Tag Archives: South Sudan atrocities

South Sudan – Wau State governor vows to end night attacks

Sudan Tribuneseparation


WAU – The Andrea Mayar Acho , Andrea Mayar Acho on Friday said his government had now taken drastic measures against the deteriorating security within Wau town.

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Wau state governor Andrea Mayar Acho (ST Photo)

Members of the organized security forces, he said, arrived in the state on Saturday and will deployed to deserted areas in town in order to provide a maximum security protection to residents to allow civilians who sought refuge at the United Nations protection of civilian sites to return home.

The move emerged after a security meeting that was conducted Thursday at the state council of ministers aims at providing plenty security protection to those who fled their homes following the bloodshed carnage of violence, which affected populations outside and inside Wau town since last year.

“Yes the security committee met yesterday and we agreed that our internally displaced persons who are present here. For example those who came from Wadh-Alelo should be taken to safe areas that are chosen by government like Masana Biira factory, we have inspected the area yesterday and there are forces there in New site school which is mandated to protect people there,” said Acho.

“When these forces arrived in the place yesterday, resident of that area began returning to their homes, so in our meeting, we agreed on some areas where the forces would be deployed that is why today, we in the state security committee are moving to inspect the areas of deployment,” he added.

Acho said deployment would be extended in areas outside town.

“The security of Wau town will be stable, through you the media, am appealing to our people to feel free and make sure that their security is at the hand of government,” he further told reporters.

According to the governor, the protection forces would assisted by state special units and they will be deployed in all residential areas.

“There will be nobody that will attack you are take your properties at home, you will be protected, this is the work of your state government to protect you,” said Acho.

Kasmiro Natale Taban, a resident of Wau town, said he was happy when he saw Acho visiting them with the aim of providing security.

“We are very happy to hear from the governor about provision of security protect, this is what we want such that our people who are at United Nations protection of civilian sites return home,” he said.

(ST)

South Sudan – raid on Wau kills 12; government militia blamed

Reuters

NAIROBI At least 12 people were killed in the South Sudanese town of Wau on Monday, as ethnic militiamen went house to house searching for people from other groups, witnesses said.

Streets were deserted as families hid inside, residents told Reuters by phone. Some reported seeing killings.

Witnesses said the militia members were aligned with the government in the country’s ethnically-charged civil war. They accused army soldiers of blocking the main road to a civilian encampment protected by U.N. peacekeepers.

South Sudan’s deputy army spokesperson, Colonel Santo Domic Chol, said fighting had first broken out during a mutiny by soldiers at the town’s prison. He was awaiting more information, he said.

The fighting followed an ambush that killed a brigadier general and a colonel in Wau state over the weekend, a rebel spokesman based outside the country said.

“This morning the government forces were retaliating against innocent Fertit people,” he said, referring to a local ethnic group.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it is flying a surgical team to Wau.

“The ICRC has received multiple requests to assist medical staff in Wau with patients wounded in the violence,” a spokesman said.

A staff member at Wau Teaching Hospital said it had received 12 bodies and eight wounded people. All the bodies appeared to be civilian, he said, and all had gunshot wounds.

Five residents, all of whom asked not to be named, described members of the president’s Dinka ethnic group searching for members of the local Luo and Fertit groups. The head of the military is also Dinka.

“We are still inside hiding,” said one man by telephone, speaking from a Wau neighbourhood called Nazareth. “I have seen four dead bodies of my neighbours.”

“Armed militias are moving from house to house,” one resident said. “It is an ethnic crackdown.” Another said he had fled an attack that had killed many people, including his cousin.

South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, fired his deputy, Riek Machar, a Nuer. Fighting since then has often split the oil-producing country along ethnic lines and created a patchwork of armed factions.

The country is awash with weapons after decades of conflict with neighbouring Sudan and local feuds over land.

BODIES

In another part of Wau, a resident saw two bodies near a feeding centre and a couple killed beside the road as they tried to flee to a nearby civilian encampment protected by U.N. peacekeepers.

More than 200,000 people have taken refuge in such sites set up across the country after widespread ethnic killings, many by soldiers. Campaign groups have accused both sides of atrocities.

Two residents said soldiers had blocked off the road leading to the protected site in Wau.

“I and my two sisters tried to get a way to the UNMISS protection site, but we can’t because the road is blocked by government soldiers,” one woman said, using the acronym for the U.N. Mission in South Sudan.

“I saw one woman together with her husband who was killed because they tried to run to UNMISS.”

The army’s Chol said the mutiny had broken out on Monday morning. “Some four prison soldiers in Wau prison decided to mutiny and shot at their own colleagues. They killed two,” he said.

He said there had been fighting in Wau state for the past three days but had no further details on Monday’s fighting, apart from the fact it was taking place along ethnic lines.

“The type of the rebellion which is taking place in Wau … it is more or less tribal,” he said.

The 15,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission, which has a base in Wau, has not been able to stop the killing.

“We are aware of the situation in the town and we are looking into it,” U.N. spokesman Daniel Dickinson said.

(Editing by Larry King)

 

South Sudan – government rejects additional 4,000 UN troops

Al Jazeera

More than 12,000 UN peacekeeping mission troops have been in South Sudan since it gained independence in 2011 [File: EPA]

South Sudan has announced it will no longer accept the deployment of an additional 4,000 United Nations peacekeepers, saying the security situation in the county has improved.

The regional protection force, authorised by the UN Security Council in August after renewed fighting in the capital, Juba, is meant to strengthen the 13,500-strong UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan

UN dismisses South Sudan peacekeeping force chief

“The government of South Sudan has the ability to provide security and stability for the country and for its citizens without the deployment of a … protection force,” South Sudan’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Mawien Makol Ariik said on Wednesday.

The government’s move is a reversal of its earlier decision in November to accept the troops’ deployment.

Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk also said there was no need for the regional protection forces to be deployed in South Sudan.

“Most of the people abroad still believe that there is fighting in Juba and around the country … but Juba is now secure,” Juuk told DPA news agency.


READ MORE: South Sudan accepts 4,000 more UN peacekeepers


Juuk’s remarks contradict reports of recent fighting in the north and south of the country.

The South Sudanese government had warned in August 2016 that the deployment of more UN forces would marginalise its sovereignty, but later gave its consent amid the threat of an arms embargo.

In December, a UN human rights commission urged a rapid deployment of the additional peacekeepers amid reports of ethnic killings.

A political split between President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Riek Machar escalated into a military conflict in December 2013. Tens of thousands have been killed and more than two million displaced.

A unity government was formed in April, but fighting broke out again in July, sending Machar into exile.

The UN’s top human rights official has previously blamed South Sudanese government troops and rebels loyal to the president of ethnically targeted violations, including extrajudicial executions and sexual violence incidences in August 2015.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has previously faced criticism for failing to fully protect civilians facing violence.

In early November, Ban Ki-moon, the former UN secretary-general, dismissedthe commander of the UNMISS force following a damning report that accused the peacekeepers of failing to protect civilians during the outbreak of violence in July.

The report from a UN special investigation found that a lack of leadership in the UNMISS ended in a “chaotic and ineffective response” during the heavy fighting in the capital, Juba, from July 8 to 11 that killed dozens of people.

UN warns of danger of mass atrocities in South Sudan conflict

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned of the “risk of mass atrocities” in South Sudan, should renewed violence in the world’s youngest nation continue.

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Ban Ki-moon (Photo UN)

In a report released Wednesday, Ki-moon said the UN peacekeepers must be prepared to protect innocent civilians.

“There is a very real risk of mass atrocities being committed in South Sudan, particularly following the sharp rise in hate speech and ethnic incitement in recent weeks,” said the UN Secretary General.

“It must be clearly understood that United Nations peacekeeping operations do not have the appropriate manpower or capabilities to stop mass atrocities,” he added.

The UN recently approved the deployment of regional protection forces in the aftermath of renewed violence that broke out in the country in July between South Sudan’s two main rival factions.

An estimated 14,000 soldiers and police are deployed in the UN mission in South Sudan, but recent investigations implicated peacekeepers in the failure to protect civilians during the attack.

South Sudan descended into war in mid-December 2013, leaving tens of thousands dead and more than 2.5 million people displaced.

Meanwhile, the Security Council will discuss South Sudan on Thursday amidst earlier threats to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan.

(ST)

South Sudan –

Institute for Security Studies (Tshwane)

Why the UN’s failure in Juba will affect aid workers everywhere
18 August 2016

On 11 July at around 3pm – just as a new bout of fighting in Juba was beginning to die down – dozens of government soldiers stormed into the Terrain Hotel. The hotel is popular with expatriates and international aid workers. Over the course of the next four hours, occupants of the hotel were gang-raped, robbed and assaulted, with American citizens especially targeted.

In the context of South Sudan, such atrocities – while horrific – are nothing new. The country’s civil war has been unimaginably brutal, and gross human rights violations and war crimes have been well-documented. Even the African Union’s report into human rights violations found that both sides have been culpable of the most egregious offences, including murder, mass rape, torture and the use of child soldiers.

During the attack, panicked victims phoned and messaged whoever they could think of for help, including embassies and the nearby United Nations (UN) base, just a mile away, where thousands of well-armed peacekeepers were stationed. The peacekeepers chose not to intervene, allowing the crimes to continue.

One American who was released from the hotel approached United Nations (UN) troop-contributing countries directly. ‘Everyone refused to go. Ethiopia, China and Nepal. All refused to go,’ he told the Associated Press.

The message it sends to aid workers is that the UN will not intervene to save them
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The UN’s inaction has provoked a storm of criticism. ‘We are deeply concerned that United Nations peacekeepers were apparently either incapable of or unwilling to respond to calls for help,’ Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the UN, said on Monday. On Wednesday, the UN Secretary-General ordered an independent special investigation into the incident.

Unfortunately, UN inaction in South Sudan is nothing new: the UN has a track record of failing to respond to attacks on South Sudanese civilians. ‘The UN peacekeepers in South Sudan are mandated by the UN Security Council to use force when needed to protect civilians from imminent harm. The UN mission hosts nearly 200 000 displaced people on several of its bases. However, it has repeatedly failed to effectively protect civilians from armed attacks in or near its bases, underscoring wider problems in its effectiveness,’ said Human Rights Watch in June, in a statement documenting some of these failings.

But although depressingly familiar, the attack on the Terrain Hotel – and the failure of the UN to respond to it – was different to other atrocities in one key aspect. The identity of the victims underlined that aid workers are now targets in South Sudan, while the UN’s passivity shows that it is unable – or unwilling – to protect them.

This could have serious ramifications for the provision of humanitarian aid, both in South Sudan and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, UN inaction in the context of South Sudan is nothing new
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Aid workers in war zones accept a certain level of risk. It comes with the territory, after all. But an enormous amount of effort and planning goes into mitigating those risks, and UN peacekeepers play a central role in those plans.

Proximity to armed peacekeepers is supposed to confer a degree of security – it’s no coincidence that the Terrain Hotel was so close to a UN base. It was popular with aid workers for precisely that reason.

But the 11 July attack has shattered that sense of security. The message it sends to aid workers is that the UN will not intervene to save them. This, inevitably, changes the risk calculus. Many aid workers will leave South Sudan. Some NGOs will close up shop. Convincing others to take jobs in Juba, or elsewhere in the country, will become much harder – and much more expensive.

ISS Today spoke to one international development worker, who was present in Juba at the time of the Terrain Hotel attack. He said that following the incident, his family drew a ‘red line’, insisting that he does not return. And he agrees – it is simply too dangerous. Nor does he think that plans to beef up the UN contingent with 4 000 extra troops will make a difference. ‘This just gives the illusion of a real peacekeeping capability. If anything, that endangers civilians even more,’ he said.

The delivery of international aid has just become a lot more dangerous
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The humanitarian situation within South Sudan remains grave. At least five million people are at risk from food shortages, with 1.6 million internally displaced. Government services are effectively non-existent, which means that the international humanitarian community – including UN agencies – are the primary source of emergency food supplies and healthcare in the country.

Although impossible to measure, the long-term impact of a reduction in international humanitarian assistance could be catastrophic.

But the impact of the Terrain Hotel attack will be felt far beyond South Sudan’s borders too. If the UN cannot be relied upon to protect aid workers in Juba, can it be relied upon to do so anywhere else?

Across the world, the delivery of international aid and development assistance has just become a lot more dangerous. And therefore more difficult, and more expensive – and even less likely to make a difference to the people who need it the most.

Simon Allison, ISS consultant

UN to investigate South Sudan hotel attack an failures by peacekeepers

Reuters

U.N. to investigate peacekeepers’ response to South Sudan hotel attack

By Michelle Nichols | UNITED NATIONS

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched an investigation on Tuesday into accusations peacekeepers in South Sudan failed to respond properly to an attack on a Juba hotel by uniformed men who killed a journalist and raped several civilians.

Ban was “alarmed” by the initial findings of a U.N. fact-finding mission into the attack on the Hotel Terrain on July 11 during an outbreak of fighting between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing former Vice President Riek Machar.

The secretary-general was “concerned about allegations that UNMISS (the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan) did not respond appropriately to prevent this and other grave cases of sexual violence committed in Juba,” Ban’s spokesman said.

Ban has launched an independent special investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the incidents and evaluate the overall response by the U.N. peacekeeping mission, the spokesman said in a statement.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said on Monday: “We are deeply concerned that United Nations peacekeepers were apparently either incapable of or unwilling to respond to calls for help.”

The “U.S. embassy in South Sudan responded to distress calls from the compound and urgently contacted South Sudanese government officials, who sent a response force to the site to stop the attack,” she said in a statement.

Hundreds of people were killed and the United Nations said government soldiers and security forces executed civilians and gang-raped women and girls during and after last month’s fighting. South Sudan rejected the accusations.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his outrage over the acts of violence committed by the SPLA (South Sudanese army) and opposition forces in Juba from 8 to 11 July,” said the U.N. spokesman. Ban urged the government to investigate all human rights violations and prosecute those responsible, he said..

Human Rights Watch said on Monday it had uncovered evidence of the cold-blooded execution of civilians by security forces during the fighting. It also found evidence of soldiers raping civilians.

The U.N. Security Council authorized on Friday the deployment of a 4,000-strong protection force to ensure peace in Juba as part of the U.N. mission and threatened an arms embargo if the government did not cooperate.

U.N. peacekeepers have been in the oil-producing country since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011. South Sudan descended into civil war after Kiir dismissed Machar as his deputy. They signed a peace deal in August 2015, but implementation was slow and sporadic fighting continued.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Paul Tait)

South Sudan – rival forces accuse each other of rape, killings and other atrocities

Sudan Tribune

August 15, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s rival forces killed and raped civilians, extensively looting their property, including humanitarian goods, during and after clashes that occurred in Juba last month, a New-York based rights body said.

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Arms and light weapons have been used by both warring parties in South Sudan to commit abuses (Photo courtesy of SSANSA)

In many cases, according to Human Rights Watch, government forces appeared to target non-Dinka civilians.

As a result of indiscriminate attacks, including shooting and shelling, shells landed in camps for displaced people inside United Nations bases, and in other densely populated areas in the city, killing and wounding civilians, the rights group said.

Clashes between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar clashed in the capital left over 270 people dead and displaced thousands.

The rights body mainly faulted government soldiers for the multiple crimes committed on civilians in the young nation.

“A year after South Sudan’s leaders signed a peace deal, civilians are dying, women are being raped, and millions of people are afraid to go home,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch in a report issued Monday.

“On August 12, the UN decided to send more peacekeepers to Juba but put off a long-overdue arms embargo. The continued supply of arms only helps fuel the abuses on a larger scale,” he added.

The latest violence came barely four months after the formation a coalition government under a peace agreement signed in August 2015. The rival factions agreed to integrate their forces and establish the hybrid court.

Under the deal, however, the African Union Commission was to set up the court, with South Sudanese and other African judges and staff to be completed by October 2016.

This follows the series of documented cases of targeted killings, rapes and gang rapes, beatings, looting, and harassment, often along ethnic lines, said to have been committed several areas of the capital and its outskirts.

“South Sudanese leaders have time and again failed to end abuses against civilians, been unwilling to rein in abusive forces or ensure justice for crimes by those under their command,” said Bekele.

“There is no more excuse for delay: top leaders need to be sanctioned and an arms embargo imposed. The UN has to be more effective in protecting civilians and the AU should move ahead with the hybrid court,” he added.

Officials from the country’s two rival factions are yet to comment on the damning report.

Meanwhile, the rights body has appealed to the United Nations and its member countries to impose targeted sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, on those responsible for serious human rights abuses in South Sudan.

The African Union Commission and donors, it added, should proceed without delay with preparations for a hybrid court to investigate and try the most serious crimes committed since the start of South Sudan’s new war in 2013, including during the recent fighting.

(ST)