By Nangayi Guyson
Kampala, Uganda- The war that broke out mid this month between government forces and mutiny soldiers royal to former vice president, Riek Machar in South Sudan is pushing the newly born country into Civil war . Political analysts and US president Barrack Obama warned last week.
The fighting have so far caused the death of more than 1000 people, displaced 800,000 internally of whom 45,000 have sought refugee in the UN compound according to UN.
The war in south Sudan started from the Capital Juba a week ago after the rival army within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) tried to overthrow the government according to the south Sudan president Salvar Kiir and it has now spread to more than 5 states in the country with rebels capturing major towns.
Troops loyal to former Vice President, Riek Machar, who was in July this year sacked by his boss President Salvar Kiir after he signaled interest to challenge Kiir in 2015 elections, have so far captured south Sudan’s major oil –rich states of Bor and Bentiu , the capital of Unity state and have vowed to take over the government.
Philip Aguer, the South Sudanese military spokesman confirmed on Sunday that the towns were not still under government forces’ controlled but he and president maintained that they are going to carry a major offensive attack to retake towns in the world’s youngest nation.
Reports coming from south Sudan indicate that the situation in the country has worsened and turned into ethnic killings with the UN confirming that they have discovered a mass grave containing 75 bodies in Bentiu in the north of South Sudan plus two others, in the capital Juba.
In UN statement posted on its website on 24th Dec,UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday expressed grave concern over the serious and growing human rights violations taking place daily in South Sudan during the past 10 days, calling on the leadership on both sides to protect civilians and refrain from instigating violence based on ethnic grounds.
“Mass extrajudicial killings, the targeting of individuals on the basis of their ethnicity and arbitrary detentions have been documented in recent days,” Pillay said. “We have discovered a mass grave in Bentiu, in Unity State, and there are reportedly at least two other mass graves in Juba.”
The power struggle is between President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, and his ex-deputy Riek Machar, who is of the Nuer.
“Prophet of doom”
Earlier on Monday last week, president Salvar Kiir addressed the nation in his full military attire saying forces loyal to the ousted vice president Riek Machar staged a coup but has failed and called him a” prophet of doom” .
Riek Machar responded from unknown location in a BBC interview denying any link with fighting that began on Sunday and accused President Salva Kiir of inciting tribal and ethnic violence and using clashes among soldiers as an impetus to crack down on opposition.
It is now still hard to know who to be blame for sending back the people of south Sudan into a civil war after suffering the same from 1983-2005 while still under Sudan. The fighting has escalated and spread beyond the capital Juba to towns around and there reports that Akobo, Bor and Jonglei state are not still under government control.
Situation in South Sudan
The situation in the capital Juba is deteriorating every day, Ugandan business community in the capital told this media that the situation is still tense. A business woman Namagembe Beatrice who is caught up in the fighting and now seeking refugee in the UN camp said that she is praying to get a chance and return to Uganda. “My reaching here was by God’s will, I ran through bullets and I have seen so many dead bodies lying on the streets, many pregnant women were being cut deep into their stomachs and babies could be removed from them before they could kill them”. She said.
Peter Waswa who reached Uganda yesterday after the government send Buses to pick Ugandans who are trapped in Juba said “I never thought I will get back, the situation in south Sudan is very -very bad. Many people seeking refugee in UN bases go without food but only water. I have been eating small breads for three days. I have lost all the money I injected in the goods I took there but God is great am back home. At night life in juba becomes hell and no one cares about who is killed and who is alive” said peter
Many Ugandans had invested largely in doing businesses in this new nation but instead they have all made loses. The government of Uganda has since last week been excavating its citizens amidst accusations by rebels that its air force planes bombed the positions of the General Peter Gatdet Yak a defected commander in Bor, the capital of Jonglei State which Uganda’s spokesman, for Foreign Ministry, Fred Opolot , has denied saying UPDF troops were send to rescue about 2,000 Ugandan citizens trapped in South Sudan.
On 23 December 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called a crisis meeting of his top advisers on the deteriorating situation in South Sudan today and proposed reinforcing the United Nations peacekeeping force there in a bid to stem a conflict increasingly marked by ethnically targeted killings.
Over 6,800 UN peacekeepers troops have been deployed in bases in south Sudan.
Despite that, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations are providing life-saving services in two UN bases in Juba where 20,000 people have sought shelter, including water, sanitation and emergency healthcare. Latrines are being dug, high-energy biscuits provided to meet the urgent nutritional needs of children and other vulnerable people, and emergency surgical supplies, drugs, and reproductive health kits delivered to hospitals around Juba.
Aid agencies have also been able to deliver food to some 7,000 people who have sought shelter in the UN peacekeeping base in Bentiu, Unity State.
More than 45,000 have sought refugee in the UN bases.
UN Based attacked
Though UN is doing more than enough to help people trapped in the conflict, its officials in south Sudan said Unknown assailants have continued to attacked UN bases. Two Indian battalion peacekeepers and 20 civilians, lost their lives when an estimated 2,000 heavily armed youth believed to be of Lour Nuer ethnicity surrounded the outpost of the UN base in the town of Akobo in Jonglei state and opened fire on the Dinka ethnic civilians, who had been seeking refuge inside the compound. Another Indian peacekeeper was wounded in the incident after the deadly attack where the assailants fled with arms, ammunition and other supplies.
Ban Ki-moon said he was “appalled” to learn of the attack on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Akobo and demanded that Government and opposition forces respect the rights of civilians and ensure their safety and security.
UN applies Ugandan President Museveni to intervene
The United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon has asked President Museveni to intervene and help find a solution to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan. Head of public diplomacy at the ministry of Foreign Affairs Fred Opolot revealed last week at a media briefing on the state of affairs in the South Sudan.
Political relationship between South Sudan and Uganda have been friendly for several decades, and the intervention could be of great importance since Uganda’s longtime President,Yoweri Museveni was a personal friend of South Sudan rebel leader John Garang and supported the (SPLA), which fought for the region’s independence. A day before South Sudan voted on a cessation referendum, Museveni came out vocally for separation, saying, “…unity should be principled unity; not unity based on suppression and inequality.”
Foreign evacuations in South Sudan
Many countries including Britain, US, France among others have all send in rescue planes in south Sudan to evacuate their Citizens. A few U.S. troops are already are in South Sudan providing security. Britain reported today is sending the last plane to South Sudan to evacuate remaining Britons amid concerns mounting violence could quickly escalate into a full-scale civil war.
Riek Machar and President Salvar Kiir
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar are both former rebel leaders who rose to power during Sudan’s civil war between north and south, the two leaders have ever fought alongside each other against government forces in Khartoum leading to latter seceding following a peace agreement to form the world’s youngest country.
The cowboy-hat wearing ex-guerrilla Commander Salva Kiir is known for leading troops in the long bush war and he reluctantly took power only after the death of his chief, South Sudan’s first President John Garang, in a 2005 helicopter crash.
Salva Kiir comes from the ethic tribe called Dinka the majority in south Sudan and Riek Machar comes from Nuer tribe, the second largest in the country. Riek Machar, in July this year was sacked as vice-president by his boss Kiir without clear reason, and in early December, openly challenged Kiir, calling him “dictatorial”.
President Salva Kiir has accepted unconditionally dialogue but Riek Machar wants him to step down
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