Tag Archives: Riek Machar

Splintering of South Sudan conflict makes peace hard to find says UN

Reuters

Splintering of South Sudan war makes peace more elusive – United Nations

By David Lewis | JUBA

JUBA South Sudan’s civil war has mutated from a two-way fight between the president and his ousted former deputy to a fragmented conflict, making it harder to put it back together and peace more elusive, the top U.N. peacekeeper in the country said.

David Shearer, head of the 13,000-strong United Nations mission, welcomed signs that regional leaders were rejuvenating the peace process but said any initiative must include all factions, including that of former Vice President Riek Machar, and discourage the multiplication of armed groups.

South Sudan slipped into civil war in 2013, just two years after becoming independent from Khartoum, and some 4 million people – around one third of the population – have fled to neighbouring countries or to pockets of relative safety.

The conflict, ignited by a feud between President Salva Kiir and Machar, has resulted in ethnic cleansing between the leaders’ respective Dinka and Nuer communities.

However, an escalation of fighting since last July that forced Machar to flee the country a month later has seen clashes spread to previously unaffected areas.

“The situation now is somewhat different to what it was a year ago, when it was largely bipolar,” Shearer told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

“We are seeing a lot more of the conflict being played out at a very local level and that is worrying because as it fractures it becomes more difficult to try to put the pieces back together again.”

Fighting has in particular affected the southern Equatoria regions, previously largely spared violence. The spike in fighting resulted in South Sudan having the fastest growing refugee population in the world as civilians poured into Uganda.

Tens of thousands of civilians have fled to camps within South Sudan that are ringed by U.N. troops.

Peacekeepers have frequently been criticised for failing to do enough to protect civilians but the U.N. leadership says troops are obstructed and restricted by the army.

A combination of red tape and unwillingness meant it took eight months for the first of 4,000 U.N. reinforcements approved to start deploying after last year’s fighting.

PLACES AT THE TABLE

Analysts and diplomats say regional peace efforts have stumbled for much of the last year as Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya adopted a more bilateral approach to the conflict.

But Shearer was optimistic that a recent meeting of regional leaders in Ethiopia would result in a more collective approach to the crisis.

“There was a sense that they want to rejuvenate the peace agreement and start moving that forward. That collective effort hasn’t been apparent for the last year,” he said.

Machar remains in exile in South Africa, excluded from the process.

Shearer said while regional leaders were reluctant to return to the “old formula” of insisting on a potentially explosive face-to-face between Kiir and Machar, there was recognition that Machar’s camp needed to be represented in talks and he could too, further down the line.

The U.N. chief said there was a delicate balance between a rejuvenated and broadened push for peace and creating incentives to add to the plethora of armed groups.

“What we don’t want to do is to encourage a greater degree of conflict or arming of groups in order to be relevant and have a place at the table,” he warned.

(Editing by Michael Perry)

South Sudan – First Vice-president says Machar return would be a disaster

Sudan Tribune

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Taban Deng Gai addresses delegates after he was sworn-in as South Sudan FVP inside the Presidential Palace in the capital of Juba, July 26, 2016 (Photo Reuters/ Jok Solomun)

June 14, 2017 (WAU) – Taban Deng Gai, South Sudan’s First Vice President, claimed that the return of rebel leader Riek Machar to Juba to participate in the National Dialogue was a “recipe for disaster and would impose more catastrophe in the country.”

In a speech before an extraordinary meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leaders on Monday 12 June, Gai insisted that the presence of Machar in the country always lead to death and disaster, something the people of the country do no need.

“Machar who has been exiled to South Africa should remain there and will not consent to re-join the political process to end the conflict in the country without using his army,” Gai told the IGAD leader in the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa, according to the text of his statement seen by Sudan Tribune.

During the discussions of the one-day meeting, the heads of state and government decided to urgently “revitalise the full implementation of the ARCSS;” pointing to the failure of the current government in Juba to implement the peace agreement and pave the way democratic reforms.

IGAD leaders praised the national dialogue process which would lay down the ground for national reconciliation but stressed that the ending the war and improve the humanitarian situation in the country should be prioritised for the time being.

The first deputy further tried in his speech to convince the IGAD leader that Riek Machar was filing with efforts to use military action to rule the country, stating that Machar did not need the National Dialogue.

“I who was with Riek Machar know him more than anyone and with his own mindset, he is not intending to take part in any process, he wants to become the President of South Sudan even through war,” said Gai who was the SPLM-IO chief negotiator.

He went on to respond to the calls by several political officials that Machar should be allowed to return to Juba as a normal citizen.

“This is the beginning of everything. If Riek is proposed to return to Juba, tomorrow people will move to a new topic of bringing him to his former post which he left last year. I am not predicting that he should take over of my post, the reality is, Riek is fill of destroying the country,” emphasised the First Vice President.

“By the end the of the transitional period, the full integration of the army will have been completed and it would be safe for South Sudan to accept the return of Riek Machar who can then come and contest peaceful democratic elections as a civil political leader,” he said.

Gai added that it would be unwise for Riek Machar to return to South Sudan now because of his behaviour, but he was more than welcome to send delegates on his behalf.

“The unity government has no objection in principle to Machar sending a delegation to deliver his views and message to the people of South Sudan in the National Dialogue Forum,” said the First Vice President.

SPLM-IO believe that the peace agreement implementation should be discussed to fix the modalities of the ceasefire and to open humanitarian access to the civilians but also they want their share in the transitional government tasked with the enforcement of the deal and to give their leader his position of the first vice president.

(ST)

 

East African leaders urge South Sudan to resume peace process

Reuters

Africa leaders push South Sudan sides to revive peace, delay vote

By Aaron Maasho | ADDIS ABABA

ADDIS ABABA East African leaders said late on Monday they would try and push South Sudan’s warring sides to revive collapsed peace efforts and delay elections currently scheduled for August next year to a more realistic date.

Heads of state meeting in Ethiopia said they would set up a forum where the rivals could discuss ways of restoring a ceasefire more than three years into an ethnically-charged civil war that has plunged districts into famine.

The forum would be set up urgently, leaders from the East African bloc IGAD said, without specifying when or what form it would take.

Fighting broke out at the end of 2013 after President Salva Kiir sacked his rival Riek Machar as vice president, just two years after South Sudan’s independence from Sudan.

After numerous failed peace deals, Kiir and Machar signed a power-sharing pact in August 2015, agreeing to a transitional government and elections.

But that deal stalled and Machar left the country.

IGAD said on Monday their new forum would include “estranged groups” and discuss ways of implementing the peace deal.

The forum would also develop a “revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic election at the end of the transition period,” IGAD added in a statement.

South Sudan’s new vice president, Taban Deng Gai, had asked Monday’s meeting to bar Machar from any future forums. Gai also said elections should go ahead as planned – a position initially backed by Yoweri Museveni, the president of South Sudan’s neighbour Uganda, according to diplomats at the talks.

But the delegates finally decided warring sides would be invited and it would be “too premature” to stage the vote given the current levels of violence, diplomats said.

The war has split the impoverished country along ethnic lines, often between Kiir’s Dinka group and Machar’s Nuer. It has also nearly halved oil production and fueled Africa’s biggest cross-border refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The United Nations has said the violence amounts to ethnic cleansing and risks escalating into genocide.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

South Sudan – seven opposition groups unite to oppose Kiir

Sudan Tribune

S. Sudan opposition groups vow to work against Kiir’s regime

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May 14, 2017 (NAIROBI) – Seven South Sudanese opposition parties have agreed to closely work together against the regime in the war-torn nation.

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President Salva Kiir addresses the nation at the South Sudan National Parliament in Juba, November 18, 2015. (Photo Reuters/Jok Solomon)

“There is great value in working together and, as a result, the opposition groups will actively work together with a view of seeking a united front on common strategic and operational issues,” partly reads a draft communiqué of the 1st Teleconference of the Leaders of Opposition Groups in South Sudan, held on 7 May 2017.

The group also agreed on a face-to-face meeting of the leaders of all political groups to discuss and work out the details and modalities for closer relationship among all opposition groups.

In the statement, the various opposition political party members also encouraged efforts by the different opposition groups to help convene a summit of leaders of the country’s opposition groups.

The South Sudanese opposition groups further expressed concerns about the “untold” and “unbearable” suffering of South Sudanese people, whom they said urgently and desperately needed peace.

“Aware that the regime in Juba is dysfunctional, in crisis, paralysed and about to implode and take the country down with it, if no urgent action is taken to save the country, to unify it, and reclaim the country from forces who want to destroy and liquidate it,” they said.

The opposition groups called for drastic and immediate change in the world’s youngest nation to foster and promote mutually beneficial alliance of all political and military groups in South Sudan.

Signatories to the document included, Henry Odwar, deputy chairman of the SPLM-IO faction led by Riek Machar, FDP party leader Gabriel Changson Chan, Thomas Tut Doap of UDRA, SPLM-FDs member Kosti Manibe, SSNMC leader Joseph Bakasoro, National Democratic Movement (NDM) leader Lam Akol, and Thomas Cirillo Swaka, leader of the National Salvation Front (NAS).

(ST)

South Sudan – war forces wo million children to flee home

Reuters

 

KIGALI War and famine have forced more than 2 million children in South Sudan to flee their homes, creating the most worrying refugee crisis in the world, the United Nations said on Monday.

The civil war in the oil-producing country began two years after it won independence from neighbouring Sudan, when President Salva Kiir fired his deputy in 2013.

The fighting that followed split the country along ethnic lines, spurred hyperinflation and plunged parts of the nation into famine, creating Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

“No refugee crisis today worries me more than South Sudan,” Valentin Tapsoba, the Africa chief for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, said in a statement.

In a country of 12 million people, nearly three in every four children do not go to school, UNHCR and the U.N. children’s agency UNICF said. More than 1 million children have fled outside South Sudan while another 1 million are internally displaced.

The agencies said more than a thousand children have been killed in the fighting. The true figure may be much higher since there are no accurate death tolls available for South Sudan, one of the world’s least developed nations.

Many South Sudanese refugees have fled into neighbouring Uganda, Kenya, Sudan or Ethiopia, nations which are already struggling to provide enough food and resources for their own populations.

(Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; editing by Richard Lough)

South Sudan – UN says some African states oppose return of Riek Machar

Reuters

By Michelle Nichols | UNITED NATIONS

UNITED NATIONS East African states and South Africa believe that allowing South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar to return to the war-torn country would not “necessarily be positive at this stage,” said United Nations envoy David Shearer on Wednesday.

Machar, who fled to Democratic Republic of Congo in August after fierce fighting in South Sudan, is being held in South Africa to prevent him from stirring up trouble, diplomatic and political sources told Reuters in December.

Shearer, who heads a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, confirmed that was the case.

“The feeling very much within the region is that his role, in terms of bringing him back, wouldn’t necessarily be positive at this stage, so that’s the decision of regional governments and South Africa,” Shearer told reporters in New York.

South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir fired Machar as his deputy, unleashing a conflict that has spawned armed factions often following ethnic lines.

Shearer said Festus Mogae, the former Botswana president who heads the international mediation and monitoring body JMEC in South Sudan, and U.N. envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom, had both visited Machar.

“What’s the most important thing — and I have made this point to everybody including President Kiir — is that the constituency he represents must be part of any peace process and any process that moves forward,” Shearer said.

The United Nations has warned of a possible genocide as millions have fled their homes, the oil-producing economy is in a tail-spin, crop harvests are devastated because of the worst drought in years and millions face famine.

The United States slammed Kiir on Tuesday for the African state’s “man-made” famine and ongoing conflict, urging him to fulfill a month-old pledge of a unilateral truce by ordering his troops back to their barracks.

U.N. sanctions monitors reported to the Security Council last month that South Sudan’s government is mainly to blame for famine in parts of the country, yet Kiir is still boosting his forces using millions of dollars from oil sales.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols;

 

South Sudan – Uganda’s Museveni says he and Zenawi shed blood against Sudan and secession was collective effort

Sudan Tribune

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April 9, 2018 (JUBA) – The Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has rebuked the manner in which South Sudan’s affairs have been handled by its leadership, stressing that the country seceded from Sudan due to collective support its people received from the region.

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President Salva Kiir (L) shakes hands with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni (R) after signing a peace agreement on August 26, 2015 (Photo AFP /Charles Lomodong)

“Meles Zinawi (late Ethiopian prime minister) , Isaias Afwerki (Eritrean president and myself, fought and shed blood in Sudan and compelled Bashir on the table to accept self-determination and independence for the people of South Sudan and now there this claim that the Dinkas liberated South Sudan,” Museveni told a meeting of South Sudanese leaders in at State House, Entebbe.

“Were we also Dinkas. What about 98.9 per cent voters in the referendum who endorsed your independence and those Americans and Europeans who supported you? Were they all Dinkas?” he asked.

Museveni, a close political ally of South Sudan President Salva Kiir, made the remarks during his recent meeting with some of South Sudan’s former political detainees led by Rebecca Garang, the widow of South Sudan’s former leader, John Garang Mabior.

The leaders, who included former Finance minister Kosti Manibe, ex-national Security minister, Oyay Deng Ajak, former deputy defence minister, Majak D’Agot, among other South Sudanese officials, met Museveni to discuss how the devastating conflict in South Sudan can be resolved.

A source who attended last week’s meeting said he was “personally touched and moved” by comments by the Ugandan leader.

“I looked at president Museveni and found myself touched by the remarks. We brought to ourselves a shame and this is what we tell our brothers and colleagues in SPLM, particularly president Salva that the interest of the nation, the plight of our people should override personal pride, privileges, enmity and accept to work together for peace so that we remove the country from this situation,” the source, who preferred anonymity, told Sudan Tribune Sunday.

“They don’t get it but the country is tearing apart and the region and the world is getting angrier and moving away from us every single day”, further added the source.

The official said the Ugandan leader was refuting a claim by a section of citizens in South Sudan, advocating views of some leaders, including President Kiir who reportedly sees him and his tribe as having played a big role in liberating south Sudan from Sudan.

“All of us, our people have contributed in the liberation of our country in our own different ways. We were contributors at different capacities and this contribution should not be the license to mismanage the affairs of the country,” said Museveni.

He added, “It should have been the source of our courage to perform better and be a guiding principle of whatever we do for our people.”

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in South Sudan’s worst ever violence since it seceded from Sudan in July 2011. In February, three United Nations agencies declared a famine outbreak in parts of the young nation, warning that an additional five million people were at the brink of starvation.

(ST)