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Attack on UN Akobo base killed 30 civilians, says foreign minister

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December 21, 2013 (JUBA) – At least 30 South Sudanese civilians and two Indian peacekeepers lost their lives when the United Nations base in Akobo, in the far east of Jonglei state, was attacked on Thursday, according to South Sudan’s foreign minister. One Indian peacekeeper was also injured.

Speaking during a memorial ceremony for the Indian soldiers in the capital Juba, South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister, Benjamin Marial deplored the "cowardice" of those who carried out the attack.

The South Sudan government was sadden by the death of the two peacekeepers "who had paid [with] their lives to protect our citizens", Marial said during eulogies at the base of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Juba.

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Civilians streaming into the UNMISS compound in Bor, capital of Jonglei state, South Sudan, seeking refuge from the violence. (Photo: UNMISS/Hailemichael Gebrekrstos)

Since fighting between Dinka and Nuer members of the Presidential Guard began on 15 December around around 500 people have been killed. An estimated 34,000 people have taken refuge at UN compounds around the world’s youngest country.

UNMISS said that 43 Indian peacekeepers, six UN police advisers and two civilian UN members of staff were at the base when Dinka civilians sought shelter there from the instability that has spread from the capital Juba to Jonglei and Unity state.

The attackers, the Indian ambassador to the UN said, were angry Nuer who were seeking retribution against Dinka civilians in response to reports from Juba that Nuer civilians had been targeted by Dinka soldiers in the first days on the fighting.

This has been denied by the government but Human Rights Watch has reported that civilians were attacked on the basis of their ethnicity.

Only seven of the estimated 37 Dinka civilians who sought shelter at the base survived the attack. The survivors were airlifted to Malakal, the capital of neighbouring Upper Nile state on Friday.

One survivor, who reached Juba on Saturday, told Sudan Tribune that the attack was so horrific that he could not bring himself to describe what happened.

The chief of staff of South Sudan’s army, James Hoth Mai, said on Saturday that that youth that attacked the UN base in Akobo are moving, adding that the government is not in control of the area.

President Salva Kiir claimed on Monday that the army infighting that triggered the violence was an attempted coup and arrested many senior officials. His former deputy, Riek Machar, and the other accused members of the ruling SPLM, denied any coup attempt.

Since then Machar has been on the run and has called on Kiir to step down. However the former vice president has said he is willing to enter negotiations on the condition that all the senior officials are released and allowed to travel to a safe location, such as Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

(ST)

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  • 21 December 2013 19:53, by Mapuor

    Why attack UNMIS positions yaa Nyagaats?What would you say if the same is done in Dinka states and Juba?What do you think would be the reaction of international community.Riek Macar is a moving grave and will be held responsible for such barbaric attacks on civilians.Is that the democracy that your stink mouths have been preaching?Nyagaats

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  • 21 December 2013 19:59, by Naath Raani

    Criminals and food lovers in Juba their time come join the rest who perished. Coward Kiir is gone together with Marial Bilua. Marial will go back to Dinka. The mighty Nuers will hunt you down. Cow boy food lover, why you brought Ugandan government? You blind criminal don’tt know Ugandan president Killed Garang. 2014 is your world ended.

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  • 21 December 2013 22:56, by Thyinka

    Riek, Gadet and Koang Chuol will likely die this year and sooner than later. There are better Nuer leaders who can unite Nuer with the rest of South Sudanese rather than always looking to divide people along tribal lines.

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  • 22 December 2013 00:06, by Joseph Canada

    Dinka tribe was ment to die and disappear from South Sudan. They started the killing of other tribes all over South Sudan and Nuba mountain. They Steal the country resources. They are parasites that will never leave living on other’s blood. They are mean and arrogant. The whole world know this!!

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    • 22 December 2013 03:23, by Hardlinner

      your response clearly indicate your savagery and characteristic of nuers. if you are not so foolish how many nuer civilians leave among dinkas and yet no body touch. I don’t want any dinka to follow the foot step of nuer savages. a some one that you welcome at your home/land should have equal treatment like rest of habitants. killing such person is the most cowardice act human being can ever do.

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      • 22 December 2013 06:01, by Joseph Canada

        I am not a Nuer. I am a person who is fed up with Dinka attitude toward other tribes. They are very arrogant, and a donkey like behaviour. thieves who squander the national interest and incite fighting between Murle and Nuer, Budi people and Toposa, Acholi and Madi,the people Lopa and Lafon. All are from Dinka activity.

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    • 22 December 2013 05:55, by Kenyang

      Joseph Canada,
      You sound very inferior. Dinka, one of South Sudan proud communities can’t go anywhere now and forever. Everyone knows now you’re one of those driving for stomach in Canada, not even an education to respect millions people like Dinka.

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      • 22 December 2013 06:11, by Joseph Canada

        Kenyang, they don’t drive for stomach here in canada and the education i have gone actually is what am in my career dude. You might have not lived with Dinka, or you are just an ignorant Dinka who doesn’t accept the truth. Even here in Canada most of them are the ones who are feeling jails and making South Sudanese names looks bad in the eyes of the Canadian Govt.

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