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Over 100 killed in oil tanker explosion in South Sudan

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Photo Credit: flaglane.com

By NewsGram Staff-Writer

Khartoum: An oil tanker explosion has killed over 100 people and injured many in South Sudan.

Photo Credit: www.munplanet.com
Photo Credit: www.munplanet.com

“More than 100 people were killed when an oil truck exploded as a crowd tried to gather fuel from the vehicle after it had veered off the road,” Information Minister of Western Equatoria State Charles Kisagna said on Thursday.

Kisagna said the incident occurred on Wednesday, adding that around 50 people were seriously injured.

The minister said that “those people may not survive because we do not have the facilities to treat the highly burnt people”.

“The hospital desperately needs more supplies of basics such as IV fluids, oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, anti-tetanus, and pain relievers,” said Chandi Savior, the medical director of the Maridi Civil Hospital.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Denied Visa Twice, 6 Afghan Girls Win Silver in Robotics Competition in Washington

The Afghan Girls Robotics Team has won a silver medal for Courageous Achievement

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President Trump
The six girls from Afghanistan that took part in the Robotics Challenge. Twitter
  • 6 Afghan girls won the silver medal at First Global Challenge in Washington for courageous achievement 
  • These girls were refused a visa to the United States twice but received one in the third attempt after President Trump intervened 
  • The awards were given to teams who displayed a can-do attitude

Washington, July 20, 2017: Six girls from Afghanistan were awarded the silver medal at Washington’s First Global Challenge for courageous achievement. The team had been denied a visa to the US twice, but this time President Trump’s intervention at the last minute made sure the girls could demonstrate their intelligence.

The Afghan girl’s team took part in the Robotics Competition. They exhibited their robots that could differentiate and sort out orange and blue balls.

[bctt tweet=”Afghan girl’s team take part in the Robotics Competition.” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

The team also got the opportunity to meet First Daughter Ivanka Trump. The girl’s robotic team won the medal for courageous achievement, which recognized teams who made it through even in difficult circumstances.

The gold and bronze medal were awarded to teams from South Sudan and Oman respectively.

ALSO READ: US President Donald Trump nominates Indian American Krishna R. Urs to be ambassador to Peru

Denied the visa not once but twice, the girls were indeed disappointed. Fatemah Qaderyan, who spoke to Fox News, expressed her disappointments and also her team’s determination to make it through the obstacles.

The girls hail from Herat, a small town in Afghanistan. They convinced their parents, a big challenge given their cultural background and regional traditions. Afghanistan is a war torn country by the influence of Taliban and other insurgents.

Afghanistan is not among the six countries on which Trump’s travel ban was imposed. However, the girls have no answer as to why their visa was denied. But it was the President who intervened and got the visas approved not only for these Afghan girls but also for the teams who are otherwise among those in the travel ban.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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South Sudan Artists Protest against Civil War with Peace Campaign, Pop-up Street Performances and Murals

A group of South Sudanese artists who had taken refuge in Kenya came together to create the movement

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In this photo taken Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, a mural painted by the Ana Taban, or "I am tired" artists movement, depicting South Sudanese families, is seen in Juba, South Sudan. For many in South Sudan, the arts have become a rare haven of peace in a young country that has known little but years of civil war. credit- VOA

Musicians played lively tunes in South Sudan’s capital, and pedestrians and market shoppers watched the impromptu concert with curiosity. A soldier in desert camouflage walked around, surveying the scene.

As the drumming grew more insistent, the audience stood silent and motionless seemingly afraid to join the fun. Then the soldier started to breakdance.

That broke the ice and women swayed to the beat. Soon children and adults were dancing, enjoying a rare respite from South Sudan’s festering conflict.

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For many in South Sudan, the arts have become a rare haven of peace in a young country that has known little but civil war. A group of artists are campaigning for peace, with pop-up street performances and murals across the capital, Juba. The activists have taken the name Ana Taban, or “I am tired,” in Arabic.

[bctt tweet=””My people are diverse, 64 tribes.”” username=””]

“We are tired of this, the constant fear, the war,” said Manas Mathiang, 32, a musician and artist who leads the movement.

Recently Mathiang met with nearly 30 artists who are part of Ana Taban. Members come from many of South Sudan’s main tribes. They say ethnicity has never been an issue, and they invite other artists “regardless of where they come from.”

The group has painted vibrant murals in Juba like one near the airport, a sky-blue wall depicting athletes, religious leaders and doctors under the slogan “Let us all do our part.” The artists also stage skits in street markets to promote reconciliation.

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Ana Taban was started after fighting in Juba killed hundreds of people in July. A group of South Sudanese artists who had taken refuge in Kenya came together to create the movement. When it was safe to return to the capital, they brought home the campaign for peace.

Transcending tribe and politics, the artists use their work to try to unify South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, which won independence from Sudan in 2011. But then civil war broke out two years later, and tens of thousands have been killed amid concerns of ethnic violence.

A longing for an end to the fighting can be found in the country’s art and music. Some of the most popular songs on the radio are reggae because their lyrics of peace can be easily understood, said a local DJ, Daniel Danis.

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Another member of Ana Taban, Deng Forbes, proudly held up his favorite work, a drawing of a child crying in the shape of a map of South Sudan.

“My people are diverse, 64 tribes,” Forbes said. “Art is a universal language, it’s a simple language.”

In some ways, South Sudan’s arts scene is like that in other countries, clustered in an offbeat section of the capital. Good equipment is rare. Artists say it is difficult to make money from their work. Feuds are common.

But much of South Sudan’s art is focused on the country’s political tensions.

Lual D’Awol, a popular rapper who appeared in an Ana Taban music video, said his songs about the lack of electricity and running water are banned from the radio by the government.

“It’s telling the truth that citizens of South Sudan feel, and I feel like I have to paint that picture and give a message that is genuinely happening,” D’Awol said.

Elsewhere in the capital, a nighttime concert a few weeks ago brought a rare feeling of ease. On a soccer field, roughly 1,000 South Sudanese danced and sang into the night, some climbing onto brick barriers for a better view.

On a makeshift stage, young women danced with men wearing the colors of South Sudan’s flag, members of the dancing troupe Sonzwgi, which roughly translates to “storytelling.”

The dance is a mashup of elements from different tribes across the country, said the group’s leader, Emmanuel Aban, saying it was choreographed to foster togetherness.

As Sonzwgi performed, women ran to the stage and danced, and men laughed freely. Aban smiled, saying: “It’s a way to send a message to the people.”(VOA)

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Government launches operation “Sankat Mochan” to evacuate Indians from South Sudan

The UN reported, 36,000 South Sudanese civilians have fled their homes due to the fighting

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Two C-17s of the IAF will proceed to South Sudan capital Juba on Thursday for evacuation of stranded Indians. Image source: defence.pk

Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh will lead Operation ‘Sankat Mochan’ to evacuate Indians from South Sudan, which has been rocked by violence that has claimed hundreds of lives, it was announced on Wednesday, July 13.

“We are launching OP #SankatMochan to evacuate Indian nationals from South Sudan. My colleague @Gen_VKSingh is leading this operation,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

She said Singh will be accompanied by Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry, Joint Secretary Satbir Singh and Director Anjani Kumar.

“Our Ambassador in South Sudan Srikumar Menon and his team is organising this operation on the ground,” Sushma Swaraj said.

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She also thanked Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and extended her best wishes to the Indian Air Force (IAF) for providing two C-17 Globemaster heavy-life aircraft for the operation.

V K Singh. Image source: Zee news
V K Singh. Image source: Zee news

There are around 500 Indians in the country.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Monday evening ordered a ceasefire after days of heavy fighting between government troops and forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar in Juba.

President Kiir directed all commanders to cease all hostilities, control their forces and protect civilians, Information Minister Michael Makuei said in a televised speech on the state broadcaster SSTV.

The ceasefire took effect at 6 p.m. local time on Monday any member of the Machar-led forces who surrendered must also be protected, Makuei said.

The latest bout of violence started after a localised gunfight outside Kiir’s residence in Juba on July 7 when he was holding a meeting with Machar.

Earlier on Wednesday, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted that the two C-17s will take off for Juba on Thursday.

The Indian embassy in Juba said in a statement said the aircraft were expected to land at 11 a.m. local time and Indian nationals with valid travel documents will be allowed to board.

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The return flights will be only up to New Delhi, the statement said.

The UN has said 36,000 South Sudanese civilians have fled their homes due to the fighting.

Embassies and aid organisations in South Sudan are moving to evacuate staff from Juba amid the tenuous ceasefire.

The US military in Africa said it has sent 40 additional soldiers to Juba to help secure American personnel and facilities in the war-torn city, Fox News reported. (IANS)

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