Archive for: November 2016

LATEST: UN Rights experts fear intense fighting in South Sudan as “the nation is crumbling”

By AFP, WEDNESDAY, NOV/30/2016, SSN;

UN human rights experts on a fact-finding mission to South Sudan warned Wednesday, November 30, 2016, of an escalation in ethnic violence in the war-torn country.

“Many expect intensified fighting now that the dry season is setting in,” said Yasmin Sooka of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

Sooka was speaking to the press in the capital Juba at the end of a 10-day visit during which the three-member team spoke with civilians in the battleground towns of Bentiu, Malakal and Wau, as well as government officials and members of civil society.

“There are unprecedented levels of violence and ethnic tension all over South Sudan,” Sooka said.

“Any sense of national identity is crumbling and tribal or ethnic identity is taking over. I repeatedly heard of the desire for revenge,” she added.

South Sudan’s current conflict began nearly three years ago when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy and political rival, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup. Since then the world’s newest nation has fractured along ethnic lines in a civil war characterised by atrocities.

Sooka said government and rebel armies were both forcibly recruiting soldiers — including children — and warned that “renewed recruitment is an indicator that all the parties are preparing for the next conflict”.

The UN rights experts repeated calls for an arms embargo, sanctions, the deployment of another 4,000 peacekeepers and the establishment of a special war crimes court.

The US on Wednesday also warned of escalating violence.

“We have credible information that the South Sudanese government is currently targeting civilians in Central Equatoria and preparing for large scale attacks in the coming days or weeks,” Keith Harper, the US representative at the UN Human Rights Council, said in Geneva.

“In the last two weeks, the government has mobilised at least 4,000 militia from other areas of South Sudan and is staging these fighters in Equatoria to begin conducting attacks,” Harper said.

Earlier this month the UN’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, told the Security Council there was a risk of “outright ethnic war” and the “potential for genocide”.

The UN rights experts are expected to publish a report of their findings in March. END

Land grabbing blamed for ethnic tensions in South Sudan– Latest

BY: Joseph ODUHA, THE EASTAFRICAN, NOV/112016, SSN;

Rampant land grabbing is fuelling ethnic strife in South Sudan’s Equatoria State, an official has said.

The National Land Commission Coordinator, Mr Butrus Apollo, said in Juba Tuesday that the situation could turn tragic if not addressed.

Mr Apollo said some disgruntled politicians were using the land grabbing issue to foment turmoil as they pursued their personal interests.

He noted the the matter was difficult to address without a policy or clear laws on the roles of the various land institutions in place.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a land policy in place….that is the major reason. In 2009, a Land Act was passed into law, but it is not enough,” he said.

The South Sudan transitional constitution provides that land belongs to the people, but the government remains the custodian.

Mr Apollo disclosed that the national land agency had received at least six cases this year alone, while many others ended up in the courts.

After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005), Juba experienced unprecedented population growth, accompanied by expansion and proliferation of informal settlements, characterised by numerous land disputes.

The disputes at times erupted into violence, according to the Norwegian Peoples Aid 2011 report on land grabbing.

An independent analyst, Mr David De Dau, said the land grabbing claims in Equatoria had taken a more political than socio-economic dimension.

He accused the leaders from the region of being holders of two passports, a situation that put to question their loyalty to the war-torn South Sudan.

“The fact that majority of Equatorians are double passport holders, has divided their loyalty, and a divided loyalty may mean less of patriotism and nationalism in most cases,” he said.

The SSDF VISION for Equatoria and South Sudan

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF, NOV/28/2016, SSN;

The struggle for an independent South Sudan was pioneered by the Equatorians as evidenced by the Torit Mutiny on 18 August 1955. Subsequently, the struggle took the shape of a full-blown liberation movement under the leadership of Fr Saturnino Ohure, Aggrey Jadden, Joseph Oduho, Gordon Mortat and Joseph Lagu. Then the South Sudanese were seemingly one people united around one common goal which was getting rid of the Jallaba rule.

The tribal prejudices and inclination to tribalism were kept at a low level. Tribalism was bound to disappear or remain insignificant had we kept the nationalistic approach of the Equatorian leaders.

South Sudanese nationalism was on the rise since the Torit revolt only to be hampered by Alier’s administration following the Addis Ababa Peace Accord, impeded by Garang’s SPLM/SPLA and totally derailed by Kiir’s regime, thanks to the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

South Sudan would have been in a better place by now had the government put the people’s business as its top priority. Instead, it pursued a policy that lacked impartiality, favouring the interests of one ethnicity (the Jieng) and pitting communities against each other.

The Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians on 15/12/2013 was a mortal blow to the South Sudanese nationalism. The Equatorians, the Chollo and the people of Western Bahr Ghazal were subjected to atrocities and heinous crimes as well. The regime has destroyed the social fabric of the country.

Now there is a great concern among the Equatorians and the international community as well that the government in Juba is preparing to commit genocide. Many human rights organisations have sounded the alarm bell and most important was the statement of Adama Dieng, the UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide on the 11/11/2016. Mr Dieng confirmed that all the ingredients for genocide, do exist in Equatoria at present. He has urged the international community to move fast to avert a catastrophe.

It’s clear that there is no such thing as South Sudanese nationalism at present. You will be deceiving yourself if you think the contrary. However, the SSDF believes that Equatoria is already a nation. South Sudan is not yet a nation but has got the potential to become one.

There is peaceful coexistence among the Equatorian communities despite diverse ethnicities. They have developed a unique common language (Arabi Juba) which is spoken all over Equatoria and beyond. They have a common psychological make-up or culture.

When you add to the above the fact that they come from a territory with well-defined boundaries, then the conclusion is that a nation is in existence. There is no ambiguity here, but many Equatorians seem to lack awareness of this fact just because they never gave it a thought.

There are reasons to believe that the JCE and some among the Jieng elites knew it and are working day and night to see it unravelling. It’s not a coincidence that the name Equatoria has been removed and never featured in the newly created 28 states.

We have seen the attempts to avoid using the name Equatoria and the increasing tendency to address the Equatorians individually according to their respective tribes. An undeclared war is being waged against Arabi Juba to stop it from spreading all over South Sudan. These desperate acts would come to no avail.

Between the late 1950’s and the second half of the 1960’s, a policy of cultural and religious assimilation was adhered to by the Aboud’s regime and the democratically elected governments. Some South Sudanese were coerced into changing their religion and names to Arabic names.

But as soon as the first winds of relative freedom blew over South Sudan after the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement – those South Sudanese swiftly discarded their coerced names and rapidly abandoned the adopted religion they were made to believe in. It’s too obvious that going against an insurgency or an army is a lot easier than fighting a culture.

Turning the country into a big prison, bugging people’s phones, torturing and eliminating perceived opponents, will only strengthen the people’s resolve to topple the regime. The JCE plan is bound to fail but would, unfortunately,
come at a high cost for the country both in human lives and material.

Our vision revolves around two central points. Firstly – Equatorian nationalism does not work against South Sudanese nationalism. In fact, it facilitates and enhances the process towards that end. The presence of Equatoria as a Sovereign State within a stable South Sudan would set the ground for peaceful coexistence, more cultural interactions and the emergence of one dominant language (Arabi Juba).

In essence, Equatorian nationalism would be the Launchpad for the greater South Sudanese nationalism.

It’s evident that the regime in Juba which is heavily under the influence of the JCE has its agenda for transforming the country into a Jieng State. The Dinka Development Plan (DDP) is at odds with fostering a South Sudanese nationalism.

The domination of the government by the Jieng and the operationalisation of the 28 states all point to the implementation of the DDP.

Therefore, a confederacy is the only way to salvage Equatoria and the other states as Sovereign entities and at the same time to safeguard the evolution of South Sudan into a nation where unity in diversity is upheld.

Secondly – We are not poor people but impoverished by poor policies and the absence of visionary leadership at the helm of the government. We do own vast swathes of fertile lands, numerous water resources and massive untapped mineral reserves.

South Sudan was lucky to have a reasonable number of technocrats at the time of independence as compared to the other African countries. With a visionary approach and the right policies in place, South Sudan would have leapt several steps forward in the way of development by now.

The formula for a rapid growth and improvement in services delivery to the populace encompasses three things. Prioritising the objectives, proper planning and setting up achievable targets within a specified time-frame.

The SSDF has ambitious plans for a robust economic growth and development guided by the principles of fiscal conservatism and a small government. We believe that with peace, the right policies and well-placed efforts, South Sudan could become a stable and wealthy country in the middle of Africa similar to Switzerland in the midst of Europe.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok,
Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF

Dialogue and compromise can secure the future of South Sudan

By PROF ANYANG’ NYONG’O, THE STAR, Nairobi, Kenya, NOV/26/2016, SSN;

Southern Sudan is in turmoil. The situation is so bad that there is fear of genocide in the country. Political conflicts are no longer being managed peacefully.

In fact, the Southern Sudanese may be compelled to accept chaos as a daily life experience with death as a fate that can befall anybody.

It is obviously a Hobbesian state of nature that was once only expected of the “primitive man. Yet former Yugoslavia went through such a situation following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of new nationalism in Eastern Europe.

But Eastern Europe quickly settled down and a new civilization emerged out of the chaos, heralding the increase of membership of the European Union.

The Horn of Africa in which Southern Sudan falls is emerging as a region more prone to conflict than peace; more reminiscent of the Hobbesian state of nature than of a nation-state founded on democratic governance. This trend must be reversed.

But to reverse it a lot need to be done. First the government of Salva Kirr in Juba needs to realize that a winner-take-all attitude is never a healthy approach to conflict resolution.

On the contrary, it breeds more resentment from rivals and opponents and hardens negotiating options. Worst of all, is a scorched earth approach to conflict resolution which profiles perceived enemies as creatures who must be eliminated from the earth for the survival of a particular political regime.

The Americans tried it with the Viet Cong in Viet Nam and succumbed to negotiations as the only means of quitting that theater of war honorably.

The apartheid regime had to give up their regime based on racial supremacy after decades of protracted war against the ANC and the Communist Party of South Africa. The South Sudanese situation is bound to be no different. A David and Goliath scenario will persist at the cost of losing millions of lives and setting back the clock of development in this young state for many years.

I say this for my love of South Sudan and its peoples and not for any partisan reason. I know the leadership on the two sides of the political divide. They are both my friends and long time comrades. And I would like to wish both sides well.

But to get a solution to the current crisis, flattery is the worst policy; truth and wise counsel will help save millions of lives, both innocent and combative.

The President, Salva Kirr Mayadit, is a friend and an honorable African. His deputy, Taban Deng, until recently a comrade at arms with Riek Machar, has been known to me for years. I stayed with him for a week while he was governor of Unity State.

I have known Riek Machar for much longer, along with many other comrades in South Sudan like Pagan Amum Akech, John Yeo, Ambassador Ezekiel Gatkuoth, Paul Cirino and many others. I once flew from Nairobi to New Site in the liberated zone then with Rebecca and her children to discuss issues with the late Dr. John Garang.

These are committed Africans to the African national liberation agenda. We all should remember Chairman Mao’s dictum: countries want independence, nations want liberation and people want revolution.

The independence of South Sudan was achieved in 2005 when the regional autonomy became a fait accompli. Subsequently the people voted overwhelmingly in a referendum for complete separation from North Sudan, accomplishing the late John Garang’s vision of an independent, prosperous and democratic South Sudan.

Independence alone will not put food on the table of the South Sudanese people. National liberation, like the name SPLM/SPLA connotes, requires peace, prosperity and democracy.

Once the nation improves her productive forces adequately to satisfy the needs of the people and not simply the wants of the “fighting elites,” then the coveted revolution in the lives of the people will be possible.

But all this cannot happen unless the SPLM/SPLA current leadership, both in government and the opposition, respect the historic mission that Dr. John Garang left as an inspiration in the hearts of the people.

It looks to me as if this has now been put in the back burner by both sides. But greater responsibility lies in the hands of both the President and his two deputies for not rising above the politics of sectarianism and embracing a more demanding national mission.

Again to quote the Guinean revolutionary, Amilcar Cabral: “For the national liberation movements to achieve much for the African people, it is vital that we die a tribe and be born a nation.”

Julius Nyerere even went further in bringing together the very diverse cultures into a Tanzanian nation, united and indivisible. Nyerere asserted that “Afrika ni Moja na Binadamu wote ni sawa.”

In other words, “Africa is one and all human beings are equal.” How can Africa be one when in South Sudan a Nuer cannot sit in the same parliament with a Dinka to democratically determine the future of that young nation-state through dialogue and persuasion rather through the bayonet and the barrel of the gun?

Secondly, search your souls, comrades. My humble opinion is that it hurts every progressive African to see Riek Machar being tossed from one airport to the other simply because he cannot feel at home in his own motherland.

It hurts the hearts of every African who loves South Sudan like I do to see Madam Rebecca in Nairobi and not playing the role of Mama Watoto and Mama Nchi (the mother of children and of the nation) in a land for which she and her late husband made so much sacrifice to liberate.

Comrades, I want you to read once more George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Remember the two contestants to leadership in the farm: Napoleon and Snowball.

The latter had all the right ideas, all to better the whole farm. Napoleon, on the other hand, had a knack of stealing other animals’ ideas, then telling the rest it was his, and getting credit for it.

His ideas only seemed to benefit the pigs and not the other animals. It was this that led to the crumbling of the farm. The farm crumbled, not out of war and destruction of life, but out of bad undemocratic governance based on the contest of ideas.

Orwell was making an important point here. Capitalism gives room for the bourgeoisie to run the state in their own interest, always hoodwinking the workers and other lower classes.

But sooner rather than later capitalism was bound to crumble. The crumbling may take years, but it is organic and not necessarily violent.

Napoleon, too, ruled Animal Farm through ideological hegemony, not through force and political repression. This also creates room for developing the productive forces which eventually get the grave diggers of capitalism to mature and accomplish the requisite social revolution.

I say all this humbly to plead with my comrades in South Sudan to abandon violence and crash political repression and go along the route of political dialogue and compromise so as to give the Southern Sudanese people an opportunity to build the productive forces in the new nation.

We in Kenya were faced with massive electoral injustice in 2007/08. The ODM felt rightly cheated in the elections with victory snatched from us when presidential votes were completely messed up at the collating process in favor of the incumbent president.

For close to two months there were widespread demonstrations and mass action, in which I played a crucial role, all over Kenya. Unfortunately, this was accompanied by ethnic profiling which led to a loss of life of over 1000 people and the internal displacement of close to half a million people.

We realized that we had to call an end to this by coming together and negotiating a political settlement that both sides of the political divide could live with.

We also initiated long term constitutional reforms to stabilize democracy and give room for social and economic reforms. We are not the best example of democratic governance but we have at least provided Kenyans with a place to feel at home.

This spirit of dialogue and compromise is what I would like to urge my comrades in South Sudan to embrace. END

Kenya’s Pres. Uhuru too far away to hear wails of South Sudan women, children

By Anne Kiruku, KENYA, Posted THEEASTAFRICAN, NOV/26/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY: East African Community, EAC, Secretariat and other partner states have remained worryingly silent on the issue. When a member state, Kenya in this case, negates on its mandate to promote peace within the bloc, should other partner states remain unconcerned?

In a highly insensitive move, Kenya has made good its threat to withdraw more than 1,000 troops from South Sudan despite the worsening security situation in Africa’s youngest nation. Already, more than 100 troops arrived in the country last week, with 100 more expected in the coming days.

Most of the troops that have been withdrawn were deployed in hot spots of violence where deaths, rape and fighting is the order of the day. A total of 995 of the soldiers had been deployed in Wau, 166 in Aweil and 304 in Kuajok.

Essentially, Kenya reneged on its mandate for humanitarian engagement, putting innocent lives at stake. Since the war broke out in South Sudan in 2013, more than 2.5 million people have fled their homes due to the brutal conflict. Out of these, 1.6 million are internally displaced, while more than 830,000 have sought safety in neighbouring countries — mainly Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.

Despite South Sudan’s historic independence in 2011, the country still remains divided. In December 2013, it descended into civil war when disagreements between President Salva Kiir and his former first vice president Riek Machar led to fighting between government soldiers in the capital, Juba. The violence, which later spread across the country, left thousands of people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Cases of human-rights abuse have been rampant, with women and children bearing the brunt of it. A report by the African Union cited rampant violation of basic rights, with civilians routinely raped, killed, dismembered, and even forced to eat and drink human flesh and blood. Tens of thousands of people have sought shelter at United Nations compounds, too afraid to return home.

Kenya’s decision was criticised by the country’s opposition coalition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) through its leader Raila Odinga, because it is in effect abandoning a fellow member of the East African region. Moreover, Kenya’s own peace and security is affected negatively by a crisis in a neighbouring country.

However, the EAC Secretariat and other partner states have remained worryingly silent on the issue. When a member state, Kenya in this case, negates on its mandate to promote peace within the bloc, should other partner states remain unconcerned?

The withdrawal of troops, who were seconded to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (Unmiss), came as a response to the dismissal of Kenyan Lieutenant-General Johnston Mogia Kimani Ondieki, the Force Commander of Unmiss.

General Ondieki was dismissed by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, following an “independent special investigation into the violence, which occurred in Juba in 2016 and Unmiss’s response.”

According to the report, the violence caused the deaths of many civilians, two peacekeepers, and led to the collapse of the fragile peace agreement between President Kiir and Dr Machar.

Investigators attributed the shortcomings to “lack of leadership on the part of key senior mission personnel, which culminated in a chaotic and ineffective response to the violence.”

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta reacted with anger to the dismissal, saying the mission had failed in its mandate and had instead resorted to scapegoating Kenya.

But whatever the reasons are that led to Kenya’s withdrawal of troops, and regardless of the circumstances that led to the lieutenant general’s sacking, the innocent people of South Sudan continue to die as the world watches.

Already, there is an ongoing crisis in the health sector, with doctors in South Sudan staging a three-day strike every week to protest the poor working conditions, lack of medicines and poor security.

Cases of attacks by frustrated patients and their families have increased, and doctors have refused to perform non-emergency duties until their demands are met. Naturally, this has made a bad situation worse.

The lives and safety of regional citizens takes precedence over any diplomatic row. All partner states must actively participate in bringing about a peaceful resolution to the conflict in South Sudan.

Withdrawing troops is not part of that solution.

Anne Kiruku, East African News Agency.

PDM: Press Statement on recent massacres following the President’s inflammatory rhetoric against Equatorians

THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT; Republic of South Sudan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE; 24th November 2016

The recent wave of massacres against innocent civilians in Equatoria perpetrated by SPLA soldiers is deeply disturbing. This is especially the case given the massacres immediately followed the inflammatory speech of the President against Equatorians, made on the 19th of September 2016 in Juba and denounced in our press release of the 25th October 2016. We hold President Kiir responsible for the crimes, these include reported massacres in:

• Kulipapa village of Kwerijik payam 35 miles from Juba that occurred on the 31st of October 2016 and resulted in the murder of 10 civilians (mostly women and children) as well as displacement of over 750 villagers now facing a dire humanitarian crisis.
• The massacre on the 7th of November in Pukuka village outside Yei town, Central Equatoria, of 12 youth and women returning from a market day in Lutaya.
• The armed clashes in Mogi and Salori areas surrounding Torit town in Eastern Equatoria, resulting in the indiscriminate murder of civilians including women and children.
• Reports of renewed waves of people fleeing Eastern and Central Equatoria to camps in Kenya and Uganda respectively. UNHCR reports recorded 44,000 new refugees in the first two weeks of November 2016 alone.

PDM is further dismayed by reports that internally displaced persons and refugees who have managed to get to relative safety in refugee camps across the border are now facing food shortages, lack of clean water, inadequate shelter and non-food items; in short they are being robbed a second time, of a right to life with dignity.

It is regrettable that to date, of the USD 649 Million budget for the UNHCR 2016 South Sudan Regional Situation appeal, only 26% has been funded.

PDM welcomes the visit and confirmation by the United Nations Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, of an eminent genocide in South Sudan, and concurs with his preventive recommendations to the UNSC to:
(1) impose an arms embargo on South Sudan;
(2) strengthen UNMISS capacity to protect, monitor, investigate, document and report incidences against civilians;
(3) establish a hybrid court;
(4) widen targeted sanctions against South Sudanese individuals inciting ethnic hatred;
(5) request the UN panel of experts to report on individuals inciting ethnic violence on social media;
(6) pressure the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU) to provide necessary humanitarian access to starving and displaced populations; and
(7) use its leverage to stop the international and regional banks facilitating financial incentives that are driving the conflict.

PDM is encouraged by the response of the Japanese government in strengthening the mandate of their contingency joining the UN peacekeepers in South Sudan, and their prompt response as seen by the deployment of 130 Japanese troops who arrived Juba on the 21st of November, with the remaining of the 350 to follow soon;

PDM appreciates the UNSC response in strongly condemning all instances of attacks against civilians, ethnically targeted killings, hate speeches, and incitements to violence in South Sudan, as per the UNSC press statement of the 18th November 2016;

However, PDM reminds the UNSC, AU, TROIKA, IGAD and the International Community that they ‘can and must’ do more than report on and condemn the increasing wave of ethnically incited atrocities in South Sudan that are building up into a genocide.

With urgency, PDM:
1. Reiterates the call for an arms embargo sanctions as soon as possible and commitment to its effective enforcement. In this regard, we note the skepticism echoed by Russia and China and urge them to cooperate and abate the looming genocide in South Sudan as a matter of urgency.
2. Continues to call for a speedy deployment of the agreed 4,000 protection force with a strengthened mandate, increased capacity and revised deployment locations, given the increase in ethnically motivated atrocities in Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria.
3. Appeals for immediate replacement of the UN Peace Keeping Commander, engagement with all heads of military forces on the ground to agree on a cantonment strategy and facilitation of its implementation.
4. Requests urgent donation towards the deficit UNHCR South Sudan Regional situation appeal budget for life saving support to the 1.25 million South Sudanese refugees, and 1.73 million internally displaced persons including those in UNMISS PoCs.

Given the grave failures of this regime against its people, PDM calls on the President Salva Kirr, his deputies Taban Deng Gai and Wani Iga, and his cabinet members to step down with immediate effect to avert the looming genocide and allow the recovery of our dying Country that millions laid down their lives for.

We call on all South Sudanese communities inside the country to reject President Kiir and his government’s ethnically divisive incitement and atrocities, and join us in calling for their resignation with immediate effect.

The longer failed President Kiir stays in power, the more the country’s situation will worsen as Salva Kiir, Taban Deng Gai, Wani Igga, Martin Lomuro and JCE continue covering the country with blood and violence.

PDM urgently appeals to the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) to impeach the President and members of his cabinet to exit public office, and to be held to account for their complicity in crimes against the state and the people, and to institute a caretaker government, while the AU, IGAD, JMEC and TROIKA Plus facilitate a new inclusive Transitional Government to implement a more inclusive ARCISS.

PDM also calls on the SPLA-IG, SPLA-IO and other military groups on the ground to cooperate with the regional protection force in the planning and implementation of a successful cantonment strategy, as part of their contribution to avert a genocide. We appeal to all military groups to cease hostilities and give chance to a political solution that speaks to all people of South Sudan.

We urge all military, community and church leaders across the country to reject the divisive strategies of the current TGONU, reconcile the people and protect the legacy of all our fallen heroes who gave up their lives for our freedom since 1955.

PDM believes in the power of the South Sudanese people to end Jieng Council of Elders inspired ethnic dictatorship and militarism visited upon them by the current genocidal and illegitimate TGONU regime under President Salva Kiir’s failed leadership.

United for democracy and against military dictatorship.

Dr. Hakim Dario
PDM Chair
Signed: ___________________

CC.: UNSC, AU, TROIKA, IGAD, JMEC, SS-TNLA, Community Leaders

For all comments, queries and opinions please communicate to: press@pdm-rss.org

ABOUT PDM: The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) is a popular grassroots Movement formed by concerned South Sudanese in the country and the Diaspora; in response to the political crisis and fast deteriorating economic, humanitarian and security situation in the Republic of South Sudan. It seeks to offer the way forward amid heightened ethnic polarisation and devastating conflict in the country, encouraged and abated primarily by President Salva Kiir’s divisive Government policy, incompetent, oppressive and corrupt leadership.

Kiir’s South Sudan spies infiltrate refugee camps in Adjumani

By MARTIN OKUDI, Daily Monitor of Kampala, UGANDA, NOV/22/2016, SSN;

ADJUMANI- Fear has engulfed Adjumani District leaders and security officials following unconfirmed reports that a group of spies from South Sudan infiltrated refugee camps in the district to carry out espionage refugees who have settled in Uganda.

On average, around 2,400 new refugees arrive in Uganda from South Sudan daily, fleeing political violence that followed the collapse of a peace deal between Kiir and Machar inked in August last year that had raised hopes of peace. Some 330,000 have arrived so far this year.

Mr James Leku, the chairman of the border district said his office received information about South Sudan spies who repeatedly cross into the district to spy on their fellow citizens with the intention of repatriating those who are suspected of being involved in subversive activities against the war-tone state.

“I have heard of strange people who have entered into our district with ill intentions of arresting and repatriating refugees to South Sudan to torture and jail them,” Mr Leku said.

Earlier, reliable sources from Juba revealed the names of the senior government officials dispatched to Uganda and some are yet to arrived in Kampala in the coming days, among the senior officials sent to Uganda to carry a primary mission of arrests and deportations against officials of SPLA-IO, these Kiirs agents are all Equatorians and their names are enlisted here:

1- Gen. Obutu Mamur, the Minister of national security in the office of the President,
2- Ambassador (so-called) John Andruga Duku, assigned in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
3- Gen Johnson Juma Okot, former SPLA commander of Western Equatoria, who’s pending trial for money scandal and currently without assignment in the army though he remains active member of SPLA army,
4- Gen Paul Omoya,
5- Gen Mikaya Modi, former Director for custom, and,
6- Ali Moroto, a Madi who was an ex-president of Uganda, Idi Amin’s security agent.

Further, Mr. Leku warned that spying on refugees in a country where they sought asylum is criminal and those involved, if arrested, would be dealt with under the laws of Uganda.

He was on Monday speaking during a public dialogue at Multi-Purpose Youth Centre in Adjumani.

Ms Josephine Angucia, the police spokesperson for North Western region, during recent community policing in refugee settlements in Adjumani District dismissed reports of South Sudan spies infiltrating refugee camps.

“Refugees are protected by the law. Anyone who tempers with their peaceful stay in Uganda will be arrested and taken to court,” Ms Angucia said.

Mr Wilson Manyok, the Adjumani Refugee Welfare Council chairperson said his office has not received complaints about intruders who are spying on the refugees.

“I have not moved to all the settlements but it may be true because some refugees shy away from sharing security related threats for fear of being victimised,” Mr Manyok said.

There are over 180,000 South Sudan Refugees living in 18 settlement centers in Adjumani district alone.

A Broken Nation: Torn between army and rebels, South Sudan refugees speak out

By Michael O’Hagan, THE EAST AFRICAN, posted Thursday, NOV/17/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY:
***Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the world’s newest country since renewed fighting broke out in the South Sudanese capital Juba in July following the collapse of a peace deal between the government and rebel forces.
***In the western town of Yei, units of the Dinka mainly South Sudan’s army are using machetes to kill the local Equatoria people accused of joining armed rebel groups, according to those who have recently fled the region.
***Other refugees described how dissident fighters forcibly recruited them into their ranks.
***Nearly 2,400 refugees arrive daily in the camps in Uganda.

South Sudanese refugees in Uganda have described being forced to flee soaring ethnic violence at the hands of the Kiir Juba government army while avoiding forced conscription into rebel forces.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the world’s newest country since renewed fighting broke out in the South Sudanese capital Juba in July following the collapse of a peace deal between the government and rebel forces.

In the western town of Yei, units of South Sudan’s army are using machetes to kill people accused of joining armed rebel groups, according to those who have recently fled the region.

“About two weeks ago, soldiers came to my brother Emmanuel’s house at night and demanded that he open the door,” said Abraham Aloro, a 20-year-old from a former tobacco plantation about two miles from Yei.

The town, which is 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the Ugandan border, has been a flashpoint for clashes between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those of his former vice-president, ex-rebel Riek Machar, who is now in exile.

“They accused him of joining the rebels,” said Aloro. “He hadn’t but they cut him to death with pangas (machetes). We found his body in the morning. He was 24.

“I ran with five friends. We were so scared. We had to take shortcuts because the government soldiers are on the main roads but there are rebels in the bush.”

Aloro then made it to Kuluba Refugee Transit Centre in northern Uganda, about seven kilometres from the South Sudan border.

Ethnic tensions

On average, around 2,400 new refugees arrive in Uganda from South Sudan daily, fleeing political violence that followed the collapse of a peace deal between Kiir and Machar inked in August last year that had raised hopes of peace. Some 330,000 have arrived so far this year.

From Kuluba, refugees are taken to Bidibidi Settlement, which is now the third largest camp in the world, where they receive essential supplies and land on which they can cultivate crops and build a shelter.

But Aloro, who is from the Kakwa tribe, is concerned about continuing ethnic tensions in the settlement.

“The SPLA (government) soldiers are Dinka and we don’t like to be with them. They are the very people who caused the problems. They will come and kill you while you are sleeping,” he said.

Robert Baryamwesiga, the top Ugandan government official in Bidibidi, accepts there is a risk of ethnic tensions spilling over into the camp.

“There’s a lot of resentment between the other tribes and Dinka. They say that the Dinka are the ones who chased them out of their country… but we are quick to sensitise them to explain that Dinkas are equally vulnerable,” he said.

“Once they are in Uganda the tribal conflicts are very minimal.”

Forceful recruitment

Sarah Kakuni, from the Pojulu ethnic group, fled South Sudan along with her two young daughters. Sitting in a communal tent in Bidibidi Settlement on a mat that the UN refugee agency had just given her, she described what life was like in Nyombwe, on the outskirts of Yei, before she fled.

“During the night you can hear shooting in town,” she said.

“When it stops, that’s when they’re slaughtering people with knives and pangas… Dinkas will open your door and kill you if you don’t have their tribal scars,” said the young mother, referring to the distinctive triple parallel lines many Dinka men have on their forehead.

Lino Rosa from Morobo county said that he was forced to fight alongside the rebels.

“They caught me and I stayed with them for one month… If you refuse they will slaughter you with a knife,” said the 26-year-old as he drew his finger across his throat.

“On 28 September they went to attack somewhere at night. I was able to sneak away. I threw down my gun and ran back to Morobo. I got my wife and children and we went to Congo,” said the father of three, who hails from the Kaliko tribe.

He then took an arduous, indirect route alone to Uganda where he joined 530,000 South Sudanese refugees already there.

“When I get more money I will go and get them,” he said of his family.

-AFP

Many things going on in South Sudan that I’m not happy with

By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala Uganda, NOV/18/2016, SSN;

I am not happy with what is going on in South Sudan. All citizens are being held at the mercy of the leaders, whether in the bush or in the government.

Every day I hear the sad news is that the governor so and so in the state so and so has sacked employees and so and so employees have been removed or relieved from their duties.

Sadly, all sacking that are carried out are not followed by the reasons as to why the employees are being sacked.

In other circumstances, one hears the announcement over SSBC that the ministry so and so informs its employees who are absent to report to work within so and so days and the failure to report will lead to the decision being taken by the board and the decision of the board shall be final.

Such a statement that the decision of the board shall be final is a fallacy because in the country where there is a court of law, the administrative decisions are never final. It is always subject to the review by the Court of law and the decision reached by the Highest Court is always final.

On finds in some occasions that Judges are demanded to work according to the directives of the authorities and if they try to think and behave independently, they are fired. Hence, turning judiciary into mouthpiece of the executives, that fails to protect the rights of citizens.

As a result, citizens are being robbed by some authorities at daylight because they do not have avenues where they can claim their rights against authorities as Courts of law are in the pockets of the executive or power hungry individuals.

The uncertainty created by the actions of the authorities of frequently dismissing workers in the government creates insecurity in the employment and because of that it becomes one of the sources of corruption in the country. This is because an employee as soon as he or she takes office begins to steal the resources as much as he or she can since he or she expects to be removed at any time without being tasked to account.

In addition, the authority who removes the employee does not account by giving reasons for the removal of the employee.

such removal or sacking affects citizens negatively. For example, one finds the governor dismissing doctors or health workers from the hospital simply because they have demanded for the improvement of their working conditions.

In effect, we have fought the war but South Sudan has not got independence as it is part of Sudan that has mutated into South Sudan by replicating all the injustices that were in the North.

Thus, perpetuating the same injustices that we took arms against the Khartoum Regime. In fact, we I am talking about here should not be taken advantage of by the rebels.

To say the less, rebels are not saved from what the injustices I have just explained above. They have the same tendencies of using unwarranted authority. For instance, Riek Machar some time back was purporting to relieve some of the rebel commanders even when he did not have actual authority and control over them.

He was just power hunger and did not know what he was doing. Thus, Riek claims to be a democrat but like some government authorities in South Sudan he does not the rules of democracy in his rebellious mind.

In short, there are many things I hate in South Sudan and unless we change our attitudes towards and the perception of power, we shall never go anywhere.

The way we perceive power is something disturbing. We have perceived power in King’s style. This is why when a person is appointed he or she changes instance.

He or she changes from sociable person to isolationist individuals. It is very bad. Unless we change our perception of power, which is from absolutist views to democratic views then I am afraid, We shall fight endless wars.

When I talk of democracy I should not be mistaken to mean that which exists in the USA but I mean a situation where citizens are treated fairly and given fair hearing when they are wronged and authorities must also learn to be accountable not to the USA or another superpowers but to South Sudanese who are superpowers of South Sudan.

U.S. to Introduce UN Security Council Resolution for Targeted Sanctions, Arms Embargo on Kiir’s South Sudan

UNITED NATIONS, New York, NOV/17/2016, SSN;

The United States on Thursday launched a bid at the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan following UN warnings that the war-torn country could descend into genocide.

US Ambassador Samantha Power said a draft resolution will be presented to the council in the coming days to ban weapons sales to the African country and impose sanctions, setting the stage for a clash with Russia, which opposes an arms embargo.

“South Sudan is a nation at the precipice,” Power told the council.

“In the coming days, the United States will put forward a proposal to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan and targeted sanctions on the individuals who have been the biggest spoilers to achieve lasting peace,” she said.

Of the council’s permanent, veto-wielding members, Britain and France backed the proposed arms embargo, but Russia reaffirmed its opposition and China expressed reservations.

The move followed a recent report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who warned that South Sudan faces a “very real risk of mass atrocities” and that 14,000 peacekeepers deployed in the country would not be able to stop such a bloodbath.

The US-drafted text seen by AFP calls for a one-year ban on all sales of arms, weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment.

Power said months of talks with South Sudan’s leaders had failed to persuade them to opt for peace as she made the case for a travel ban and an assets freeze on those behind the violence.

“There is no good reason why we would not deprive those who have shown a willingness to commit mass atrocities of the means of doing it more efficiently,” she said.

RUSSIAN OPPOSITION

Russian Deputy Ambassador Petr Iliichev dismissed an arms embargo as “premature,” saying it would “hardly be helpful in settling the conflict” and warning that sanctions against South Sudan’s leaders would be “the height of irresponsibility.”

In a barb directed at the United States, he suggested that President Salva Kiir was being targeted to share the same fate as Moamer Kadhafi, the Libyan leader toppled in 2011.

China’s Deputy Ambassador Wu Haito said the council should refrain from sanctions “to avoid complicating the situation” and “send more positive signals” instead.

Returning from a visit to South Sudan, the UN’s adviser on genocide prevention, Adama Dieng, said he “saw all the signs that ethnic hatred and targeting of civilians could evolve into genocide if something is not done now to stop it.”

He cited perceptions that Kiir’s army was “increasingly ethnically homogenous,” composed mostly of ethnic Dinka, who are preparing to launch attacks against Nuer and other groups.

Dieng urged the council to end the “devastating” flow of weapons fuelling the war.

South Sudan’s Ambassador Joseph Moum Malok rejected the proposed embargo as a “totally unacceptable” violation of his country’s sovereignty.

The authorities in Juba, confronting an “armed rebellion intent on overthrowing the government,” he argued, should not be deprived of the means to defend themselves.

The world’s youngest nation, South Sudan descended into war in December 2013, leaving tens of thousands dead and more than 2.5 million people displaced.

The country won independence from Sudan in 2011 with strong support from the United States.

A peace deal between Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar in August last year had raised hopes of peace, until clashes erupted in Juba four months ago.
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Additional:

The Enough Project urges U.N. Security Council members to support the resolution to address the crisis in South Sudan.

As threat of genocide looms, Enough Project lauds urgently-needed step, calls for swift adoption.
John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “South Sudan faces the very real threat of genocide. It is critical that the U.N. Security Council not stand idly by while the crisis intensifies. A resolution by the United States will be a critical first step to demonstrating that the international community will create significant consequences for the commission of mass atrocities.”

Prendergast added, “Every genocide early warning system is flashing red in South Sudan today. All of the classic elements are present for mass atrocities to unfold, and when atrocities are targeted at specific communities on the basis of their identity, that is genocide. The UN Security Council has the tools to bring pressure to bear on those that would consider using mass atrocities to maintain or gain power. In the 21st century, we need to draw a line in the sand and say that genocidal action will not be allowed to occur without a significant consequence.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng have both warned in recent days of the threat of genocide in South Sudan.
Many South Sudanese people and U.N. officials have called repeatedly for an arms embargo.
More than 2.8 million people have been displaced in South Sudan since conflict began in December 2013.
END