Category: Featured

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

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

UN: Potential for Genocide as over 1.3million South Sudanese have fled from home

By KEVIN J KELLEY, New York, TheEastAfrican, NOV/12/2016, SSN;

More than 10 per cent of South Sudan’s 11.3 million people have fled the country in a mass exodus that was now accelerating, the United Nations reports.

In addition to the nearly 1.3 million South Sudanese living in refugee camps, about 1.6 million more have been displaced inside the country, the UN says. Some 200,000 were sheltering in or near UN peacekeepers’ bases.

About 40 per cent of South Sudan’s remaining inhabitants were facing impending famine, the UN’s food agencies warn.

Separately, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng yesterday warned of the risk of genocide in Yei and elsewhere in South Sudan following a visit to the town.

At the same time, “there is a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines with potential for genocide,” Mr Adama Dieng, the UN special advisor on preventing genocide, declared on Friday at the conclusion of a five-day visit to South Sudan.

He said at a media briefing, “The gravity of the situation in Yei merits immediate intervention – a full scale fact-finding investigation and enhanced humanitarian support. The population has been forced into town without access to food and they and the refugee population which Yei hosts are suffering.”

“Yei is but one urgent example among many. The signs are all there for the spread of this ethnic hatred and targeting of civilians that could evolve into genocide, if something is not done now to stop it. I urge the people of South Sudan to take action.”

“The gravity of the situation in Yei merits immediate intervention – a full scale fact-finding investigation and enhanced humanitarian support. The population has been forced into town without access to food and they and the refugee population which Yei hosts are suffering.”

Disease outbreaks

At least five simultaneous disease outbreaks were threatening lives as well, international health specialists say.

Malaria, measles, cholera, guinea worm and kala azar (a parasitic killer) were all spreading amidst a breakdown in sanitation and health care resulting from the three-year-long civil war.

Political conflict

“Throughout the week, conversations with all actors have confirmed that what began as a political conflict has transformed into what could become an outright ethnic war,” he added.

Close to 6,000 people fleeing these conditions entered Uganda on a single day earlier this month, bringing the total number of South Sudanese refugees in that neighbouring country to over half a million.

“The current extremely high sustained trend of arrivals is expected to continue, and puts pressure on all aspects of the response, which is currently very under-resourced,” the UN refugee agency said in an update last week.

Each day

Another 323,000 South Sudanese refugees have gone to Ethiopia, with about 600 arriving on average each day.

Life was so difficult in South Sudan that more than a quarter-million of its citizens had sought refuge in Sudan, the country from which it separated five years ago. Many of the refugees have crossed into Sudan’s Darfur region, where war has been raging for 13 years.

Civil war

Similarly, about 60,000 South Sudanese have fled to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the site of fighting that has taken tens of thousands of lives in recent years.

Kenya has received 90,000 South Sudanese refugees, and 5,000 have moved into Central African Republic, where another civil war continues sporadically.

A plea for $251 million in donor funding for South Sudanese refugee assistance has drawn a tepid response. Less than $50 million has been received “despite the rapidly growing need,” the UN refugee agency says.

War of Words, over who’s the Founding Father (s) of South Sudan

BY: J. Nguen, NOV/11/2016, SSN;

This piece analyses a showdown between President Salva Kiir’s supporters versus late Dr. John Garang’s enthusiasts. The article also underlines who really fits in the definition of a founding father in South Sudan and on what grounds, if only if all tribal and clannish bullshits were thrown overboard.

I am well aware that South Sudan is currently at war and crossroad both socially, politically and economically. Based on these particular points, some may see no reason to write about the founding fathers of the nation because there are plenty and many better things to write about including peace and war, death and salvation and who the villain is.

Hence, I must remind my readers that major fundamental changes occur when a nation is at the crossroad. Based on this dogma, there are those in South Sudan who are so determined to define South Sudan reflecting only their image and this must be corrected today not tomorrow. Back to the war of words!

The war of words we witnessed, on who’s the “Founding Father” of the Republic of South Sudan is a genuine debate if you peel out the clannish undertone. But because South Sudan is a nation where tribal allegiance is strong and has taken a centre stage after independence, because President Kiir’s policy for the nation was/still is for Dinka political hegemony. Because KIIR is tribally programmed, he is prone to divide Dinka based on their clans.

So the riveting war of words at play is clannish in nature between the Dinka of Upper Nile (Dr. Garang’s region) and those from Bahr El Ghazal (Kiir’s region). The opposing sides in the face-off include Ateny Wek Ateny, Kiir’s proponent vs. Pager Ajang, Kuir Garang and Mading Koc and many others who unnecessarily emotionalized this national agenda on social media on both sides.

In the light of this debate, Ateny Wek Ateny came out negative and childish to be exact, mostly because he was let down by his writing ability and also based his piece on personalities (Dr. Garang’s family). On the other hand, folks from late Dr. Garang’s home district were just hell bent to protect the dead man’s legacy at all cost, from what Kuir Garang termed as “bootlicking” misguided thugs.

Similarly, Mr. Pager Ajang could not just stomach comparing narrative between KIIR and Dr. John Garang. For Mr. Ajang, this is more than an insult to the dead man’s legacy.

Thus, the punching lines therein is similar in merits but grossly limited in scope for anyone to decisively qualify one side as an outright winner in the debate over another. Hence, both arguments failed in the process of explaining their modalities properly, how and why KIIR or DR. GARANG met the criteria of founding father of the nation.

The other issue that undermined their offensive and defensive bickering is the fact that the topic under discussions is a national question that needed not to be tribalized despite the desperate clannish witch-hunt egos in South Sudan. At any rate, this issue is bigger than any two tribes let alone the two Dinka clans’ clashing egos.

However, before I move further, I like to remind my readers that Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny has already chickened out in this debate and has long retracted his debacle on the ground that he was misinterpreted as “planting seeds of discords” as Kuire Garang put it.

The caveat herein is that if the question asked would be interpreted as a planting seeds of discords between X and Z, then, in my view, we are doomed as a nation because this account add to the clannish nature this issue undertook.

More so, if the planting seed of discord narrative has indeed caused Ateny to chicken out from the debate, I can affirm that there was no need for Ateny Wek Ateny to withdraw his piece. However, I honestly think that Ateny would have just apologized to late Dr. John’s family on the grounds of disparage. I humbly think that the question asked has merits and was necessary though the timing might not be right.

For example, late Isaiah Abraham on December 8, 2011, before he was brutally assassinated by KIIR’S regime asked the same question of who’s the “founding father of the republic of South Sudan.” Mr. Abraham enquiry came because some prominent politicians from Dinka Bahr El Ghazal region led by none other than the former Chief Justice of the Republic, Judge Ambrose Riiny Thiik, and now the chairman of the infamous Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

The group allegedly distributed booklets which declared KIIR as the Founding Father of the Republic of South Sudan while they relegated late Dr. Garang as a founder of the Sudan People Liberation Army/Movement (SPLM/A).

Because the alleged booklets were not widely shared, I was informed that Uncle Thiik and cohorts’ argument was based on the grounds of independence. The group was reported to have argued that Dr. Garang died before South Sudan becomes #54 of African countries, and therefore, he can’t be the father of the nation.

Considering that statement, it’s good to remind ourselves that Ateny’s poorly written article was not off the map but followed the same line of thinking. Ateny’s piece was not just a repeat but a stark reminder that the Jieng Dinka from the West of the Nile have a concern regarding the founding father of South Sudan, which other may see as desperate attempt to elbow late Dr. Garang out of nation’s fatherhood status and other important milestones in the history of South Sudan.

I can see some desperation and logic in that. For example, soon after Dr. Garang’s death, the people of DINKA TWIC EAST were targeted and undergone all kinds of humiliations from Salva Kiir’s regime. For instance, their sons and daughters were insidiously weeded out from the SPLA-military files and ranks and politically without any possible cause. Therefore, this gives people very good reasons to wonder.

Despite this good reason, my problem in this regard is the fact that the question asked should never be taken or appears as two Dinka’s thing, which is at play. Simply because there are long set criteria for anyone to be a founding father of the nation. In our case such criteria required constructive and genuine debate from all walks of life in South Sudanese without prejudice. In my humbled opinion, the founding father question in South Sudan isn’t addressed by Ateny running into hiding because he unnecessarily snubbed Late Garang’ family over the issue.

Ateny Wek’s piece:
For those who may not know Ateny, Ateny Wek Ateny is the press secretary in the office of the President. In his first article on who’s the founding father of South Sudan, I felt Ateny started his piece wrongly by rubbishing the people of Southern Sudan’s intelligent as “ignorance,” which he thought lack of staying power stemmed from years of marginalization in the Sudan.

“It is even worse, when the majority of people of South Sudan have either having no stamina or has been made throughout the years of marginalization in the Sudan not to appreciate the different between the SPLM and the Nation,” he wrote.

To unpack this statement, it’s clear that Ateny didn’t communicate any sensible meaning furthering his argument on the founding father of South Sudan question but instead insulted people of South Sudan staying power and wrongly perceived them to lacks endurance.

Ateny went on to say, “Mr. Kiir’s adversaries often intentionally referred to Dr. John and Madam Nyandeng as Father and Mother of the Nation, in an attempt to belittle him and his wife Madam First Lady.” This sentence is simply saying that people of South Sudan are hardcore opponents to Pres. Kiir, which is unfortunate to say by a person representing the highest office in the land.

In layman’s terms, it means Pres. KIIR is at war with the people of South Sudan and KIIR’s supporters must do anything in their disposal to dump down people of South Sudan’s rightful demands deemed contrary to KIIR’s supporters’ misguided gratifications.

Second, because Ateny made his piece as an issue between Dr. Garang vs. SALVA KIIR, I must state that people of South Sudan held high regards for Dr. Garang and his family if such a comparison is necessary here. For one, Salva KIIR betrayed people of South Sudan’s trust and hard won independence by dragging them into the current raging unnecessary war.

In addition, Salva Kiir pitted Dinka tribe against the rest of the tribes which will take years to undo.

Finally, Salva Kiir is a disgraced killer who literally proved to the Arabs that, we, the people of South Sudan cannot govern ourselves, which a shame.

In compatible to the founding father narrative, KIIR MAYARDIT has ruined his chance because he would have been considered as one of the founding fathers on two grounds: (1) On the Declaration independence; and (2) by signing in to law the supreme constitution of South Sudan.

Third, it’s true that South Sudan gained its independence after Dr. Garang passing in 2005 but this doesn’t remove GARANG’s immersed contributions during the war of liberation which in my view in one way or another led to independence.

Fourth, Ateny doesn’t know how to articulate his thoughts and this is evidenced in his retraction and original piece on the “founding father question.” Therefore, it’s unfortunate that Salva KIIR has employed a press secretary who only doodles on issues of national character, lied when accorded with an opportunity and chicken out when challenged.

For Mr. Ajang, Mr. Kuir Garang & Koc and many others who made their oppositions to Ateny’s article known. I am for the opinion that most of their arguments were superficial and some had unwarranted emotional undertones and foul language which made them irrelevant.

For example, Kuir Garang argued that Ateny was not genuine because his thoughts were driven by material “bootlicking” interest and Ateny’s personal problem with the dead man, Dr. Garang. Thus, Ateny is ill-bent to trashing Dr. Garang’s family good image and legacy, according to Kuire. The caveat in this regard is fact that this issue of founding father in South Sudan has arisen before and unfit be boiled down to Ateny’s personal problem with John Garang.

Another Kuire Garang’s line of argument is as follow:
“President Kiir only implemented what was already negotiated by John Garang between 2002 and 2005. Without John Garang and his role in founding of the SPLM/A, Liberation strategies and CPA negotiation, we wouldn’t have a nation called South Sudan. Without John Garang negotiating the CPA personally with Ustaz Taha, President Kiir would have had neither an agreement to implement nor any country for which he’d have assumed presidency.”

All is true but Kuir seems to forget that Garang was not alone in signing the CPA and during the war of liberation. For example, KIIR and many others were part and parcel of the liberation and peace agreement and KIIR himself signed one of the protocols in the CPA.

Moreover, Kuir failed to mention the declaration of independence and signing into law the South Sudan’s virgin constitution which are vital in considering possibilities for anyone to be the founding father of the nation.

Brother Kuir’s justifications for Dr. Garang as one of the founding fathers of South Sudan was based on the liberation struggle, but, I must clarify that the SPLM/A’s vision for the Sudan under Dr. John Garang was a secular Sudan based on the separation between church and state and has nothing to do with the Right of Self-determination for the people of South Sudan.

If anything, Dr. John was true to his words. It’s true that he died promoting the secular Sudan agenda which embodied freedom, equality, justice and prosperity for all Sudanese in the Sudan. Needless to say that Dr. John has say time and again that he was fighting for united Sudan and that South Sudanese are not secessionists.

In numerous occasions, Dr. John Garang even boasted openly about firing his first bullet against the separatists. Therefore, these are facts, hard to deny and damning reasons to question Dr. John Garang’s qualifications to be one of the founding father of South Sudan.

Besides, it was wrong for Kuir Garang to compare Dr. John’s political vision to those of Mwzee Kenyatta of Kenya, Nkrumah of Ghana, Mwalimu Nyere of Tanzania and so forth, simply because these leaders fought for an outright independence of their nations from the colonial rules which is incompatible to what Dr. John fought and died for in the Sudan.

On a personal note, it’s perplexing seeing people who should know better about the state affairs of South Sudan and refused to be honest. Brother Kuir knows better and should be honest.

Finally, I agreed with Kuir Garang that Ateny Wek is a pathetic lair and has lied in numerous occasions in the past. Ateny also has unnecessarily centred his piece on late Dr. Garang’s death and family than the criteria for the founding father.

Mading Koc’s argument for the part is in line with Kuir Garang’s piece. Besides, Koc argued that “Dr. Garang knew that people of South Sudan would conduct referendum on January 2011 and they would proclaim their independence on the 9th of July 2011… there was no coma and there was nothing whatsoever that KIIR did in the CPA.”

This is puzzling and undoubtedly one of the emotional undertones I mentioned above. If I may, it’s true that Dr. Garang signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (PA) but he was unaware the referendum for the people of South Sudan would be conducted successfully on January 2011 and South Sudan would declare independence on July 9th, 2011.

Rightfully so, you would agree that Mr. Koc is dwelling on misplaced platform and misguided assumption simply because the successful implementation and outcome of the CPA at least for South Sudanese was unknown before and even after Dr. GARANG died.

If for any wild reason, one would think that Dr. Garang knew the successful outcomes of all protocols signed in the CPA, then, it would be equally true to say the Abyei, the Nuba Mountain and the Blue Nile protocols were to be successful as well even though all were abrogated by Khartoum at will. I wonder how my brother Mading Koc would explain this diversion in a lay man terms.

On the other hand, Mr. Pager Ajang’s piece dwelled much in comparing SALVA KIIR’s contributions during the war of liberation struggle in contrast to that of Dr. Garang, which in my view is irrelevant in the light of the founding father.

It’s true that SALVA KIIR has not done much compare to GARANG but there are also things KIIR has done which could have been attributed to claims of the founding father status, and these includes the declaration of independence and signing into law the constitution of South Sudan.

In regard to other dramatic reactions toward Ateny’s piece, I felt there was no proper reason to respond to them because they were all amount to unnecessary abusive nature this matter turned to in the social media.
The founding father of South Sudan.

Father of the Nation is an honorific title given to a man or men considered to be driving force behind the establishment of their country and in this respect I must affirm that South Sudan does not have one monolithic founding father. Men who were the driving force behind South Sudan’s independence were many and I am pleased to announced that Dr. John Garang is one of them.

One of my reasoning is that Dr. John Garang de Mabior led a guerilla movement, Sudan People Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) which fought a deadly civil war for 21 years to remove the despotic regime in the Sudan.
As a result of this seemingly endless civil war in the Sudan, the rulers in Khartoum then felt threatened and opted to allow the people of South Sudan to exercise the right of self determination which resulted to independence.

This accidental political trajectory underscored the legitimacy of Dr. Garang as one of the founding fathers of South Sudan. Without this, I am afraid Dr. Garang would qualify an honorific title of the founding father of South Sudan.

In contrast, Dr. Garang was a firm unionist. Without any doubt, Dr. John Garang was determined, prepared and died promoting the programs and agenda of secular Sudan which embodied freedom, equality, justice and prosperity for all Sudanese in the Sudan.

SALVA KIIR on the other hand played limited political roles in this respect but he (Kiir) inadvertently became chairman of the SPLM/A, First Vice President of Sudan and Principal of South Sudan after tragic death of John Garang in the helicopter crash in 2005.

Sadly, immediately after Garang’s sudden death, KIIR changed goal the post and joined his deputy Dr. Riek Machar whose central goal was to have an independent South Sudan. Both men championed for the Right of Self determination for the people of South Sudan and achieved it through a referendum. South Sudan became independence and Salva KIIR became the first President of the new nation.

This prospect could have landed Salva KIIR an honorific title of the founding father of the nation but KIIR ruined when he turned South Sudanese against each other and the nation into a killing field. As a result, Salva Kiir became a satanic messiah of the high order.

For example, Salva KIIR planned and executed the massacre of 20, 000 Nuer innocent civilians in 2013 using his Dinka tribal militias and then trialed by retaliatory killings. This episode was also followed by mass killing of thousands of the Equatorians, the Fertits and the Chollo civilians in cold blood by Salva Kiir’s regime.

In closing, the question asked about who is the founding father of South Sudan is significantly important and required honest and constructive answer. Therefore, anyone who downplayed or misrepresented this profound question in attempts to protect Dr. John Garang de Mabior’s legacy or wrongly award Salva Kiir with what he did not sow is disingenuous.

J. Nguen is a Chairman of Nuer Supreme Council, Political Commentator and Analyst. He can be reached at jamesnguen@gmail.com

Rampaging Kiir’s SPLA troops raped foreigners, killed local: What happened exactly on JULY 11, 2016

NOV/06/2016, SSN: The Southsudannation.com website brings this story as reported exactly by the Associated Press of what happened after the July 8, 2016, fight at the Presidential Palace in Juba in the Kiir-Machar new war and the rape and rampage carried out by the mostly Dinka soldiers ethnic cleansing of Nuer men and the infamous rape and murder in the Terrain Hotel that has now led to the dismissal of the Kenyan Commander of the UNMISS forces in Juba. This has now also led to the arrest and forced deportation by Kenya government of Machar’s SPLM-IO spokesman, James Gadet to Juba where his fate remains unknown;

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The soldier pointed his AK-47 at the female aid worker and gave her a choice.

“Either you have sex with me, or we make every man here rape you and then we shoot you in the head,” she remembers him saying.

She didn’t really have a choice. By the end of the evening, she had been raped by 15 South Sudanese soldiers.

On July 11, South Sudanese troops, fresh from winning a battle in the capital, Juba, over opposition forces, went on a nearly four-hour rampage through a residential compound popular with foreigners, in one of the worst targeted attacks on aid workers in South Sudan’s three-year civil war. They shot dead a local journalist while forcing the foreigners to watch, raped several foreign women, singled out Americans, beat and robbed people and carried out mock executions, several witnesses told The Associated Press.

For hours throughout the assault, the U.N. peacekeeping force stationed less than a mile away refused to respond to desperate calls for help. Neither did embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.

The Associated Press interviewed by phone eight survivors, both male and female, including three who said they were raped. The other five said they were beaten; one was shot. Most insisted on anonymity for their safety or to protect their organizations still operating in South Sudan.

The accounts highlight, in raw detail, the failure of the U.N. peacekeeping force to uphold its core mandate of protecting civilians, notably those just a few minutes’ drive away. The Associated Press previously reported that U.N. peacekeepers in Juba did not stop the rapes of local women by soldiers outside the U.N.’s main camp last month.

The attack on the Terrain hotel complex shows the hostility toward foreigners and aid workers by troops under the command of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, who has been fighting supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar since civil war erupted in December 2013. Both sides have been accused of abuses. The U.N. recently passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution to send more peacekeeping troops to protect civilians.

Army spokesman Lul Ruai did not deny the attack at the Terrain but said it was premature to conclude the army was responsible. “Everyone is armed, and everyone has access to uniforms and we have people from other organized forces, but it was definitely done by people of South Sudan and by armed people of Juba,” he said.

A report on the incident compiled by the Terrain’s owner at Ruai’s request, seen by the AP, alleges the rapes of at least five women, torture, mock executions, beatings and looting. An unknown number of South Sudanese women were also assaulted.

The attack came just as people in Juba were thinking the worst was over.

Three days earlier, gunfire had erupted outside the presidential compound between armed supporters of the two sides in South Sudan’s civil war, at the time pushed together under an uneasy peace deal. The violence quickly spread across the city.

Throughout the weekend, bullets whizzed through the Terrain compound, a sprawling complex with a pool, squash court and a bar patronized by expats and South Sudanese elites. It is also in the shadow of the U.N.’s largest camp in Juba.

By Monday, the government had nearly defeated the forces under Machar, who fled the city. As both sides prepared to call for a cease-fire, some residents of the Terrain started to relax.

“Monday was relatively chill,” one survivor said.

What was thought to be celebratory gunfire was heard. And then the soldiers arrived. A Terrain staffer from Uganda said he saw between 80 and 100 men pour into the compound after breaking open the gate with gunshots and tire irons. The Terrain’s security guards were armed only with shotguns and were vastly outnumbered. The soldiers then went to door to door, taking money, phones, laptops and car keys.

“They were very excited, very drunk, under the influence of something, almost a mad state, walking around shooting off rounds inside the rooms,” one American said.

One man wore a blue police uniform, but the rest wore camouflage, the American said. Many had shoulder patches with the face of a tiger, the insignia worn by the president’s personal guard.

For about an hour, soldiers beat the American with belts and the butts of their guns and accused him of hiding rebels. They fired bullets at his feet and close to his head. Eventually, one soldier who appeared to be in charge told him to leave the compound. Soldiers at the gate looked at his U.S. passport and handed it back, with instructions.

“You tell your embassy how we treated you,” they said. He made his way to the nearby U.N. compound and appealed for help.

Meanwhile, soldiers were breaking into a two-story apartment block in the Terrain which had been deemed a safe house because of a heavy metal door guarding the apartments upstairs. Warned by a Kenyan staffer, more than 20 people inside, most of them foreigners, tried to hide. About 10 squeezed into a single bathroom.

The building shook as soldiers shot at the metal door and pried metal bars off windows for more than an hour, said residents. Once inside, the soldiers started ransacking the rooms and assaulting people they found.

Some of the soldiers were violent as they sexually assaulted women, said the woman who said she was raped by 15 men. Others, who looked to be just 15 or 16 years old, looked scared and were coerced into the act.

“One in particular, he was calling you, ‘Sweetie, we should run away and get married.’ It was like he was on a first date,” the woman said. “He didn’t see that what he was doing was a bad thing.”

After about an hour and a half, the soldiers broke into the bathroom. They shot through the door, said Jesse Bunch, an American contractor who was hit in the leg.

“We kill you! We kill you!” the soldiers shouted, according to a Western woman in the bathroom. “They would shoot up at the ceiling and say, ‘Do you want to die?’ and we had to answer ‘No!'”

The soldiers then pulled people out one by one. One woman said she was sexually assaulted by multiple men. Another Western woman said soldiers beat her with fists and threatened her with their guns when she tried to resist. She said five men raped her.

During the attack on the Terrain, several survivors told the AP that soldiers specifically asked if they were American. “One of them, as soon as he said he was American, he was hit with a rifle butt,” said a woman.

When the soldiers came across John Gatluak, they knew he was local. The South Sudanese journalist worked for Internews, a media development organization funded by USAID. He had taken refuge at the Terrain after being briefly detained a few days earlier. The tribal scars on his forehead made it obvious he was Nuer, the same as opposition leader, Riek Machar.

Upon seeing him, the soldiers pushed him to the floor and beat him, according to the same woman who saw the American beaten.

Later in the attack, and after Kiir’s side declared a ceasefire at 6 p.m., the soldiers forced the foreigners to stand in a semi-circle, said Gian Libot, a Philippines citizen who spent much of the attack under a bed until he was discovered.

One soldier ranted against foreigners. “He definitely had pronounced hatred against America,” Libot said, recalling the soldier’s words: “You messed up this country. You’re helping the rebels. The people in the U.N., they’re helping the rebels.”

During the tirade, a soldier hit a man suspected of being American with a rifle butt. At one point, the soldier threatened to kill all the foreigners assembled. “We’re gonna show the world an example,” Libot remembered him saying.

Then Gatluak was hauled in front of the group. One soldier shouted “Nuer,” and another soldier shot him twice in the head. He shot the dying Gatluak four more times while he lay on the ground.

“All it took was a declaration that he was different, and they shot him mercilessly,” Libot said.

The shooting seemed to be a turning point for those assembled outside, Libot said. Looting and threats continued, but beatings started to draw to a close. Other soldiers continued to assault men and women inside the apartment block.

From the start of the attack, those inside the Terrain compound sent messages pleading for help by text and Facebook messages and emails.

“All of us were contacting whoever we could contact. The U.N., the U.S. embassy, contacting the specific battalions in the U.N., contacting specific departments,” said the woman raped by 15 men.

A member of the U.N.’s Joint Operations Center in Juba first received word of the attack at 3:37 p.m., minutes after the breach of the compound, according to an internal timeline compiled by a member of the operations center and seen by AP.

Eight minutes later another message was sent to a different member of the operations center from a person inside Terrain saying that people were hiding there. At 4:22 p.m., that member received another message urging help.

Five minutes after that, the U.N. mission’s Department of Safety and Security and its military command wing were alerted. At 4:33 p.m., a Quick Reaction Force, meant to intervene in emergencies, was informed. One minute later, the timeline notes the last contact on Monday from someone trapped inside Terrain.

For the next hour and a half the timeline is blank. At 6:52, shortly before sunset, the timeline states that “DSS would not send a team.”

About 20 minutes later, a Quick Reaction Force of Ethiopians from the multinational U.N. mission was tasked to intervene, coordinating with South Sudan’s army chief of staff, Paul Malong, who was also sending soldiers. But the Ethiopian battalion stood down, according to the timeline. Malong’s troops eventually abandoned their intervention too because it took too long for the Quick Reaction Force to act.

The American who was released early in the assault and made it to the U.N. base said he also alerted U.N. staff. At around dusk, a U.N. worker he knew requested three different battalions to send a Quick Reaction Force.

“Everyone refused to go. Ethiopia, China, and Nepal. All refused to go,” he said.

Eventually, South Sudanese security forces entered the Terrain and rescued all but three Western women and around 16 Terrain staff.

No one else was sent that night to find them. The U.N. timeline said a patrol would go in the morning, but this “was cancelled due to priority.” A private security firm rescued the three Western women the staffers the next morning.

“The peacekeepers did not venture out of the bases to protect civilians under imminent threat,” Human Rights Watch said Monday in a report on abuses throughout Juba.

Asked why U.N. peacekeepers didn’t respond to repeated pleas for help, the U.N. said it is investigating.

“Obviously, we regret the loss of life and the violence that the people who were in Hotel Terrain endured, and we take this incident very seriously,” the deputy spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, Farhan Haq, told reporters Monday. “As you’re aware, we have called on the national authorities to investigate this incident thoroughly and to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The U.S. Embassy, which also received requests for help during the attack, “was not in a position to intervene,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters Monday. She said the U.S. ambassador instead contacted local government officials, and she noted that the Terrain area was controlled by South Sudanese government forces at the time.

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that “during the fighting throughout the city, the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan responded to distress calls from the compound and urgently contacted South Sudanese government officials, who sent a response force to the site to stop the attack.”

“We are deeply concerned that United Nations peacekeepers were apparently either incapable of or unwilling to respond to calls for help. We have requested and are awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the United Nations and demand swift corrective action in the event that these allegations are substantiated,” she said in a statement.

The assault at the Terrain pierced a feeling of security among some foreigners who had assumed that they would be protected by their governments or the hundreds of U.N. peacekeepers almost next door.

One of the women gang-raped said security advisers from an aid organization living in the compound told residents repeatedly that they were safe because foreigners would not be targeted. She said: “This sentence, ‘We are not targeted,’ I heard half an hour before they assaulted us.”

(From the Associated Press on-line)

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”.

We know the Truth by the efforts others try to hide it: The Dinka Master Plan

BY: Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, OCT/29/2016, SSN;

“Tell no lies … Claim no easy victories.” Amilcar Cabral
Josef Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist, famed for turning a lie into truth through repetition. These days, a falsehood, simulating Goebbels methodology, is being engineered to become some kind of truth in future. It all began with the US tour by Ustaz Bona Malual in 2015. On 16 May 2016, Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk found the thirty-second anniversary of the formation of the SPLM/SPLA an occasion to resonate Bona Malual’s message that only the Dinka fought and died in large numbers in the liberation of South Sudan.

While addressing an induction seminar for the so-called states SPLM interim Chairperson, President Salva Kiir seemed to push the point home.

The Dinka is the single largest nationality in South Sudan, and the Aja in Western Bahr el Ghazal could be the smallest nationality and there is no qualms about that. It also goes without saying that all the sixty-four nationalities inhabiting South Sudan in one-way or the other participated in the war of national liberation.

In the social and political engineering calculus of South Sudan, liberation was an ‘integrating’ process leading to the fusion of these nationalities into one South Sudan nation. However, with their statements, some Dinka leaders are now attempting to ‘differentiate’ the SPLA combatants and martyrs as well as South Sudanese people based on their respective nationalities.

The claims, therefore, that Dinka alone fought in the war of national liberation is not only dangerously fallacious but also a betrayal of all other nationalities, including the Nuba and the Funj, whose bones litter different parts of South Sudan. It comes in the context of this differentiation, not integrating with others, to justify the monopoly of power and wealth by a tiny clique in the name of Dinka nationality.

While it is imperative and of strategic significance to combat this falsehood as earlier as possible, it is equally necessary to understand the process of ‘differentiation’ as opposed to ‘integration’ vide which Dinka nationality or sections it came to dominate at the different stages of the SPLM/A life.

Going by the numbers, the Dinka and for that matter the Bahr el Ghazal without question would be the largest single group in the SPLA. The Nuer, the Azande, the Chollo, Otuho, Toposa, etc. would follow the Dinka in succession. What mattered here would be their integration and fusion into South Sudan nation based on freedom, justice, fraternity and democracy.

However, this did not occur as anticipated in the morale songs of the SPLA combatants as they passed out from training in their numerous divisions. Many people including myself are witnesses to some funny happenings in the training camps, which reflect almost mirror images of the happenings nowadays.

As Thomas Sankara once said, “without a patriotic political education a rebel (my addition) soldier is only a potential criminal.”

We may also add, without ideological education and orientation a liberation movement is only a bourgeois petit Trojan horse in a people’s stock shade. Its so-called national liberation become a tool for supplanting the oppressor without transforming his methods.

With the peace agreement, the combatants and leaders recoiled back to their status ante; the gears disengage and the SPLM/SPLA beats a retreat to the ethnic cocoons and old ways of differentiating people according their ethnic configurations.

Those who were fugitives of Sudan justice system went back to their trade after the war. The local feuds and conflicts fudged by the exigencies of the war of national liberation resurfaced and insecurity became ubiquitous throughout South Sudan.

Eleven years into peace with Khartoum, President Salva Kiir and Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk can only reminisce, of all whom they commanded, only those hailing from their Dinka nationality. The Nuers, who were second in term of numbers, degenerated into ‘tribal militias.’

This policy differentiation must have started much earlier but as subtleties. It explains why the SPLA officers ‘pensioned off’ in 1992/3 hailed essentially from one locality, which in hindsight suggests it was an intelligent scheme for ‘preservation’ consequent to a devastation of that locality that occurred a year earlier.

Did we ask ourselves why the so-called lost boys; transported to US at the dying days of the war, hailed from one nationality? Did it ever occur to any one that it was an investment? In this case, the use of ‘lost boys’ is a deceptive misnomer.

That the Dinka alone constitutes the SPLA, as it apparently is, was not because the other nationalities, especially the Equatorians, have refused to join as President Salva Kiir explicitly alleged. It is not that they do not possess warrior’s traits as wrongly perceived by some people, but simply because of this differentiation practices in the distribution of ranks and deployment process and assignment of duties, arrogant and condescending behaviours of the dominant authorities in the SPLA.

This prompted massive defection among SPLA combatants and the retreat to their home areas, inadvertently leading to inordinately huge sedimentation of the Dinka and Nuer in the SPLA. The Dinka particularly the Bor dominating the officer’s corps while the Nuer the foot soldiers. It could have been deliberate policy to justify such binary thrash as the ‘liberators’ and the ‘liberated’ or the ‘born to rule’ and the ‘ruled’.

I recall a sad incident among the SPLA Nasir forces somewhere in Eastern Equatoria. The combatants demoralized due to repeated defeats so the level of discipline dropped to the lowest. The commander (Nuer) decided to have one soldier (a Nuer) executed by firing squad. When his clans heard this they rose up in arms against the commander forcing him to rescind the order and instead got an innocent Equatorian, who had nobody to stand up for him, to be executed instead – a travesty of justice. May his soul rest in peace.

Another incident involved another innocent Murle soldier, bodyguard of a Murle commander then holidaying in Narus, executed by SPLA to appease heavily armed Toposa youth who wanted to attack Narus to avenge one of them murdered by some Bor SPLA soldiers. The SPLA commander was a Bor and this led to the rebellion of the Murle SPLA commander.

I brought up these unfortunate examples to prove the point I made above about the SPLA shunning of political and ideological education but also to protest the murdering of innocent unarmed civilians especially those Dinka travelling on roads or Shilluk fishing on the Nile. These wanton acts of inhumanity do not compensate socially or psychologically for the crimes by those people in power.

Why is the civil war stirring up such animosities, and why are the stakes being heightened as to prompt the president of the republic to declare publicly that he would go to command war in Yei against those killing his tribesmen?

Why didn’t the massacre of twenty thousand ethnic Nuer in Juba (December 2013) or the massacre of unarmed demonstrators in Wau (December 2012) raise in the president such a rancour?

Does it mean to President Salva Kiir that his people are only Dinka and not all South Sudanese over whom he has ruled for eleven years? This is exactly what I meant by differentiation process. It proves the unconstitutionality of President Salva Kiir. He has voluntarily delegitimized himself.

There is, however, something poignant to this entire stratagem. President Salva Kiir is presiding over the construction of a falsehood that may become a truth in a few years to come. After ten years from now the small nationality groups – enormously called fertit, may become extinct; why? Because the strategy of annexing Raga to Awiel is to overwhelm and submerge the Fertit with the Malual Dinka.

Similarly, the case of East Bank Chollo Kingdom is being pushed in a manner that Chollo children born in displaced people’s camps will never know the truth after ten years from now. In the same vein, Narus, Heiman –New Kush, Nimule, Laboni. Kaya, Yei, Maridi, Yambio and Tambura are progressively being Dinkanized and pastoralized.

This socio-demographic transformation occurring in South Sudan, driven by the civil war, works in favour of the Dinka that in twenty-five years or even less the Dinka will be socially, economically and politically dominant in every corner of South Sudan.

This will even accelerate if the Salva Kiir and the JCE win this war by maintaining the status quo through ARCISS or a renegotiated peace agreement. The apathy the IGAD region has shown following the outbreak of violence in July encourages President Salva Kiir to pursue the dictates of the JCE, who are now engineering the formation of other councils of elders like the recently agreement with the so-called Jubek State Council of Elders, which include Dinka elders domicile in the Juba.

This is a dangerous scheme camouflaged as Establishment Order 36/2015. Recognizing and writing against its architects – the JCE and some think tank consultants, in any way does not make me anti-Dinka.

It is incumbent on me and other intellectuals and political thinkers and activists including Dinka compatriots, to say that consequent to implementation of policies emanating from this fascist ideology pits Dinka people against other nationalities. It does not augur well for the Dinka nor for South Sudan.

That is why the JCE and we must expose the think tank consultants; demystify, delegitimize and disempower President Salva Kiir Mayardit. He has let down the people of South Sudan.

Peter Adwok Nyaba
28 October 2016

LATEST: UN sounds alarm over rising ethnic tensions between Dinka and Equatoria communities

BY: Joseph Oduha in JUBA, The EAST AFRICAN, OCT/26/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY:

**Several leaflets with hateful messages were last week found outside the gates of humanitarian organisations in Awiel West, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State.
**The leaflets, purportedly authored by individuals from the Dinka community, warned the Equatorians to leave Bahr el-Ghazal or be eliminated.
**President Salva Kiir recently said the leaders from Equatoria should take the responsibility and stop the ambushes along the highways in Central and Eastern Equatoria.

A United Nations agency has warned about the rising tensions between South Sudan’s Dinka and Equatoria communities.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, said in a statement the tensions could explode into mass atrocities if leaders from both sides failed to immediately defuse them.

Mr Hussein identified the factors responsible as including ethnic rhetoric, hate speech and outright incitement to violence by sections of the two groups.

He said several leaflets with graphic hateful messages were last week found outside the gates of humanitarian organisations in Awiel West, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State.

Northern Bahr el-Ghazal is the home of South Sudan Army Chief of General Staff Paul Malong.

Mr Hussein said the leaflets, purportedly authored by individuals from the Dinka community, warned the Equatorians to leave Bahr el-Ghazal or be eliminated.

“Retaliation attack must begin right now! One Nation, One People slogan is dead. The consequences will be graphically and horrifically huge,” read one leaflet dated October 14.

Community leaders

The UN official called on the political leaders to urgently condemn the incitement to violence and take action to remedy the situation.

Mr Hussein noted that an Equatorian staff member of a humanitarian organisation was attacked in Aweil Town on October 16, prompting the evacuation of at least 92 Equatoria aid workers from the area and 12 from Bor towns respectively.

“I urge President Salva Kiir and all political and community leaders with influence to urgently and unambiguously condemn the incitement to violence and to take urgent measures to defuse the tensions,” he said.

He said the threats were in reaction to the killing of an unconfirmed number of Dinka civilians travelling to Juba by bus along the Juba-Yei and Nimule highways on October 8 and October 10 respectively.

President Salva Kiir recently said the leaders from Equatoria should take the responsibility and stop the ambushes along the highways in Central and Eastern Equatoria.

President Kiir claimed that the regional leaders have the capacity to address insecurity concerns.

South Sudan denies rumours of president Salva Kiir’s death as tensions rise

By Different Agencies: OCT/12/2016, SSN;

South Sudan’s government was on Wednesday forced to deny President Salva Kiir had died, following days of rumours over his health that have heightened tensions in the capital Juba.

“This is a mere lie, there is nothing as such, Salva Kiir has not even been sick,” Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told journalists in Juba, slamming “wild rumours” he said aimed to divide the people of South Sudan.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Wednesday has called for calm and a spirit of forgiveness. Kiir also made a public appearance in the streets of Juba town this afternoon to refute rumors of his deathKiir went into an open pickup vehicle accompanied by some senior government officials to the neighborhoods of Gudele, Kator, Malakia and Konyo-Konyo.

“I think seeing is the believing and for you to see me when I am said to have been died is the believing that I am alive,” said Kiir after the tour around Juba streets.

According to Kiir’s own statement on national television, he said he left office earlier on Tuesday as he was feeling some abnormal heart beat

“Of course nobody can come to the media to deny his or her own death but this is what you have now subjected me to. I am alive and well. I want to assure my people of South Sudan that what they heard last night and this morning where all fabrications by the enemies of peace.”

Kiir said those who wishing him death don’t want peace. The president said the country has suffered for a very long time and “We would not accept any fighting. If there are elements still among us doing their job in between us, it will be a matter of time, we will handle them.”

The rumours have been doing the rounds on Twitter, and even spread as far as Uganda where Kiir, 65, was reported to have fled for medical treatment.

Residents of Juba reported a higher than usual presence of soldiers on the streets, as the rumours coincided with mounting concerns over an uptick in violence in the troubled nation in recent weeks.

“We are scared of the situation. You cannot know what is exactly happening but (there are) rumours that the president has died. Well, it is said fighting may break out and this is why I am scared,” said Moses Modi, a resident of Juba who was staying home over security fears.

Another Juba resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, reported that some schools had sent pupils back home.

“There are soldiers deployed along the road. Mainly the roads around the ministries and the State House … I am at work but leaving (for) home now. Because the tension is high,” she added.

South Sudan, which gained independence in July 2011, descended into war just two and a half years later when Kiir in December 2013 accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.

Numerous attempts to shore up a fragile truce failed, and in a major setback to peace efforts, fierce clashes erupted in Juba on July 8 this year between Kiir’s guards and troops loyal to Machar.

The international community has expressed deep concerns over a spread in violence since the July clashes, which pushed the number of refugees from the war-scarred nation past the one-million mark, according to the UNHCR.

In a further blow to peace hopes, Machar last month urged “a popular armed resistance” against his rival’s government.

Machar, who fled to Khartoum in the July fighting, on Wednesday left for South Africa for medical tests.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Wednesday said it was “extremely concerned over increased reports of violence and armed conflict in various parts of the country in the last few weeks.”

In the town of Leer, in the north, UNMISS forces reported heavy artillery and gunfire exchanges between forces loyal to Kiir and Machar, leading to an unspecified number of deaths and sending local populations fleeing.

In a statement UNMISS said it had been denied access to an area where some 21 civilians were reportedly killed in an ambush on the road between Juba and the southern city of Yei over the weekend.