Archive for: November 2016

SPLM-IO James Gatdet expulsion from Kenya to Juba could impact the SSDF: Spokesman

A Press statement for immediate release, NOV/06/2016,SSN.

The Kenyan government took the decision on the 2nd of November 2016 to deport Mr. James Gatdet Dak, the SPLM/A-IO spokesperson, back to Juba despite attempts by his boss to stop the deportation. It was a regrettable act which has put Mr. Dak’s life in great jeopardy.

The 1951 United Nations Convention has clarified the refugee status. Article 33 ( 1 ), provides that: ” No contracting state shall expel or return (” refouler ” ) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

The OAU Convention of 1969 regarding refugees gives expression in a binding form to a member of principles relating to asylum, including the principle on nonrefoulement. As stipulated in Article III 3: No person may be subjected by a member state to measures such as rejection at the frontier, return or expulsion which should compel him to return or remain in a territory where his life, physical integrity or liberty would be threatened for reasons set out in Article 1, paragraph 1 and 2.

The Kenyan government has previously granted Mr. Dak the refugee status making her move entirely unprecedented. It’s a clear violation of the principle of nonrefoulement, which is the cornerstone of the international refugee law. Rather than deporting Mr. Dak, it could have declared him a ” persona non grata ” and to leave Kenyan soil within a specified timeframe. It will be then up to Mr. Dak to find where to go. More worryingly, a list of 15 people who are members of the South Sudanese opposition groups has surfaced. Those individuals are purported to be the next for deportation to South Sudan by the Kenyan government.

The South Sudan Democratic Front ( SSDF ) regrets the decision by the Kenyan authorities to hand over Mr. Dak to the regime in Juba. Further deportations could lead to a significant damage to the relations between the South Sudanese people and the friendly people of Kenya. Although Mr. Dak is not a member of the SSDF, however, further actions in that direction could affect members of the SSDF who are residing in Kenya. End of statement.

Lotole Lo Luri,

Deputy Press Secretary – SSDF

LATEST: Kenya and other South Sudan neighbours further isolate rebel leader Riek Machar

By: FRED OLUOCH, THE EASTAFRICAN, NOV/04/2016, SSN;

South Sudan rebel leader Dr Riek Machar has suffered another blow after Juba appeared to have successfully persuaded neighbouring countries to isolate him further as well informed reports says Kiir’s Juba government paid a million dollars for the arrest and deportation to Juba of Machar’s spokesperson from Nairobi.

At first was Sudan prohibiting Dr Machar from issuing political statements while on its soil. Now Ethiopia and Kenya seem to have heeded President Salva Kiir.

Juba has been urging neighbours to expel rebels from their territories.

A week after Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, announced that he will not allow South Sudan’s rebel leader to operate from the Horn of Africa country and promised to expel his allies, Kenyan authorities arrested and deported the rebel leader’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak to Juba.

Mr Dak, who has been staying in Nairobi was picked up on Wednesday evening from his residents and taken to the Jomo Kenyatta International airport in an operation coordinated by both Kenya and South Sudan intelligence.

He is currently being held at the Internal Affairs headquarters in Juba. Former South Sudan Minister for Agriculture, Mabior de Mabior, told The East African that the rebel movement fears that Mr Gatdet will be executed. According to Kiir’s spokesperson, Ateny Wek, Mr. Dak will be allegedly tried by the Justice ministry.

Mr Dak, who has been countering government statements on behalf of the rebel movement from Nairobi—recently posted on his Facebook wall that the rebel movement welcomed the sacking of Kenya’s Lt. Gen. Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki as the commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), citing peacekeepers’ failure to protect civilians during the crisis right in the capital, Juba, and in other parts of the country, more notably in Malakal.

“We hope a new Force Commander will be appointed soon who will be more responsive and take actions to protect the civilians at risk in exercising their mandate. We commend the action taken by the United Nations Secretary General, which we believe will contribute to confidence building among the vulnerable populations in South Sudan,” he wrote.

Dr Machar on Friday gave a statement detailing how on learning that Mr Gatdet had been arrested he fruitlessly called Kenya’s Deputy President Willian Ruto to plead with him not to allow Mr Gak to be deported to the fear of his life and that he was in Kenya as an urban refugee under the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

He said that the deportation is a violation of the Geneva Convention, especially coming from Kenya that is a guarantor of the August 2015 peace agreement.

“I was informed about the development and immediately contacted the Kenyan Authorities. On a telephone conversation with the Deputy President H.E William Ruto, I appealed that Mr Dak should not be deported to Juba due to profound fear for his life. I also spoke to the Attorney General and I attempted to speak with Minister for Foreign Affairs, I alerted them them of the fact that Mr Dak was an urban refugee under the protection of the UNHCR in Kenya. Unfortunately, my appeal was ignored,” said Dr Machar in a statement.

On October 3, Kenyan members of the parliamentary committee on security visited Juba and announced that Kenya will eject all rebel and opposition politicians from the country.

Committee chairman, Asman Kamama, said that Kenya would seek the support of other Eastern African countries to halt hosting South Sudanese politicians promoting “violent politics” and using regional countries as Launchpad for war.

Dr Machar had in September announced in Khartoum that he would mobilise his forces and launch a fresh rebellion against President Kiir if the region fails to resuscitate the August 15 peace agreement. President Kiir on the other hand had called upon the region to treat the rebels as “terrorists”.

Latest: James Gatdet, kidnapped SPLM-IO in Nairobi, now deported to Juba under Kiir’s operatives

For immediate release:

The Kenyan government in collaboration with South Sudanese authorities has deported the spokesperson of armed opposition leader, Riek Machar to the capital Juba, in a new shift in relations between the two countries.

Relatives told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that James Gatdet Dak,l was picked on Wednesday afternoon in what a appears to have been a coordinated operation organised by the special service of Kenya and South Sudan and taken to the airport where he was allowed to speak to his some of family members and relatives.

Others, some of whom are high ranking members of the government, however, blamed the South Sudanese government for allegedly engineering Dak’s deportation.

“This is a coordinated operation. The office of the president and the first vice president paid the money to the Kenyan government to execute this operation. They wanted James Gadet to be deported to South Sudan so that Riek Machar is denied an opportunity to speak to the outside world through his spokesman. This is the strategy employed by Taban Deng Gai. Now James Gadet is here. They brought this afternoon. I saw at him at the blue house”, a highly placed source told Sudan Tribune.

A relative separately said “it appears my brother has been brought to Juba”.

No official statements from either the government of Kenya or South Sudan was made. Officials at the ministry of foreign affairs and office of the president declined comment.

The office of the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition would like to regrettably announce the disappearance of James Gatdet Dak, the official spokesperson in the office of the chairman and commander in chief of SPLM/A-IO. James Gatdet was kidnapped this afternoon around 4: 00PM by Unknown gunmen dressed in Uniform who came to his house in Nairobi Kenya. After picking him, his whereabouts is unknown up to this time as I am writing.

We, the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement/Army in opposition call for the Government of Kenya to intervene immediately for the release of the detained official. Therefore, The Sudan’s People Liberation Movement/Army condemns in strongest term possible the barbaric act of National Security from South Sudan in collaboration with gangs in Kenya to capture and detain the spokesman and call for his immediate release.

We call upon intervention of Kenya government to relocate his whereabouts and bring the culprits to Justice as soon as possible.

Others sources said James Gatdet had written a message on his social media profile, saying the armed opposition welcomes change in United Nations Mission in South Sudan Command.

“We welcome the change in the UNMISS Force Command in South Sudan. The peacekeepers failed to protect civilians during the crisis right in the capital, Juba, and in other parts of the country, more notably also in Malakal. We hope that a new Force Commander will be appointed soon who will be more responsive and take actions to protect the civilians at risk in exercising their mandate,” James Gatdet wrote.

In the statement, the rebel spokesman also praise UN for its decision to remove the Kenyan General and suggests that change in command would result in ‘confidence building’.

“We commend the action taken by the United Nations Secretary General, which we believe will contribute to confidence building among the vulnerable populations in South Sudan,” he said.

On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sacked Kenyan General who was the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The removal came hours after UN body tasked to examine attacks on UN personnel and killing of civilians by South Sudan’s government soldiers in July released damning report, linking government brutal campaign to failure of leadership of the UN peacekeeping mission chief.

It is not clear if Gatdet is still being held by Kenyan authorities.

The Sudan’s People Liberation Movement/Army would like to inform the general public and remind Salva Kiir’s regime that the hunting for Dr. Machar to get him dead and his spokesperson will not be the end of the story. The rebellion is ongoing already in the country. People of South Sudan would not stand more of a totalitarian and Ethno-centric regime that cause on the suffering of its people.

OFFICE OF SPOKESPERSON, SPLA IN OPPOSITION
Date: 2/11/2016

PRESS RELEASE

Major Dickson Gatluak Jock
Deputy Spokesperson, SPLA-IO
Pagak
Tell: +251929484417

Office of spokesperson, SPLA in Opposition, PAGAK GHQS
Tel: +251929484417 E-mail: splainopposition@gmail.com / gatjiathd@gmail.com

Condemnation of the remarks made by President Salva Kiir Mayardit in regards to Equatoria

PRESS RELEASE:

From: Equatorian Leaders in the Diaspora

1. We condemn in the strongest possible terms, the remarks made by President Salva Kiir while addressing SPLM-IG party members at Freedom Hall on 19 October 2016. In the remarks President Kiir displayed an incredible insensitivity, divisive, and disrespect towards Equatorians members of his own government. These includes the Vice President James Wani Igga and the Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly Mr. Anthony Lino Makana, who were present at the event.

2. The remarks amount to incitement to violence against Equatorians. We are horrified that the international community failed to condemn these statements. Precedent shown that whenever statements are made by President Kiir, tragic consequences have always followed. One such example was President Kiir’s threat to journalists in August 2015. This is widely understood to have inspired the murder of journalist Mr Peter Julius Moi, a few days later.

3. We believe that the remarks provide further confirmation that President Kiir is not a national leader. Instead, President Kiir acts in a manner akin to that of a tribal leader. As such, we are forced to conclude that he is unfit to rule a country which is as ethnically and culturally diverse as South Sudan.

4. We take this opportunity to remind the people that Kiir’s government is the true cause of insecurity and chaos that currently plagues our country. Thousands have died as a consequence of the irresponsible strategies pursued by Kiir’s government. To date, there has been no meaningful contrition for the human suffering inflicted on the citizens of South Sudan.

5. For two years the people of Equatoria refused to take part in the civil war. They sought to mediate and championed a peaceful settlement through dialogue and compromise. It is unfortunate that Kiir’s government refused to acknowledge this effort. Instead they carried the war to Equatoria. It is our firm belief that the people of Equatoria are only responding in self-defence against combatants who made it clear through their actions that they make no distinction between resistance forces operating in Equatoria and unarmed civilians who call Equatoria their home. The consequences have been tragic. Uganda is now home to the fourth largest refugee population in the world. Thousands of families have fled their country in search of sanctuary from indiscriminate aggression and brutality of their own government and its forces.

6. We noted the continued rejection of the UN mandated Regional Protection Force by Kiir’s government. This is clearly intended to keep an open window of opportunity, so that government forces may have free reign in the dry season to wage war against the people of Equatoria. We are also aware, that President Kiir and his government invited the Uganda Police to engage in joint security operations within Equatoria, in response to allegations of ethnically motivated roadside killings in Equatoria. The introduction of these foreign forces will only escalate an already deteriorating situation. It will add to the number of armed actors operating in a heavily destabilised region, thereby increasing instead of reducing the likelihood of more violence. Such joint operations are indicative of a failing government no longer able to secure its own territory, and is propped up by foreign powers. They exposed rabble rousing appeals to state sovereignty as a cynical sham.

7. We noted President Kiir’s admission that the SPLA has been recruiting along ethnic lines and that the SPLA is considered a Dinka army by a significant proportion of South Sudanese. This confirm remarks made by General Paul Malong, the Chief of General Staff, in Aweil East earlier this month during the graduation of 5,000 SPLA soldiers. General Malong praised the area as the “most productive in terms of recruits”.

8. President Kiir is aware that discriminatory practices within the SPLA and all other organized forces are not a recent occurrence. We received regular reports of Equatorian officers and soldiers, many joined the SPLA during the Liberation War, witnessing their careers purposely stalled whilst lesser qualified candidates are promoted on the basis of ethnicity. Many have been retired or subjected to demotion on spurious grounds. Likewise, able Equatorian recruits have been passed up in favour of recruits from President Kiir’s own Dinka community. Institutional discrimination and overt barriers to inclusion existed before the civil war began in 2013. They served to deter Equatorians from joining an institution which they know is unwelcoming and in which they feel unfairly marginalised. This should come as no surprise to President Kiir.

9. We are obligated to remind President Kiir, that whether he decides to relocate to Yei, as a threat or whether he remains ensconced in Juba, that he is Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA and its allied militias. As such, he holds command responsibility and ultimate accountability for all atrocities and crimes against humanity committed by his forces.

10. We are cognisant that the peace process has stalled in large part due to the government’s refusal to compromise and its deliberate exclusion of key stakeholders. We urge President Kiir, and his government, to recommit to an inclusive peace process. We urge him to engage in meaningful dialogue with all actors so as to achieve a real ceasefire in our country.

11. Finally, we ask our fellow Equatorians and other regional countrymen and women serving in the government, the civil service and the security forces to deeply search their consciences. We urge them to consider whether they should remain a part of a government that thrives on exclusion and so evidently disrespects them and their respective communities. This government survives in its current discriminatory and predatory form because of your support. It will not reform itself unless you are prepared to take a principled stand and demonstrate your commitment to the long suffering people of South Sudan by withdrawing from it.

The Equatoria leaders in diaspora:
Issued: 31th October 2016

Mr. Federico Vuni, Equatorian Community Leader in the UK
Mr. Kwaje Lasu, Equatorian Community Leader in the USA
Mr. Joseph Modi, Equatorian Community Leader in Canada
Mr. William Orule, Equatorian Community Leader in Australia

For correspondence: Mr. Federico Awi Vuni; livi.hope@yahoo.co.uk