Juba, South Sudan — The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, needed to be evacuated from a U.N. refugee camp of internally displaced people (IDPs) after a demonstration turned violent. Haley is on her third day touring three nations in Africa that are currently war zones when she found herself at a IDP camp near Juba, South Sudan. The camp has been established for South Sudanese fleeing from the on-going civil war meat grinder that has plagued South Sudan since 2013.
Haley was meeting with several South Sudanese families affected by the violent conflict raging in their home country. Upwards of about 100 IDP’s protesting the South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, and his continued campaign of violence showed up near where she was having her meeting. The protest quickly turned heated and the protesters began ransacking a U.N. “center for the protection of civilians.”
Haley’s security detail, fearing the violence was getting worse, quickly whisked the U.S. ambassador to U.N. armored vehicles and out of the refugee camp under a cloud of tear gas.
This is Haley’s third day of her African war zone tour which started Monday, a week after she apparently just discovered that a violent, near genocidal civil war has been going on in South Sudan since 2013. Haley met with South Sudan’s de facto president, Salva Kiir, on Monday when she said, “[I] let [Kiir] know the U.S. is at a crossroads,” Haley went on by also stating that she, “told him that [Kiir] couldn’t deny the stories of his military, whether it was with violence, or with rape or child soldiers.”
Then Haley reportedly gave Kiir a toughly worded list of demands the United States wants Kiir to meet, yet would not elaborate on the contents of the list of demands other than saying, “He understood this was a tough message. He understood that the United States was very disappointed in his leadership, I made that quite clear.” The United States has invested close to $11 billion dollars in foreign aid to the Kiir administration since the inception of South Sudan.
The South Sudan civil war began December 2013 when South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, believed his vice president, Dr. Riek Machar, and his tribal militiamen, the Nuer, were attempting a coup d’état. He ordered the majority Dinka Presidential Guard to disarm all the ethnic Nuer loyal to the vice president. A physical altercation between a Nuer officer and some officers of the Dinka Presidential Guard took place after a junior Nuer officer questioned the disarm order. Both Dinka and Nuer loyal to their clansmen armed themselves and gunfights erupted at close quarters, moving into the capital city of Juba and spilling into the killing fields of Jonglai.
Months of house-to-house killings, machete attacks, wholesale slaughter, and atrocities against women and children that can only be described as medieval are still being slowly reported by the Human Rights Watch investigating the human-rights abuses within the conflict zones. South Sudan still hasn’t determined the final tally of civilian dead. Reports of mass graves and body counts continue to emerge. It’s doubtful we will ever know the true scope of the violence.
Feature image courtesy of: Associated Press