South Sudan

Juba (AFP) South Sudan government forces said Monday they had seized the rebel stronghold of Pagak near the Ethiopian border, after weeks of heavy fighting that forced thousands to flee the region. Military spokesman Dickson Gatluak said rebel forces loyal to exiled former deputy president Riek Machar withdrew from the town on Sunday “without a fight”. He said there had been clashes in the nearby town of Maiwut, and government forces pushed the rebels back towards Pagak. Later in the afternoon the rebels withdrew from the Upper Nile town whichRead More
Old Fangak (South Sudan) (AFP) Thouk Reath, 19, was recovering from a leg amputation after being shot in fighting in northeastern South Sudan when the clinic he was in had to be evacuated because of approaching gunfire. Patients and doctors at the clinic in the town of Maiwut risked being caught up in an army offensive closing in on the nearby opposition-stronghold Pagak. The United Nations said last week that about 5,000 people had fled into neighbouring Ethiopia to escape the fighting, and rebel spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel told AFPRead More
Juba (AFP) South Sudan on Sunday marked its sixth independence anniversary in muted fashion, with no official celebration as the world’s newest nation reels from a brutal and destructive ongoing civil war. A third of the population has been forced from their homes creating one of the world’s worst refugee crises, tens of thousands have been killed and a famine and food shortages have threatened the lives of millions more. “Today I have nothing to celebrate,” said 34-year-old father of three Ariik Majok, who works as a night watchman inRead More
Juba (AFP) Witnesses described looting and finding a dead body, but the trial of 12 soldiers accused of raping foreign aid workers in Juba proceeded Thursday in the absence of the victims. The chilling attack on a hotel compound during fierce fighting in the South Sudanese capital a year ago cast a spotlight on atrocities by government troops in the country’s three-year civil war. And the military trial, now in its sixth week, has highlighted the difficulty in bringing perpetrators to book. First there were 22 suspects, then 13, nowRead More
Juba (AFP) South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation gripped by civil war, has cancelled its official independence day celebrations for the second year running. “We are not celebrating… because our situation does not require us to celebrate at a time when there are people in need of these funds,” explained government spokesman Michael Makuei of the cancellation. South Sudan split with Sudan on July 9, 2011 but has been engulfed by civil war since 2013. Violence and subsequent famine have killed tens of thousands and forced 3.7 million people fromRead More
Juba (AFP) South Sudan’s media authority will lift a ban on around 20 foreign journalists who had been refused access to the country, a top media official said Thursday. Earlier this month the government’s media regulatory authority said it had banned the journalists over “unsubstantiated and unrealistic stories”. The National Dialogue Steering Committee — tasked with leading consultations to restore peace in the country — put pressure on the Media Authority to lift the ban. “They are going to allow any journalists to come. They were preventing some journalists becauseRead More
Juba (AFP) A famine that was declared in parts of South Sudan four months ago is over, UN aid agencies said Wednesday, but extreme hunger has increased to its highest levels ever across the war-torn country. “The accepted technical definition of famine no longer applies in former Unity State’s Leer and Mayandit counties where famine was declared in February,” according to a joint statement from the UN children’s agency UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). The manmade famine, due to three years ofRead More
Juba (AFP) A famine that was declared in parts of South Sudan four months ago is over, UN aid agencies said Wednesday, but extreme hunger has increased to its highest levels ever across the war-torn country. “The accepted technical definition of famine no longer applies in former Unity State’s Leer and Mayandit counties where famine was declared in February,” according to a joint statement from the UN children’s agency UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). The manmade famine, due to three years ofRead More
Bentiu (South Sudan) (AFP) What was once Bentiu, the gateway to South Sudan’s oil fields, is now a cluster of bullet-riddled buildings and piles of scrap metal, its ghostly avenues abandoned. Residents of the town have long since decamped to a well-ordered grid of mud dwellings ringed by sewage, where they live in wretched limbo after three years of war, too scared to leave. Some 120,000 people living in the camp fear that if they leave their ethnicity would make them a target for government soldiers. After years of fightingRead More
Juba (AFP) Military helicopters to carry troops, others to carry bombs and giant cargo planes to carry food: welcome to shattered South Sudan’s Juba airport. A handful of commercial airliners are also visible not far from the terminal, but they are heavily outnumbered by aid agency aircraft that every day take personnel and equipment all over this war-torn country, landing in often live conflict zones on remote dirt runways. The capital’s runway, by contrast, is in perfect condition, the result of a $160 million (143 million euro) renovation and expansionRead More