Tag Archives: SPLA

South Sudan – Defence Minister denies he has resigned

Sudan Tribune

South Sudan Defence Minister

South Sudan’s defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, pictured following a cabinet meeting in Juba on 17 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

April 5, 2017 (JUBA) – On Wednesday, Kuol Manyang Juuk, South Sudanese Defence Minister denied reports claiming that he has tendered his resignation this week to President Salva Kiir.

It was purported that Minister Juuk, an ally of President Kiir has resigned Sudan Tribune until Wednesday sought to reach him for comment on this alleged resignation but he was not reachable.

Also, no official statement has been made by the ministry of defence to confirm or clarify the rumours. Several officials have attributed it to Juuk’s frustrations as a result of lower level officials who have undermined his role.

On Wednesday, an aide to the defence minister told Sudan Tribune that the reports and speculations placing doubt over his tenure were “totally unfounded”, adding that they should be regarded as fictional.

“The minister calls the rumours of his resignation ‘absurd’ and instead he has confirmed his determination to press ahead with the reform efforts, to work for peace to come to the country,” said an aide who declined to be named on Wednesday.

“He is not thinking of his resignation, even if it is a personal choice to leave the public life, it is not the time for him now. There will be a time and comrade Kuol knows this very well but sometimes one gets overwhelmed and things can be taken out of context,” he further added.

Other sources close to the file Wednesday insisted that he had effectively resigned but the President Kiir refused it.

However, Gordon Buay a South Sudan diplomat to the United States of America also told Sudan Tribune in a separate interview on Tuesday that the minister of defence had not submitted a resignation.

“I have been in contact with the office of the minister and there was nothing like that, he did not resign. Comrade Kuol Manyang is working normally. He has continued his duties as the minister, so it is not correct, he has not resigned,” he said.

(ST)

South Sudan – aid convoy attacked by gunmen; two killed

Reuters

By Denis Dumo | JUBA

JUBA Gunmen have attacked an aid convoy in famine-hit South Sudan, killing two people and wounding three, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Thursday.

The attack underscored the dangers confronting aid agencies in the world’s youngest country at a time nearly half its population, or about 5.5 million people, face food shortages. The United Nations has already declared a famine in some parts.

South Sudan has been mired in a conflict that has split the nation along ethnic lines and forced more than three million people to flee their homes. Aid workers have been kidnapped, shot at and had their supplies looted by armed men.

The attack occurred on Tuesday near Yirol, in the centre of the country about 210 km (130 miles) northwest of the capital of Juba, where the aid workers had been dealing with a cholera outbreak.

In a statement, the IOM said the convoy was targeted as it returned to Yirol, with the gunmen ambushing one of the vehicles. Two people died of gunshot wounds, the aid group said, and an IOM health officer was among the wounded.

The identity and motivation of the attackers were unknown, the statement said.

Also on Thursday, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said its hospital in Wau Shilluk had been looted during recent heavy fighting.

“Wau Shilluk was looted of all medicines including life-saving drugs and essential supplies,” Abdalla Hussein Abdalla, the deputy head of mission for South Sudan, said in a statement. “Our hospital is in a terrible condition.”

Earlier this week, gunmen briefly detained eight local employees of U.S. charity Samaritan’s Purse.

The civil war erupted in 2013 when President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer.

Machar’s rebels, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (In Opposition), on Thursday criticised a new rebel faction led by an army general who resigned earlier this year.

A statement allegedly released by the new rebel faction said that Machar’s forces in the Equatoria region, near the Ugandan frontier, had pledged loyalty to former General Thomas Cirillo Swaka.

“The SPLA IO is totally amazed and at the same time DISAPPROVES the claim of Thomas Cirillo that its forces in Equatoria region have pledged loyalty to him and his new faction,” the statement said.

“We urge General Thomas to reconsider his strategy and not play into the hands of Salva Kiir’s allies in the region, whose intention is to divide the opposition.”

(Reporting by Denis Dumo; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Alison Williams and Richard Lough)

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).

OUST PRESIDENT KIIR

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.

 

South Sudan – former deputy chief of staff of SPLA forms new movement

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudan’s former deputy chief of staff for logistics, Lt. General Thomas Cirillo Swaka has formed a new rebel group, seeking to against the Juba regime under President Salva Kiir.

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Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirino Swaka, the SPLA deputy chief of general staff for training (youtube photo)

Swaka, who now heads the National Salvation Front (NAS), quit the military, accusing its leadership of running the army on ethnic lines.

“The National Salvation Front (NAS) is convinced that to restore sanity and normalcy in our country, Kiir must go, he must vacate the office without further bloodshed,” he wrote on Monday.

The former army official vowed to ensure all means are used to restore law, order and ensure respect for human rights in the country.

NAS, it leader said, strongly advocates for national co-existence, ideals of free, sovereign and a democratically-governed nation.

“Thus, with a clear conscience and with determination, we declare the birth of a citizen-imposed change,” partly reads Swaka’s letter.

The former army official said his rebel movement would respond to the call for unified resistance against President Kiir’s government, using all means that would be available, feasible and effective.

“It is in this spirit of dedication to the cause of our people that I, General Thomas Cirillo Swaka, on behalf of the National Salvation Front, solemnly declare the launching of the National Salvation Front (NAS) on this 6th Day of March, 2017,” further noted the letter.

The new rebel movement, said Swaka, will vigorously use all means at its disposal after the Juba regime created a “highly selfish class that ensures its continued existence for the singular purpose of illicitly amassing personal and family wealth”.

The former top military said the objective of the regime to amass resources at the expense of development and common goal.

In a six-page letter issued last month, Swaka claimed the country was dominated by Dinka tribe and the army turned into tribal militia that “targets non-Dinka ethnicities”.

(ST)

South Sudan – rebels claim victory in clash with SPLA

Sudan Tribune

(PAGAK) –South Sudanese rebels said they foiled a coordinated attack from pro- government forces on Monday in Tharwangyiela and Thonyor areas of the oil-rich Unity state.

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Lul Ruai Koang speaks to the press in Addis Abab on May 9, 2014 (AFP Photo)

The armed opposition spokesperson, Colonel William Gatjiath Deng claimed they defeated pro-government forces after they attacked their bases in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Central Equatoria states.

“In self-reference, the gallant SPLA-IO forces of Sector Two (2) under the command of Lt. General Maguek Gai Majak repulsed the Juba regime operation at Thonyol and Tharwangyile back to Leer and Bentiu respectively”, Deng said in a statement.

During these attacks, he added, the armed opposition forces allegedly killed 25 pro-government soldiers as they attempted to regain territories held by their forces, allegations Sudan Tribune could not verify.

The armed opposition official, separately claimed government had allegedly resorted of deploying agents of “poison” internally displaced persons currently living in refugee camps within Unity state.

The armed opposition spokesperson further claimed a “government agent” was caught in Yumbe district of northern Uganda, allegations Sudan Tribune could not easily verify. The region currently hosts thousands of refugees who fled the ongoing fighting in neighbouring South Sudan.

“The deployment by the Juba regime of chemical agents to poison South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries, Uganda notwithstanding, is an escalation of chemical warfare use in the ongoing war in South Sudan,” the rebel spokesperson said.

“This is a clear message to the Ugandan government that the Juba regime is not at all joking when it comes to committing mass murder against non-Dinka South Sudanese even on Ugandan soil for Uganda, its government and people to be blamed,” the rebels spokesman said.

However, the rebel official is urging the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to put in place a surveillance security system to monitor non-Dinka South Sudanese refugee settled in Uganda.

“With the intensification of deployment of the Juba regime chemical weapon agents to commit mass atrocities against South Sudanese refugees in the neighboring countries, there should be no further doubt why thousands of South Sudanese have refused to vacate UNMISS protection Sites within South Sudan and in government-controlled areas, including the in the capital Juba,” he further claimed.

The armed opposition is urging the East African regional bloc (IGAD), African Union and the U.N. Security Council to stop supporting President Salva Kiir despite his “growing war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

South Sudan – mounting calls for investigation of atrocities

Sudan Tribune

(ADDIS ABABA) – The United Nations Human Rights office has called for an independent body to investigate crimes committed during the more than three-year conflict in South Sudan.

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A general view of participants during the 29th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 3 July 2015 – (UN Photo)

A three-member commission made the call during a three-day workshop on transitional justice in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

“An independent mechanism is needed to immediately assist in investigating violations in South Sudan, in advance of the establishment of the hybrid court,” said Yasmin Sooka, chair of the U.N-mandated commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

The Human Rights Council, she urged, should immediately establish a specialised mechanism to map and document conflict-related sexual violence in South Sudan with a specific emphasis on command and superior responsibility.

“Too many of those who say ‘justice should only come later’ really mean ‘justice should never come at all,” said Sooka.

“It is imperative to immediately start collecting evidence of violations even before the hybrid court is established,” she added.

Commissioner Ken Scott on his part, however, said investigations needed to start now so that the hybrid court has cases to hear.

“Critical evidence is being lost every day as witnesses are killed or disappear, as memories fade and physical evidence degrades”, he said.

During a visit to South Sudan in December last year, members of the commission reported that the level of sexual violence in the young nation had reached epic proportions and required urgent attention.

The Commission was established in March 2016, by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council and tasked with, among other mandates, monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in South Sudan and making recommendations for its improvement.

On 14 March 2017, the U.N Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan will present its report on the human rights situation and make recommendations on accountability to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“We will be calling for an international, independent, investigative mechanism for South Sudan to be set up,” said Sooka.

“It should be well-resourced to collect evidence on the ground, focusing primarily on the most recent serious crimes,” she stressed.

Chapter V of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) calls for the establishment of a Hybrid Court for South Sudan, tasked to investigate and prosecute individuals bearing the responsibility for violations of international law.

(ST)