May 2014 – SUDAN – Fighting erupted in December after Kiir sacked his vice president for allegedly plotting a coup. In recent weeks, hundreds of civilians were slaughtered in the northern oil town of Bentiu, and more than one million people have fled their homes to escape the fighting. This week, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay blamed both sides.
The U.S., alongside Norway and the U.K., were absolutely key in forging the original comprehensive peace agreement in 2006 that stopped the civil war in Sudan. And that paved the way for the referendum three years, nearly three years ago, that allowed South Sudan to get its independence. So the U.S., both the administration, successive administrations and Congress in a relatively united fashion has played an absolutely key role in South Sudan’s development up to now. So I think it’s important to recognize not just the stake that the United States and others have in South Sudan, but also some of the leverage. And I think you saw some of that with Secretary Kerry’s visit today. However, the depth of the divisions mustn’t be underestimated. The rebellion has taken significant parts of the armed forces. And the scale of the slaughter that has happened — I think you reported on the hundreds of people killed in Bentiu, which is the far north of the country, quite close to Juba, the capital, where we had our two workers slain — there were 60 people killed, over 260 injured inside a U.N. compound.And so I think it’s very important to say that there is a big hill to climb to get the fighting to stop, because the talks next week are not the first attempt to get it to stop, and so far they have not been successful.
JEFFREY BROWN: And what of the million or so people who have been displaced already? Where are they going and how much is anyone able to do for them at this point?
DAVID MILIBAND: Just for the benefit of your viewers, there are about 10 million population in South Sudan. A million have been driven from their homes. Of that million, 300,000 have gone into neighboring countries, notably Uganda, Kenya. And 700,000 have been displaced within the country and are seeking refuge in a range of U.N. compounds. The U.N. compound in Bentiu, 25,000 civilians are taking refuge in that compound. Organizations like International Rescue Committee, we are the only NGO in Bor. We are one of two NGOs in Bentiu. And people are fearful of their lives and fearful of stepping out. And so you have got an enormous level of tension with armed gangs roaming around and in some cases storming the U.N. compound. That’s why there’s a big responsibility both on the government of South Sudan and on the rebel leader, a former vice president of the country, Mr. Machar. –PBS