Archive for: March 2016

Gwuduge unresolved Land Grabbing now traded with baseless community accusations & character assasination

By Justin Tombe Demetry, MAR/3/2016, SSN,

QUOTE: “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” Frederick Douglass;

Issues of land disputes in the past were mostly resolved at the communal level when our wise elders and community chiefs were able to contain such unnecessary problem from escalating further. Those community leaders exercised their wisdom amongst the communities in conflict without the need of any major government involvement. Such practices of land grabbing at a massive scale were not even heard of during the regional government simply because everyone knew where they are from and which land belonged to them.

It is pertinent to state that, from 2005 until date, land grabbing became prevalent in South Sudan especially in greater Equatoria where marauding armed cattle keepers, land grabbers in uniform and some members of the country’s top echelon continue to grab land with impunity. These practices have also encouraged the rest of their community members to abandon their ancestral land in pursuit of the illegal land scheme. With such barbaric and medieval practices; others still wonder why the clamor for federalism never fades away.

If such outrageous practices are not a form of hidden planned occupation, domination or subjugation of other tribes, why would the government allow other people to continue with this heinous practice from 2005 until date? Which schools of thought even instill such a dirty practice in our society? Will it even succeed or be sustained for long? These questions should help those grabbers understand or exercise reasoning in what they are up to if perception have any meaning.

Frederick Douglass, an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer and statesman once said: “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

This incredibly relevant quote should be a reminder that, even if the issues of Bari land have been resolved because of its presence in the national capital; there are others out there in the three former regions that still deserve justice for their ancestral land; else, there will be no peace and stability for the Southern Sudanese to dream of.

The protest made by Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka should not be taken lightly or be seen as a protest for his community land alone. As a matter of fact, land were grabbed in the whole of geographical Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria combined. In addition, Greater Bahr-El-Ghazal especially the Fertit tribe; not forgetting the ‘awulad Nyikang’ in the Greater Upper Nile, and others have very serious issues of institutionalized land grabbing which also led to some previous rebellions by the Shilluk tribe, and probably others in the pipeline due to noting else but land as the main cause.

UNESESSARY CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF LT. GEN. THOMAS CIRILO

Several news paper reports in Juba which lacks authenticity; as well as some gimmick press release in the internet world have given rise to some charlatans in their unjustifiable attempt to damage the reputation of Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka. According to the Down – daily Newspaper in Juba, vol. 1, issue 046, date March 29, 2016; an article written by Joseph Oduha under the following title never ceased to amazed readers and the victimized community: “I will fight along Bari Community against land grabbers – Cirilo.”

The article have stated that the top army commander, Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo has insisted to stay in his home village in Gwuduge arguing that, he was under directives from his community to confront land grabbers who have threatened indigenous people in the area. Pathetic indeed!

The article as if being driven by magic, also made an inexplicable switch to the recent reshuffle in the army command. Even thought the article rightfully stated that Gen. Thomas Cirilo was removed from being the army Deputy Chief of General Staff for Training, and reassigned as the head of the Directorate of Logistics in the SPLA; the article on the other hand falsely reported that, days after the reshuffle of the military high command, Gen. Thomas Cirilo had not shown up to take the new responsibility.

It also reported that, Gen. Cirilo’s absenteeism from work prompted President Kiir, V.P. Wani Igga, Gen. Paul Malong and the National Security Minister, Gen. Obutu Mamur to pay a surprise visit to Gen. Cirilo in his village of Gwuduge so as to convince him to report to work. The report went further and stated that, military sources said Gen. Cirilo insisted that, he will come to Juba
after he has silenced the land grabbers.

Contrary to this particular information on the Dawn daily newspaper, highly confirmed reports from credible sources in Juba have ruled that, this particular news as well as others in the social media are counterfactual, and are also design as an attempt to cover up or divert the focus of the land still under siege by some members of Dinka Bor and Padang.

Therefore, I do not want to refer to the associated news in both the internet as well as the Dawn newspaper as rubbish; however, those reporting need to get the facts from credible sources so as to provide authentic information to the public.

As a matter of fact, Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo is the second in command of the SPLA who still executes his national duty, and at the same time following up with his complain because the issues have not been fully settled yet. That is why he decided to get the security along Juba-Rajaf road beefed up with regular access – unlike the reports that claimed Juba-Rajaf road was blocked.

That being said, one is left to ask the following question: From when did an individual or any community become involved in the SPLA Command’s reassignments, or the attendance of SPLA generals in executing their national duties?

Other news outlets have also given an interesting title to Gen. Thomas Cirilo as the “Bari army commander.” Such a fallacy is devoid of logic and it is clear that, this is another attempt to provoke or aggravate the community, and at the same time implicate them unnecessarily to give a leeway for the land grabbing scheme to continue. Being in the army doesn’t mean that one cannot complain about injustice, or protect the land and its people in anyway deemed necessary.

The constitution of South Sudan clearly states that, the mission of the national armed forces, in addition to its other national duties, shall be to: “protect the people of South Sudan;” and also “be involved in addressing any emergencies, participate in reconstruction activities, and assist in disaster management and relief in accordance with the constitution and the law.” In essence, what have been addressed is an emergency; and it is for the protection of land and its people.

God forbid, if nation-wide disorder or Somalization takes its turn, there is no single community that will end up putting their lives in the line of an onslaught, be victimized, or preyed upon without fierce defense. Remember! The protection of oneself or any community per se is God’s given rights bestowed to any living thing.

SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN NESITU FOR KIDNAPPING STUDENTS

A different article also published in the same news paper under the above title. The article is regarding the case of five school students kidnapped in the same area under siege. The kidnapping of those students have led to the arrest of some Bari Community members around the church area including a catholic priest. Those arrested were later released after the investigations conducted found out that, they have nothing to do with the kidnapping or cover-ups.

Without knowing the history of kidnapping in the area, others were quick to associate the incident of the five students not only to the innocent Bari who are struggling to get their ancestral land back, but also baselessly associated such an ill-practice to the group referred to as “the Bari militia.”

For those who are not familiar with the incidence of kidnapping and the distractions of the traditional social settings in the area due to terror inflicted on the community; the Bari from the whole area of Tokiman, Koliye, Logo, Kondokoro, Bilinyang, Mogiri, et cetera have suffered under the hands of kidnappers and thugs during the war and the post-war era. That is why some of the community members during the war decided to get relocated to their traditional sanctuary places, the church area in Rajaf, the camps in Gumbo; as well as some established camps in and around Juba.

The victimized communities have not stayed where they were or where they are currently based because of their choices, but because of the suffering, loss of lives and kidnapping subjected on them. Abductors who occasionally come there especially from the Murle tribe have abducted students, and children from the area. Even the breast-feeding kids were not spared; and some including my blood relatives were abducted in 2013, and were not seen by their parents till date.

The behaviors of kidnapping or abduction are something that the Bari does not practice. Needless to say, just like the rest of the other communities, we are likewise blessed with our beautiful fertile women who are able to produce adorable kids to the community. On the other hand, the Bari have handful of immediate/extended family members and orphans from relatives and community members who have died of natural causes; as well as the children of heroes and heroines who are in need of support from the limited resources available.

That does not mean that the Bari cannot voluntary raise kids from other communities. Children in need of support from other communities were successfully raised in a lot of Bari homes, and there are a lot out there who became very successful citizens – appreciative of the support they obtained. With that being said, there is no justification whatsoever to associate the community
with kidnapping or abductions. Apart from the justification provided, as law abiding citizens, the community knows very well that, kidnapping or abduction is a serious crime punishable under the law.

On the other end of the spectrum, thugs and criminals have also disturbed the community in the area by shooting and killing pedestrians along Juba-Rajaf road; which also includes victims such as motor cycle riders so as to confiscate their motor-bikes. Some of the thugs and criminals were known to have been among the squatters who took over Rajaf-Nimule junction before it was demolished. With all those criminal activities, others still wonder why the Bari Community vehemently rejects any form of illegal settlement.

Those types of criminal activities have prompted the community to petition the Juba City Council in 2013 so that the police station can be built to help protect the community. Despite the fact that the community had raised funds and the City Council had agreed to assist in building a police post; as well as provide a police patrol, the initiative failed to materialize.

Since hope springs eternal, another chance is to similarly petition the governor of Jubek State and his lordship, the mayor, to see into it that the project is executed so that the community can be protected if there will be law and order in place. Without such a service, the community has every right to protect itself from thugs, criminals or adversaries.

LAND IN TOKIMAN EAST INCLUDING NESITU STILL UNDER SIEGE

With the details of the Gwuduge land issues surfacing out there with evidence of land grabbing where some sections of the two communities of Dinka Bor and Padang caught red-handed; they are now known beyond reasonable doubt that their settlement were not for humanitarian purposes, but for illegal land scheme. Therefore the victimized Bari community is left with nothing but to continue being vigilant until the land grabbers are fully evicted. The information in the following links outlines the genesis of this very land scheme and the rebuttal provided:

http://www.nyamile.com/2016/03/18/condemnation-of-the-recent-land-grabbing-in-the-village-of-gwuduge-tokiman-rajaf-payam-in-the-southern-sudans-capital/
http://www.nyamile.com/2016/03/19/a-response-to-the-bor-and-padang-dinka-denial-of-land-grabbing-in-gwuduge/

Those details seems to have assured the victims of the land grabbing as well as the concerns citizens that, the land grabbers would surrender the land taken after the arrest of their ‘ring leaders’ for not having even an iota of justification or approval for temporary settlement in the area.

Nonetheless, fresh news from the ground still indicates that, not all the land grabbers were evicted from the entire Tokiman East villages including Nesitu. The reason that the process came to a standstill is simply because some of the junior officers from the Tiger Battalion ordered to led the forces to help with the eviction of land grabbers were in fact among those who have also grabbed land in the area, and are in the process of erecting concrete structures. That is why they became reluctant to pursue the demolition; as such, a joint neutral force is expected to supervise the demolition.

The Bari is not only known as a very peaceful community; but is also known as a community that can never resort to violence unless seriously provoked. Since the issue of land grabbing in question have already been brought to the attention of President Salva Kiir Myardit and the SPLA Chief of Staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, there is a say in our own Bari language that, ‘kulya aje ‘durokin ko kwen I lobeke;’ which is translated as the case have reached the bird’s beak – which means, the case have reached the highest authority.

Therefore, the authority should use its ultimate wisdom to expedite the very issue of this land grabbing at the backyard of its national capital; and subsequently, address the land being grabbed from other communities in the entire country in an amicable approach. This needs to come along with strict state policy of punishment for offenders before the country ends up in the brinks of
being torn apart divisively due to land grabbing.

Regards,

Justin Tombe Demetry

Justin Demetry is one of the sons of Gwuduge Village; have worked for several years in the oil and gas industry in Canada, but currently pursuing graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering, and can be reached at the following email: tombelodemen@yahoo.com

Why Economic & Political Uprisings are civil means needed to end the life of unproductive Government of South Sudan

By Tong Kot Kuocnin, LL.B, LL.M, Nairobi, Kenya, MAR/30/2016, SSN;

South Sudanese are indeed a great people. They are people endowed with very strong heart who continuously suffer in dignified silence even when there’s need to rise up in demand for certain rights. This is exactly the situation South Sudanese find themselves in at a time when their own government should have stood up for them.

The economic hardships we’re facing are not less than the economic hardships and situation which caused President Ben Ali of Tunisia to flee, President Ali Abdellah Saleh of Yemen to leave office and flee and the great President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to resign and put onr trial up to now.

The causes and conditions of this so-called Arab Spring which almost swept through the entire Arab world are not less than the economic hardships we’re facing here in South Sudan. Our economic situation is much worse than that of the Arab Spring World.

Our unemployment rate is beyond hundred per cent level. Hundreds of South Sudanese go to bed on empty stomachs. Some are already dead and the rest are on their way to the graves. This is worse than that of the Arab Spring.

The only difference is that we’re used to patiently enduring hardships of all sorts meanwhile the citizens of the countries where the Arab spring burst out aren’t used to this kind of situation.

But the questions many south Sudanese are asking are: what’s the government of South Sudan really doing? What exactly is the role of the Ministry of finance and Economic Planning? How about the Central bank, what’s its role? Which institution is truly responsible for economic policies and planning? And which institution is responsible for the implementation of national monetary policies in South Sudan?

Hard questions a layman like me can’t grapple to answer. But to answer some questions on matters of facts and law, the Central Bank has its own share of failure for it is the one that is charged by law to formulate monetary policy, promote and maintain price stability, maintain a stable exchange rate, and maintain sound, efficient and effective banking system.

But the Central bank instantly failed in its function to strictly regulate, maintain sound, effective and efficient banking system when it allows all Forex Bureaus and Commercial Banks to commercialize dollars instead of keeping it as a medium of exchange.

The Central Bank commercialized the dollar, making it an item for trade and not a medium of exchange causing hikes in almost every item on sale in the market.

Today, the rate of 1 dollar stood at 37 SSP, meaning that one hundred dollar is equal to 3,700 SSP causing inflation rate to rise more than 250%, something which never happened in any country around the world.

The two institutions, ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Central Bank have completely failed us with their weak measures and an untenable modality of strategizing the efficiency of economy.

It seems that in South Sudan, everything runs on its own. Traders are selling and raising prices on their own, Central bank floating the rate of the hard currency as it wishes unquestionably.

The luckiest rich few are manipulating everything from the Ministry of Finance with their so-called LCs to the Central Bank to the market at the expense of the downtrodden poor South Sudanese who have no ability or the energy to do anything about it or change the status quo.

The authorities both at the ministry of finance and economic planning and the central bank together with their cohorts are responsible for this economic downturn.

We entrusted hyenas with responsibility to look after our goats and sheep. We gave them power to roast any goat or sheep they wish amongst our goats and sheep. This is why this economic turmoil ensued and is the sole reason you can’t understand the head and the tail of who is responsible and who’s not in this country.

The country seems to have been left on its own whim to turn its economic downturn into economic boom. We’re convinced that truly our government is indeed a boondoggled government.

Where’s the Joshua? Or is he the driver of this vehicle that is taking South Sudanese to hell earlier than the days that God planned for them each at a time?

Let our government know that the root causes of the Arab Spring aren’t more than ours and that Arab Spring may inevitably ensue in this part of the world for we may be forced to violently demand our socio-economic rights to food and decent living like others.

We can’t permit others to enjoy live at our expense on resources that belongs to all of us. If you invite a musician for 1.5 million dollars while hundreds of South Sudanese are going to bed with an empty stomach, thousands are starving to death and hundreds are dying, some have already died of hunger, where did you get that money from?

What a country! It obvious, the money was gotten from the public finances because the father of the person who contracted the musician is the governor of the Central Bank, you can take any money you want and nobody can hold him to account.

Thus, if the president can’t think twice to bring in responsible personalities with expertise both at the ministry of finance and at the central bank to turn things around, he must be prepared for eventualities from the people of South Sudan who will not in any way continue to suffer at the hands of selfish and corrupt leaders who buy their positions at the expense of the people.

There will be time when the people of South Sudan stand up to forcefully demand their socio-economic rights from these oligarchs and mafias. We will surely touch these untouchable mafias and oligarchs who scoop all our money for their selfish enrichment unless they rescue themselves from this shambles.

I assure you, economic and political uprising as necessary civil means of ending the life of a repugnant and an unproductive government like the government of South Sudan will be inevitable.

Mr. President, this is a fact. Look at the faces of South Sudanese; listen to their voices on the streets on how they are suffering and you will dismiss this failed minister of finance who buys his position using public money and the weak, lousy and ailing governor of the Central Bank; the danger is surely haunting you and it will sooner reach your gate if you don’t act swiftly.

The writer is a Master of Laws (LLM) candidate at School of Law, University of Nairobi. He can be reached via: tongbullen@gmail.com

The ‘Central Bank’ & ‘Finance ministry’ should reverse Devaluation Now before the SS Pound becomes Worthless!

By: Mabor Maker Dhelbeny, Advocate and Legal Consultant, JUBA, MAR/28/2016, SSN;

In December last year, when the Government of Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) discovered that the country’s economy has been hit hard by the civil strife, the Central Bank of South Sudan (CBoSS) and monetary authority devalued the local currency against the US dollar, by abandoning its fixed exchange rate in which SSP 2.95 = US $ 1. And by adopting the floating rate system which puts SSP 18.5 = US $ 1 and later from SSP 30.5 to US $ 1. The CBoSS devalues the SSP by 34% and the rationale given by the leadership of the Bank, according to VOA is that the devaluation was to reduce the volatile pricing, curb the black market and to encourage foreign investment.

Less than three months, the exchange rate of US $ 100 is equal to SSP 4,000 in the black market as the result of currency devaluation by the “CBoSS”. This demonstrates that the South Sudanese Pound (SSP) continues daily to lose its value against other currencies in the market.

Should it continue like this, then South Sudan will be compared with the other countries which have devalued their local currencies. For example, the study discloses that Zimbabwe abandoned its currency in 2009, after it became worthless as a result of over devaluation which plummeted to US $ 1 = Z$ 500,000 plus. And thus adopt a multiple–currency system which has been in operation for almost six years.

This shows that the Zimbabwean government had lost control of dollarization or multiple-currency system, where Chinese Yuan, South African rand, US dollar and etc were operating. While in the DRC formerly known as Zaire, its over-valued currency also became worthless until people rejected it and as a result the Congolese soldiers went on rampage through the towns, looting markets, smashing windows of the shops and overturning the vehicles.

In the inflationary of Konyo Konyo, Customs, Jebel and Jubadit markets, consumers are always spending less and traders are feeling the pinch. Such a situation invoked by the currency devaluation or economic reforms, the SSP needs to be rescued before it becomes worthless like Zimbabwe’s and the DRC’s currencies.

Allocation of scarce dollars & the black markets:
With scarcity of dollars allocation in the country, still people ask themselves these questions: “Where did the black market get dollars, especially the poor boys under umbrellas along the streets of Juba?” “Who gives them (the poor boys) dollars, is it CBoSS or whom?”

When this Writer came into contact with one of the vendors in the black market, he admitted that some of them got dollars from “CBoSS” through coordination with Bank officials and others got theirs from different financial institutions. A reliable source however, told me that the Central Bank’s tycoons sometimes used to pump dollars into the black markets.

This indicates that there might be a network of patronage system between the black market and other financial institutions in the country. Otherwise, fighting the black market by the government will be a joke because the US dollar has become a commodity. It has become a commodity in the sense that the country lacks industries, business opportunities and therefore people tend to use dollar as an easy trade to get rich overnight.

While the country does not export goods to other markets of foreign countries so that to finance its budget, therefore it depends on oil whose productions and prices sharply declined. Unfortunately, this forces the “GRSS” to subsidize fuels from SSP 6 per litre to SSP 22 per litre in all petrol stations in Juba and thus devalues its currency as a solution to the ailing economy.

The subsidization of food commodities by the “GRSS” consequently means elimination of consumers as well as violation of the consumer protection law.

Effects of currency devaluation on economy:
Since devaluation is a monetary policy tool of any country that has a fixed exchange rate, the “CBoSS” has now two types of exchange rate systems including – the fixed and the floating rates. The former is abandoned while the latter has been adopted by the Bank so that the SSP is allowed for a free fluctuation against other currencies including the US dollar.

By letting the SSP to fluctuate freely, it means that its exchange rate is left to be determined by the market forces. This is dangerous because there are no strict regulations in the market and therefore this currency devaluation causes high inflation which affects the purchasing power of SSP.

This inflation causes the employees of KCB (Kenya Commercial Bank) and other institutions to strike by demanding more money or increment of their wages since the previous wages will no longer reflect the value.

The question one may ask is that: What prompted the government, especially the “CBoSS” and the “MoFEP” to officially lower the value of our local currency within the fixed exchange rate system?

In answering the above-mentioned question, the “CBoSS” and “MoFEP” might have run out of foreign exchange or perhaps the – “reserves” are depleted.

In economics point of view, if the “CBoSS” happens to have sold all its foreign exchange to speculators until its reserves are depleted and thus left with no money to import basic commodities from abroad, then the “GRSS” will remain with no option but to devalue its currency and to buy back the foreign exchange it has sold to speculators at a low price.

This is exactly what had happened in our country. South Sudan, however, with volatile export prices or speculative cash flows, floating rate system would be considered as the best ideal because it is good for the protection against deteriorating economy in terms of trade. Significantly, it entails that if export prices fall or import prices surge, the floating rate will act as self-adjustment that reflects new flows of currencies but with help of the “CBoSS” to move them (currencies) to an exchange rate fair to the country’s economy.

It is imperative that the “GRSS” has carried out devaluation of SSP as part of an economic package of measures in order to close gap of the balance of payments deficit. While aware of the consequences accompanied by such drastic measures of an economic package, the “GRSS” should take note of these recommendations:
–(a) The “CBoSS” and “MoFEP” should introduce monetary policy that encourages currency appreciation – i.e. an increase of SSP value against other currencies.
–(b) The “GRSS” should embark on reduction of government expenses, downsizing of workers in foreign embassies and missions including the elimination of ghost workers in payroll systems through swift auditing by the two ministries of Labor and Finance and –(c) The “GRSS” should also encourage by supporting chamber of commerce and trade unions so as to create more cooperative markets or shops where people may buy food commodities with affordable prices. This is because many people do not afford to buy more than two meals a day as prices of food commodities are continuously increasing.

Conclusion
This appallingly situation needs urgent remedy, either the decision of currency devaluation by the “CBoSS” is reversed or else revoked by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). This is in accordance with section 12 (1) (d) of the Foreign Exchange Business Act 2012, which stipulates that “if the Governor has determined that South Sudan has experienced a severe deterioration in its balance of payments requiring a temporary imposition of exchange controls … the Governor may in consultation with the Minister make regulations restricting the rate at which the purchase and sale of foreign exchange may take place in South Sudan.”

Such regulations are expected to remain in force for a period not exceeding three months, which I think this period has already been exceeded and therefore the parliament should intervene without any further delay.

Finally, undertaking piece of advice from the experts of International Monetary Fund and World Bank by the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning (MoFEP) to embark on economic reforms; by devaluing its currency suggests that the decision taken by the leadership of financial institutions was implemented without proper analysis.

Recently, when Ethiopian government was asked by the IMF to devalue its currency in order to cover certain percentage of export prices, it didn’t take heed to such advice since Ethiopia is a major exporter country of coffee in Africa.

The Writer is an Advocate & Legal Consultant in Juba, the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached for comment(s) via his email address: mabor.lawyer@gmail.com

The Bari Community Is At A Crossroad: Time For Self-defense!

BY: Dr. LAKO Jada KWAJOK, MAR/26/2016, SSN;

Gwu’duge is a village near Juba on the eastern bank of the Nile (Supiri). It’s the centre of the current unrest around Juba in the aftermath of the land grabbing attempts by some SPLA officers and individuals from the Bor and Padang Dinka communities. The events were a game changer in a situation that has effectively gotten out of control. It prompted Lt. General Thomas Cirillo, a son of the area, to intervene in support of his folks.

It must be stated that the general feeling within the Bari community is one of mistrust towards the government soon after its inception in 2005. There are valid reasons for the community to take that stand which culminated in its demand for the relocation of the capital away from Juba.

The Bari people are among the most peace-loving tribes in South Sudan. This applies to the rest of the Karo group of tribes (the historical name for the Bari speakers) and the Equatorians in general. They have embraced and accommodated all the communities of South Sudan on their land.

Even foreigners and refugees were wholeheartedly welcomed, treated cordially and in a dignified manner. I have never heard in my life so far that they harassed, intimidated or attacked members of other tribes, foreigners or refugees. They always act defensively to fend off aggression.

The Congolese refugees were in Juba in their thousands in the late sixties and early seventies. Did anything go wrong in the relation between them and the Bari community? The answer is a big no. They were well received and allowed to cultivate crops, fish and produce charcoal.

There have been positive social interactions between the community and the refugees and few inter-marriages did occur. Around that time the Congolese music gained popularity and our women who refused to wear the Sudanese (Thop) started wearing the Congolese (Kitenge) and even adopted the Congolese way in hair plaiting and hair styles.

Conversely, the Congolese indeed went back home influenced by some of our positive cultures. Had they stayed longer, they would have quickly merged with the locals given the fact that their presence was never a threat in any way to lives or properties.

Well, times have changed considerably. Over the past decade, the Bari community and Equatorians, in general, endured the brunt of the misrule that has engulfed South Sudan. Even at the peak of the Anyanya war which was spearheaded by the Equatorians, the attacks on the Bari villages were never as intense as it is nowadays.

It affected their way of life with enormous negative impact on their socio-economic status. All this time they remained patient and gave the government the benefit of the doubt with the hope that good governance would prevail at the end of the day. Alas! Things got far worse than before in any way imaginable.

It’s clear that the Bari community’s approach to the challenges facing it is not working so well. It’s time for the community to decide for either putting up with the status quo or be assertive and take full control of the course of events on its land.

All human beings, indeed all living creatures are born with the natural right of self-defence which is auxiliary to the natural and legally defensible right to live.

It is customary all over the world that protecting individuals and communities is the duty of the government. However, in some countries the law allows individuals to possess arms for self-defence. In England before the formation of regular army and police force, it has been the duty of able men to keep watch and ward at night and to confront and capture suspicious intruders.

The Minutemen (who would be ready to fight at a minute’s notice) were the American equivalent of the English vigilantes. The English Bill of Rights of 1689, regarded the right to bear arms as an auxiliary to the natural right of self-defence. In the USA, the Second Amendment to the US constitution that was adopted on 15/12/1791, protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

No reasonable person would ever dispute the fact that law and order have crumbled under the current regime. The events around Gwu’duge showed high-ranking SPLA officers from the Jieng communities leading the land grabbing activities. The Minister of Defence and his cohorts have already seized the area they illegally called Juba 2.

Only a naive person would think that the ruling clique is unaware of what has been taking place in Bari land. It’s a systematic plot orchestrated by the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) and aimed at driving the Bari people out of their ancestral land using the government machinery.

There is a weird notion within some communities in South Sudan that you would never find anywhere in the world – where law-abiding citizens are branded as cowards while thieves and killers are tolerated or even celebrated as brave men.

The Bari community needs to recall its history and highlight to the younger generation how it weathered the onslaught of well-organised and much stronger adversaries in the past and prevailed.

As the government has apparently failed by incompetence, design or both in providing security to the Bari people – it’s then incumbent on the community to take up the task of protecting all its members like in the olden days but using different means. It should be regarded as a call for a collective effort to defend the community and is not directed against the government or anyone living peacefully in Bari land.

At this critical juncture, it’s imperative for all the sons and daughters of the community to come together and contribute ideas to help navigate our people through these difficult times.

In the first place, You (the Bari people) and the Equatorians in general, should look in contempt to whoever claims to have liberated you from the Arabs. It’s a laughable claim made maliciously to justify hegemony, looting and land grabbing. All the communities without exception have contributed to the independence of South Sudan. The SPLA never won the war in the battlefield and never captured Juba or the major towns.

The demand to relocate the capital away from Juba, indeed from greater Equatoria, should be reiterated and maintained. Let President Kiir and the JCE move the capital temporarily to Kuacjok, Rumbek, Bor or wherever until such time when Ramciel is built and ready to accommodate the capital.

You should not recognise any land grabbed or owned illegally by individuals or other communities. When the time is ripe the illegal owners should be evicted by whatever means deemed suitable.

Armed pastoralists should never be allowed to roam Bari land. They have plenty of grazing areas on their ancestral lands hence should be made to go back home.

You should liaise with your brethren, the Karo, and the rest of the Equatorians who have been reeling from similar issues. Coordinating self-defence at village level is necessary.

Most important is to acquire the necessary means for self-defence. The disarmament process was never adhered to in the Jieng areas. It was a plot by the JCE to disarm the Equatorians and others while allowing the Jieng to possess stockpiles of a variety of arms. The result is evident to everyone – a plethora of Jieng militias, armed youth groups and armed pastoralists.

Therefore, you should arm yourselves as individuals and as village communities. Vigilante groups or well organised militias are the answer to the insecurity brought upon our communities.

If the Jieng could be allowed by the government to have several militias, why not the Bari, the Pojulu and the rest of the Equatorians? There could have been different stories to the attacks that took place in Mundri, Yambio, Wonduruba and Lo’bonok, had the locals been well armed for self-defence.

The Anglo-Irish statesman and writer Edmund Burke once said, I quote – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” End of the quote.

I believe the worst thing ever that could happen to a man is not to be able to defend himself. And remember, there is no power on earth that could deny you the right to self-defence because it’s given to you by no one but God.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

LATEST: South Sudan’s opposition leader Machar to return to Juba on April 18

By Reuters and The EastAfrican, Posted Thursday, April 7;

South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar said on Thursday he would return to the capital Juba on April 18, the first time since conflict broke out in December 2013 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with Machar.

MACHAR: New South Sudan govt to ensure respect for ceasefire
South Sudan’s first vice-president designate Riek Machar said on Thursday he would return to the capital Juba on April 18, the first time since conflict broke out in December 2013 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with Machar.

Dr Machar leads the armed opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO).

“I am therefore confirming the date of my arrival to be April 18 and thereafter form with President Kiir the Transitional Government of National Unity and hold the Transitional National Council of Ministers,” Dr Machar said in a letter to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission which is monitoring the implementation of a peace deal signed between Machar and Kiir.

In an earlier interview with The EastAfrican , Dr Machar said that he would return as soon as the designated 1,370 SPLM-IO force is in place.

He said he has already made a tentative list for 10 Cabinet slots that were given to the former rebels and will refine it once in Juba in consultation with his supporters.

The portfolio balance reached in January gave President Salva Kiir 16 slots, Dr Machar 10 slots and two each for former detainees and other political parties in the 30-member Cabinet of National Unity. END
————————————————————-

Why is South Sudan Failing Economically?

By Daniel Wuor Joak – The author of “The Rise and Fall of SPLM/SPLA Leadership,” MAR/24/2016, SSN;

Basically, South Sudan since the signing of the CPA and its subsequent establishment of GOSS in 2005, and thereafter the declaration of independence in July 2011, had never come out with clear and well-defined economic policy to tackle correctly issues pertaining economic stagnation like creation of job opportunities, inflation and currency exchange fluctuation rates with USD dollar which converts other currencies worldwide.

I am certainly afraid to admit whether our economy is based on the three categories of economies adapted worldwide like free market economy, mixed economy or command economy, which I doubt very much to precisely follow any of them. Therefore, none of the three economics setups enumerated above are truly applicable in our country.

Since there is no clear and defined economic policy, we should now explore some of the reasons why South Sudan’s economics is coming to the stage of bankruptcy.

To my understanding, the current economic conditions can easily be ascribed as “Instability Economy,” because our central bank which supposes to be the custodian of regulatory foreign exchange broker and government generated revenues that in essence could work independently from any external interferences.

Unfortunately, this has never been the case as the ministry of finance and the office of the president most of the time overruled and equally sanctioned the role of the Bank of South Sudan in favor of their two entities. It is more or less a toothless dog that has no teeth to bite.

Such unwarranted behaviors from above had greatly undermined the role of the central bank and I believe some of our economists like Dr. John Yien Tut and other handful personalities who were directly involved with our economic policy at the Bank of South Sudan would henceforth shed more light on this subject.

One of the major causes that attributed to economic decline in South Sudan was rampant corruption that later stimulated high inflation in SSP (South Sudanese Pounds) due to regular fluctuations of foreign currency exchange rates, where our currency was not fully incorporated to other currencies in the region.

The other factor is the decline in oil price at international market whereas our country since then has been depending exclusively from the oil income which could be translated to 98% of its overall revenues.

The third crucial factor in our economic catastrophe in South Sudan is the ongoing civil war in the country, in which most of the revenues generated from the oil have been used comprehensively by the government for purchasing war materials or allocated specifically to security sectors while leaving other segments neglected.

The most important components like agriculture, livestock, mining, fisheries, microeconomics and industries have seriously been ignored without being improved to accommodate several hundreds of thousands unemployed youth throughout the country.

Both public finance taxes and Personal income taxes had never been collected fairly or squandered by individuals assigned to such institutions concerned with full consent of their godfathers from above.

Most of the South Sudan’s checkpoints at the borders to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, CAR and Sudan were generating several millions of SSP on daily basis but had never been accounted satisfactorily to the government coffers by those assigned tax collectors and their godfathers in Juba and other state capitals. As this was part of the ongoing rampant corruption in the country.

Due to lack of other source of employments, the government of South Sudan has been the only source of employment which could afford to employ less than 10% of its total workforce mainly on security sectors like the army, wildlife, police, prison services, national security, fire brigade and other government institutions like education, health, agriculture and forestry etc.

Generally, unemployment rate is very highly mostly among the university and college graduates, rural youth and former SPLA combatants. Whereas 90% of the population who are still in active service have been left without any form of income earnings except subsistence agriculture farming and livestock rearing among the rural population throughout the country.

In this unfortunate situation of ignorance and corruption practices, South Sudan is openly exposed to outright exploitation by inviting some visible and invisible exploiters who masquerade as investors and NGOs partners for the development of our country.

Since 2006, South Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) had tried its level best to legislate two drafting bills, among many others on NGOs and Anti-corruption, as to enact them into laws in order to streamline and curtail the activities of those invisible foreign actors who have been operating independently with full protection of certain quarters highly entrenched in the system.

Unfortunately, the then minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth, consistently and arrogantly rejected these bills to be tabled before the assembly for discussions and enactment into laws.

The reason was evidently simple! All companies and NGOs concerned used to be registered under his ministry and several millions of SSP revenues generated from them had never been remitted to the ministry of finance for proper accountability for several years. The moneys generated from registrations of companies and NGOs was benefiting some few individuals undoubtedly within his ministry including the minister himself and his close circles.

As an open policy being condoned by South Sudan government based on material interests, almost all the international NGOs used to bring expatriates either from overseas or selectively from the neighboring countries of Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Such vacancies like managerial positions, field coordinators and the simplest jobs like watchmen, drivers and cooks were also brought from the neighboring countries while South Sudanese citizens were capable to fill those vacancies at ease.

The government never questioned the NGO’s motives in the country with respect to their working conditions and interests, employment policy and the accountability of the donor’s moneys intended for helping the needy people in our country.

Nevertheless, it took them some years to employ South Sudanese nationals as cooks, cleaners, drivers, watchmen leave alone such senior positions like field coordinators or managers which the international NGOs reserved only to foreigners.

They operated in our country all these years without paying Personal Income Taxes to the government of South Sudan while in the past, South Sudanese who used to work in any of the neighboring countries similarly with NGOs he or she was subjected to paying PIT tax unconditionally.

As it happened to several South Sudanese who used to work in Kenya with the Operations Lifeline Sudan (OLS) before the Sudan peace agreement or CPA was concluded in 2005. All of them were subjected to paying taxes.

The same condition was also applied to our people working in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda. The NGOs bill was just passed recently by South Sudan National Parliament on 12 February 2016. This has been resisted by those who benefited from this scams for the last 10 years where all the international NGOs workers had been working in isolation without paying any taxes to the government.

Nobody from South Sudan government for sure had ever known how much billions in USD such NGOs brought to our country, how they spent it or how many people benefited from it. This question remains a mystery and will never be answered either including Hon. Michael Makuei who personally assisted them to loot our country.

Hence, the government of South Sudan never bothered to tax its citizens according to their annual personal incomes on regular basis like the rest of the world. Knowingly or unknowingly, the ministry of finance imposed a unified PIT system to all government employees from cleaners, messengers, drivers up to the level of MPs, ministers, presidential advisors etc. with the same uniform tax of 10%.

This was done tactically by those from above in order to avoid paying too much taxes to the government at the expense of the poor citizens who were unjustifiably equated with the middle and upper classes in the country. This has been the official policy of all government institutions from national to the state levels to equate the payment of taxes for all.

In general trading and supply of goods and services, the roles were divided equally by those unscrupulous entrepreneurs from the neighboring countries whereas, Ugandan were dealing mainly on supply of construction materials, food, human waste disposals, internal transports: Boda-boda (motorbikes), mini buses, long journey buses, supply of water and also engaged in building constructions as laborers.

While the Kenyans controlled mainly the banking system in Juba and other major towns in South Sudan. Some of the noticeable banks like Equity, KCB and the South Africa based Stanbic Bank all had established branches throughout the country.

Their Somali satellites dealt mainly in supply of fuel, lubricants and general trading. About 95% of petrol stations in Juba used to be controlled by the Somali businessmen through their local South Sudanese agents who provided them with all the necessary protections and appeared only in registration certificates by proxy as owners.

In this business there was no proper recording and accountability as their godfathers were active SPLA generals who always intimidated the tax collectors with death threats whenever they tempered with their Somali agents in the country.

While the Ethiopians and Eritreans controlled hotel industry, restaurants, general trading, human waste disposals and water supply. Most of the hotels being owned by the Ethiopians and Eritreans have been registered under South Sudanese partners most likely some ministers, generals from SPLA and senior officers from South Sudan national security services.

Unfortunately, some of the water tanks were used during the nighttime to ferry human waste disposals where they dumped them in river Nile which has sadly become one of the deadliest human hazards in Juba town or scattered them along Yei road and during the daytime some of the same water tanks could be used with written marks on them as clean drinking water. Such complaints had been raised several times by Juba residents to both national and Central Equatoria State governments but to no avail.

Some of the Kenyan leading banks in South Sudan have indeed monopolies over their South Sudanese complements which are being owned by a group of Dinka influential mafias closed to President Salva Kiir Mayardit. These cliques of Dinka mafias have been the ones behind rampant corruption all along for the benefits of their unscrupulous businesses.

These are the same cliques that have been lobbying the president to hurriedly endorsed the membership of South Sudan to East African Community so that they could continue investing several hundred millions of USD that they illegally siphoned from the country through deceitful dealings.

The inflation of SSP in exchange rates to USD has drastically declined from 3.1 to 400 SSP per one USD. In actual fact, South Sudanese Pound has now reached a point of losing its original value by 1000%. In marketing terms, when money lose value the investors virtually lose interest to invest in the country.

Presently, the cost of living has soared very high in the country as result of sky rocketing prices in the market whereas demand and service have also declined. In this connection, South Sudan has now reached the level of hyperinflation which amount to the total collapse in living standard or in worse case scenarios the country is virtually pronounced bankruptcy.

Surely, the government in Juba has failed to tackle economic measures and therefore the international community must urgently step in to avert South Sudan falling into the Somalia’s saga of anarchy by supporting an alternative leadership to rescue the country from imminent collapse.

If the August 2015 IGAD Plus imposed peace agreement is not fully implemented so soon, the inhabitants of Juba and other major towns in South Sudan shall have no any other alternative means for survival than joining their brothers and sisters already at UNMISS Protection of Civilians camps located in various states for their own survival from starvation.

Or else they will join over 600,000 South Sudanese refugees who had previously escaped the Jieeng Council of Elders (JCE)/Mathiang Anyor led government’s onslaught to the neighboring countries of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan in search of food and shelters.

South Sudan is in the crossroad of disintegration into mini-enclaves like the ones in Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria if the international community could not urgently step in to rescue it from collapse.

The author of this article can be reached via this email: dwjoak21@hotmail.com

DEVELOPING STORY: Impending Arrest of Gen. Thomas Cirillo over Gwuduge Land Grab?

JUBA, MAR/24/2016, SSN;

Latest reports emanating from Juba and confirmed by close sources in Juba reveal that the Government Security forces/SPLA are planning to possibly arrest Gen. Thomas Cirillo, the Deputy Chief of Staff in the national army, the SPLA, allegedly for the on-going dispute over the land grab confrontation between the natives and the illegal Dinka settlers in his own village of Gwuduge, Rejaf East, Juba.

Yesterday, Wednesday March 23, heavily-armed SPLA soldiers went to Gwuduge Village, Rejaf and aggressively rounded up and arrested about 28 villagers around the Catholic Church area and reportedly took them away and badly tortured those people arrested. Some were later reportedly released but an unknown number of the villagers were taken away by the SPLA and their fate remains unknown up to this moment.

Again, that same night the SPLA military returned to the village with the aim of provoking the Rejaf natives to react so that they, the SPLA, would execute the arrest of Gen. Thomas Cirillo. That was speculated as their motive of going back to Rejaf East at night time.

Fresh reports received from Juba today firmly confirm that this morning, Thursday, 24, the Army was heavily deployed all along the Juba Bridge across the Nile up to to Nesitu Junction on Juba-Nimule Road.

Since the public publication by The Dawn newspaper of Juba on March 12, 2016, about the Gwuduge, Rejaf East land grab by the Dinka of Padang and Bor and the understandable personal reaction of Gen. Thomas Cirillo to warn his top ranking officers in the Army Headquarters on the impending situation, and the intercession of President Kiir, Gen. Paul Malong and Gen. Marial Chaunoung of the Tiger Battalion, no action has been taken by the government to evict the land grabbers or demolish their illegal houses.

Actually, no permanent structures of these land grabbers have been demolished by the authorities, it’s only the temporary make-shift structures that were initially pulled down.

Sources in Juba confirm that since most of the illegal land grabbers are mostly Dinka soldiers from the notorious Tiger Battalion mostly made of Dinka and under the very command of Gen. Marial Chaunoung, probably no action will ever be taken against their fellow land grabbers.

It must be recalled that it was Gen. Paul Malong and Gen. Marial who built up the so-called Presidential Guards who were associated with the infamous massacre of the Nuer in Juba on December 23, 2013 and this particular army unit is notorious for most of the killings and secret arrests and tortures of many South Sudanese citizens.

Gen. Thomas Cirillo meanwhile continues to reside in and commute daily from his Gwuduge village, Rejaf East, to his office in Juba Town and that is of great concern and apprehension to his people and sympathizers who have become concerned of what might befall on him given the blatant refusal of the land grabbers to relocate.

Finally, the latest deployment of government troops only heightens the apprehension of the villagers and raised the suspicions of the citizens concerned. END

South Sudanese in Exile Call on World to Hold Kiir Government Accountable through Thorough Investigation of Charges of Genocide Perpetrated Against Minority Groups

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY: South Sudanese Community-in-Exile Press Conference at UN
South Sudanese in Exile Call on World to Hold Kiir Government Accountable through Thorough Investigation of Charges of Genocide Perpetrated Against Minority Groups

New York, NY (March 21, 2016) – On Thursday, March 24, at 10:30am, members of the South Sudanese community-in-exile will hold a press conference outside the UN.

Led by the human rights activist and former slave Simon Deng, demonstrators will present an open letter to the UN Secretary General and Security Council calling on the world to take bold steps to hold South Sudanese President Salva Kiir accountable for heinous crimes which may rise to the level of genocide.

In particular, attendees will call for a thorough investigation into the recent massacre of civilians inside a UN safe-haven at the city of Malakal, and will urge the world community to understand the antagonistic nature of President Kiir’s recent decision to create 28 new states in South Sudan, fundamentally changing the country.

In the words of Mr. Deng, “On February 20th, 2016, in New York, the UN Security Council, the European Union, and the “Troika” countries of the US, UK, and Norway, all condemned the killing of civilians inside a UN camp in Malakal. With so much evidence already on the atrocities that have been committed by the government of Salva Kiir Mayardit, as Commander-in-Chief of the soldiers who are carrying out the killing, I am appealing to the world community today that the time for condemnation has passed: the time for accountability is at hand. The renegade President of South Sudan must be held responsible for the crimes carried out in his name.”

WHAT: Demonstration at UN by South Sudanese Community-in-Exile
WHERE: Sharansky Steps, E. 43rd St & 1st Avenue, Manhattan
WHEN: 10:30AM on Thursday, March 24th, 2016

For more information, contact the South Sudan Freedom Committee at sdengkak@yahoo.com or 917-698-5440.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rights groups want repressive South Sudan law changed

NATION MEDIA GROUP, JOSEPH ODUHA in Juba Friday, March 18 2016;

Human rights agencies in South Sudan want the controversial 2014 National Security law reviewed.

They expressed the sentiments on Friday in Juba during a seminar organised by the Agency for Independent Media (AIM).

The meeting brought together media stakeholders to brainstorm and help find solutions to the problems related to the freedom of expression in the nascent state

South Sudan has in the recent past experienced an upsurge in kidnappings and harassment of journalists.

Peace agreement

The acting chairman of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission (SSHRC), Mr Nyuol Justin Yaac, confirmed that the commission had received numerous complaints on the harassment of journalists, all blamed on the national security agencies.

Mr Yaac said the recent peace agreement provided an opportunity for change, including the drafting of constitution to replace the current transitional one that has been in force since 2005.

“As per the current peace deal, there is a process to develop a permanent constitution and that creates an opportunity to change many laws, ” Mr Yaac said, urging the lawmakers to seize the moment to repeal the repressive security law.

Sweeping powers

The controversial law grants the National Security Service (NSS) sweeping powers to arrest, detain, seize property and conduct searches on individuals or corporates.

The Amnesty International described the law as “fundamentally flawed”, and against domestic and international rights.

Mr Yaac lamented that elements within the national security had manipulated the law to detain, arrest, conduct searches and torture journalists.

A vacuum

“Once, we get the legislation right, it is easier to deal with those wrong elements, but without the right legislation, there will always be a vacuum to be exploited for irresponsible journalism and abuse of human rights by security agencies,” he said.

“South Sudan is not under emergency law and constitution must be respected,” Mr Yacc said.

A War Waged on Shilluk (Collo) Civilians’: Update on the Conflict in Upper Nile

MAR/19/2016, SSN, Full HSBA report;

A new report from the Small Arms Survey’s Human Security Baseline for Sudan and South Sudan describes, for the first time, details of ongoing efforts by the Padang Dinka elite in Upper Nile to forcibly displace the Shilluk from the east bank of the Nile — with support from the Government of South Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

The campaign has included the killing of civilians, the razing of villages, and forced displacement as tools of war. The SPLA has collaborated by cutting off food and humanitarian access to the communities under attack.

Furthermore, evidence reveals that the attack on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) protection of civilians (PoC) site at Malakal on 16–18 February was a carefully planned assault by the SPLA and Padang Dinka militia forces backed by the state government. UNMISS is unable and unwilling to protect the Shilluk civilians at the PoC site and elsewhere in Upper Nile.

The report, based on previous fieldwork and investigations, interviews with key informants, and a review of public and confidential documents, also finds that the implementation of the partition of Upper Nile into three new states, as directed by South Sudanese president Salva Kiir, is a tool in this campaign, and is a ‘fundamental obstacle to peace’.

Since March 2015, the Padang Dinka military and political elites of Upper Nile have carried out a sustained and systematic campaign to push the Shilluk off the east bank of the White Nile. The campaign has targeted Johnson Olonyi’s Agwelek forces, using Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters to strafe his troops’ bases on the west bank of the Nile.

These operations have been aimed at consolidating control of the east bank of the Nile, including areas contested by the Shilluk: Akoka, Nagdiar, Pigi, and Malakal, the state capital.

According to the report, the Padang Dinka elite has used militia forces in a campaign that is fundamentally a war waged on Shilluk civilians. Padang Dinka militias have burned Shilluk habitations, raped Shilluk women, and forced the Shilluk to flee to the west bank of the Nile.

The SPLA has assisted in this campaign by systematically denying humanitarian actors access to Shilluk populations, limiting the Shilluk’s access to food, and using attack helicopters to strike at civilians.

The militia forces engaged in these attacks are from Akoka, Baliet, Melut, and Renk counties. They were formed in 2014 and operate outside of the SPLA’s military command structure, although they often work with them.

They receive their arms and ammunition, including Israeli Galil ACE assault rifles, from the Internal Security Bureau of the National Security Service. Funding for the militias is provided by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, in which
China has a 40 per cent stake, and administered by Stephen Dhieu Dhau, the Padang Dinka minister of petroleum.

The current campaign is the latest in a series of historical actions by state-supported actors against the Shilluk communities of Upper Nile. Since 2005, and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Shilluk have been steadily marginalized in the state.

Meanwhile, the Padang Dinka—previously one of the less influential Dinka lobbies—have risen to prominence, under the general leadership of Dhau. Shilluk marginalization has been evidenced by the creation of new counties during this period, including
Akoka and Pigi counties, which places territories contested by the Shilluk under exclusive Padang Dinka control.

In the context of Upper Nile, Kiir’s decree of 2 October 2015, which split the state into three new states, should be seen in light of this longer-term trend.

The decree turns the east bank of the Nile into a Padang Dinka-majority county called Eastern Nile state. This new entity includes Malakal, leaving the Shilluk with a non-contiguous Western Nile state that is intended to legally formalize the occupations that the Padang Dinka have already achieved militarily.

Although the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement has made claims to the contrary, the new states continue to be implemented. Chol Thon Balok, the governor of Eastern Nile, has appointed a cabinet and commissioners for the counties. His appointments for county commissioners include militia leaders.

He has also terminated the contracts of Shilluk civil servants. This latter measure builds on a campaign of harassment against Shilluk civilians that continued throughout 2015, when Shilluk members of the Upper Nile administration were denied their pay.

Kiir’s new map of Upper Nile is a fundamental obstacle to peace. It is the culmination of the Padang Dinka campaign to control the east bank of the Nile. It will never be accepted by the Shilluk. The result is likely to be an interminable war, with the Shilluk resisting from the west bank of the Nile.

Meanwhile, the SPLA and the Padang Dinka militias are likely to continue attacking from the east bank, both on the ground and through air assaults, so as to erode the capacity of the Shilluk to support themselves— while simultaneously heralding a humanitarian catastrophe.

As of mid-February 2016, the only significant Shilluk presence on the east bank of the Nile was in the UNMISS PoC site. This population represented a problem for the Padang Dinka campaign. The SPLA and Padang Dinka militia attack on the PoC site on 16–18 February was part of its overall attempt to remove the Shilluk entirely from the east bank of the Nile, through forcible population
displacement.

Despite UNMISS claims about ‘youths clashing’, the attack was a carefully planned assault by the SPLA and the militias. UNMISS is unable to protect the Shilluk civilians at the PoC site. Its peacekeepers are unwilling to use force to protect civilians, despite a mandate that enables them to do so.

In March 2016, further attempts by armed Padang Dinka to enter the PoC site indicated that the possibility of a further assault on the site is very real.

While the Shilluk have been displaced from Upper Nile, the South Sudanese government has been relocating Padang Dinka from Equatoria to Upper Nile, to settle in areas in Baliet and around Malakal from which the Shilluk have fled.

This indicates the degree to which the Padang Dinka war on the Shilluk has national backing.

It is also a strategy familiar to the Government of Sudan: occupy an area militarily, displace the population, and then try to sanction one’s land-grab by moving civilians into the area. It is a massive campaign of forcible population displacement— waged militarily, politically, and demographically.

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http://www.smallarmssurveysudan.org/fileadmin/docs/facts-figures/HSBA-Conflict-Upper-Nile-March-2016.pdf

Stand-alone conflict map here:

http://www.smallarmssurveysudan.org/fileadmin/docs/facts-figures/HSBA-Upper-Nile-Conflict-Map-March-2016.pdf