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South Sudan: 'White Army' Marches Toward Contested State Capital (+Video)

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South Sudan: 'White Army' Marches Toward Contested State Capital (+Video)

Post by Mazy on Sun Dec 29 2013, 05:34

Just got this as an alert. BE AWARE I HAVE NOT WATCHED VIDEO CANNOT ON MY PC


South Sudan: 'White Army' Marches Toward Contested State Capital (+Video)

South Sudan's former Vice President Riek Machar rejected Friday's agreement end to hostilities. On Saturday, 25,000 young men known as the 'White Army,' from the same tribe as Machar, marched toward Bor.
By Jason Straziuso, Associated Press / December 28, 2013

Children stand by latrines inside a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in Juba, South Sudan Friday.
Ben Curtis/AP

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

Twenty-five thousand young men who make up a tribal militia known as the "White Army" are marching toward a contested state capital in South Sudan, an official said Saturday, dimming hopes for a cease-fire.

More fighting is expected in South Sudan. Most serious is the looming battle for Bor, the provincial capital of Jonglei state that briefly fell to rebels before government forces took it back this week.

Seeking an end to the nearly two-week crisis in which an estimated 1,000 people have been killed, leaders from across East Africa announced on Friday that South Sudan had agreed to a "cessation of hostilities" against forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, accused by the government of leading a coup attempt on Dec. 15 that erupted into spiraling violence.
But Machar rejected that, saying in an interview with the BBC that any cease-fire had to be negotiated by delegations from both sides. The government in the capital, Juba, seized on that statement to further condemn Machar.
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"Dr. Riek Machar has put obstacles to this genuine call by issuing pre-conditions that a cease-fire cannot be reached unless a negotiation is conducted," said Vice President James Wani Igga. "This is complete intransigence and obstinacy because the main issue now is to stop violence."

In addition to those killed, tens of thousands are seeking shelters at United Nations camps.


More fighting is expected. Most serious is the looming battle for Bor, the provincial capital ofJonglei state that briefly fell to rebels before government forces took it back this week, said military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer. Pro-Machar forces are believed to be preparing a fresh offensive to retake Bor, the Jonglei state town where three United States military aircraft were hit by gunfire while trying to evacuate American citizens on Dec. 21, wounding four U.S. service members.

The estimated 25,000 youths from the Lou Nuer sub-clan — the same tribe Machar is from — are marching on Bor, said Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth. The "White Army" gets its name from the white ash fighters put on their skin as protection from insects.

"He has decided to mobilize the youth in the name of his tribe," Lueth said.

The estimate of 25,000 came from intelligence inside the group itself, Lueth said. Asked if the government was monitoring the group from the air, he said only: "Well, ultimately we are monitoring."
As of Saturday evening, the youths, who are armed with light weapons and heavy machine guns, were about 30 miles outside Bor, he said, meaning they could reach the state capital imminently.

Earlier in the crisis some 2,000 Lou Nuer armed fighters attacked a U.N. base in Akobo, also in Jonglei state, killing three U.N. troops and a reported two dozen or so ethnic Dinka inside the base.

Akshaya Kumar, a South Sudan analyst for the U.S.-based Enough Project, said it was important to remember that civilian lives hang in the balance in Bor.

"Bor has already been the site of two violent clashes in less than two weeks. Its people, many of whom are sheltering in the U.N. compound, cannot withstand another battle," she said. "The recent Lou Nuer storming of the U.N. base in Akobo set a dangerous precedent. We worry that the Bor peacekeeping force may not be able to withstand a similar onslaught."
South Sudan military forces are in Bor and will protect the civilian population against attacks, Lueth said. Most of the residents of Bor are Dinka.

"It's hard to predict what will happen," Lueth said. "This is war."

The White Army has threatened the central government in recent past. In 2011 the army said that the Nuer youths would fight until all the Murle — another tribe — had been killed. The statement warned the national military to stay out of the way. Another statement warned that the White Army would "wipe out" the army, according to the Enough Project, a U.S.-based advocacy group that works on issues in central Africa.

Elsewhere, in oil-rich Unity state government troops were being forced to repel attacks by forces loyal to Machar, said Aguer. The military "is fighting back, but it is the other side that is attacking us," he said.

IGAD, the regional bloc of East African nations, demanded on Friday that negotiations begin before the end of the year between South Sudan's government and Machar, but there was no sign on Saturday that is likely.

"We are ready to meet even before that. It is now up to Machar to accept the ceasefire," said Vice President Igga.

The government blames Machar for plotting a coup attempt on Dec. 15. Machar denies that charge and his backers insist violence began when presidential guards from President Salva Kiir's majority Dinka tribe tried to disarm guards from Machar's Nuer ethnic group. From Juba the military clashes then spiraled across the country.


The United Nations, South Sudan's government and other analysts say the dispute is political at its heart, but has since taken on ethnic overtones. The fighting has displaced more than 120,000 people.

Associated Press reporter Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda, contributed to this report.

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Mazy
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Re: South Sudan: 'White Army' Marches Toward Contested State Capital (+Video)

Post by chiki on Sun Dec 29 2013, 22:24

Thanks Mazy
it's every day worse and worse...I've read in twitter something about surrender of big part of white army, but I can't find it now. (sorry,out for the weekend, I only had the phone) I guess it was after this attack. (I'll post if I find it)

South Sudan army clashes with rebel militia
Helicopter gunships reportedly used near city of Bor against armed youth believed to be loyal to sacked vice president.


South Sudan's army has clashed with the "White Army" ethnic militia, a spokesman has said, accusing rebels of mobilising the force despite the offer of a truce to end the conflict in the country.

The White Army - made up largely of Nuer youths who dust their bodies with ash to protect themselves against insects - clashed with government troops near the town of Bor five days after rebels were driven out, army spokesman Philip Aguer said on Sunday.

The army used helicopter gunships against the militia advance near Bor, Aguer said.

"They then dispersed and returned back," he added.

The fighting which started earlier this month is pitting mainly Nuer rebels against military forces loyal to President Salva Kiir of the Dinka tribe.

South Sudan's minister of information told the Associated Press earlier on Sunday that most of the militia had disbanded and returned home.

Michael Makuei Lueth said Nuer community leaders in Jonglei state persuaded the White Army fighters to go home. Lueth said only a "very few" refused to disband. He said an exact number was not known.

Country divided

Clashes that first erupted around the capital Juba on December 15 have quickly spread, with the rebels backing sacked Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer.
Fighting has left at least 1,000 dead and split the east African country barely two years after it won independence from Sudan.

It has also raised fears of an all-out civil war between the Dinka and Nuer which could destabilise the fragile region.

Machar made no immediate comment on the rebel force or on the government's offer of a ceasefire on Friday.

Witnesses spoke of panicked civilians fleeing Bor to escape another round of bloodletting. Bor was retaken by government troops after several days of heavy fighting.

The army said rebels were also mobilising youths and armed civilians for another attack on Malakal, the capital of the oil-producing Upper Nile state. Rebels were pushed out of the town on Friday.

As well as offering a truce, Kiir's government said it would release eight of 11 senior politicians, widely seen to be Machar allies, arrested over an alleged coup plot against Kiir.

Source: Agencies

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Re: South Sudan: 'White Army' Marches Toward Contested State Capital (+Video)

Post by Mazy on Sun Dec 29 2013, 22:44

Yes Chiki things are getting worse I pray something happens to stop the escalation of fighting. I will keep an eye out for the one you mentioned I haven't checked my emails yet.

Mazy
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Re: South Sudan: 'White Army' Marches Toward Contested State Capital (+Video)

Post by chiki on Mon Dec 30 2013, 09:39

This is what I read yesterday. I don't copy it here, It's basically the same article about the attack, but says just 5.000 continued marching to Bor. Anyway, now in twitter, people is talking about 25.000 members of white army marching to Bor again. News are very confusing right now.

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Re: South Sudan: 'White Army' Marches Toward Contested State Capital (+Video)

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