Deadly attack on South Sudan UN base

Dozens of civilians sheltering in a UN base in the South Sudan city of Bor have been killed in an attack by armed youths, the UN says.

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South Sudan Faces Uphill Struggle for a Longer-Term Peace

The temporary truce signed on Thursday by South Sudanese politicians may have halted hostilities that, according to United Nations and humanitarian estimates, have resulted in the deaths of more than 10,000 people – and displaced half a million more –since fighting began in December, but a sustainable peace remains far off, diplomats and experts say. “The country can fall apart; it’s sort of half unglued now. Even if there’s a ceasefire, who knows if that’s going to stick as it doesn’t resolve any the underlining problems,” said Tom McDonald, who worked on Sudan issues as U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe during the Clinton presidency. “A lot is at stake because we have invested time and diplomatic capital and lots of money there to stand up this country.” Two and a half years ago, the world celebrated the birth of the new nation in the hope that dividing Sudan would end the violence in the war-torn country. The U.S. poured billions of dollars into helping build South Sudan’s government and ministries. So how, in such a short amount of time and with so much support from the international community, could things fall apart? Some, like Eric Reeves, a professor of English at Smith College, and an expert on Sudan and South Sudan, say the U.S. and the West expected too much too quickly from the South Sudanese and that the UN should have overseen a period of transition while a constitution was written. John Prendergast of the Enough Project, a nonprofit anti-genocide organization that works in South Sudan, lays the blame more squarely on the Obama Administration. “There was a gulf from the last special envoy last spring until the new special envoy [was appointed] in the fall,” Prendergast says. “During that period, already existing problems were incubating and exploding to the surface. The U.S. didn’t have that envoy and team to work that issue as diligently as needed.” The last U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Princeton Lyman, stepped down on March 22, 2013, and his replacement, Donald Booth, wasn’t named until August 28. During that five-month lag, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir made what his opponents call an authoritarian….

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How the World’s Newest Country Is Destroying Itself

The violence the erupted this week in South Sudan following an apparent coup casts a shadow over the nascent country’s future. As the fighting spreads—roughly 500 people are already dead amid reports of grisly ethnic killings—foreign observers are warning of civil war. “The scenario many feared but dared not contemplate looks frighteningly possible: South Sudan, the world’s newest state, is now arguably on the cusp of a civil war,” the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said Wednesday as clashes continued across the country. The violence has escalated in the volatile Jonglei state, where a United Nations peacekeeping base came under attack Thursday, Reuters reports. Founding an independent state is never easy, but South Sudan may have it particularly bad: leaving aside reports of already endemic corruption, the country comprises myriad feuding tribes, is impoverished, landlocked, undeveloped (it began two years ago with only 68 miles of paved road in a landmass the size of France), and tensions blow hot and cold (mostly hot) with neighboring Sudan to the north. Plus, for better but also definitely for worse, South Sudan has oil. Here’s what you need to know about the current crisis. What is South Sudan? South Sudan became a country in 2011 following a referendum that saw 99 percent of voters support independence from Sudan. Unlike the mostly Muslim north that, in many ways, identifies with the Arab world, South Sudan is primarily Christian or animist and is more closely associated with sub-Saharan Africa. The official languages are English and Arabic, but its roughly 11 million people speak more than 60 indigenous languages. The country is very poor and ranks among the lowest in the world on human development indices. When it became its own country, less than one percent of its population had access to electricity and it had the lowest female literacy rate in the world. Its lack of nearly any substantive infrastructure means improvements are far down the road. But it also has enormous economic potential. South Sudan sits on three quarters of the two Sudan’s total oil………

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4 Injured After Rebel Gunfire Strikes U.S. Aircrafts in S. Sudan

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET. U.S. military officials attempting to evacuate Americans in a conflict-riddled region of South Sudan were shot at by rebel gunfire, injuring four and forcing an aborted mission. The South Sudanese government said it lost control of Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei, earlier this week, to renegade troops, and was attempting to retake the state capital. Fighting reportedly began Saturday, after rebel soldiers randomly opened fire on civilians, the Associated Press reports. Three CV-22 Ospreys, aircrafts that can fly like a helicopter and a plane, were forced to divert to an airfield outside the country. A United Nations helicopter helping to evacuate peacekeepers and civilians was also struck in Jonglei Saturday. President Barack Obama urged peaceful negotiations to resolve the political conflict in South Sudan and threatened to cut off U.S. support if military force is used to seize power, according to a White House statement. The president also emphasized that the nation’s leaders are accountable for securing the safety of American citizens amid the clash. Tensions are mounting over a potential civil war in the newly formed country, after South Sudan President Salva Kiir ousted vice president Riek Machar and accused him of a failed coup. Ethnic tensions are being blamed. The region has been the backdrop to some of the worst violence the country has seen since it became independent from Sudan in 2011. Machar said rebel troops have seized the oil-rich state Unity and now control majority of the country, the BBC reports. The former vice president confirmed with the BBC that the rebel troops were under his power. [AP]

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