Threat of famine, fighting loom over South Sudan

2014-08-13 07:21


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

Juba - The risk of famine and reports of growing arms imports could bring fresh woe to South Sudan, a delegation from the UN Security Council warned on Tuesday, urging the state's warring leaders to resolve their differences.

At least 10 000 people have been killed since fierce fighting erupted in South Sudan in December, pitting President Salva Kiir's government forces against supporters of Riek Machar, his former deputy and long serving political rival.

Adding to the country's many problems, aid agencies say South Sudan could be headed for the worst famine since the mid-1980s, when malnutrition swept through East Africa and killed over a million people.

"There is a grave risk of famine that now looms, that hangs over this visit," United States ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers told reporters, saying 50 000 children under five were at risk of dying of malnutrition in the coming months.

"Moreover, as you all know, the killing is continuing, notwithstanding the fact that a cessation of hostilities has been signed," added Powers, who was part of a group of UN Security Council ambassadors visiting the country.

South Sudan's opposing parties failed to meet an 10 Aug deadline to form a transitional unity government, which was agreed as part of a ceasefire deal signed in January that has been violated by both sides.

Even as discussions continue in the capital of neighbouring Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, media has reported that the government has imported a variety of weapons from China.

"We hear very worrying reports of more arms being brought in to this country in order to set the stage for... another set of battles when the dry season commences," Powers said.

"This is deeply alarming and so the round of talks now under way in Addis have to be taken seriously by both parties and there has to be urgency."

Combat in the nation that won independence from Sudan in 2011, has played out along deep ethnic fault lines, with Kiir's Dinka community battling Machar's Nuer.

More than one million people have been displaced by the violence and more than 400 000 have fled the country. The UN peacekeeping operation in South Sudan is sheltering nearly 100 000 civilians at its bases, officials said.

The UN delegation met members of Kiir's cabinet on Tuesday and is scheduled to meet the rebels later in the week.

"We will engage Riek Machar as well, probably tomorrow [Wednesday], and we will deliver a very tough message to him," Powers said.

Read more on:    un security council  |  riek machar  |  salva kiir  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation! 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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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 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.