Tag Archives: South Sudan war

Donors pledge $352 million to help Uganda’s South Sudanese refugees

Reuters

By Elias Biryabarema | KAMPALA

KAMPALA About $352 million has been pledged to help Uganda cope with an influx of refugees fleeing conflict in South Sudan, donors said on Friday.

Uganda needs some $2 billion for its surging refugee population. The money would fund operations for the next 12 months .

About 1.3 million refugees have fled to Uganda, of whom an estimated 950,000 have come from South Sudan, displaced by the country’s escalating civil war.

Most of the South Sudanese are crammed into about five camps in Uganda’s northwest. One of them, Bidi Bidi is among the world’s largest refugee settlements, hosting about 270,000 people.

“I don’t think anyone ever anticipated that we would be dealing with one million refugees out of South Sudan alone,” David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme, told Reuters.

Food for the refugees will run out in July without more help, Beasley said.

Fighting erupted in Africa’s youngest nation in December 2013 between forces allied to President Salva Kiir and his then- deputy, Riek Machar. A peace pact in 2015 briefly halted the conflict, but it exploded into war again last July.

“The international community needs to step up and needs to give to the Ugandan people and to the refugees hosted by the Ugandan people the kind of support that is absolutely needed because the circumstances in which these sacrifices are being made are extremely, extremely challenging,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by George Obulutsa, Larry King)

 

Kiir appeals for global support for South Sudanese government

Sudan Tribune

separation

Canadian Minister of International cooperation Maria Claude Bibeau meets with young mothers at Al Sabbah Children's Hospital in Juba, on 19 June 2017 (Bibeau Photo)

(JUBA) –South Sudan President Salva Kiir Monday appealed for the support of the international community to the national unity government, saying much has been done without its support despite previous pledges to provide assistance at the signing of the peace agreement.

“As a country, we are grateful for all the help our people have received and the treatment they were given by countries to which they sought refuge. We appeal to the international community to keep it up. We appreciate and thank these countries and continue to ask support for sustainable peace because the South Sudanese do not wish to be a burden, but to make our success certain and our progress irreversible, we will need your steadfast support,” said President Kiir on Monday.

In a meeting with the visiting Canadian Minister of International Development, the head of state further spoke about the need for help to build the country’s economy and transforming the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) into a professional army.

“We need the support of the international community not only in helping us achieve peace and stability but also with experts to help train and advise our security forces,” President Kiir told Maria Claude Bibeau.

The president continued to add that his government has been asking the international community to help the government in the implementation of the peace agreement instead of continuing to advocate for views calling for sanctions and an arms embargo.

“We have been talking to our international friends and partners to remain committed to training, advising and assisting our institutions, especially our forces. There are still those who continue to advocate for war in the country, and we continue to go after those who are unwilling to end the conflict. This is no what the country needs,” explained President Kiir to the visiting Canadian Minister.

According to the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Martin Elia Lomuro, President Kiir stressed that the government, which was formed amid difficult conditions experienced by the country, is tasked with bringing to order the internal situation and confronting the aggression.

The South Sudanese leader and the Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie also discussed the existing cooperation between the two nations and how to move forward in strengthening their bilateral relations. The meeting was held at the State House.

Minister Bibeau meeting with President Kiir comes at the end of a four-day visit to South Sudan, ’’where she witnessed first-hand the extreme suffering of the South Sudanese people, the result of the severe food crisis affecting nearly half the country’s population and the ongoing conflict,’’ said a statement released by the Canadian government Monday.

She discussed with President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Gai Kok, Minister of Health, the conflict and its devastating impact on civilians, most notably women and children. The visiting Minister also visited Jonglei region, where she observed the World Food Programme’s humanitarian relief operations and spoke with local civilians, especially women, affected by the crisis.

Bibeau announced $86 million in funding for four development projects that will respond to the basic needs of vulnerable South Sudanese people. Also, it includes $20 million to the WFP for food security.

After the meeting on Monday, Minister Lomuro, told the press, that the visit was aimed at seeing the progress of the projects that were sponsored by the Canadian government.

He added that the meeting was also to discuss the issues related to education, women and gender balance as well as the national dialogue process.

Meanwhile, Maria Claude Bibeau explained that the visit was to confirm the commitment from the Canadian government to the South Sudan government. She expressed the readiness of Canada to support humanitarian assistance, alongside the developmental projects.

Riak Gai Kok, Minister of Health outlined some of the areas in which the Canadian government would provide support in the health sector. Minister Kok said they had excellent bilateral discussions with the visiting Minister and applauded the support by the Canadian government in the health sector.

(ST)

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

separation

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 – President Kiir and former army chief Malong reportedly reconciled

South Sudan


(JUBA) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir has “reconciled” with former chief of army General, Paul Malong Awan.

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S Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is received by former Chief of General Staff of the SPLA Paul Malong Awan at the airport in Juba March 6, 2015 (Reuters)

The presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny described Thursday’s meeting between Awan and the president as “cordial and friendly.”

“I can now report to the South Sudanese that President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former chief of staff General Paul Malong Awan have reconciled. They reflected on their long comradeship, friendship dating back to the time of war of liberation and small differences were easily resolved,” Ateny told reporters in the capital, Juba.

The meeting was the first encounter between the two ever since Awan was sacked from the army after about four years in charge.

Kiir replaced Awan with General James Ajongo Mawut, who has been described my many as a moderate veteran military officer.

Despite his removal, however, the former South Sudanese army chief is credited for helping the national army win several battles against the armed opposition faction loyal to ex-Vice President Riek Machar.

Not much was divulged on the outcome of Thursday’s meeting between the South Sudanese leader and his former army chief.

(ST)

South Sudan – president Kiir shakes up army structure after Malong sacking

Sudan Tribune


May 15, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudan President Salva Kiir has issued several orders restructuring the army, renaming the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) to South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF).

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (Photo: Reuters)

In a Presidential Decree number 85/2017 read out on the state-owned television (SSBC) on Monday, Kiir surprisingly reinstated Major General Dau Aturjong Nyuol into the country’s active military service.

Aturjong switched allegiance from the army in 2014 after the eruption of conflict but later returned to Juba where he defected from the armed opposition forces (SPLM-IO) in July last year.

President Kiir, in a separate decree, restructured the SPLA into three institutions, namely the ground force, air force and air defence and navy units. Each of the institutions will be overseen by a commander.

The presidential decrees are in line with the resolutions of the fifth SPLA Command Council Conference in June 2016, which authorised the establishment of a Defense Structural Review Committee, tasked with the review of the structures of the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs to be in line with the SPLA white paper of 2008.

Meanwhile, in another republican order, Kiir restructured the leadership of the SPLA general staff to hierarchically consist of the Commander in Chief, the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, the Chief of Defense force, the Deputy Chief of Defense force and Inspector General. This abolished the previous structure, where deputy chief of general staff is now assistant chief of general staff.

The new structure envisages re-branding the army as departments will now be headed by an assistant. As such, for instance, the deputy chief of general staff for finance and administration now becomes assistant chief of defence force for administration, personnel and finance.

(ST)