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

  • Troubled unit for injured soldiers gets 5th new commander since Feb. 2016

    Canada News CTV News
    The troubled military unit charged with supporting ill and injured service members and their families got a new commander on Thursday – its 5th leader in less than a year-and-a-half. Brig-Gen. Mark Misener, who was newly promoted from the rank of colonel, was installed as Commander of the Joint Personnel Support Unit at a small ceremony in Ottawa on Thursday. Source
  • Military sends extra help for exhausted police officers dealing with B.C. fires

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces members will support the police response to devastating wildfires in British Columbia, bringing some relief to scores of exhausted officers on the ground. About 225 soldiers travelled on Thursday from CFB Edmonton to Williams Lake, where they will assist the RCMP with observation and reporting along access roads, help with evacuations of people in distress and assist in delivery of aid. Source
  • Andrew Scheer reveals new 'strong, diverse' Conservative leadership team

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Conservative leader Andrew Scheer announced the leadership team of the official opposition in the House of Commons during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday. Unlike Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's election pledge of a 50-50 gender diverse cabinet, Scheer made no specific commitment but selected candidates from both genders and from across Canada with the exception of the Maritimes and territories, where the party failed to retain any seats. Source
  • City of Toronto to tear down $550 park stairs, says man who built them

    Canada News CTV News
    The maverick Toronto handyman who erected a $550 set of stairs in a community park says the city is going to tear them down and build a more expensive replacement that meets its construction standards. Source
  • Texas woman arrested in ‘virtual kidnapping’ plot

    World News Toronto Sun
    HOUSTON — Federal authorities say they’ve arrested a Houston woman who collected ransoms from people who believed their children were kidnapped and that the money had to be paid to get them released. Thirty-four-year-old Yanette Rodriguez Acosta was taken into custody Thursday after being indicted two days earlier on charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Source
  • Operators close Sunshine Village as crews ramp up efforts against wildfire

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Sunshine Village is temporarily shutting down as it becomes a front line in the struggle against a growing nearby wildfire. Operators of the ski resort have found accommodation for 150 guests for the weekend in a busy Banff townsite amid stepped-up efforts to halt the Verdant wildfire burning 2.5 km away. Source
  • Canadian youth still waiting for promised 'green jobs' but labour minister confident

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The federal government will find a way to create 15,000 green jobs over three years, even after falling well short of a smaller goal last year, Canada’s labour minister says. Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says it took the government “a little bit of time to co-ordinate ourselves,” after promising during the 2015 election campaign to create 5,000 so-called “green jobs. Source
  • Authorities continue probe of catheter allegedly found in Quebec ice cream

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Federal inspectors say no health threats have been identified at a Quebec ice cream factory they visited after a family claimed to have found a catheter in a tub of the treat. The Francoeur family from Trois-Rivieres told various media they allegedly found the end of a purple plastic catheter tube in a container of Coaticook ice cream last week. Source
  • Secretary of late Princess Diana tells all on her eating disorder hell

    World News Toronto Sun
    There’s no denying that Princess Diana struggled with a lot of different demons throughout her life, particularly with her tireless attempts to fit in with the royal family. But now her one and only private secretary, Patrick Jephson, is speaking out about his experience witnessing Di’s battle with anorexia, Radaronline.com has learned. Source
  • Man charged after puppy found in Toronto shopping centre trash can

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police have charged a man accused of leaving a puppy in a garbage can at a shopping centre last week. Police say a man was seen on security footage discarding a dark bag in a trash can on July 11. Source