September 02, 2014 01:50 UTC

In the News

South Sudan Tells Soldiers to Stop Fighting

South Sudan soldiers in a vehicle in the capital Juba Dec. 20, 2013.
South Sudan soldiers in a vehicle in the capital Juba Dec. 20, 2013.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story

From VOA Learning English, this is In the News.
 
The government of South Sudan has told its soldiers to stop fighting government opponents.  The move is part of an effort to end violence that began after a dispute between the country’s president and former vice-president.
 
The government’s announcement came after leaders of other countries in the area met to urge the two sides to stop the violence.  A spokesman for South Sudan’s Foreign Ministry told VOA on Friday that the government’s cease-fire will begin immediately.  It gave the government’s opponents three days to answer the call for a cease-fire.
 
Violence began in the capital Juba on December 15th and quickly spread across the country after a dispute between President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar -- his main political competitor.  In July, Mr. Kiir dismissed his cabinet, including Mr. Machar.  Tensions had been rising since then, but fighting began only when Mr. Kiir accused Mr. Machar of planning to overthrow the government.  Mr. Machar denied the claim.
 
The fighting surprised many observers.  From the time South Sudan became an independent country in 2011, many feared that the new country would be at war with Sudan, the country from which it won independence.  Instead, South Sudan is at war with itself.

x
The fighting has divided the military in some areas, and has increased ethnic tensions. Some members of President Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group have been fighting with Mr. Machar’s ethnic group -- the Nuer. 
 
The foreign ministry said government soldiers have taken control of Malakal -- the capital of Upper Nile state -- after days of fierce battles.
 
Leaders of East African countries meeting in Nairobi on Friday welcomed the South Sudanese government’s decision to end the fighting.  They called on Mr. Machar and others to do the same.

In this photo released by the Kenyan Presidential Press Service, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, speaks during the meeting on the situation in South Sudan, held at State House, Nairobi, Kenya, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. On the right is Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn (AP Photo/Kenyan Presidential Press Service)In this photo released by the Kenyan Presidential Press Service, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, speaks during the meeting on the situation in South Sudan, held at State House, Nairobi, Kenya, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. On the right is Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn (AP Photo/Kenyan Presidential Press Service)
x
In this photo released by the Kenyan Presidential Press Service, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, speaks during the meeting on the situation in South Sudan, held at State House, Nairobi, Kenya, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. On the right is Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn (AP Photo/Kenyan Presidential Press Service)
In this photo released by the Kenyan Presidential Press Service, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, speaks during the meeting on the situation in South Sudan, held at State House, Nairobi, Kenya, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. On the right is Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn (AP Photo/Kenyan Presidential Press Service)
Both Mr. Machar and Mr. Kiir have agreed to meet.  But the government has rejected Mr. Machar’s demands that the government release his supporters, who were jailed in the early days of the crisis.
 
At the meeting in Nairobi, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the detained political leaders should be included in talks to end the crisis.
 
“The detainees are part of South Sudan’s leadership and as such are part of the solution.  South Sudan’s legal system must process them as it should while they are treated humanely and quickly enabled to be an integral part of the dialogue that will solve the underlying political problems that have brought us to this unfortunate crisis.”
 
Mr. Kenyatta also urged the African Union, the United Nations and other countries to promise more support for South Sudan.  And he said leaders of other East African nations would not accept what he called the “unconstitutional overthrow” of South Sudan’s democratically-elected government.    
 
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn says he supports Mr. Kiir.
 
“It should be underscored that the legitimate government of South Sudan under President Salva Kiir Mayardit is the duly elected representative of the people of South Sudan and it has every responsibility to restore peace and stability throughout the country.”

South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.
x
South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.
South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.
The United Nations estimates more than 1,000 people have been killed in violence across the country since the middle of December.  It says more than 50,000 people have fled to UN bases.  The UN hopes to send more peacekeepers to the country within a few days.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the crisis cannot be ended using troops.
 
East African leaders called on all sides in the conflict to meet before the end of the year.

And that’s In The News, from VOA Learning English.  I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.


Loading lesson...
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Employee seen behind glass door of Alibaba's company headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, April 23, 2014.

    Audio Alibaba Seeks to Raise Billions in IPO

    The Chinese online company could raise $20 billion by selling stock to the public in the U.S. The company holds an 80 percent share of China’s online market. More

  • Ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar wave as they are transported by a wooden boat to a temporary shelter in Krueng Raya in Aceh Besar, Indonesia, April 8, 2013.

    Audio UN: Boat People Fleeing Myanmar, Bangladesh

    The United Nations says there has been a sudden increase in people fleeing Myanmar and Bangladesh by boat. Activists fear the number will continue to rise as refugees leave unclean camps and violence in Myanmar. They say that is especially true of ethnic Rohingya. More

  • Morgan County dispatcher Larry Holmes talks with a woman reporting a domestic disturbance as deputies respond to her location Friday, April 28, 2007, in Versailles, Mo. Because the 911 call came in on a landline, the address of the disturbance was immedia

    Audio It's an Emergency in Any Language

    In most countries, people can make a telephone call to ask for medical or police help using just three numbers. In the European Union, the number is 1-1-2. Some Asian countries use 9-9-9. In North America, the number is 9-1-1. More

  • A UNICEF worker shares information on Ebola and best practices to help prevent its spread with residents of the Matam neighborhood of Conakry, Guinea in this handout photo courtesy of UNICEF taken Aug. 20, 2014.

    Audio Conflicts, Ebola Put More Demands on UNICEF

    UNICEF says August has been its busiest month for emergency airlifts in the past 10 years. Some of the supplies going to Syria and Iraq are designed to help children deal with the effects of conflict. Some have gone to Liberia for use against the disease Ebola. More

  • FILE - A Vietnamese boy looks at dairy products at a showroom of the Vietnam Dairy Products Co (Vinamilk) in Hanoi.

    Audio Vietnam, We Have a Nutrition Problem

    Vietnam has a nutrition problem: too many of its children are underweight. Yet more and more Vietnamese boys and girls are becoming overweight. The two conditions may appear to be separate, but they are linked. They are both the result of poor diets. More

Featured Stories

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs