Tag Archives: SPLA

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)

 

South Sudan accuses Khartoum of backing rebels

Sudan Tribune

separation

June 14, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan has renewed accusations that Sudan supports its rebels with ammunition and logistics in the wake of fresh clashes near Sudan’s border this week.

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Omer al-Bashir (R) walks with Salva Kiir after their meeting at Khartoum’s airport November 4, 2014 (Reuters Photo)

The deputy army spokesperson, Santo Domic Chol said rebels allied to the former first vice president Riek Machar carried out a number of attacks at army positions in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.

“The rebels launched attacks against the SPLA in Kuek and Ghabat on June 9 and 11. The SPLA thought it was SAF [Sudan Armed Forces] doing the attack. But it became clear in the process of fighting that the rebels are the ones attacking SPLA using SAF uniforms, war hardware and logistics,” he told reporters Wednesday.

The official claimed the Sudanese army allegedly offered logistics, training and military hardware, including heavy weapons to rebels.

“The capabilities used by the rebels in these operations indicate that the rebels have received military support from neighboring Sudan,” said Chol.

Sudan, he said, also permitted senior South Sudan rebel leaders living in Khartoum to plan their operations and that SAF offered their bases along the border for rebel forces to gather intelligence and launch military operations against the army.

Meanwhile, deputy spokesman for the rebels dismissed as “baseless” accusations that the armed opposition receives support from Sudan.

“These are baseless accusations from the government of Juba,” Lam said, dismissing the army’s claims that Sudan militarily backs rebels.

Bilateral relations between South Sudan and Sudan were officially started on 9 July 2011 following the former’s independence from the latter. Sudan became the first country to recognise South Sudan’s independence. Since South Sudan’s independence, relations between Sudan and South Sudan have been poor and frantic.

(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 Sudanese soldiers accused of rape and murder appear in court

Reuters

South Sudanese soldiers suspected of raping five foreign aid workers and killing their local colleague are seen before appearing in a military court in South Sudan’s capital Juba, May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jok Solomun
By Denis Dumo | JUBA

JUBA Thirteen South Sudanese soldiers accused of raping five foreign aid workers and killing their local colleague appeared before a military court on Tuesday, a case seen as a test of the government’s ability to try war crimes.

The attack, one of the worst on aid workers in South Sudan’s civil war, occurred on July 11, 2016 as President Salva Kiir’s troops won a three-day battle in Juba over opposition forces loyal to ex-Vice President Riek Machar.

Witnesses told Reuters that armed men attacked the Terrain Hotel in the capital Juba for several hours. Victims phoned U.N. peacekeepers stationed a mile away and begged for help, but none came, the witnesses said. The military head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was fired over the incident.

U.N. investigators and rights group have frequently accused both the army and rebels in South Sudan of murder, torture and rape since the civil war began in 2013, and say the crimes almost always go unpunished.

Describing the incident, the manager of the Terrain Hotel, Mike Woodward, told the court that “between 50 and 100” soldiers arrived in the hotel in the afternoon of July 11 and began looting an hour later.

“Five women working with humanitarian organisations were then raped. John Gatluak was shot at 6:15 p.m.,” Woodward said. An American was also shot in the leg, he said.

Peter Malual Deng, the defendants’ lawyer, dismissed the charges, saying evidence cited by Woodward was not sufficient to prove the allegations. “What I know the area was under operation at the time and rebels were controlling the area,” Deng said.

He said photographs provided by the hotel were inadequate evidence and called for more witnesses to come forward.

Chief prosecutor Abukuk Mohammed Ramadan said they were expecting some of the survivors of the attack to return to the country and testify. “Some of the victims left South Sudan especially the ones who were raped,” he said. “They went back to their countries and we are expecting them back.”

The case was adjourned until June 6.

The killers face a minimum of 10 years in jail with a fine paid to the victim’s family, or a maximum of the death penalty. Rapists face up to 14 years.

The three-year conflict has fractured South Sudan along ethnic lines – Kiir is an ethnic Dinka, Machar is a Nuer – and displaced a quarter of the 12 million population.

(Writing by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

South Sudan – Kiir announces ceasefire and prisoner release but no hint of talks with Machar

Reuters

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir delivers a speech during the launch of the National Dialogue committee in Juba, South Sudan May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jok Solomun

JUBA The president of war-ravaged South Sudan declared a unilateral ceasefire on Monday and promised to release political prisoners, but with no sign of a political deal with rebels it was not clear whether a truce would take hold.

South Sudan has been mired in a civil war since 2013, when President Salva Kiir fired his deputy, Riek Machar. The conflict, fanned by ethnic rivalries, has sparked Africa’s worst refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide and plunged part of the country into famine.

“I directed the prosecutor general to immediately review the cases of those who have committed crime against the state, commonly known as political prisoners, and ensure the necessary steps taken are taken to lead their release,” Kiir said in a speech in the capital, Juba.

“I am also declaring unilateral ceasefire effective from today.”

South Sudan analysts expressed scepticism that Kiir’s announcement would lead to long-lasting peace.

Kiir has declared ceasefires before and he has yet to release any political prisoners, said Alan Boswell, a South Sudan expert who authored a paper for the Small Arms Survey on the most recent failed peace deal in 2016.

Kiir’s speech offered no hint that he was willing to negotiate with the disparate rebel groups, the largest of which is led by Machar, Boswell said. Machar is an ethnic Nuer while Kiir is a Dinka.

In April 2016 the United States and other Western nations backed a peace accord that saw Machar return to the capital and again share power with Kiir. But the deal fell apart less than three months later and Machar and his supporters fled the capital, pursued by helicopter gunships.

Since then, the conflict has become increasingly fractured, with a patchwork of ethnic militias fighting in different parts of the oil-producing country.

“There’s no good incentive for the opposition movements to put down their guns because they’re not being offered any political settlement,” Boswell said.

The U.N. has warned the ethnic violence spill into genocide.

(Reporting by Denis Dumo; editing by Richard Lough)