Tag Archives: (SPLM-IO

South Sudanese exiles fear kidnap in Kenya after activist disappears

Reuters

By Katharine Houreld | NAIROBI

NAIROBI A Kenyan court said on Wednesday that the state did not have custody of two South Sudanese activists missing from Nairobi, stoking suspicions among other opposition supporters that they may be detained by Juba’s security agents.

Human rights lawyer Dong Samuel Luak and writer Aggrey Idri Ezibon, both supporters of South Sudan’s opposition, went missing from the Kenyan capital within hours of each other on Jan. 23 and 24.

After they disappeared, their families filed a case in Kenya to stop a possible deportation back to South Sudan after other opposition figures were sent home.

But Kenyan state lawyers said the men were not in Kenyan custody. The judge ruled “the applicants’ disappearance can only be … abduction”.

Oil-rich South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, plunged into war in 2013, when President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer.

Machar fled after a shaky peace deal collapsed in July and fighting has increasingly split the country along ethnic lines. Parts of the country are suffering from famine and more than 3 million South Sudanese have fled their homes.

Many opposition figures, including Luak and Ezibon, sought refuge in other East African countries.

But regional powers became less welcoming to Machar’s supporters after the rebellion split and one of Machar’s former colleagues, Taban Deng Gai, joined the government in July, said Casie Copeland, senior analyst for South Sudan at Brussels-based thinktank International Crisis Group.

Since then, Machar’s supporters have faced curbs on their political activities in Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan, she said.

In November, Kenya deported James Gatdet Dak, Machar’s main spokesman, back to Juba.

A man previously imprisoned at the headquarters of South Sudan’s National Security Services told Reuters he saw Gatdet there. The former inmate, who asked not to be named, said torture was rife and prisoners malnourished.

The South Sudanese government did not return calls seeking comment. It have not confirmed Gatdet is in custody.

A South Sudanese rights activist based in Uganda, Peter Gai Manyuon, told Reuters on Wednesday that a friend in the South Sudanese security services had told him that agents wanted to kidnap him and another activist.

They blamed Manyuon and Luak for a report detailing the wealth of South Sudanese officials, he said.

Aya Benjamin, Ezibon’s wife, said she feared others may go missing. Three opposition leaders had fled Kenya, she said.

“I’m not safe anywhere except home. I hope peace comes in South Sudan so I can go home,” she said.

Another Nairobi-based opposition activist who asked not to be identified named five prominent opposition figures who left Kenya in recent months.

“Some were called from an anonymous number and warned,” he said. Their circle feared Luak and Ezibon had either been secretly deported to Juba by Kenya or kidnapped by South Sudan, he said.

Kenyan police and foreign office officials did not return calls seeking comment.

(Additional reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Editing by Alison Williams)

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)

South Sudan deploys troops to oil area to,prepare for resumption of production

Sudan Tribune

February 16, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan has deployed more troops in preparation for the resumption oil production in areas where activities were halted as a result of the December 2013 outbreak of conflict, which badly affected production in Unity state and parts of the Upper Nile region.


A worker walks through an oil production facility in Paloch in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, on 5 May 2013 (Photo: Hannah Mcneish/AFP)

The head of Nilepet, the country’s national oil company, disclosed Thursday that government hopes production resumes after preparations are fully completed.
“The government is doing the best to ensure that there is adequate protection at the sites where oil production would resume soon in unity. Preparations are underway,” said Machar Ader Achiek.
“The security forces are on the ground to provide adequate security and to ensure the safety of the oil workers and operators”, he added.
Local authorities, Achiek said, have started sensitising communities around the area to embrace peaceful dialogue and to help government at their level to bolster security at oil installations at Tharjiath field and other sites.
“Oil is a national resource and it is when it is extracted that the government can now be able to provide services to the people. If extraction is affected, the delivery of the basic services is also affected. So the resumption of the oil production is in the interest of both the government and the communities from where it is extracted,” explained Achiek.
He added, “This is why protection of oil sites requires cooperation from the communities”.
The Sudanese government, according to the head of the state-owned oil entity, agreed to provide electricity from Heglig and to work collaboratively with the south Sudanese authorities to protect oil workers engaged in production.
Northern Liech state information minister, Lam Tungwar said the state government will do its best to help the national government provide protection to workers in the oil fields as requested by the minister of petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, when he visited the newly-created state last month.
Since its independence, South Sudan has relied on oil for all income—a situation that has significantly compounded ongoing political and economic instability due to fall in crude oil prices.
According to South Sudanese officials, production in the past reached as high as 350,000 bpd but fell after a dispute with Sudan over fees for pumping South Sudan’s crude through Sudan’s export pipeline, which led Juba to halt production in 2012.
South Sudan got the lion’s share of the oil when it split from Sudan in 2011, but it’s only export route is through Sudan, giving Khartoum leverage and leading to the ongoing pricing disputes.

South Sudan – Kiir denies turning army into “tribal institution”

Sudan Tribuneseparation


February 12, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Sunday dismissed charges that he and the SPLA chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan have turned the national army into a tribal institution.

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President Salva Kiir speaks during the inauguration of the new SPLM premises in Juba on 15 November 2013 (Photo Moses Lomayat)

“There are people when they are with the government and in the army, appreciate the work of the SPLA but when they go, they say it is a tribal army. When has SPLA become my army and when it has become a tribal army,” asked president in a meeting on Sunday.

The president made the remarks on Sunday at his residence in which he met and held a usual informal meeting with some prominent members of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders.

A deputy chief of South Sudan army, General Thomas Cirilo, on Friday 10 February resigned from the army and accused President Salva Kiir and military leadership of spearheading a tribal agenda.

Cirilo further accused the He the duo (Kiir and Awan) of “deliberately orchestrated planned violations” of the August 2015 peace agreement” which led to fighting in Juba in July last year. He also accused them of targeting non-Dinka tribes, pointing to the ongoing violence in the Equatoria and Upper Nile regions.

The head of state attributed the dominance of his ethnic group to lack of people wanting to join military, citing the 2012 national mobilization when the army wanted recruits.

“When people are not ready to join the army and others accepted to volunteer, is it me or the chief of general staff who stopped them from joining”, asked Kiir. “If some people want to go, they are free to go but they should not make claims which are not true”.

Kiir said he was not surprised about people leaving the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) because it was allegedly not the first time it was being left. “How many times have people left the SPLA and did the same people not come back,” asked president?

(ST)

South Sudan – army general resigns citing abuses and ethnic bias

Reuters

By Katharine Houreld | NAIROBI

A South Sudanese general has resigned, citing abuses by the security forces against civilians and what he called increasing ethnic favouritism in the military, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Saturday.

Lieutenant General Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the deputy head of logistics, is the highest-ranking officer to resign since former Vice President Riek Machar fled after his supporters clashed in Juba in July with soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir.

Swaka, widely known as Cirillo, is respected by the international community and Western governments would see his resignation and the charges he has levelled as an indictment of the government, one security expert in Nairobi said.

South Sudan has been riven by conflict since 2013, two years after seceeding from North Sudan. Fighting broke out a few months after Kiir, from the Dinka tribe, sacked Machar, a Nuer. His reinstatement in 2016 lasted just weeks before violence erupted again.

The conflict has increasingly followed ethnic lines, forcing three million people to flee their homes, bringing the nation of 11 million close to famine and leading the United Nations to say South Sudan was on the brink of genocide.

Swaka’s letter reinforced those warnings.

“President Kiir and his Dinka leadership clique have tactically and systematically transformed the SPLA into a partisan and tribal army,” it read, using the acronym for the government Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

“Terrorising their opponents, real or perceived, has become a preoccupation of the government.”

Swaka said the military, police and other security branches systematically recruited Dinka from the president and chief of army staff’s home region. Non-Dinkas and Dinkas who disagreed with the president’s agenda were given remote postings or sidelined, he said.

He also said “soldiers from the Dinka ethnic group have been strategically deployed and posted in non-Dinka areas to support the policy of land occupation.”

Swaka said the military raped and killed civilians and allowed tribal militias to commit the same abuses as well as running a network of secret prisons where torture was endemic.

The government routinely dismisses charges of ethnic bias and blames rebels for stoking trouble. Officials say any soldier committing abuses will be held to account and the president said on Monday any soldier committing rape should be shot.

Military spokesman Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang did not return calls seeking comment about Swaka’s letter. The presidential spokesman also could not immediately be reached.

U.N. officials and Western governments have accused both sides in the conflict of abuses.

(Editing by Edmund Blair and Louise Ireland)

UN reports mass displacement in South Sudan’s Kajo-Kaji region

Sudan Tribune


(JUBA) – Civilians continue to massively flee Kajo-Keji in Central Equaloria as result of the increasing violence and insecurity in the region, said UN spokesperson in a press briefing on Friday evening.

Speaking to the media at the UN headquarters in New York, Stéphane Dujarric, said they received reports from aid groups indicating mass displacement of people from areas in and around Kajo-Keji in Central Equatoria heading to Uganda.

“More than 4,000 people arrived into Uganda on 28 January alone,”.Dujarric said.

He said that refugees report killings of civilians, sexual violence, and fears of arrest and abduction to explain their exodus.

The spokesperson further pointed that around 30,000 people from different locations in Central Equatoria are sheltered in three internally displaced persons’ sites in Liwolo area, outside of Kajo-Keji.

NEW CLASHES IN YEI

UN officials since last November reported the increasing violence on tribal lines in the Central Equaoria region generally and in Yei River State specifically. They further warmed that all the ingredients of genocide are in place.

But Juba strongly denied such claims and dispatched several high level teams to the conflict affected region.

Yei which was a symbol of peaceful coexistence between South Sudanese from different origins is the scene of attacks between tribal militias loyal to the government of President Salva Kiir and local rebels loyal to the former First Vice President Riek Machar.

SPLM-IO Spokesperson Wayi Godwill Edward said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Saturday they repulsed an attack carried on their position at Ombasi in Yei River County by the “Mathiang Anyoor militia” of Bahr el Ghazal loyal to the government in Juba.

“32 dead bodies of the regime militiamen were found at the battle scene following the deadly fight. Some of them are scattered into the forests while others ran and are being pursued towards Yei Town by the gallant SPLA-I.O forces,” Edward said.

(ST)

South Sudan – Rebel leader Machar backs AU call for end to conflict

Sudan Tribune

January 31, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan rebel leader, Riek Machar has strongly supported calls from the African Union, the East African regional bloc (IGAD) and United Nations for an end to the country’s conflict.

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South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar speaks during a briefing in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa April 9, 2016 (Photo Reuters/ Tiksa Negeri)

Machar, who currently lives in South Africa, however, disagreed on the advocacy for an inclusive national dialogue in the young nation, saying it cannot be achieved in the absence of peace and stability.

Calls for both dialogue and an inclusive dialogue were made in a joint statement issued by AU, IGAD and the U.N during consultations on the South Sudan crisis at the sidelines of the just-concluded AU head of states and governments summit in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia.

The South Sudanese official said outcomes of the summit contradict the U.N Security Council approach to South Sudan’s ongoing crisis.

“The joint statement by the AU invigorated IGAD and the U.N seems to interpret the national dialogue declared by President Salva Kiir to invigorate peace process that was declared by the UNSC. The national dialogue we believe cannot replace the process aiming at reviving the agreement and ending the war,” explained Machar.

He said for a meaningful dialogue to take place, there was need to first end the war so as to create conducive environment and a safe space for the people of South Sudan in order to achieve inclusivity and enable people to express their views minus fear or favour.

“Our vision of the national dialogue is a participatory process inclusive of grassroots, refugees, internally displaced, victims and perpetrators of atrocities,” stressed the South Sudanese rebel leader.

Last month, the UNSC president called for a new invigorated inclusive political process to restore the agreement on the resolution of South Sudan’s conflict and end renewed fighting in the country.

Machar, however, insisted the new mechanisms adopted in Addis-Ababa at the sidelines of the AU summit, instead blessed president Kiir “self-made” national dialogue, which, he said, contradicted what the UNSC president said in relation to the South Sudan crisis.

“A national dialogue will not work as war continues across South Sudan. Dialogue comes after meaningful peace is achieved,” he said, urging the regional and international partners to instead dedicate their commitment a peace process that will end the war.

The South Sudanese rebel leader welcomed the appointment of Alpha Konare’s as the new AU envoy to South Sudan, vowing to closely work with the latter for peaceful resolution of the conflict.

(ST)