Posted on | December 19, 2013 | 18 Comments
— Dee Faced™ (@HeavenLeeOps) December 19, 2013
My kids’ Christmas concert is tonight, so I’ll have to run, but here’s the latest Reuters update on the emerging crisis:
South Sudanese government troops battled to regain control of a flashpoint town and sent forces to quell fighting in a vital oil producing area on Thursday, the fifth day of a conflict that has deepened ethnic divisions in the two-year-old nation.
The conflict, which has so far killed up to 500 people, has alarmed South Sudan’s neighbours. African mediators held talks with President Salva Kiir on Thursday to try to broker peace.
The fighting that erupted around the capital Juba on Sunday night has quickly spread, pitting loyalists of the former Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer, against Kiir, a member of the dominant Dinka clan.
Machar, whose dismissal in July led to months of tensions, has denied Kiir’s accusation that he had led a coup attempt.
Rivals have fought fierce gunbattles over the town of Bor, north of Juba, the scene of a 1991 massacre by soldiers loyal to Machar of hundreds of Dinkas.
Thousands of people have sought refuge in U.N. bases, including 200 oil employees in a main crude-producing region. U.N. officials said one base in Jonglei state, where Bor is located, was breached by Nuer and there may have been deaths.
Here’s Agence France-Presse:
The fierce fighting that erupted in South Sudan this week risks spiralling into an ethnic conflict, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay warned Thursday.
“The risk of seeing the fighting taking on an ethnic dimension is extremely high and could result in a dangerous situation,” Pillay said in a statement.
She expressed deep concern over reports of “civilians killed in Juba based on their ethnicity,” and of “numerous extra-judicial killings.”
Some 450 people have been killed in the capital Juba since battles broke out late on Sunday and thousands displaced, as rebels loyal to fugitive former vice president Riek Machar battle government forces following an alleged failed coup attempt against President Salva Kiir.
They seized the town of Bor in Jonglei state late Wednesday.
The U.N. says the situation in South Sudan’s Jonglei State has deteriorated and a group of young people has reportedly forced its way onto a U.N. base sheltering civilians. Officials say there may be casualties, but they cannot confirm how many.
The United Nations says Lou Nuer youth are reported to have entered a temporary operating base belonging to the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Akobo, Jonglei state. The United Nations said it is trying to extract its unarmed personnel from the area while reinforcing the base with an additional 60 peacekeepers.
U.N. Deputy-Secretary General Jan Eliasson told reporters that they are working to verify reports of casualties.
“Our base in Akobo, Jonglei state, was attacked and we have reports that lives were lost. We do not have the details of that yet. Of course, the secretary-general and I both condemn this attack in the strongest terms,” said Eliasson.
— Tom Law (@TomLawMedia) December 19, 2013
— Lulu Walcott (@LuluWalcott1) December 19, 2013
— UN Peacekeeping (@UNPeacekeeping) December 19, 2013
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) December 19, 2013