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Situation in South Sudan tense, SOS Village safe

SOS families at our Children's Village are safe, despite the violence
SOS families at our Children's Village are safe, despite the violence

As fighting spreads beyond the capital Juba, Barack Obama has warned that South Sudan is on the “precipice” of civil war. At least 500 people have died since last weekend while 34,000 are seeking shelter in UN bases. Our Children's Village in Malakal, some 325 miles from the capital, is safe.

What is the cause of the violence?

In 2005, 22 years civil war in Sudan came to an end following peace talks, and six years later in 2011, the south became independent. However, a number of issues, including farming, land rights, and oil, continued to be sources of dispute in the south. A cattle-raiding feud has been ongoing between different ethnic groups in Jonglei state, leaving around 100,000 dead since 2011.

President Salwar Kiir belongs to the dominant Dinka ethnic group. He alleges his former deputy, Riek Machar, who belongs to South Sudan's second-largest ethnic group, the Nuer, is responsible for last weekend's attempted coup.

Fighting between rival militias broke out on the streets of the South Sudanese capital Juba last Sunday when the coup failed. The violence has since spread to other regions, including Jonglei province, and the provincial capital Bor is said to be in the hands of rebels under the control of Machar. Jonglei has experienced some of its worst fighting since independence, much of it linked to ethnic tensions and the related cattle dispute.

The situation on the ground

  • At least 500 people have been killed in fighting since last Sunday.
  • Around 34,000 people have sought shelter in UN bases in the captial city Juba and Jonglei's provincial capital Bor.
  • The UN states that fighting, unrest or increased tension has been reported in 14 areas.
  • The situation in Juba became calmer on Wednesday, and aid workers have been able to travel around the capital to provide relief.
  • However, violence in Bor has worsened, leading to the evacuation of aid workers to Juba.
  • Tensions continue to rise in Bor and Jonglei province.
  • The UK and the US have begun evacuating nationals from South Sudan.

South Sudan map

How has SOS Children been affected in South Sudan?

Our Children's Village is located in Malakal, in the north of the country in the Upper Nile province. Bor, where the violence is currently worst, is in Jonglei province, a long way from Malakal. All SOS families are currently safe and well.

Our team report that there is nevertheless much concern in Malakal, with media reports suggesting that the situation may escalate over the coming days. Our Children's Village has two weeks' food supply and currently has access to local shops, including the market. The Village is in constant contact with our national office, as well as the UN. We are doing all we can to ensure all families remain secure at a challenging time.

SOS Children's Village Malakal in South Sudan opened in 2002, long before independence. Find out more about our work in South Sudan...