Archive for: October 2018

South Sudan opposition Machar’s forces sexually abused women, girls in latest violence: UN

WARNING: This story contains disturbing and graphic details
The Associated Press, Oct/18/2018, SSN;

While the UN has previously detailed abuses by the South Sudanese government, Thursday’s report focused on troops loyal to Machar. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

South Sudan’s armed opposition abducted women and girls as young as 12 and lined them up so commanders could choose “wives,” and those not selected were left to be raped repeatedly by other fighters, a new UN report said Thursday.

The report, based on victim and witness accounts, gives new details on the surge in violence and abuses that occurred even as South Sudan’s rivals negotiated the latest agreement to end a five-year civil war.

“Most of the abducted civilians are, as far as we know, still being held captive,” new UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.

South Sudan civil war has caused 400,000 ‘excess deaths,’ report says
South Sudan reaches peace deal with rebels.

The report focuses on the Western Equatoria region between April and August, saying 900 people were abducted and some 24,000 people forced to flee their homes as fighting surged after months of relative calm.

It says opposition forces attacked at least 28 villages and a refugee camp, and abducted young men and boys were made to be fighters or porters.

One survivor said she was “tied to a tree and raped by two fighters until she passed out due to pain and bleeding. When she regained consciousness, she was threatened with rape again.”

Hundreds of thousands killed:

While the report also notes “harm to civilians” by South Sudanese troops, it focuses on the armed opposition led by Riek Machar.

It notes that the human rights division of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan has identified three opposition commanders “who allegedly had effective command and control of the forces committing these abuses, which may amount to war crimes.” The report does not name them.

The armed opposition “doesn’t have a policy of harassment towards civilians,” spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel told The Associated Press. “Our duty as a movement is to protect civilians and their properties at all times.”

This is just the latest in a series of reports by the UN and others that have described civilians being raped, shot, hung, tortured and burned.

Often the reports say South Sudanese government troops are largely to blame but opposition forces also have been accused.

More recently, the UN says at least 900 people were abducted between April and August.

South Sudan’s latest attempt at a peace deal returns Machar once again to his post as deputy to President Salva Kiir, an arrangement that more than once has led to deadly violence.

The civil war erupted in late 2013, just two years after the world’s youngest country won independence from Sudan, when fighting broke out between supporters of Kiir and Machar largely along ethnic lines.

A report last month estimated that the civil war has caused more than 380,000 deaths either through violence or disease as humanitarian efforts struggle in what has been called the world’s most dangerous country for aid workers.

“The abuses in the UN report are horrendous and stress the devastating impact that the continued impunity by forces has had on civilians, especially women and girls,” Nyagoah Pur, a researcher in the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, told the AP, calling for the speedy establishment of a long-promised hybrid court in South Sudan to prosecute abuses. END

Urgent Message to Equatorians in Uganda: Avoid the planned Kampala meeting by Kiir’s agents

Press Release: OCT/19/2018, SSN;

An Equatorian meeting is planned to take place tomorrow in Kampala organized by the Kiir government to provide a cheap platform for jieng-inclined Equatorian leadership.

Those invited to address the meeting are:
1- Mr. Martin Lomuro, minister in kiir’s government.
2- Aggrey Tissa Sabuni, Kiir’s government nominee to the East African community assembly and former finance minister, and,
3- Mr. James Wani Igga, 2nd Vice president to Kiir.

These persons arrived in Kampala accompanied by the director of National Security for External Affairs along with some national security and intelligence officers.

The first two persons mentioned above to address the meeting are defunct chairpersons of the Pojulu and Kuku communities, respectively.

The comedian vice-president, Wani Igga, is also in Kampala but we are yet to establish whether his mission is associated with this meeting.

This meeting came after several failed attempts of organizing meetings at Pojulu, Bari and Kuku levels, aimed basically at hosting these jieng Dinka agents, Lomuro, Tisa and Igga.

The meeting is now planned under the architect of Mr. Julius Tabuley and Amule Michael. These two persons are using the Equatoria students union to provide the necessary structure for this meeting and the particular student being manipulated is Mr. Peter Lokonga.

Those of Mr. Amule exploited the economic challenges facing the students by providing this union with financial assistance and even some individual bribes.

Some students are promised ranks and offices and some kind of facilitation.

The purpose behind the meeting is to mobilize the Equatorians to accept the recently signed Addis Ababa R-ARCISS (the Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan) and to voluntarily go home just like that.

For your information, the Dinka are not happy with the strong position held by Equatorians against this peace which has not addressed the root causes of the conflict.

Should Equatorians resist this peace then the continuity of these pro-Dinka leaders in the Kiir’s regime will be put into jeopardy.

For this matter, these leaders are doing everything in their power to gain some favor. We shall have a team tomorrow in the meeting and we shall brief the Equatorians all over the world on those who attended.

Their names and who said what, because this is history in the making which our next generation must know about these Equatorian traitors.

For those parents with children in Universities and colleges in Uganda, please, try to advise your children not to be misguided by these futureless leaders. After all, they have planned enough for their children.

They intend to use your children as wood or fuel to meet their selfish objectives.

Please, circulate this message as much as possible, the more you circulate it, the more you can save one life and expose these Equatorian enemies.

Shame to you, Lomoro.
Shame to you, Tisa.
Shame to you, Igga.

BY: Equatoria Youth White Paper Management.

Kiir’s South Sudan army SPLA, raped, killed and recruited Children – UN

By: KEVIN J KELLEY, TheEastAfrican, OCT/16/2018, SSN;

South Sudanese soldiers are responsible for most of the killings and rapes of children carried out in the country, the United Nations said on Monday.

“I am especially alarmed by the rampant levels of grave violations committed by government security forces,” Ms Virginia Gamba, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, told the Security Council.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is said to have carried out nearly 80 percent of the 987 killings or maiming of children documented by the UN between October 2014 and June 2018.

The SPLA was also responsible for more than 90 percent of 658 verified incidents of sexual violence against children during that period, the report adds.

Most of these cases involved “gruesome gang rapes,” the UN envoy said.

“The full scale of sexual violence affecting children is believed to be under-reported, in particular against boys, owing to fear of stigmatisation and reprisals and to the lack of adequate support services and avenues for accountability,” Ms Gamba noted in the report.

In Summary:
**United Nations report says government soldiers committed 80pc of documented atrocities against children between October 2014 and June 2018.
**Factions of the armed opposition recruited and used a sizable number of child soldiers, the report says.
**Earlier this year, army leaders agreed to allow UN units to visit all military barracks to screen and release child soldiers. But only one such mission had taken place as of June, the report notes.

The UN cites a rampage by government soldiers and “armed youth” in Unity State six months ago in which “sexual violence was used extensively during indiscriminate attacks on villages.”

Two years earlier, SPLA troops raped or gang-raped 34 girls and 30 women from villages in Koch County in Unity State, the report says.

“Sexual violence was used as a form of collective punishment to instill fear and humiliation within communities,” the UN observes.

Child soldiers

In August 2016, 10 girls fleeing to a UN civilian-protection site in Bentiu in Unity State “were stopped on the way there by some 20 SPLA soldiers and taken into the bush and raped repeatedly,” the report adds.

Most of the attacks on schools and hospitals documented in the period covered by the report were also said to be the work of the SPLA.

Factions of the armed opposition recruited and used a sizable number of child soldiers, the report says.

The UN counted 1,447 children, including five girls, among forces loyal to rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar.

Groups associated with Taban Deng Gai, formerly a prominent figure in the armed opposition and now one of the country’s vice presidents, recruited and fielded 801 children, including 46 girls, says the report.

The SPLA accounted for more than 40 percent of the total number of 5,723 child soldiers reported to be in the ranks of armed groups.

“Children were used to commit atrocities against civilians, including other children,” the report notes.

The UN said poverty was a key reason why children became members of the South Sudan government army.

“Several children stated in interviews that they had joined SPLA owing to poverty, since they were paid between 700 and 1,500 South Sudanese pounds per month (between $5 and $12) by SPLA,” the report recounts.

Earlier this year, army leaders agreed to allow UN units to visit all military barracks to screen and release child soldiers. But only one such mission had taken place as of June, the report notes. END

BREAKING NEWS: Kenyan & South Sudanese activists demand action against beneficiaries of SS War

From Radio Tamazuj & Other sources, OCT/12/2018, SSN;

Latest Development, OCT/15/2018, Nairobi, Kenya: South Sudan politician Paul Malong denies he embezzled millions of dollars in war-torn country. South Sudan politician Gen. Paul Malong has said anything he did that links him to the situation in South Sudan was under instructions from the administration. Speaking during an interview at a local TV station on Sunday night, ‘King Paul’, denied looting South Sudan coffers and stashing the cash in Kenya. Malong said he should not be fully blamed for the situation in South Sudan. “If the crimes committed occurred while I was Chief of Staff, it was because I was under instructions from the Commander in Chief, that’s president Kiir.”
Malong said he has no money hidden in foreign accounts, daring all those making such claims to name the countries and the banks. “I am not a rich man. I am just a family man taking care of myself and my family.” Before he fell out with President Salva Kiir, King Paul was slated as the next in line. Serving as the chief of general staff, Malong wielded power, a fact believed to have placed him at a powerful position to amass his wealth.
Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/south-sudan-politician-paul-malong-denies-looting-claims

Hundreds of Kenyan and South Sudanese nationals on Thursday. October 11/2018, staged a peaceful protest in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, requesting the Kenyan government to freeze assets of South Sudanese leaders profiting from the conflict and to sanction Kenyan banks facilitating the looting of funds.

This is the first time ever that any of the neighboring countries, specifically Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, which are involved with the current national war and leaders in South Sudan, that such a public demonstration has been allowed.

The protest follows the public airing of a documentary, ‘The Profiteers’ which depicts key individuals and institutions in South Sudan and neighbouring Kenya and Uganda that are benefiting from the conflict in South Sudan while south Sudanese continue to bear the brunt of the war.

According to the report, a few South Sudanese leaders, including President Salva Kiir, his nemesis, Riek Machar, former Army Chief of Staff, Paul Malong, have been named to have stashed away huge sums of money in Kenyan banks. This prompted a peaceful protest by Kenyan civil society organisations.

Boniface Mwangi, a renowned Kenyan socio-political rights activist and organiser of the protest told Radio Tamazuj that they delivered petitions to the Kenyan parliament and ministry of foreign affairs demanding action against named individuals and institutions.

“We are protesting against Paul Malong and Salva Kiir and other generals stealing money from South Sudan and using Kenyan banks to launder the money. So the money doesn’t come from clean sources. They are looting the country and bringing the money to Kenya and Uganda, buying very palatial homes, living very lavish lifestyles as ordinary south Sudanese citizens die,” he said.

Mwangi added, “We are asking our Kenyan government to freeze their assets and evacuate the money back to South Sudan. We must stop the banks that are involved in money laundering and looting South Sudan because as long as they can loot, the war will never stop, as long as they benefit from the conflict and the civil war, South Sudanese will continue to suffer as these ‘leaders’ live a good life in Kenya.”

The activist further said the documentary provided evidence of actual bank transactions and ownership of high-end properties in Kenya and Uganda.

“We understand how much money they earn as monthly salaries and you can see there is a stark difference between the two. They earn very little but live like they earn a billion dollars. So you can see clearly there is illegally acquired wealth,” he added.

Mwangi also said as much as South Sudanese are suffering the consequences of the war, Kenya is bearing its own share of negative effects.

“It is illegally acquired money, and it’s not only destroying South Sudan, it’s destroying this country as a financial hub and making it a center for criminal activities. And some of those people who are stealing money are under UN Security Council sanctions list, so Kenyan banks should not be trading with war criminals,” he said.

South Sudanese living in Nairobi spearheaded by the Ana Taban Initiative, a group of South Sudanese youth advocating for peace also joined in the protests as well as other South Sudanese civil society organisations based in Nairobi.

Ana Taban initiative coordinator, Manasseh Mathiang urged South Sudanese to seize the opportunity and speak against vices happening in the country.

“South Sudan is our country. Until the time when we decide to stand up for our rights, stand up for what we believe in we will never fix this country. And if a few individuals are enjoying from our blood we need that to stop. We need to love our country enough to stand when the time is right for us to stand,” he encouraged the protesters.

Mathiang said the protest in Nairobi is part of a series of peaceful protests that will take place across the region denouncing the beneficiaries of the South Sudan conflict.

As Socrates once said, “All Wars Are About Money,” indeed, as exposed by many activists, the leaders of South Sudan, specifically, President Salva Kiir and family, former vice-president-now rebel leader-soon-to-be-again vice president, Dr. Riek Machar, are allegedly ‘US Dollar billionaires,” blood money looted from the poor and suffering citizens.

A video exhibited by the Protest Organizers shows the son of ex-chief of staff, Paul Malong, rolling on millions of US dollar bills and boasting as ‘the youngest African BILLIONAIRE,’ blood monies allegedly stolen by his father, former chief of staff-turned-rebel, Gen. Paul Malong, who’s himself reputedly a billionaire.

Whilst Gen. Malong is one of those sanctioned, he still freely flies in and out of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and the Sudan without any of these countries arresting him.

Interestingly, it was also revealed how the Machar’s SPLM/O-IO that is supposedly fighting the Kiir regime is deeply involved in stealing natural resources in South Sudan. The so-called SPLM/O-IO Governor Matata of the border state of Yei, is deeply involved in illegally cutting rare and expensive wood and looting other resources from South Sudan and smuggling these through Uganda to international dealers.

Very rare and expensive wood is being stolen by these rebel groups. This is a rich man’s war at the expense of the poor South Sudanese blood.

This is a critical moment for all citizens to join those activists in Kenya and to speak out forcefully about the dubious and criminal collusion between the criminals/leaders in South South Sudan and their co-conspirators in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, not to forget our former rulers, Arab North Sudan.

Most poignantly, the famed Ugandan professor Mahmood Mamdani declared that the recently signed peace agreement between Kiir and Machar and Opposition groups, that, “South Sudan is on its way to becoming an informal protectorate of Sudan and Uganda. By formally acknowledging them as ‘guarantors,’ the agreement recognizes their strategic role in determining the future of South Sudan: Ugandan troops are physically present to support Kiir’s faction, and Sudan provides critical support to opposition groups, including those led by Machar.”

Prof. Mamdani strenuously believes that the peace deal signed on September 12 is an agreement between Presidents Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda — who are the guarantors of the agreement.

The agreement, he argues, recognizes their strategic role in determining the future of South Sudan: Ugandan troops are physically present to support Kiir’s faction, and Arab Sudan provides critical support to opposition groups, including those led by Machar,”

Further, “Uganda is hoping to play a leading role in training the South Sudan army under the military co-operation, while Sudan has leverage to resuscitate the oil sector and provide troops to protect the installations. South Sudan is also Sudan’s biggest market in the region.”

Sadly, an estimated 400,000 South Sudan have been killed since the outbreak of the Dinka Kiir versus Nuer Machar precipitated ‘civil war’ from 2013 to 2016, and now in 2018, there are two and half million South Sudanese refugees in these neighboring countries. END

Remember South Sudan? Washington Would Prefer Not to as Taban Deng frustrates USA

BY ROBBIE GRAMER/ OCTOBER/ 4/ 2018/ SSN;

Its freedom fighters have turned into brutal oppressors, and it is near to becoming another failed state, despondent U.S. supporters say.

A senior official from South Sudan traveled to Washington this week to solicit U.S. support—and money—for a fragile new peace deal aimed at ending the country’s five-year civil war. In the past, billions of U.S. dollars have flowed into the new nation, along with a great deal of tender American attention. But the mood in Washington is much different now.

This time, the Americans scoffed at and castigated the visitor, Taban Deng Gai, the first vice president of South Sudan, as he tried to assure them the new peace plan would stick.

Through its own abuses and corruption—and after just seven years of existence—South Sudan has gone from being a poor but hopeful nation to something close to a failed state led by a corrupt, oppressive military elite.

Deng met a group of nearly two dozen current and former U.S. officials at a closed-door event this week marked by tense exchanges. He was there to sell Washington on a peace plan signed last month to end the violence that has fractured the country since 2013, two years after it gained independence from Sudan.

It is the latest of more than a dozen cease-fires or peace plans in recent years, all of which have collapsed.

“We believe this peace is not perfect but of course it is better than [the] alternative, which is war,” Deng said to openly skeptical officials at the event hosted by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.

Some of Deng’s assertions—that his country was developing rule of law, tackling corruption, and that it was civilians, not the military, carrying out brutal atrocities against the country’s population — were met with a mixture of gasps, muffled laughter, and eye rolls by those in attendance.

When Deng denied that his government security forces were carrying out these attacks and insisted instead it was civilians committing the atrocities, one participant in the event whispered under his breath, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development officials, as well as senior congressional staff and former senior officials, participated in the event—some of whom had devoted decades of their careers to work on South Sudan. Foreign Policy was also in attendance.

“There are people who have worked on South Sudan for decades,” said Joshua Meservey, an Africa expert at the Heritage Foundation. “They poured their professional lives into the Sudan and southern Sudan conflict, and South Sudanese independence was seen as this extraordinarily hopeful moment. For it to go so spectacularly wrong so quickly was a very disillusioning moment for these people.”

Cameron Hudson, a former National Security Council and State Department official who attended the event, told FP afterward that it was easy to feel the frustration in the room. “What you saw around that room was literally hundreds of years’ worth of American blood, sweat, and tears to support these people,” he said. “That’s why the sentiment and emotion … [were] so charged.”

Kate Almquist Knopf, the director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, told Deng that the United States had spent $14 billion on South Sudan alone since 2005 to help shepherd its independence and address the burgeoning humanitarian crisis.

Deng’s response, blaming U.S. aid for stoking the conflict, drew audible gasps: “This $14 billion, if it was put into proper use, maybe South Sudan would not be in war today.” He then said he would be requesting more financial assistance from the U.S. government.

Another member of Deng’s delegation brushed off the dollar figure, saying the statistics were manipulated and biased.

“It’s somewhat insulting to all of us who have been working to support the people of South Sudan for so many years to say that those numbers are not reliable numbers,” retorted a visibly frustrated Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2013 to 2017. “Americans who have supported South Sudan, we deserve more, and I think the people of South Sudan deserve more.”

The sparring, fraught with emotion and frustration, underscored how far South Sudan has fallen in the eyes of many current and former U.S. policymakers who helped orchestrate the country’s independence from Sudan.

South Sudan is a rare test case of the United States midwifing a country into existence, trying to help create a new democracy from scratch. When the country first gained independence seven years ago, after five decades of a bloody guerrilla struggle with Sudan, it was received with a surge of optimism.

Perhaps nowhere outside of South Sudan was there as much optimism as in Washington, where U.S. officials across three presidential administrations had developed relationships with South Sudanese figures over the decades they fought for independence.

“Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible,” then-President Barack Obama said on July 9, 2011, the day South Sudan formally marked independence.

That optimism crumbled in 2013 after political clashes between President Salva Kiir and then-Vice President Riek Machar spilled into a violent rebellion. It followed two years of political strife, economic woes, and little if any progress on development despite billions of dollars in foreign aid, blunted in part by government corruption.

What separates South Sudan from other humanitarian crises, Hudson said, is that U.S. officials for decades have cultivated close ties with South Sudanese rebels-turned-freedom fighters-turned-government officials, adding an emotional investment from the U.S. side that other conflicts may lack.

Kiir, the president, still wears a trademark cowboy hat after one was given to him by President George W. Bush in 2006 — one small symbol of the South Sudanese leadership’s long attachment to the United States.

New estimates have put the death toll in South Sudan at more than 380,000—proportionally a higher death toll than the conflict in Syria based on the two countries’ populations. Currently, there are some 2.5 million South Sudanese refugees who have fled the conflict to six neighboring countries, including Sudan, the country that South Sudanese sparred with for decades to gain independence.

According to Peter Pham, the director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, nearly 63 percent of the country’s population faces food insecurity in conditions that brush close to famine.

The conflict is also marked by atrocities by both government security and opposition forces, including executions, torture, gang rape, and sexual slavery, according to the State Department’s 2017 human rights report on South Sudan and studies by international human rights groups.

Last month, Kiir, Machar — now the head of the leading rebel group—and other rival factions signed the latest attempt at a peace deal following the collapse of one in 2015. Deng, speaking in Washington, insisted that his country had learned the lessons of the last collapsed peace deal.

Under the terms of the new peace deal, South Sudan will have five vice presidents and expand its parliament to 550 to include members from all rival factions. Deng said the peace deal emphasizes inclusivity among all parties, something the last peace deal failed to consider. Critics say the plan will only reinforce tribalism and ethnic divides without addressing the root causes of the conflict.

“Don’t attack it. Don’t understand it with the frame of mind of a Westerner or an American frame of mind,” Deng said, defending the deal. “We are still a Bedouin society where accommodation also is important. Accommodation also brings peace.”

The U.S. government, in a joint statement with the United Kingdom and Norway issued last month, said it remains committed to peace in South Sudan but skeptical it will stick given continued violence and blocking of access to humanitarian aid. “[I]n order to be convinced of the parties’ commitment, we will need to see a significant change in their approach,” the governments said.

Deng’s assurances didn’t appear to placate anyone in the room, all of whom kept pressing him on questions of whether the country would release political prisoners, how it would handle bringing war criminals to justice if the peace held, and how it would tackle corruption and governance issues, as well as becoming increasingly unsatisfied and exasperated with Deng’s answers.

Transparency International, an organization that monitors corruption, ranked South Sudan 179th out of 180 countries in its corruption index. An investigation released in March by the Enough Project, a nonprofit organization that monitors South Sudan, concluded that South Sudanese government officials and elite had plundered the country’s oil wealth to bankroll militias that carried out atrocities against civilians.

“The reality of the regime is anyone in any position of authority is almost certainly going to be deeply, deeply corrupt,” said Meservey, the Heritage Foundation expert.

At the end of the event, after Deng wrapped up his remarks, the other participants got up and left, some sighing and shaking their heads, others brushing past the South Sudanese delegation without saying goodbye to a leader in a country they themselves helped found.

“That was just incredible,” said one participant in attendance who declined to speak on record. “I came to see if they’re taking this peace deal seriously, if they’re taking the U.S. seriously, and it’s clear they’re not. It’s so sad.”

“The audaciousness of this visit and his messages were pretty beyond the pale,” said Hudson, the former U.S. official. “This isn’t like Syria. It’s not like Yemen. We invested in this relationship over decades. And after making all of these deposits of political, social, and economic good will, this is what we’re left with: a failed state.”

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. @RobbieGramer

Political Prisoners’ Standoff with JUBA Regime’s Security at notorious BLUE HOUSE, Jebel Area

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCT/07/2018;

Ref: Political Prisoners Standoff with JUBA Regime’s Security BLUE HOUSE Headquarters, Jebel Area, Juba.

LATEST: Armed inmates at the National Security detention facility in Juba took two guards hostage to protest against lengthy detentions without trial, a detainee said.

The inmates started rioting on Sunday morning.

“Masked armed men came to the prison at 2 am and tried to pick some of us, so the prisoners retaliated because this has been happening for a month. Armed men often come at night and pick some prisoners and they never come back,” said Kerbino Wol, an entrepreneur who was arrested in May this year.

Kerbino told Radio Tamazuj that deep-seated anger and frustration due to lengthy detentions without trial was a significant factor behind the riot at the National Security detention facility.

“We are about 300 detainees here. Most of the detainees are foreign nationals. We need justice,” he said.

The detainee, who was accused of supporting the opposition, pointed out that the prisoners broke into arms and ammunition store and that more than 100 prisoners are currently armed.

“But we are asking for a non-violent approach and we are urging the authorities to give us our rights,” he said.

Wol called on the international community to guarantee their release immediately. RadioTamazuj

South Sudan National Movement for Change Youth League (SSNMC-YL) with grievous disappointment has learned today, the 7th October, 2018, about a standoff between political prisoners who are held for many years without being charged with specific crimes committed, continuously denied access to lawyers, family members and languishing in the regime infamous Blue House with elements of the notorious National Security Service in the capital Juba.

Therefore, we, the youth, in all the oppositions would like to unequivocally warn the government against using force to bring this standoff to an end as we had already learnt from our sources that one of the detainees is wounded on his knee by the security force bullet.

The signed R-ARCISS by other parties and specifically the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA), Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access of 21st December 2017 stipulates that All Prisoners of War (PoW) and detainees shall be released immediately under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

We, the SSNMC Youth League, would like the world at large to know now what the dictatorial regime of President Kiir is doing records while denying the existing of political prisoners leave alone the urgent need for their release.

Such behaviors give credence to the position of our leadership about the signed R-ARCSS that Kiir’s dictatorial and ethnocentric regime is not serious about achieving lasting and sustainable peace in South Sudan.

Hereafter, we, the youth are warning the Juba dictatorial regime of any use of force action that may endanger the lives of these political prisoners which Kirr regime keeps denying about their existing.

Whereas SSNMC YOUTH LEAGUE urgently calls upon the IGAD, AU, UN and TROIKA to warn the dictatorial regime of any action that may endanger the lives of these political prisoners as such actions may trigger another development of which it will fall out of control.

We urge Kiir’s government to immediately release all political prisoners including those who are jailed in Western Bahar El Ghazal, Western Equatoria, Goroum detention center in Juba, Riverside detention site in Juba, Eastern Equatoria state and South Sudan at large, without any pre-conditions.

BY: Ladu L : Chairman, SSNMC-YL Uganda, SSNMC-YL UK, SSNMC-YL CANADA, SSNMC-YL EGYPT, SSNMC-YL USA, SSNMC-YL KENYA, SOUTH SUDAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE, SSNMC YOUTH LEAGUE OFFICE.
Email : ssnmcyouthpress@gmail.com

From the people of South Sudan to American Ambassador Nikki Haley: An open appeal for urgent action against Mr. Ashraf Al Cardinal, the icon of corruption in South Sudan

OCT/07/2018, SSN;

The people of South Sudan would like to commend your sustained efforts to end their suffering and bring about a lasting peace that will set their hard-won country on the right path of stability and progress.

We are particularly pleased that despite your extensive global responsibilities, you have remained seized on the issue of South Sudan, thanks to your first-hand experience during your historic visit to the country a couple of years ago.

Excellency, Last month, you authored an article titled: Combating Corruption is about ensuring peace and Security, which was published widely in the media on September 9th, 2018.

In that piece, you clearly showed how corruption in Tunisia triggered a revolution against “a dictator who treated his country’s treasury like his own personal bank account.”

And if the world has known a country ruled by a dictator who “treated his country’s treasury like his own personal bank account”, it is yet to learn about a country called South Sudan that is being ruled by a brutal plutocracy – one that consists of both local and international thugs.

The modus operandi of this plutocracy is state-hijacking, possessing and extracting of oil resources to the exclusion of its people.

Here are two examples, among others, of what they do:

1. In July 2018 in a letter addressed to General Manager of Commercial Bank International (CBI PJSC), dated 25th, July 2018, the plutocracy made “a confirmed irrevocable commitment” to pay USD 299,614,428 (two hundred ninety nine millions plus) to Mr. Ashraf Sidahmed Al Cardinal.

According to the letter, which is enclosed herewith, the payment is against “good and services” which will be supplied. The first installment of USD 50,000,000 was paid in August 1, 2018 to the following account:

Account Name: Commercial Bank International
Account No: 2000193002007
Bank Name: Wells Fargo Bank (A major American Bank)
Swift Code: PNBPUS3NNYC.

The truth is that there are neither “goods nor services” to be supplied. These are just phantom “goods and services” and there is nothing surprising about such charade.

However, what the people of South Sudan find to be stunning is the fact that billions of dollars continue to be siphoned over the years from South Sudan under the watch of their greatest friend and ally, the United States of America.

2. As you were busy in September convening the first ever Security Council meeting on corruption and its consequences for conflict around the world, the man that reigns supreme in South Sudan, Mr. Ashraf Al Cardinal, was busy, too, brokering a USD 2.9 billion deal between South Sudan and his native country the Sudan.

This time, the racketeering was under the name of compensating Sudan for damages incurred during the brief capture of Heglig by South Sudan.

As it will be recalled, the Oil-rich Heglig is a South Sudanese territory but was used by Sudan as a rear base for South Sudanese rebels frequently attacking Unity State of South Sudan.

When these rebels were repulsed and pursued to their base, leading to the capture of Heglig by South Sudan in 2012, Sudan feigned victim-hood, and the Obama Administration bought that false claim.

South Sudan was then bullied and labeled as the aggressor and was forced out of Heglig. Sudan retook the town and now claims to have incurred losses in “its oil installations.”

In the midst of peace talks and confusion in Khartoum last month, and despite fierce opposition from South Sudanese officials, Ashraf Al Cardinal went ahead and brokered a secret deal that would now settle the dispute to the tune of USD 2.6 billion in favor of Sudan, of which he will get a 10% share, amounting to USD 250 million.

Uganda’s president Museveni will get a similar amount for “protecting South Sudan,” while the rest of the amount will accrue to Sudan with a tiny portion going to the South Sudanese side of the plutocracy.

The people of South Sudan will get, not roads, not schools, not hospitals, not medicines and not electricity but death and only soft death in the form of polluted land and water resulting from the brutal extraction of their oil and minerals.

Poor South Sudan, whose oil installations in Unity State including the only oil refinery were destroyed by the Sudanese sponsored warlords, will get nothing in compensation.

Instead, it will pay an exorbitant USD 2.6 billion for oil installations that were built by the Chinese for USD 600 million and paid for from South Sudan’s own cost oil!

Excellency, You correctly said in your article that combating corruption is not just about good governance; it is about maintaining peace and security.

You further added that the United States, as a country that leads the way in uncovering corrupt networks and holding those responsible to account, wants to ensure that corruption gets the attention it deserves.

Consistent with this line, and in order for peace to prevail in South Sudan, a demonstrable action against corruption needs to be taken. This demonstrable action must involve sanctioning and freezing the accounts of Ashraf Al Cardinal who is a major peace spoiler in South Sudan.

As we write, South Sudan is literally cash-strapped, with oil lifting schedules booked for Ashraf till February 2019.

This means the Government will fail to pay the civil servants who had already gone for months without salaries. And since the Troika countries are not going to provide funds for the recently signed Revitalized Peace Agreement, the already fragile peace might collapse because South Sudan’s money had gone to one man called Ashraf Al Cardinal.

Under such grave circumstances, the United States is the only force on earth that can stop Ashraf from softly exterminating the people of Sudan.

His bank accounts in ABN AMRO of Holland, CBI PJSC of Dubai and Wells Fargo Bank of the United States must be frozen. His assets in England, France, Holland and Dubai must be frozen.

There is no country in the world where one man, and a foreigner for that matter, sets out to harbor over $2 billion in European and American banks, secures more oil cargoes to the tune of 300 million, gets a commission of $250 million in racketeering business, and yet continues to walk free.

Sanctioning Ashraf will send a message to his co-plutocracies in South Sudan that there will be no safe haven for the loot.

The people of South Sudan have great confidence that you and your colleagues in the US Treasury Department will not let them down and that you will make good of your solemn promise of ‘uncovering corrupt networks and holding those responsible accountable.”
—————————————

Attached is copy of letter from South Sudan Ministry of Finance and planning:

———- Republic of South Sudan ————–
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFP)
Ref: MF&P/RSS/J20-D-1 Date: 25th July 2018

The General Manager,
Commercial Bank International PJSC
Festival City Branch, P.O. Box 4449,
Dubai Festival City Mall Crescent Drive,
Umm Ramool, Al Gharhoud,
Dubai, UAE

Subject:

    CONFIRMED IRREVOCABLE COMMITMENT LETTER OF USD: 299,614,428

ALCARDINAL INVESTMENT LLC was contracted by the Government of the Republic of South to supply goods and services to the Government of South Sudan to the value of USD 299,614,428 (Two Hundred Ninety Nine Million, Six Hundred Fourteen Thousand Four Hundred Two Eight US Dollars).

In this irrevocable letter, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning confirm the commitment to pay:-

1. USD 50,000,000 (Only Fifty Million Dollars) in 10 (ten) days starting from the 1st. of August 2018.

2. USD 20,000,000 (Only Twenty Million Dollars) monthly from October 2018 to August 2019.

The Revitalized Peace in South Sudan: The Fruits of IGAD Mediation

BY: Malith Kur, Student at McGill University, Canada, OCT/04/2018, SSN;

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, has proven to the world that Africans can solve African political problems. The role that IGAD has played in South Sudan beginning with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Naivasha in 2005, which resulted in the emergence of South Sudan in 2011 as a sovereign nation, stands tall in this regard.

Again, when naïve political violence erupted in South Sudan in late 2013, IGAD, with the blessing of the African Union (AU), resolved to lead the initiative to restore peace in the country.

Such efforts culminated in the signing in 2015 of the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

Despite IGAD’s rigorous diplomatic engagement with the conflicting parties, the ARCSS failed to cement peace in South Sudan because of its design, which established two parallel governments in the country.

South Sudanese cannot blame IGAD for the design of the ARCSS but Troika nations (the US, UK, and Norway). The Troika nations funded the peace process and so, had a greater say on its design.

They supported the existence of two hostile armies in the country—one commanded by Salva Kiir and the other by Riek Machar.

Their hostility to each other led to the failure of the peace process in July 2016 when the clashes occurred at the statehouse in Juba.

The ARCSS failed, but IGAD has continued to encourage the rebels and the government to pursue a peaceful end to the conflict through the revitalization and revision of the ARCSS.

South Sudanese commend IGAD for its consistent attempts to deal with South Sudan’s complex political issues.

Indeed, the government and most members of the South Sudan Opposition alliance (SSOA) represented at the IGAD sponsored peace process have signed in Addis Ababa in September 2018 the revised agreement to end the violence in the country.

However, some groups within the SSOA have rejected the revitalized peace agreement.

They claim that the deal has not addressed the issues related to the number of states, communal or tribal boundaries, and federalism. They are also demanding a lean government.

They want IGAD to solve those issues; however, it is unrealistic for South Sudanese to expect that all solutions to their problems will often come from IGAD.

In principle, South Sudanese do not necessarily oppose the demands that some opposition groups have voiced. They oppose any attempt that makes achieving peace in the country contingent on those demands.

The question of ethnic boundaries or number of states in the country cannot be resolved through political resolutions coming from political parties alone much less IGAD’s decision.

They are issues of local concern that require the local solutions.

Hence, a comprehensive peace must first prevail in the country so that all South Sudanese could have the opportunity to address those issues.

Number of States and Ethnic Boundaries:

The number of states in South Sudan is a temporary matter. It is not that important to stop some opposition groups from signing the revitalized peace agreement.

We know why people ask for more states in the country. They do not ask for the creation of new states to expand tribal borders.

What drives the demand for more states is the false assumption that the establishment of a new administrative unit allows the federal government in Juba to channel more funds to that region.

Hence, the problem is neither the number of states in the country nor the boundaries of ethnic communities.

The problem is a wrong perception that the creation of a new state brings more opportunities for communities in that location to receive more support from the central government.

Politicians including the opponents of the government know that creating more states in South Sudan does not facilitate development but expands the government.

They understand that the country does not have enough resources to sustain paying an increasing number of government officials. That is the problem associated with the creation of more states in South Sudan.

We know it, but it does not warrant the continuation of violence. It requires public awareness.

Once South Sudanese understand that the more states they have, the less development they get out of them, they will be the ones to choose the right formula for establishing the number of states in the country.

Thus, the opposition groups that have rejected the revised accord because of the creation of 32 states do not have any argument to make to keep the country in the state of war.

Therefore, IGAD made the right decision by supporting the proposed referendum during the interim period to determine the number of states in the country.

Federalism:

The IGAD sponsored peace process is not the right forum where South Sudanese would judge whether the current system they have in the country is good or bad.

The configuration of the current national system is an integral part of the development of the permanent constitution.

South Sudanese should embark on the process of developing a permanent constitution in a peaceful environment.

It depends on how one understands a federal system; otherwise, South Sudan is in principle a federal state.

However, South Sudanese can peacefully review the current system if whether it meets their needs or not.

The first step is to end the war for the current violent situation in the country cannot allow for the proper process of constitutional development that defines clear boundaries between the federal government and state governments.

South Sudanese need peace to participate in the constitutional making process. That is the better way for them to be the authors of a federal system they want.

The impulse behind the demand for a so-called strong federal system by Thomas Chirilo— the leader of National Salvation Front (NAS) and his constituents based in the USA, UK, and Australia— is Kokora (a system that aims at drawing hard borders between ethnic communities in the country).

Jaafar Numeri, the former president of Sudan, introduced Kokora in the 1980s when he divided the then Southern Sudan into three regions at the demand of his political allies in Equatoria region.

It was a political strategy to weaken the unity of Southern Sudanese.

At this time, however, South Sudanese do not need to be coerced into establishing a system of governance that will curtail their freedom to move, live, and work anywhere they want in their homeland.

All they need is to be allowed to use the fruits of IGAD mediation to strengthen peace and freedom in the country. End

Malith Kur is a South Sudanese peace activist and student at McGill University, Montreal. He can be reached @ malith_kur@yahoo.ca.