SOUTH SUDAN – The Current Political Turmoil
[January 20, 2014. From AIM Prayer Letter] On the 15th December 2013 the stewing political and ethnic tensions within the government and army in South Sudan boiled over when fighting broke out in one of the barracks in Juba. Quickly the situation got out of control and reprisals were inflicted on the citizens of Juba. Within 24hrs more than 500 people were dead.
The conflict between the president Salva Kiir and his previous vice president, Riek Marchar spread and by the end of the year there were serious conflicts in several strategic towns between the Dinka majority in the SPLA and Nuer rebel military units supporting Marchar. As the fighting escalated the death toll climbed to over 1,000 with more than 200,000 people taking refuge in the UN and other agency compounds around the country.
Early in the New Year peace talks began in Addis Ababa to try and bring about a cease fire, but the international lobbying has had little success as the warring parties continue to jockey for strategic military positions in the negotiations.
In the mean time the nation suffers, the true extent is unknown because of poor communications, but as agencies begin to get access to the conflict areas, interview those affected and gain access to improved satellite imagery, it appears the death toll might be as high as 10,000 with as many as 500,000 displaced. Daily, horrific reports are coming in of the extent of the brutality inflicted, mainly by the rebels. Already supplies are low, aid organizations stretched to their limit and the poor medical facilities hopelessly overwhelmed.
January 24, 2014.
Our AIM Team in South Sudan is returning.
WE ARE GETTING READY TO GO BACK! One of our team, Nicola Limburger, has already gone back to her place of work in Rumbek in Lakes State. The Scotlands and Jacob went back to Torit this week, and the Harlteys and Musuvas are planning to return this weekend.
What about us? Our leaving for South Sudan depends on the completion of the work on our Land Cruiser here in Nairobi. It has had nearly 3 weeks of work already, and some things take time such as installing the winch. One steel bracket is needed and cannot be found, so they have to fabricate it in the shop. Another time consumer is replacing some spare parts that are hard to find. Tires are being replaced and we’re going for a bigger size for more clearance. It was also discovered that 2 of the wheel rims have some slight damage, so they will need to be replaced eventually. They can be used for the spare wheels for now.
The engineer/mechanic doing the work says ‘hopefully ready by early next week’. That means we hope to be going up to Eldoret next week to spend several days and do our final packing. We plan to take part of the Keter family, Kenyan missionaries who are working in the easternmost part of our East Equatoria State. We hope we can enter South Sudan by the first week of February.
Breaking News! It has been announce that a ceasefire has been agreed to, and it is to go into effect Friday evening (today, January 24). Many are skeptical, but at least it is a step. PRAY THAT IT WILL BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.