Help our people in South Sudan
With thousands of people killed in the weeks of violence in South Sudan, among them a number of Indians working there in different categories, including some as UN peacekeepers, the situation has gone from bad to worse. Evidently, while the Indian government shipped out all the workers at ONGC Videsh Ltd posted in oil fields of South Sudan, there are others who had availed the lucrative option of working at Indian and other firms in the strife-torn country. We can’t leave it to the Indian embassy alone to take care of our nationals who are trapped in the unfortunate mess, with rebels and the army fighters locked in a deadly battle that is threatening to spiral out of control. With mass graves being discovered in rebel towns of Bentiu and Juba, atrocities have become the order of the day, with mass killings, persecutions and rapes turning into a routine feature. The clash between President Salva Kiir and the rebels backed by Riek Machar, the vice-president who was sacked in July, is on the brink of pushing the country into the arms of a full-fledged civil war, which must be stopped at all costs. With the UN Security Council voting to double the number of peacekeepers at the world’s newest nation to over 14,000, the ethnic and political conflict should be brought under control as soon as possible, limiting further loss of lives. Given that the US has been the biggest backer of the country since its independence in 2011 from Sudan, the responsibility that it has to shoulder must also be above and beyond the others. Obviously, the US had several reasons to support South Sudan’s independence, chiefly its oil resources, and the political battle to wrest control of that will not be an easy goal to achieve. Not only is the current instability inimical to US interests in the young country, it is equally detrimental to Indian investments, of which the ONGC facilities are but an example. Political solution must be reached as soon as possible and peace restored.