Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


UN official praises troops for 'preventing massacre'

19 April 2014, 07:54

Juba - The UN said on Friday at least 58 people were killed and more than 100 others wounded in an attack against one of its bases in South Sudan sheltering thousands of civilians.

The top UN official in the war-torn nation, Toby Lanzer, praised peacekeepers from India, Nepal and South Korea for preventing what could have been a massacre of up to 5 000 people, and vowed the world body would use "lethal force" again to protect civilians under their protection.

"We will do everything necessary to protect the lives of people in our protection, including the use of lethal force," Lanzer said.

In the clearest account yet of Thursday's incident in the government-controlled town of Bor, Lanzer described how a group of around 350 armed youths in civilian clothes "used extremely violent force to breach the perimeter" of the UN base.

He said they opened fire on terrified civilians, who have sought shelter with the UN from a wave of ethnic violence, with the apparent aim of killing as many people as possible.


"When we realised we were under attack we responded... the quick actions of the peacekeepers saved lives," Lanzer said.

"Forty-eight bodies, including children, women, men, have been recovered from inside the base. The bodies of 10 attackers have been found outside the base. The total death toll is 58, but that could increase as over 100 people were wounded, some of them very seriously," he said.

Lanzer said measures had been taken to boost security at other UN bases in the country, which are sheltering close to 60 000 people from different ethnic groups, and that the South Sudanese government was also being asked to ensure such attacks are not repeated.

"This past week has been the most bleak in South Sudan's history," Lanzer said, citing the attack on the UN base as well as reports of renewed atrocities further north in the oil-hub of Bentiu, which fell to rebel forces during the week.

He said South Sudan's conflict, which began on 15 December following a clash between army units loyal to President Salva Kiir and troops backing ousted vice president Riek Machar, had now descended into "a cycle of revenge".

"It's vital that all communities realise that they are taking this country nowhere fast," he said.

The UN's aid agency Unocha said it was "particularly outraged by deliberate and targeted killings of civilians in hospitals, churches, UN peacekeeping bases and other places where people's rights should be sacrosanct".

Ethnic militia

Most of the civilians hiding in the UN base in Bor are thought to be ethnic Nuer, the same tribe of Machar, who now leads a rebel force comprised of ethnic militia and army defectors. During the week the rebels captured the town of Bentiu, a key oil hub in the north.

Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, still controls the capital and maintains the loyalty of a large part of the army. He is also backed by troops from neighbouring Uganda.

The conflict in South Sudan, which only won independence from Sudan in 2011 and is the world's youngest nation, has left thousands dead and forced around a million people to flee their homes.

The fighting has been marked by reports and allegations of atrocities by both sides, with ethnic massacres, child soldier recruitment and patients raped and murdered in hospitals by attacking forces.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...