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

  • Parents, students speak out against Nova Scotia school closures

    Canada News CBC News
    In the dispute between Nova Scotia educators and the government, parents and students in the province are taking sides — with most opting to stand firmly with teachers. On Saturday, Education Minister Karen Casey announced public schools across the province would be closed to students Monday, deeming the teachers' planned work-to-rule job action "unsafe" for students. Source
  • Death toll of Oakland, Calif., fire rises to 33 [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    OAKLAND, Calif. — At least nine people died in a blaze that broke out during a party in a warehouse late Friday night in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to fire officials. Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says at least another 13 people are unaccounted for as of Saturday morning. Source
  • Physician killed, neurosurgeon husband charged with murder: 'How could this all happen?'

    Canada News CBC News
    The last time Mike Sullivan saw his friends Elana Fric-Shamji and Mohammed Shamji for dinner, the Toronto couple — both respected physicians — filled the room with laughter and finished each other's sentences. It was their typical loving, supportive persona, both in life and online. Source
  • Dakota Access Pipeline construction halted near Standing Rock reservation

    World News CBC News
    Standing Rock protesters celebrated Sunday as news broke that construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline near their territory has been halted. Moria Kelley, a spokeswoman for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency, said in a news release Sunday that the administration will not allow the four-state, $3.8-billion pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Source
  • Standing Rock protesters celebrate 'big victory' as pipeline construction halted

    World News CBC News
    Standing Rock protesters celebrated Sunday as news broke that construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline near their territory has been halted. Moria Kelley, a spokeswoman for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency, said in a news release Sunday that the administration will not allow the four-state, $3.8-billion pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Source
  • Solving the legacy of indigenous sexual abuse: think globally, act nationally

    Canada News CTV News
    Fred Kejick Thomas remembers the exact day -- April 14, 2005 -- when he confronted the uncle who had sexually molested him out on a trap line when he was four years old. After years of being haunted by flashbacks and rage, Kejick Thomas asked police to accompany him on a visit to see his uncle, where he read a letter in Ojibwa to speak his truth. Source
  • Rebels in Aleppo must leave city or face 'inevitable death,' warns Syrian army

    World News CBC News
    The Syrian army on Sunday ordered rebels in Aleppo to leave the city or face "inevitable death," as a series of airstrikes on the neighbouring Idlib province killed at least 50 people, including several children. Aleppo shook from the sound of explosions throughout the day as pro-government forces, including foreign fighters dispatched from Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, pounded the city's opposition neighbourhoods in the east. Source
  • Trump expands list of candidates to head State Department

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump is expanding his pool of candidates for secretary of state, raising a question about whether former CIA Director David Petraeus' guilty plea for leaking classified information disqualifies him to serve as the nation's top diplomat. Source
  • Miniature therapy horse on the mend after cougar mauling

    Canada News CTV News
    Six-year-old miniature horse, Rio, is finally healing after a vicious cougar mauling. Rio, a therapy horse, was attacked back in November at a farm in Maple Ride, B.C. The attack by a rare black cougar left him in critical condition, with deep puncture wounds to his face, head and throat. Source
  • Thousands protest corruption, support judiciary in Brazil

    World News CTV News
    RIO DE JANEIRO -- Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities across Brazil on Sunday to express disgust with public corruption and outrage at what they say are lawmakers' attempts to muzzle the judges and prosecutors pursuing those crimes. Source