Tag Archives: Riek Machar

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)

South Sudan – UN denied access to alleged massacre site

Reuters

NAIROBI South Sudanese authorities are blocking United Nations peacekeepers from visiting a town where soldiers are alleged to have killed civilians including children this week, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Friday.

Peacekeepers have been trying to get to the town of Pajok, near the border with Uganda, for four days after unconfirmed reports emerged of mass killings.

“They are still not there,” said Shantal Persaud, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Mission in South Sudan. “Negotiations continue with the local authorities.”

The peacekeepers have been barred by the South Sudanese military, New York-based U.N. spokeswoman Eri Kaneko said this week.

Thousands of South Sudanese refugees fled into Uganda this week after they said government forces killed civilians in Pajok on Monday. A Reuters tally of witness testimonies counted at least 17 deaths.

The refugees said some of those killed were children shot as they tried to flee, while others had their throats slit before their bodies were strung up from door frames.

The South Sudanese government denied its forces targeted civilians. It said an operation in Pajok, a town of more than 50,000 people 15 km (10 miles) north of the Ugandan frontier, was to flush out guerrillas.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war, but has been mired in factional conflict since President Salva Kiir sacked his vice president Riek Machar in 2013. The fighting that followed has often split the country along ethnic lines.

Both sides have targeted civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 6,000 people fled from Pajok to Uganda this week, Babar Baloch, a U.N. refugee agency spokesman, said in a statement on Friday.

“Refugees report witnessing their loved ones shot dead at a close range, with many arrested or slaughtered, including children. Families fled in different directions; the elderly and disabled who could not run were shot dead,” he said.

Baloch added that many displaced people were still hiding in the bush trying to find their way to Uganda while homes and properties had been looted and burned, with main roads out of the town reported to be blocked by armed groups.

The assault on Pajok is the latest in a series of attacks in the fertile Equatoria region. Many towns and villages in the region are now deserted, residents say.

Around 1.7 million people have fled South Sudan, most of them to Uganda, which is struggling to cope with the influx. Nearly two-thirds of the new arrivals are children.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

South Sudan – creation of new rebel movement as groups splinter

Daily Natio

Monday March 13 2017
The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir. FILE

The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir. FILE PHOTO | CHARLES ATIKI LOMODONG | AFP 

By AGGREY MUTAMBO

The emergence of splinter groups among South Sudan’s warring parties is threatening to derail further efforts to bring the war-torn country to peace, an organ formed to monitor the peace deal say.

At a meeting to brief stakeholders on the respect for ceasefire, Ethiopian military officer Maj-Gen Molla Hailemariam told the audience that both sides have violated the peace deal, something which could worsen if new rebel groups continue to emerge.

“The presence and emergence of different armed groups in other areas still remains a challenge for Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) in conducting its activities.

“CTSAMM is observing deliberate, well planned attacks being committed by both Parties in many areas of the country. These violations indicate a gross disregard for the Permanent Ceasefire and they must stop,” he said in Juba last week.

CTSAMM is an organ made up of representatives from warring parties that signed the peace agreement in 2015.

It also includes representatives of political parties, former detainees, women’s guild, civil society organisations, clerics, the African Union, donors and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad).

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Currently chaired by Maj-Gen Hailemarriam, it is supposed to ensure that the parties stick by the ceasefire contained in Chapter II of the peace agreement, thought to be necessary for the country to move from its war years.

But as the CTSAMM board met to deliberate and update for the African Union’s Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission on the security situation, another former government official declared he had formed a new rebel group aimed at ousting President Salva Kiir.

Thomas Cirillo Swaka, until last month the Deputy Chief of General Staff for Logistics in the national army, SPLA, said he was now leading the National Salvation Front (Nas) motivated by the desire for a “citizen-imposed change.”

The new group was declared even as the National Constitutional Amendment Committee led by Kenyan lawyer Gichira Kibara announced it would table its draft changes to the government in Juba, next week.

But the draft changes, most of which are centred on altering the peace agreement into a permanent supreme law now face a challenge of who, among the parties, should be consulted before they are endorsed.

MAKE IT DIFFICULT

Maj-Gen Hailemarriam warned the splintering and disrespect for the agreement could make it difficult to implement all the clauses.

“These actions (of violence) have a detrimental effect on the peace and security of the country and despite our continuous reporting on this issue we are yet to see any change in relation to the commitment to the ceasefire,” he said during a meeting with members of his team.

Meanwhile, South Sudan rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar are threatening to derail plans to implement major cross-border infrastructure projects in the region if they are not consulted.

They want to be party to negotiations by claiming the planned transport infrastructure will pass through areas they control.

“The Eastern (and) Central Corridor Project will not work unless the SPLM-IO under the leadership of former vice president Dr Machar (are) involved for its smooth running,” warned Dickson Gatluak, Spokesman for rebels often known as Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO).

“To guarantee a smooth implementation, there is a need to involve in the SPLM-IO. Otherwise it’s a wishful thinking and all agreements would remain unworkable on papers (sic),” the official said in a statement.

Gatluak has since been replaced as spokesman with Gabriel Duop Lam who resigned last month from the Transitional government under Salva Kiir. In his resignation letter, Lam who was the Minister for Labour accused Mr Kiir of corruption and brutality, before he shifted allegiance to Dr Machar.

SEEK ATTENTION

The threat to block infrastructure project appear to be a new modus operandi to seek attention, especially since Dr Machar was replaced by Taban Deng Gai and quickly accepted by the international community.

The projects, part of the larger East African Community and the Southern African Development Cooperation (Comesa ) arrangement is a tripartite plan mooted six years ago to address the transportation challenges in the region, blamed for low trade between these countries.

The countries directly involved initially were Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda but the Corridor was designed to link up the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Though certain changes have taken place since it was mooted, it was initially designed to cost at least $1.8 billion and could see five new ports, railway lines and at least eight cross-border highways built.

In South Sudan, an ambitious plan was laid to have a crude-oil pipeline, a refinery, an oil storage facility, a fiber optics cable and power supply line established between Pagak in eastern South Sudan, Gambella in western Ethiopia, Addis Ababa and the Djibouti city.

The idea is to help develop the areas as well as connect the three countries. But now the rebels say that won’t happen unless they take part in discussions.

Mr Gatluak claimed that the people in the South Sudan side are not yet recovered from the violence and would automatically be hostile to such projects unless a “healing” initiative is launched.

Officially, President Kiir’s government denies that rebels control any significant territory and could therefore have no impact in the negotiations.

South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei last week accused the rebels of desperate attempts to discredit the government in Juba.

“What do you expect the rebels to say about the government they oppose? They will say bad things so this is a normal thing and it is expected.

“If any individual has decided to live a rebellious life, they are free to go. It is not going to affect the strength of the government in any way,” he told the Nation in an interview.

South Sudan’s government wants rebels labelled regionally as a negative force

Sudan Tribune

S Sudan's FVP designate Riek Machar, arrives in his General Headquarters, Pagak. He was received by SPLA-IO's Chief of General Staff, 1st Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, 12 April, 2016 (courtesy photo of SPLM-IO)

March 12, 2017 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government on Sunday called on regional leaders to designate as a “negative force”, the armed opposition forces (SPLM-IO) operating in the war-ravaged nation.

“The president has declared a national dialogue which has been welcomed by all the countries and leaders in the region because the dialogue is the only way to resolve political issues,” said presidential advisor on security, Tut Kew Gatluak.

“Why continue to fight when the national dialogue has been declared? If there are issues, the national dialogue is the platform through which all these issues would be discussed,” he added.

The presidential advisor went on to mention that those who support the war are a negative force and the government would need to take a firm stance for peace.

“But if there are people who refused this dialogue and continue to advocate for war, the region needs to come out clearly to affirm support to the peace agreement and work with the government to declare these people who are continuing to promote war as a negative force,” Gatluak told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

Tut Kew Gatuak claimed the armed opposition forces were “bandits” who had no objectives. “These people who are still carrying arms and killing people are bandits. They have no clear political objectives. Their objectives are simply to kidnap, rape innocent women and loot,” he claimed.

The presidential advisors’ justification for calling the armed opposition bandits was due to the kidnapping of two Indian oil engineers who were taken in an oil field located in Gueluguk North.

The SPLA-IO spokesman Col. William Gatjiath Deng said in a statement last week that their forces captured two Indian nationals who were identified as Ambross Edward and Muggy Vijaya Boopathy.

“Despite repeated warnings from the SPLA-IO leadership, the two Indians engineers namely Mr Ambross Edward and Mr Muggy Vijaya Boopathy working for the Juba regime were captured yesterday Thursday, March 09, 2017 alive during the fighting between the gallant SPLA-IO forces, and the Juba regime soldiers and their Sudanese rebel allies in and around the new oil site at Guelguk north, Adar,” said Col. Deng said.

The armed opposition spokesperson explained in the statement that Edward and Boopathy were captured after rebel forces under the command of Major General Khor Chuol Giet and Brigadier General Gatbel Kuach “disintegrated, defeated, and killed” at least thirty-three government soldiers.

He also proclaimed the SPLA-IO defeated and inflicted heavy losses on government troops and its allies from the Sudanese rebel group.

The rebel spokesman further claimed that the armed opposition took control of the area and warned of unspecified consequences if Juba and its Sudanese allies continue attacking the SPLA-IO positions.