Category: Press Releases

LATEST: Eastern African Standby Force (EASF) ready to deploy to South Sudan to monitor new peace deal

By FRED OLUOCH, SEP/23/2018, SSN;

The Eastern African Standby Force is ready to deploy troops to South Sudan if requested by the African Union, despite failing to intervene in the Burundi crisis in 2015.

The 5,800-strong force attained full operational capability in December 2014, but has remained in obscurity despite the conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan and Burundi.

This is unlike its equivalent in the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which has been active and intervened in conflict-prone areas, with the latest intervention coming in January 2017 when the force removed Gambian president Yahya Jammeh.

EASF director Abdillahi Omar Bouh told The EastAfrican that deployment requires heavy resources.

“In South Sudan, the Igad must first deal with the mediation, which is already complete. The question now is, should Igad deploy troops or EASF? Igad has already given the task to Djibouti, Uganda, Somalia and Sudan. We have written to the chairman of Igad requesting that EASF be asked to go to South Sudan,” he said.

On the Burundi crisis, he said Bujumbura did not ask for help.

“In case a member state is in crisis, they are called to a Policy Organ Committee meeting to explain the situation because we cannot deploy without the permission of the affected member. Burundi said they had no problem.”

EASF is made up of troops from 10 partner states — Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

Among the key challenges the force faces is that three countries—Burundi, Comoros and Somalia—are yet to ratify the agreement that established the force in 2014.

The future of the Eastern African Standby Force (EASF) is in doubt due to bickering between partner states and the slow pace of regional integration.

This is despite efforts by member countries to rejuvenate the force, which is mandated to enhance peace and security in the region.

The East African Standby Force (EASF) has begun recruiting civilians who will be trained, growing its numbers even before the force is deployed in the region.

Even though having a standby force to respond to regional or continental political crises is considered prudent, the large force is mostly seen as toothless and passive especially in the face of violence in Burundi and Somalia.

EASF director Issimael Chanfi said the ongoing recruitment is part of the African Union guidelines that civilians working for the force must fulfil specific training requirements for them to be included on the AU roster.

“This is an ongoing process, and we are going to all member states conducting interviews and recruiting. We are just preparing them for future deployment where they may be called by the AU,” said Mr Chanfi.

The AU determines where and when the force will be deployed.

“Responding in a crisis depends on many things: The force is made up of 10 countries; these have to endorse deployment, and then the final endorsement has to come from the AU,” said Joshua Kariuki, in charge of rostering and co-ordination at the EASF secretariat. “Ours is to make sure we have the required people, who are fully trained and equipped for the job. The rest we leave to the AU to decide.”

LATEST: Kiir’s SPLA forces increasing violation in Yei River State

SEPT/04/2018; Press Release

On the regime’s increased violation of the ceasefire in Yei River State.

It is unfortunate that Juba as one of the key partners to the ongoing peace process is in the most serious violation of the ceasefire by launching series of attacks on SPLA (IO) positions, creating a setback to reconciliation efforts.

In addition to their recent attack on our positions in Kupera, another gun battle erupted when the SPLA stormed our positions at Kendiri and Managalatore in Kajo-Keji County yesterday and today. Yesterday the warmongers were ruthlessly crushed and repulsed.

Today’s attack started at around 800AM. They came with two land cruisers pick ups mounted with 12.7 and one APC but the formidable SPLA (IO) under Brigadier General Moses Lokujo is still in military engagement with the attackers.

We are also aware that the regime is planning to further attack our positions in Kupera and Mukaya payams of Lainya County and other areas that are yet to be known in the State.

After suffering a humiliating defeat at the battle of Jamara and Kupera which led to a great loss that included the death of their senior military officers, the government decided to deploy more troops in Yei yesterday. Today the regime’s Governor of Yei River State transacted money to Oliver Duku, the regime’s Liaison Officer in Moyo District to procure more fuel for their force in Kajo-Keji. All these are in preparation for the planned attacks against our positions.

We call upon the CTSAMM and UNMISS to expeditiously investigate and halt these violations and take necessary remedial actions against the warlike regime in Juba.

Nevertheless, we shall continue to observe the ceasefire and only conter-react in the face of any confrontation campaign against our positions.

Wayi Godwill Edward
Spokesperson
Office of the Governor
Yei River State.
————————
Press Release, SEPT/02/2018, SSN;
On the SPLA-IO’s recapture of Jamara and Kupera from pres. Kiir’s army

This morning our gallant forces under a joint command of Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Lemi Lo Mukaya, Col. Samuel Gai and Col. Noel Lomeri, launched a coordinated counter-attack after the Kiir’s SPLA captured Jamara and Kupera last Wednesday.

The anti-peace SPLA have been successfully flushed out and we have seized full control of our territory.

Thirteen Kiir’s SPLA soldiers went missing in action and scores are wounded while the rest are miserably scattered into the bushes and are being pursued by our brave force.

In light of the constant aggression from Juba, we would want to remind our supporters and all South Sudanese that SPLM/A (IO) remains fully committed to the peace process as the less costly solution to the catastrophic war.

However, we will mercilessly respond to any further provocation from the belligerent regime in Juba.

Wayi Godwill Edward
Spokesperson
Office of the SPLM (IO) Governor.
Yei River State.
————————

SEPT/01/2018;
Press Release: Kiir’s SPLA attack SPLA IO in Yei River State

On the regime’s ceaseless military action against SPLA (IO) in Kupera,Yei River State .

The government forces from Yei Town and Pakula barracks have been on military offensive against SPLA (IO) in Kupera Payam of Lainya County for the last four days.

The continuing deadly military operations started in the morning of August, 29th 2018 when the regime’s Governor of Yei River State dispatched his commissioner Emmanuel Khamis Richard and Executive Director Edward Lubad of their purported Kupera County to raise their flag in the area that has been under our firm control over the last two years.

The commissioner and the Executive Director who have now raised their flag at Jamara Center, about three miles away from Jamara 7 were heavily escorted by SPLA force with several land cruisers pick up mounted with heavy artilleries, two military trucks and two APCs.

The attack started at our outpost of Jamara 7 and has escalated into Kupera after our forces tactfully withdrew to prevent civilians’ casualties since the belligerent regime’s force randomly shelled the area with heavy artilleries. Since then they have been taking more forces from Yei Town to reinforce their fighting force in the front line. As I write now the war of occupation is continuing in Kupera Payam.

This is a clear violation of the ceasefire declared by President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, the SPLM/A (IO) Chairman and Commander-in-Chief and has resulted into fresh displacements of thousands of civilians from an area which was relatively peaceful over the last years to the refugee settlements in Uganda.

We categorically condemn this continuous act of hostilities from the regime’s government in Yei and we demand that the CTSAMM’s MVT in Yei and UNMISS should quickly intervene to investigate and verify this incident and to ensure that the anti-peace elements behind the move are made to account.

Nevertheless, we would want to inform our civilians to be calm as SPLA (IO) is taking all measures in its power to restore calm in the area.

Wayi Godwill Edward
Spokesperson
Office of the Governor
Yei River State.

PDM Rejects Initialing Khartoum Agreement

AUG/30/2018;
In light of the news and public statements issued jointly by the SPLM/A-IO and SSOA delegation to the Khartoum HLRF on initialing of the Draft Revitalized ARCSS this day 30th August 2018 in Khartoum, Sudan, PDM would like to reiterate its rejection to initialing of the Draft Revitalized ARCSS, and as a member of SSOA, PDM along with other members have not authorized Mr. Gabriel Chanson Chang, the interim Chair, to initial this Agreement in the name of SSOA as an opposition Bloc.

This action by SSOA interim Chair, therefore contravenes and violated the collectively agreed position of SSOA members that initialing and signing of the Revitalized Khartoum Agreement shall be in the name of each constituent SSOA member organization and not SSOA as a Bloc as did the interim Chair.

The consensus of SSOA members has not been rescinded by any collective decision, nor by a counter consensus of SSOA members in the last few days.

In the view of PDM, the original and preceding consensus still stands without change. The action of SSOA interim Chair to initial Khartoum Peace Agreement today is procedurally illegal and is without legitimacy, hence it carries no effect and is therefore null and void.

PDM wrote on 25th August 2018 stating its position to SSOA interim Chair in response to a request for viewpoints submission from all constituent SSOA members about this very issue.

To date, no decision was reached to grant consent to SSOA interim Chair request.

PDM would like to reiterate that the people of South Sudan call for a federal system of governance during the transitional period, based on three autonomous regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal with their borders as they stood on 1st January 1956.

PDM stands for a people-centric power sharing between the people of three autonomous regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria, and Bahr al Ghazal, with 33.33% power sharing for each region.

PDM does not support the elites-centric power sharing between SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-FDs, SSOA and OPP.

PDM supports the 3-autonomous regions solution with their 21 former districts and 79 counties of the 2005 CPA.

This approach renders the referendum on number of states and boundaries redundant as provided for in the Khartoum elites-centric power sharing agreement.

Dr. Hakim Dario
PDM Chair
press@pdm-rss.org

PDM position on SSOA members signing as a bloc

To: Hon. Mr. Gabriel Changson Chang
Interim SSOA Chair
Mobile: +254 725 331 244 (Direct/WhatsApp)
Email: chang.changson@gmail.com

Date: 26th August 2018;

Dear Mr. Gabriel Changson, interim SSOA Chair

Re: SSOA Delegations recommend that SSOA signs as a bloc

Further to your communication on the above, dated 25th August 2018, requesting SSOA leaders’ position on SSOA Delegations in Khartoum recommending ‘SSOA signs as a bloc’, am therefore writing on PDM’s behalf to communicate our response.

Firstly thank you for the letter, PDM position remains as before that SSOA does not initial or sign the agreement as a bloc.

All SSOA members initial and sign the agreement individually, each in the name of their organization, providing that they are satisfied with the final text of the proposed draft Agreement.

PDM is flabbergasted by the claim of the interim Chair that there is need to sign or initial the Agreement as a bloc to protect certain unnamed SSOA members.

Since when did protecting certain unnamed SSOA members has become such an overriding obligation that is critical to negotiation in good faith, and to initialing and signing the Khartoum agreement?

PDM is of the view that protection of all parties to the HLRF process, which includes SSOA members, lay with the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan Office, who are responsible for inviting all parties to the HLRF process in Khartoum.

However, the main reason offered by the interim Chair to sign as a bloc is “to protect some of our organizations that experience some difficulties these days”.

This statement is misleading and not persuasive. It’s also not evidence based, it doesn’t say which organizations needed protection and why, nor what “difficulties” they faced!

There is no justification either for hiding and not sharing any factual information or evidence from SSOA leaders about who those “organizations” are and what “difficulties” they are likely to face as a result of either signing in the name of their own organization or not.

The agreement text, in PDM’s view, should also record who the members of SSOA are, by way of signature, so that SSOA can be legally identifiable as associated with the specific names of its identifiable constituent members. This is not currently the case.

Secondly, the objective of SSOA was not about protecting some unknown, implied or un-named constituent member organizations, which are unidentifiable, but rather to negotiate in good faith in a legitimate peace process as parties to the HLRF.

PDM does not therefore agree with nor approve of initialing or signing of the agreement as a bloc in the name of SSOA without record of each constituent member’s initials or signature.

Any member of SSOA shall do so only in the name of their organization as a constituent member of SSOA. This position as adopted by all SSOA members, was borne out of the 27th June 2018 coerced SSOA signature as a bloc on Khartoum Declaration of Agreement (KDA).

Dr. Hakim Dario
PDM Chair
press@pdm-rss.org

LATEST Breaking News: Uganda Army invades and occupies Yei River State, South Sudan

AUG/29/2018, SSN;

Highly reliable sources from the ground have reported that a heavy deployment of Uganda Soldiers UPDF has illegally entered and invaded South Sudan Yei River State Counties, these are:
1)- Bamure of Kajokeji County
2)- Jalle Border of Kajokeji County, and
3)- Kaya Town of Morobu County.

This information comes directly from opposition forces on the ground as the situation develops, especially as this is an omnious military action aimed to preempt resumption of war between Yoweri Museveni’s ally, Kiir and the rebel forces fighting the Kiir army.

Museveni has been the only chief supporter of the South Sudanese president Kiir and has always aggresively responded by illegally entering South Sudan to rescue Kiir from any rebel military advances in the on-going ‘civil war’ in the country.

Rebel opposition forces and intelligence on the ground have also corroborated this latest development of Ugandan troops already having entered South Sudan and have called on all the opposition forces to be fully alert on the ground.

Furthermore, the opposition rebel forces categorically reject the presence and illegal deployments of foreign troops if there is a chance for real success of the on-going peace talks in Khartoum.

The rebel opposition wishes to inform the IGAD mediators of this omnious development and their absolute rejection of any deployments of foreign troops and illegal entry of military conveys of Ugandan or any other country’s troops inside South Sudan Towns.

The rebel forces on the ground are therefore appealing to their leaders in the on-going Khartoum so-called peace talks to seriously take this information and immediate action is urgently needed to prevent any aggression happening to our Soldiers.

Meanwhile, South Sudan rebel SPLM/O-in-Opposition chief, Riek Machar, along with the SSOA (South Sudan Opposition Alliance) on Tuesday refused to sign a final peace deal with the government that aims to end a brutal civil war, a Sudanese mediator said.

“The main South Sudanese opposition groups, including the SPLM-IO (Machar faction), refused to sign the final document demanding that their reservations be guaranteed in it,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Al-Dierdiry Ahmed told reporters.

The warring South Sudanese parties have held weeks of talks in Khartoum in search of a comprehensive peace deal to end the conflict in the world’s youngest country that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions since it erupted in December 2013.

    Khartoum Peace Agreement will make South Sudan a colony of Uganda and Arab North Sudan:

Furthermore, the famous Ugandan Prof. Mahamoud Mamdani speaking lately in Kampala has asserted the recent agreement in Khartoum is “not a South Sudanese peave agreement. It is an agreement between Sudan and Uganda.”

That if this agreement holds, Prof. Mamdani asserts, it will make South Sudan an informal protectorate of Uganda and the Sudan north, indefinitely.

What is in South Sudan is an army of Generals and not a national army. That South Sudan has no national government.

He is saying South Sudanese should look for their own peace agreement. That there is no peace agreement right now.

North Sudan wants to be rehabilitated by the USA through their Khartoum agreement. And that Bashir’s spy chief, Salah Gosh, is in contact with the Americans.

Uganda wants to recoup its financial losses and to avoid further economic losses.
(Reliable and independent sources)

Nuer Supreme Council accepts resignation of Festus Mogae as JMEC chairman

For Immediate Release
Monday, August 20, 2018

PUBLIC STATEMENT
The Nuer Supreme Council (NSC) has learned that the Chairperson of Joint Monitoring Evaluation Commission (JMEC), H. E. Fetus G. Mogae requested to RESIGNS from his position by the end of September 2018.

The Council received this commendable development through Social media, in a Press Release which claimed that Mr. Mogae has written a letter of resignation to the Chairperson of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), H. E. Prime Minister of Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali.

In this regard, the Council welcomed H. E. Fetus Mogae’s decision to resign and we urged the Chairperson of IGAD, H. E. Prime Minister of Ethiopia Dr. Abiy Ahmed to accept this praiseworthy decision.

Through IGAD’s heads of State and Government, Mr. Mogae was appointed as the chairperson of JMEC and whose mandate was and still is to monitor, support and report on the violations and non-implementations of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

In performing this mandate, the Council acknowledged that Mr. Mogae has tried his best by remaining neutral and impartial during the early stages of the implementation process of the Agreement but failed to adhere to this principle as required by the charter, especially when the ARCSS was violated in July 2016 by the regime in Juba.

During that time to present, Mr. Mogae appeared compromised and acted at times as regime in Juba’s official spokesperson. He acted indifference at a time when a great deal of integrity and impartiality are required. This behaviour seriously contradicts his role and mandate that he was tasked for.

Therefore, since, the warring parties in South Sudan have recommitted to the revitalizing of the ACRSS after it has collapsed in 2017, the Council endorses Mr. Mogae’s decision to vacant his post. We believe such a commendable decision will boost confidence and ensure fresh start for all parties.

In closing, the Council thanked H. E. Mr. Mogae for his service to the people of South Sudan and we wish him well in his future endeavors and quest for helping humanity.

J. Nguen
Chairman of Nuer Supreme Council
Email: jamesnguen@gmail.com

Why PDM rejects Khartoum Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance

People’s Democratic Movement, August 6, 2018, press@pdm-rss.org, UNITED KINGDOM, SSN;

The PDM wishes to share with the people of South Sudan its views and reasons for why it rejects Khartoum Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance as proposed by Sudanese mediators, and hence did not append its signature to the agreement for a number of reasons, chiefly:

 The agreement does not put the people first before SPLM factions of IG and IO.

 It is a bilateral agreement in the context of SPLM unification between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, to maintain the status quo, giving a renewal of lease of legitimacy for the failed TGONU.

 The agreement, with IGAD’s blessing, is rewarding impunity, illegality of 32 states and violations of the Constitution TCSS 2011 and ARCSS 2015 by President Salva Kiir. The IGAD, AU and the International community is not standing with the people of South Sudan, are oblivious of over 4 millions of the population in refugee camps, IDPs and POC sites who are not consulted in the decision making process for a sustainable peace in the country.

 The agreement entrusts corrupt leaders with power to lead fundamental reforms in the country that they failed to deliver since independence in 2011.

 ARCSS 2015 made provisions for adoption of federalism, and three years on, the Ministry for Federal affairs established by terms of ARCSS 2015 has reached no conclusion nor made a recommendation for the type of federalism suitable for the country. The agreement, unjustifiably, does not provide for implementation of a federal system during the transitional period.

 Federal Governance during the transitional period, based on three (3) autonomous regions with their borders of the three provinces of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal as they stood on 1st January 1956, provides the most optimal number of federal units of governance amid the country’s collapsing economy.

 By comparison, ten (10), twenty one (21) or thirty two (32) states represents excessive burden on the country’s economy during transitional period, and results in a bloated government of over 100 Ministers at state level alone, 550 members of national legislature, 50 senators, 32 governors, 32 state legislative assemblies and their MPs.

 The Agreement does not promote a people-centric power sharing between the people in three federal regions on 33.33% for each region, and not allocation of power to political elites and their movements by a stroke of a pen. The mediators proposal for power sharing is elites-centric, with high concentration of parties to the agreement from one or two regions only, which makes elites-centric power sharing unfair to the people of South Sudan three regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghzal.

 In SSOA alone, there are 9 parties, 3 from Equatoria, 5 from Upper Nile, 1 from Bahr al Ghazal and a host of other political parties in Juba, without a fair formula for power sharing between them, IO and the IG

2. PDM proposes that the responsibility sharing at all levels of government shall give representation and power back not to the elites but to the people in the three regions. Therefore the responsibility sharing shall be only through the people in accordance with the following percentages for each autonomous Region of Upper Nile, Equatoria, and Bahr al Ghazal:
a- Upper Nile Region: 33%
b- Equatoria Region: 33%
c- Bahr al Ghazal Region: 33%

Through regional people’s convention in the pre-transitional period, the parties to the Agreement shall seek mandate by the people in each region for each region’s share of 33%.

This is to ensure legitimate and fair participation of the 64 ethnicities of the people of South Sudan in the decision-making processes.

This avoids elite-centric responsibility sharing, which allocates percentages to elite political groups by the stroke of a pen without putting people first and their participation in the process.

Addressing root causes to the civil war:

The critical issues that have surfaced post-ARCSS which have not been incorporated in the Agreement and proposed structures of the Transitional Federal Government and its institutions are:-

 The root cause to the civil war is the determination by ethnic-based political elite to dominate power in South Sudan since 1972, when South Sudan became for the first time ever, a self-governing autonomous region in Sudan. The 2013 incident which triggered the present war was, therefore, the latest manifestation of this same attempt to dominate power in our country.

 The power-sharing proposals on %ages for IG, IO, SSOA and OPPs, tabled during the last phase of Khartoum talks are unrealistic, and any such effort to bridge the divide between the parties to the HLRF on power sharing should be holistic and beyond mere arithmetical computation of the Executive and the Legislature composition.
A holistic power sharing approach should now become synonymous with ‘inclusivity’ of the people from all of the 64 ethnicities who are not represented in the HLRF but are entitled to participation in various arms of government and institutions. At present these institutions are dominated by one single ethnicity, the Dinka.

 Power-sharing should be based on a broad set of pillars and principles that include at a minimum, the following five core categories of institutions and territorial or regional population:-

1. The Army and the Security Sector
2. The Executive
3. The Legislature
4. The Judiciary
5. The Territory or Region Population Representation

1. The Army and the Security Sector.
The present army is a tribal, Dinka army. Even President Kiir has acknowledged this fact.
The power-sharing (inclusivity) proposal in the army rests on the call by the Opposition that a new army, in which all the 64 ethnic groups are represented, equitably and qualitatively be established.
This should follow a review of the entire security sectors-the army, the police, National Security Service, Wildlife, Fire Brigade, and Prison- to come up with new doctrines and criteria, which must encompass equal representation of the ethnic groups.

2. The Executive.
In the Agreement, the mandate for being a president must ultimately come from the people. Therefore, the rump population in the regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile should and shall organize respective People’s Convention to nominate whom they want to be the President.

This Convention must also nominate those they want to be their Ministers at National and Regional levels. They shall also nominate the Governor of their region.
It is not right that SPLM/A-IG or SPLM/A-IO leaders should be the ones selecting Ministers from other regions, the people of the region shall select their Ministers so that they are made accountable to the people.
The distribution of the Ministerial portfolios shall be non-discriminatory; members from any ethnic group should be able to head key ministries of Defence, Finance, Petroleum, or Central Bank etc.

3. The Legislature.
The People’s Convention mentioned above should and shall also nominate who they want to represent them at National Legislative Assembly and the House of Nationalities, and at the State or regional legislatures.
It is not acceptable that SPLM/A-IG or SPLM/A-IO should pick a Speaker of the National Assembly on behalf of Equatorians, for example.
The Transitional Federal Government shall upon its inception, institute the House of Nationalities to which each ethnic group shall nominate two of their respective representatives.

4. The Judiciary.
The present Judiciary, headed by a member of Jieng Council of Elders (from the President’s ethnic group), serves at the behest of the Presidency. Recent judgments by courts portray strange jurisprudence, where excessive sentences of death by hanging or imprisonment for life are meted out to the perceived opponents of the regime.
Defendants who are abducted from foreign countries and returned to the country illegally are permitted to be tried by the courts against all modern best practice and internationally accepted standards.
Therefore a complete overhaul of the judiciary shall be implemented, first by a wholesale resignations of the judges at all levels; followed by the institution of a new Judiciary Service Commission based on transparent, non-discriminatory and meritorious criteria in the appointment of the members, who in turn will follow the same principles in the recruitment of judges.

5. The Territory or Regional Population Representation.
The stranglehold by certain ethnic groups elites on the centralized government shall be broken through the establishment of autonomous Regional Governments.
Through the Federal Government, fair distributions of budgets, independent regional judiciary and local government shall be instituted.
This principle shall be applied to the creation and thereby establishment of three (3), autonomous Federal Regions or States consisting of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile with their borders as provinces as they stood on the 1st of January 1956.
The merits of sub-division into more number of states shall be discussed at an appropriate time in the constitution making process.
The people of South Sudan in all of their 64 ethnicities are sovereign and they shall be consulted and shall participate in the Agreement implementation during the pre-transitional and Transitional Period.
Their views, which were collected during the pre-HLRF consultations by the IGAD Special Envoy shall be incorporated in the Agreement; and the people shall be the final arbiters on the number of Federal States in the emerging new South Sudan during the Transitional period in the Constitution making process.

Dr. Hakim Dario
PDM Chair
press@pdm-rss.org

Equatoria Diaspora Express Concerns on IGAD-led Khartoum Talks

Press Release, 4/AUG/2018;

Equatorian Leaders in the Diaspora express serious concerns about the IGAD-led peace talks on South Sudan being held in Khartoum

The Equatorian community leaders in the Diaspora representing over 30 (thirty) South Sudanese tribes/ethnic groups, are seriously concerned about the direction of IGAD-led peace talks currently underway in Khartoum, Sudan.

The peace talks is characterised by the following:
(1) it is conducted under an environment of threats, and bribery;
(2) it is NOT INCLUSIVE in nature; and
(3) the proposed agreement on governance does not meet the aspiration of the people of South Sudan.

1. The host mediator (Sudan Government) has been accused of having used threats of deporting any party who refused to sign the permanent ceasefire agreement (Khartoum Agreement) from Khartoum to Juba; handing them to their enemy – the Government of South Sudan.
The same threats remains for those who refuse to sign the proposed agreement on governance, which is expected to be signed on the 5th August 2018.
The Equatorian leaders in the Diaspora condemn in the strongest possible terms the approach used by the mediator to force the parties who have genuine concerns not to sign the agreement because they believe it is fundamentally flawed and is unlikely to bring sustainable peace to the country.

2. The proposed Governance Agreement is neither inclusive nor fair. It is the design of the mediators that the proposed agreement benefits President Kiir and Dr Machar thus realising the reunification of SPLM/SPLA. The deal excluded all other opposition groups.
Various versions of the draft agreements produced during the negotiation process maintained the core Entebbe proposal, while the proposals of the opposition parties were ignored or very limited aspects of it were incorporated into the agreement, which did not make any material difference.

3. At its core, the agreement put forward by the mediators maintained the current failed system of government: it rewards corruption; ignores accountability to war crimes and crimes against humanity; and it entrances land occupation/grabbing by maintaining the disproportional share of governance at all levels.
The popular demand for federalism to commence from the start of the transitional period was undermined, while there are moves to legitimise the illegitimate 32 states through a dodgy referendum to be supervised by President Kiir who decreed them in the first place.

4. In conclusion, we are for a genuine, just and a sustainable peace agreement. We therefore call for:

a. Federalism to be instituted from the start of the transitional period. This shall be later enshrined in the permanent constitution.

b. Three regions/provinces as the basis of equitable planning (including resource allocation) and governance with substructures within them that safeguard the interest of all nationalities therein.

c. No threats must be made to any party in the peace negotiation so that any party who is not satisfied with any agreement is free to walk away and not be forced to sign it. The presence of international observers (UN, TROIKA, AU, and IGAD) is needed at the peace talks to ensure transparency and the right environment for negotiation.

d. An inclusive peace process that is mediated by a neutral host. The current mediators are all biased in favour of the Government and they have sought to accommodate Dr Riak with the post of First Vice President. The mediators ignored addressing the root causes of the conflict. A bad agreement is not only short-lived, but it costs lives too. Therefore, a bad agreement is not worth signing.

Equatorian Leaders in the Diaspora:

Mr. Federico Vuni,
Chair, Equatoria Community Organisation in the UK
Mr. Juma Piri Piri
President, Federation of Equatoria Community Association in Australia Inc
Mr. Joseph Modi,
President, Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association, Canada (ESSCA-Canada)

For correspondence: Mr. Federico Awi Vuni; Email: federicovuni58@gmail.com

Kiir Government Troops Violate Cease-fire Agreement in W.Bahr el Ghazal Region

PR, AUG/04/2018, SSN;

1. Although the signing of the 21 December 2017 Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities and the permanent ceasefire on June 2018, by all woring parties in the Republic of South Sudan, unfortunatly the Kiir Government troops intensified its ofensive in the Western Bahar El Ghazal WBG region and some parts of Equatorian region.

2. The agressions by the government troops in the WBG region raised a serious question about the benefit of the ceasefire agreement and the current peace negotiation in the capital of Sudan, Khartoum, for search of lasting peace in the country. One may ask what is the government’s real intention of waging daily attacks on the positions of Lion Forces during on going peace negotaiton?

3. Even before the signing of the perminant ceasefire, the government troops continued to attack the Lion Forces, an ally forces to the SPLA-IO, under the Comand of Dr. Riek Machar Deny. In which the Lion Forces managed several times to defend their positions, repulse the government troops and cause them heavy casualities. It has been documented that:

a. On 15 June 2018 the government troops attacked civilians in the liberated areas, under control of the Lion Forces in both Wadhelel and Baggari.

b. On 23 June 2018 the government troops attacked the Lion Forces positions in both Baggari and Mboro area.
c. On 26 June 2017 an attack by the government troops on civilians in Ongo Baggari and Ngisa, where governemtn troops killed, burned civilian houses, and looted their proparties.
d. On 27 June 2018 and July 6, 2018 the government troops initiated multiple attacks on Lion Forces position in the Ngo Khaki area, where they used heavy artilarlies to chase away Lion Forces, in order to rabe, kill, loot and destroy civilian properties.
e. On 9 June 2018 an attack by government troops in Mboro area, where they killed 3 civilians, including a pastor who has been serving in the local Church. In the same event the government troops arrested two (2) civilians, including Lewis Mabrouk. Currently, the two (2) arrested civilians have been transfared to new National Security building in Wau. And the list of violation by the government continued.

4. The answer to the above question of why the government intensifying its agresssion during the process of peace negotioation is that, by keeping violating the ceasefire agreement the government intent to gain more teritority from local tribes in WBG region.
The government wants to have larger control over the WBG region, in order to deny the local citizens any present, rights and therefore their demands for reform. These unsolicited firing incidents also allow them to push both the Lion Forces and the inhabitans into Central Africa border, in order to grab WBG lands.
We strongly condemn the constant violations of the 21 December 2017 Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access, and the recent perminant ceasefire agreement signed on 27 June 2018. the Lion forces reserve their rights of self defence.

God bless the people of WBG and the people of South Sudan.

Hon. Dominic Ukelo
Former Governor of Wau State in Opposition and
Member of NLC SPLMA-IO
4 August 2018.

Arrest of Mr. Peter Ajak Biar, human rights activist: Release him NOW

OFPDP (Organization of Former Political Detainees and Prisoners)
South Sudan, 2 August 2018.

PRESS STATEMENT: RELEASE PETER AJAK BIAR NOW

We in the OFPDP learned with profound sadness the arrest of Mr Peter Ajak Biar, a non-violent
human rights activist, on the morning of Saturday 29, July 2018 in Juba while boarding a plane
for Aweil, in South Sudan.

Based on our experience as former detainees, Peter is now being held in a tiny room in solitary
confinement at the National Security Service detention centre at Jebel at the outskirt of Juba.

He is being denied access to his family and relatives as well to a lawyer of his choice.

We call upon President Kiir to immediately order the release of Peter Biar. In doing so he will
underscore the promise he made in June to the Ethiopian Prime Minster, in the presence of Dr
Riek Machar, that he would release all political detainees that month.

By releasing Peter he will also restore confidence in the present peace talks and agreements being undertaken in Khartoum.

We also call upon the President to order the release of the following detainees some of whom
have spent more than three years in detention without trial:

1 Nyero Anthony Kenyi
2 James Lual
3 Ladu James Paul
4 Ayume Peter Dada
5 Yahya Babu
6 Ahmed Abdallah
7 Ochaya Godfrey Severio
8 Tartizio Ociini
9 Peter Abderhaman Sule
10 Gen. Elias Lino
11 Aggrey Idri Ezbon
12 Samuel Luak Dong
13 William Endly
14 James Gadet

On Behalf of OFPDP; (Prof) Leonzio A. Onek