Tag Archives: (SPLM-IO

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)

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)

 

South Sudan – seven opposition groups unite to oppose Kiir

Sudan Tribune

S. Sudan opposition groups vow to work against Kiir’s regime

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May 14, 2017 (NAIROBI) – Seven South Sudanese opposition parties have agreed to closely work together against the regime in the war-torn nation.

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President Salva Kiir addresses the nation at the South Sudan National Parliament in Juba, November 18, 2015. (Photo Reuters/Jok Solomon)

“There is great value in working together and, as a result, the opposition groups will actively work together with a view of seeking a united front on common strategic and operational issues,” partly reads a draft communiqué of the 1st Teleconference of the Leaders of Opposition Groups in South Sudan, held on 7 May 2017.

The group also agreed on a face-to-face meeting of the leaders of all political groups to discuss and work out the details and modalities for closer relationship among all opposition groups.

In the statement, the various opposition political party members also encouraged efforts by the different opposition groups to help convene a summit of leaders of the country’s opposition groups.

The South Sudanese opposition groups further expressed concerns about the “untold” and “unbearable” suffering of South Sudanese people, whom they said urgently and desperately needed peace.

“Aware that the regime in Juba is dysfunctional, in crisis, paralysed and about to implode and take the country down with it, if no urgent action is taken to save the country, to unify it, and reclaim the country from forces who want to destroy and liquidate it,” they said.

The opposition groups called for drastic and immediate change in the world’s youngest nation to foster and promote mutually beneficial alliance of all political and military groups in South Sudan.

Signatories to the document included, Henry Odwar, deputy chairman of the SPLM-IO faction led by Riek Machar, FDP party leader Gabriel Changson Chan, Thomas Tut Doap of UDRA, SPLM-FDs member Kosti Manibe, SSNMC leader Joseph Bakasoro, National Democratic Movement (NDM) leader Lam Akol, and Thomas Cirillo Swaka, leader of the National Salvation Front (NAS).

(ST)

UN condemns attack on South Sudan base

Reuters

JUBA Unknown assailants attacked a U.N. operating base in northern South Sudan overnight, showing “callous disregard” for civilians and aid workers, the head of the U.N. mission said.

The assault in the town of Leer, which lies in an oil-producing region, was repelled by Ghanaian peacekeepers. There were no reported injuries.

The assailants’ identity was not clear. David Shearer, head of the U.N. mission, said the attack overnight from Wednesday into Thursday was launched from the direction of a nearby government-held town.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to respect the sanctity of U.N. premises,” Shearer said in a statement.

“We are here to protect and support the people of South Sudan,” he added. “It is clear the attackers have no consideration for their plight, given those who most desperately need help will suffer more because of a likely resulting delay of humanitarian aid.”

Government officials were not immediately available for a comment.

South Sudan’s main rebel force, SPLA-IO, denied any involvement.

“UNMISS (the U.N. mission) is protecting our civilians in government areas while we protect the ones in the liberated areas. Therefore, we can’t attack their base in any way,” deputy SPLA-IO spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel said.

Separately on Thursday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on the Juba government to halt offensives towards Aburoc in the northern Upper Nile region, which borders Sudan, where between 35,000 and 50,000 people have sought refuge.

“Civilians in Aburoc are at serious and imminent risk of gross human rights violations, inter-ethnic violence and re-displacement,” Zeid said in a statement.

“The civilians in Aburoc have nowhere left to go, with the (army) closing in from the south and options to flee northwards severely limited and fraught with danger,” Zeid said.

Civil war erupted in South Sudan in late 2013. The fighting has forced more than 3 million people to flee their homes and plunged parts of the country into famine, creating Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

(Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Editing by Richard Lough and Andrew Heavens)

 

South Sudan – clashes in northwestern town leave 14 dead

Reuters

NAIROBI At least 14 people were killed in the South Sudanese town of Raga when fighting erupted between government forces and the main rebel group, a rebel spokesman said on Saturday, within a week of violence in neighbouring Wau state that killed 16.

The rebels, the main force fighting the government in the famine-hit nation’s civil war, had briefly occupied the northwestern town, near the border with Sudan and Central African Republic, before withdrawing to nearby bases to prepare for a counter-attack.

“For the last two days the government bombed our areas around Raga and yesterday our forces decided to go and raid Raga,” opposition spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel Lam said by phone.

“Around 14 people were counted killed but many are injured … we had one soldier killed with some injuries,” he told Reuters.

The government’s military spokesman, Santo Domic Chol, said “I’m right now in Raga and will talk to you later.”

Oil-rich South Sudan has been riven by violence since 2013, when President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, fired his Nuer deputy Riek Machar. The political showdown quickly split along ethnic lines and has drawn many tribes into a complex patchwork of conflict.

On Monday, at least 16 people were killed in Wau, 200 miles (300 km) from Raga, when government soldiers sealed off roads and allied militias went door-to-door hunting members of ethnic minorities.

The United Nations said 13,500 people had since fled to a U.N.-protected camp in Wau and 3,000 to other locations.

The U.N., which has a large peacekeeping force in the East African nation, confirmed the latest outbreak of violence.

“Fresh fighting has broken out between government SPLA and opposition forces in a number of locations including Raga in the west of South Sudan, Waat in Jonglei to the east and in the area of Wunkur and Tonga in the northern Upper Nile region,” it said in a statement.

In February, the U.N. declared parts of South Sudan were suffering from famine, the world’s first famine for six years.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)

 

South Sudan – Uganda’s Museveni says he and Zenawi shed blood against Sudan and secession was collective effort

Sudan Tribune

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April 9, 2018 (JUBA) – The Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has rebuked the manner in which South Sudan’s affairs have been handled by its leadership, stressing that the country seceded from Sudan due to collective support its people received from the region.

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President Salva Kiir (L) shakes hands with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni (R) after signing a peace agreement on August 26, 2015 (Photo AFP /Charles Lomodong)

“Meles Zinawi (late Ethiopian prime minister) , Isaias Afwerki (Eritrean president and myself, fought and shed blood in Sudan and compelled Bashir on the table to accept self-determination and independence for the people of South Sudan and now there this claim that the Dinkas liberated South Sudan,” Museveni told a meeting of South Sudanese leaders in at State House, Entebbe.

“Were we also Dinkas. What about 98.9 per cent voters in the referendum who endorsed your independence and those Americans and Europeans who supported you? Were they all Dinkas?” he asked.

Museveni, a close political ally of South Sudan President Salva Kiir, made the remarks during his recent meeting with some of South Sudan’s former political detainees led by Rebecca Garang, the widow of South Sudan’s former leader, John Garang Mabior.

The leaders, who included former Finance minister Kosti Manibe, ex-national Security minister, Oyay Deng Ajak, former deputy defence minister, Majak D’Agot, among other South Sudanese officials, met Museveni to discuss how the devastating conflict in South Sudan can be resolved.

A source who attended last week’s meeting said he was “personally touched and moved” by comments by the Ugandan leader.

“I looked at president Museveni and found myself touched by the remarks. We brought to ourselves a shame and this is what we tell our brothers and colleagues in SPLM, particularly president Salva that the interest of the nation, the plight of our people should override personal pride, privileges, enmity and accept to work together for peace so that we remove the country from this situation,” the source, who preferred anonymity, told Sudan Tribune Sunday.

“They don’t get it but the country is tearing apart and the region and the world is getting angrier and moving away from us every single day”, further added the source.

The official said the Ugandan leader was refuting a claim by a section of citizens in South Sudan, advocating views of some leaders, including President Kiir who reportedly sees him and his tribe as having played a big role in liberating south Sudan from Sudan.

“All of us, our people have contributed in the liberation of our country in our own different ways. We were contributors at different capacities and this contribution should not be the license to mismanage the affairs of the country,” said Museveni.

He added, “It should have been the source of our courage to perform better and be a guiding principle of whatever we do for our people.”

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in South Sudan’s worst ever violence since it seceded from Sudan in July 2011. In February, three United Nations agencies declared a famine outbreak in parts of the young nation, warning that an additional five million people were at the brink of starvation.

(ST)

South Sudan – UN denied access to alleged massacre site

Reuters

NAIROBI South Sudanese authorities are blocking United Nations peacekeepers from visiting a town where soldiers are alleged to have killed civilians including children this week, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Friday.

Peacekeepers have been trying to get to the town of Pajok, near the border with Uganda, for four days after unconfirmed reports emerged of mass killings.

“They are still not there,” said Shantal Persaud, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Mission in South Sudan. “Negotiations continue with the local authorities.”

The peacekeepers have been barred by the South Sudanese military, New York-based U.N. spokeswoman Eri Kaneko said this week.

Thousands of South Sudanese refugees fled into Uganda this week after they said government forces killed civilians in Pajok on Monday. A Reuters tally of witness testimonies counted at least 17 deaths.

The refugees said some of those killed were children shot as they tried to flee, while others had their throats slit before their bodies were strung up from door frames.

The South Sudanese government denied its forces targeted civilians. It said an operation in Pajok, a town of more than 50,000 people 15 km (10 miles) north of the Ugandan frontier, was to flush out guerrillas.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war, but has been mired in factional conflict since President Salva Kiir sacked his vice president Riek Machar in 2013. The fighting that followed has often split the country along ethnic lines.

Both sides have targeted civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 6,000 people fled from Pajok to Uganda this week, Babar Baloch, a U.N. refugee agency spokesman, said in a statement on Friday.

“Refugees report witnessing their loved ones shot dead at a close range, with many arrested or slaughtered, including children. Families fled in different directions; the elderly and disabled who could not run were shot dead,” he said.

Baloch added that many displaced people were still hiding in the bush trying to find their way to Uganda while homes and properties had been looted and burned, with main roads out of the town reported to be blocked by armed groups.

The assault on Pajok is the latest in a series of attacks in the fertile Equatoria region. Many towns and villages in the region are now deserted, residents say.

Around 1.7 million people have fled South Sudan, most of them to Uganda, which is struggling to cope with the influx. Nearly two-thirds of the new arrivals are children.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)