Spectre of famine in South Sudan

2014-03-13 17:53
Rebels proclaiming to be part of the Nuer tribe's infamous 'White Army' stand in the grounds of the hospital in Malakal, South Sudan.  (Ilya Gridneff, AP)

Rebels proclaiming to be part of the Nuer tribe's infamous 'White Army' stand in the grounds of the hospital in Malakal, South Sudan. (Ilya Gridneff, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Addis Ababa - South Sudan faces possible famine if warring government and rebel forces do not heed a ceasefire deal they have signed, US and EU envoys warned Thursday.

"The parties have failed to respect their commitment to the 23 January cessation of hostilities," said US envoy Donald Booth, at a meeting of regional leaders in Ethiopia on the conflict in the world's youngest country.

"This failure has led to thousands of additional deaths and an ever worsening humanitarian situation, with South Sudan facing a possible famine," he added.

South Sudan's government has been at war with rebel groups since 15 December, when a clash between troops loyal to Kiir and those loyal to sacked vice president Riek Machar snowballed into full-scale fighting.

Over 930,000 civilians have fled their homes since fighting began, including over quarter of million leaving for neighbouring nations as refugees, according to the United Nations.

"If things continue as they are, the spectre of famine looms," EU envoy Alexander Rondos said.

"The rains are coming, and if people cannot go and plant there will not be sufficient stocks within months... This should be a matter of the greatest urgency."

Heavy fighting has continued despite the January deal, with the army on Thursday reporting continued clashes in the strategic oil city of Malakal, one of the hardest-fought battlegrounds in the conflict.

Both the US and EU envoys were speaking at a special one-day summit in Addis Ababa of leaders from the East African bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Leaders pleaded for the two sides to end the fighting.

No to spoilers

"I strongly urge the warring parties to immediately cease hostilities as per their agreement," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said.

War crimes have been committed by all sides in the war, Human Rights Watch has warned, detailing widespread atrocities including widespread killing, rape and looting.

"Neither IGAD's appeal for peace nor ours is about telling the parties what to do," Booth added. "It is about appealing to them to do the right thing."

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who hosted the talks, warned that "negotiations are about readiness to give and take", as he opened the summit, which was attended by Kiir.

"We should say 'no' to spoilers who are not interested in peace," Hailemariam said.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has sent in troops to back Kiir's forces and fight rebel troops, was also present.

President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, whose nation is heavily dependent on the oil from landlocked South Sudan which transits through Khartoum to the coast, was also at the meeting.

Read more on:    hrw  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.


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.