Over 100 orphans in South Sudan crosssfire

2011-03-14 20:26

Juba - More than 100 orphans were caught in the middle of gunfire in an attack on the capital of south Sudan's oil-producing Upper Nile state that killed more than 42 combatants, aid and military officials said.

Renegade fighters attacked Malakal on Saturday in the latest violence to stoke fears for the stability of the south ahead of its independence from the north, due to take place on July 9.

Just short of 99% of southern voters chose to declare independence in a January referendum promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with the north.

Aid group SOS Children's Villages on Monday said the attackers forced their way into its compound in the town.

"Rebels gained access to the SOS Children's Village, where heavy fighting broke out between them and soldiers of the (south's) Sudan People's Liberation Army," said a statement from the UK-based group.

"The rebels took cover in one of the family houses and were surrounded by SPLA soldiers and police," it added.

Aid sources, who asked not to be named, said the militias had briefly taken the children hostage in the orphanage and a priest led negotiations to free the children.

Children unharmed

SOS said the children and staff were eventually freed unharmed but had to leave their belongings behind. They were now taking shelter in a hotel, it added.

Southern army spokesperson Philip Aguer said the southern army clashed with the militia and forced them out of the town.

More than 40 militiamen and two southern soldiers were killed, he said, and he had no information on civilian deaths.

The figures were almost double estimates of the death toll released on the day of the fighting.

Aid workers in the town, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters they saw the bodies of at least three civilians killed in the fighting on Saturday.

Renegade militia leader George Athor claimed responsibility for the attack, saying one of his deputies had set out to seize weapons and rebuff an army offensive against his men.

Athor, a former senior SPLA officer, launched his revolt last year saying he had been cheated out of the governorship of the south's Jonglei state in April elections.

Al-Bashir behind it

The UN's humanitarian chief in Sudan, Georg Charpentier, on Monday said the southern army had barred aid groups from large parts of Jonglei as it pursued Athor. He called on the SPLA to reverse the policy.

Charpentier said aid workers needed to reach people caught in both the fighting and an epidemic of the disease leishmaniasis, also known as kala-azar, a potentially fatal parasitic disease.

Southern politicians walked out of talks about preparations for independence from the north over the weekend, accusing Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of arming Athor and other militias to overthrow the south's government before the split.

The north's dominant National Congress Party (NCP) dismissed the accusations as "ridiculous".

Sudan's civil war, between the mostly Muslim north and the south, where most follow Christian and traditional beliefs, was fought over oil, ethnicity and ideology and killed an estimated two million people.

Read more on:    spla  |  omar hassan al-bashir  |  george athor  |  south sudan  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.