South Sudan: Civil war drags on, even after peace treaty

LEER, South Sudan -- Mary Nyak Chot has been left with nothing; South Sudan's civil war took everything.

"All my children were killed.

See Full Article

The youngest two were burned in their home; the other four were bombed by artillery. My husband also died," she says, clutching a food ration card in Leer town, an area facing famine, during the first food distribution there since July.

Tuesday marked two years since the civil war began in South Sudan, a nation which is itself only four years old. The violence continues with a peace deal signed more than three months ago having yet to bear fruit.

"The situation still remains the same," said Daud Gideon, a member of the Remembrance Project which is collecting names of those lost in the war. "A lot of killing still is happening in different parts of the country, and the lives are being lost on a daily basis."

The war started on December 15, 2013 after a skirmish between soldiers in a barracks in Juba, the capital. Soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, perpetrated organized ethnic killings of Nuer, the tribe of Kiir's political rival Riek Machar, according to an African Union commission report.

The Juba Massacre prompted an uprising of Nuer in the country's northeast led by Machar, a Kiir's former vice-president. The insurgents committed revenge massacres which rivaled the Juba killings in their horror, spurring a cycle of violence. The United Nations says tens of thousands have been killed while other estimates range up to 100,000.

The brutality of the fighting has shred South Sudan's social fabric, exposing buried ethnic faultlines and creating new ones which have made attempts at reconciliation unsuccessful.

"Trust is not there. People are identifying now by their tribes," says the Rev. James Ninrew, a peace activist in Juba. "Even in one community, you will find Nuer are divided, or the Dinka are divided."

Over 2 million people have fled their homes, including hundreds of thousands seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. About 180,000 people shelter in squalid United Nations bases rife with disease and violence. Others hide in remote swamps and forests, too afraid to go home.

"I'm running away every day," says Nyalen Top, who ventured out of the hinterlands of Leer, the birthplace of Machar and one of the country's most devastated parts of the country, to seek medical help for her two sick children. "It is better to hide yourself in the bush, because if the men get you they can rape or kill you."

This year, the government gained the military upper hand after repulsing a rebel attempt to capture oil fields in Upper Nile state and launching a blistering summer offensive through Unity state following the collapse of peace talks in Ethiopia in March.

Some 3.9 million people in South Sudan are in crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity, the levels just below famine, as a result of the fighting, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification System (IPC).

"I don't have food," Chot says. "We are surviving on leaves from the trees."

The deadline to form the transitional government passed last month with no progress made. The rebels have not even returned to Juba as the government says only a few dozen of them are allowed to come home.

"The peace deal is going nowhere," Ninrew says. "The people who signed it, who are suposed to implement it, are the very people working against it."

Top says she cannot endure another year of war.

"We are stuck, like a fish when the water has dried up," she says, fanning flies off her feverish child. "If this next year is the same as the last two years, we will leave this country."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • ‘If we all stand up it can stop’: Pink Shirt Day marked around the world

    Canada News CTV News
    As messages of hate seem to be ever present, Pink Shirt Day reminds Canadians of the importance of standing up for one another and fighting stereotypes. Pink Shirt Day started in Nova Scotia in 2007 after a male Grade 9 student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Source
  • UN: $4.4B needed within weeks to stop hunger 'catastrophe'

    World News CTV News
    The United Nations needs $4.4 billion by the end of March to prevent catastrophic hunger and famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, yet just $90 million has been collected so far, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday. Source
  • Quebecer charged in PC Plus breach, collectors urged to fortify password

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Ottawa police have confirmed that a Laval, Que., man is alleged to be behind a scam that involves stealing shoppers’ PC Plus points from their accounts. Police say 21-year-old Ferradji Manigat was arrested on Jan. Source
  • Where are the alleged sextortion sisters hiding? [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    The whereabouts of Toronto’s notorious Matharoo sisters who allegedly sextorted Nigerian billionaires is unknown. Kiran and Jyoti Matharoo — who grew up in Rexdale — became embroiled in a massive sex scandal when they were arrested for allegedly fleecing some of the African country’s wealthiest and most powerful men with threats of releasing raunchy photos. Source
  • Mother makes desperate plea for return of foster son's missing regalia

    Canada News CBC News
    A Surrey, B.C. mother is making a desperate online plea for the return of her foster son's missing First Nations dance regalia. Linda Cyrette says the traditional outfit was stolen from a friend's car that was parked outside of the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre in East Vancouver last week. Source
  • Husband's murder charge renews debate over limits of assisted-dying laws

    Canada News CTV News
    Family members of a Quebec man charged with murdering his wife say he did it because she was denied her request for a doctor-assisted death, renewing debate about whether the laws are too restrictive. Michel Cadotte, 55, was arrested at a Montreal nursing home Monday. Source
  • Liberals pretend our laws don’t matter

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The steady flow of illegal migrants continues across Canada’s southern border. And the Trudeau government has no plan, no strategy, for dealing with the unprecedented surge in illegal migration. Rather than addressing the problem — the serious threat of unscreened migrants risking their lives to arrive on our doorstep — Liberal politicians have been sending the wrong message. Source
  • Rewritten Trump travel ban order delayed until next week

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The White House is pushing back the release of President Donald Trump’s revamped refugee and immigration executive order until next week. Trump had said his administration would unveil the new order this week, but a White House official says that has been delayed. Source
  • Denver murder victim joins sanctuary city sacrificial lambs

    World News Toronto Sun
    Timothy Cruz has joined the growing list of “sanctuary city” sacrificial lambs. The 32-year-old was shot to death at a Denver light railway station early on Feb. 7. Cops say the motive was robbery. The gunman accused of killing Cruz is illegal immigrant Ever Valles, 19, an alleged gang member. Source
  • Single ISIS women have ‘gangster mentality’

    World News Toronto Sun
    The wife of the Guantanamo Bay captive turned suicide bomber says single women living under ISIS have a “gangster mentality” and revel in the death cult’s barbarity. Shukee Begum told the UK’s Channel 4 she took her five children to Syria in 2014 in an attempt to convince her husband, Jamal Udeen al-Harith, 50, to come home. Source