east where the army is fighting an insurgency.

Western powers have long urged Juba to find a peaceful solution to fighting involving the army, a rebel group and rival tribes in the vast Jonglei state but have so far mostly refrained from criticizing the government.

A United Nations source said new fighting erupted a week ago between the rival Lou Nuer and Murle tribes in the Pibor area in Jonglei, killing an unknown number of people.

More violence was expected as armed youths from both sides were amassing forces in the area, the source said. A U.N. team visiting the town said that most civilians had left Pibor, contrary to government figures, the United Nations said in a report.

The United States, South Sudan's biggest ally, said it was "deeply disappointed" that the army, or SPLA, had failed to protect civilians in vulnerable areas in Jonglei.

"The lack of action to protect civilians constitutes an egregious abdication of responsibility by the SPLA and the civilian government," the U.S. embassy in Juba said in a statement.

Washington urged the government to prevent "SPLA attacks on U.N. staff and humanitarian assets". It gave no details but soldiers had looted compounds of U.N. agencies and aid agencies in Pibor in May, according to aid sources.

South Sudan has struggled to turn its army, a loose group of former guerrillas formed the civil war with Khartoum, into a professional force since seceding from Sudan in 2011 under a 2005 peace deal. The U.S. was a driving force in pressuring Khartoum into allowing an independence vote.

The army has faced a rebellion by militia leader David Yau Yau but diplomats say the SPLA is fuelling dissent with abuses such as rape and torture committed during a state disarmament campaign.

A cycle of tribal violence has killed more than 1,600 people in Jonglei since South Sudan's secession, uprooting tens of thousands of civilians and hampering plans to explore for oil with the help of France's Total and U.S. firm Exxon.

Analysts say the roots of the tribal violence and cattle raids go back to South Sudan's failure to start development in Jonglei and elsewhere in the vast country due to corruption.

(Reporting by Andrew Green and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Michael Roddy)

View original report at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/10/us-southsudan-fighting-idUSBRE96910E20130710
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Click on labels at the end of this post to see previous reports in the archives of Sudan Watch re:  Jonglei, Pibor, Lou Nuer, Murle, Yau Yau, Unity State - at the end of each page click on the hyperlink entitled "Click HERE to scroll down" and keep on scrolling down, page by page.

This blog post was published on Thursday 18 July 2013 at 6:03pm GMT, England, United Kingdom.

UPDATE ON FRIDAY 19 JULY 2013: 
Here is a link to the above mentioned video.  The video was published (source unknown) at YouTube on Thursday 18 July 2013 together with the following title and text:

"UN and SPLA do nothing as thousands of government supported militia go by
Shocked UN peacekeeper in South Sudan village of Manyabol, Jonglei on July 14 2013 narrates video of "thousands and thousands" of member of a government supported militia thought to be returning home from ethnic violence in Jonglei state marching past them and government troops with stolen cattle after violent clashes which have already led to hundreds of wounded. No action was taken to stop them or even to make this sighting public."



Here is a link to the above video, title and text:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_fFxBIJWzw

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