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South Sudan News

Minister Cautions Journalists Over Fueling Conflict

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By Chuty Anyar

 

The Minister of Information, Communication Technology and Postal Service Michael Makuei Lueth, has challenged journalists to adhere to professionalism and avoid rumor mongering which he said contributes to more disaster.   


“I had been on your neck all along guarding you on how to write correct news with inaccurate information but you (journalists) shifted to be writing rumors cooked on social media particularly Facebook which are contributing problem to this nation,” Makuei said.  Makuei was addressing members of press yesterday at the Ministry of Information. He urged journalists to objectively analyze information before publishing the stories. 


He said despite continued caution, journalists trended to inaccurate writing without considering the situation of the country, arguing that journalists have never realized mistakes often committed in their media houses and on social media has fueled conflict.  According to him, journalists have decided to use social media which is out of government control. He added that there are no possibilities for the government to control wrong messages which are being fabricated on social media.

The government official said any information which does not have sources cannot   be published simply because it is always negatively tarnish the image of the nation or individuals. 


“I am saying this because some of the newspapers like Al-mougif and Al-Wahda have already attested the argument as they go contrary to each other,” he stressed. On Monday, Al-mougif Arabic newspaper reported that the government has accepted in principle to the deployment of regional protection force while Al-Wada said government accepted the deployment of protection force. “Now are these two titles in harmony,” Makuei asked.


He appealed to media fraternity to uphold ethical reporting and added that the press briefing was held in order to make realignment in the media to avoid mistakes.

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Gov’t, UNSC Agree To Work Cooperatively, Cabinet Minister Says

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By Dach Agoth Mayen

 

The Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro has said the visit by the United Nations Security Council has enabled renewal of spirit of cooperation between the government and the world highest security institution.


The UNSC on Friday began a three-day tour of the war ravaged country to further push for UN approved protection force to be deployed in Juba. “The United Nations Security Council and the Transitional Government of National Unity agreed to work in a fresh spirit of cooperation to advance the interests of South Sudanese people particularly the aspiration for justice, liberty and prosperity,” Dr. Lomuro told media. He said the unity government will devise a plan with UNMISS by the end of September on concrete steps to remove impediments to UNMISS’s ability to implement its mandate, including reviewing procedures related to movement and streamlining bureaucratic processes.


Meanwhile President Salva Kiir Mayardit took the 15-member delegation to witness the scene of July 8 fighting between forces loyal to him and former First Vice President, Riek Machar Teny.  The UNSC delegation co-led by US Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Samantha Power arrived to the capital over the weekend to push for deployment of additional regional protection forces in the country. President Kiir warmly received the UN Security Council delegation in his office and assured them of government’s cooperation. On her part, Ms. Power, pledged a fresh spirit of cooperation to work with President Kiir’s administration.


The 15-member delegation after series of talks appealed to President Kiir government to allow reinforcement of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to implement the peace pact signed in August 2015.


According to the UN, the violence has displaced 1.6 million people internally and other 900,000 into neighboring countries. Another 4.6 million are severely food insecure. Since July, the government had vowed it will not allow the UN authorized 4000 regional protection forces arguing that it was a threat to sovereignty. President Kiir vowed not to allow even a single foreign soldier to set foot into the country’s territory. But Power, pledged that the UN Mission in South Sudan would remain “impartial” and would be in cooperation with the government. She explained that “early references to the force as an intervention brigade may have left a bad taste in some folks’ mouth so part of the reason we are here also is to clarify what the force is here to do, and it is very deliberately... described as a regional protection force in that it is comprised of forces from the region in order to enhance protection here.”


Fode Secke, the Ambassador of Senegal and a member of the delegation said, “This deployment will be done in collaboration with the South Sudanese government.” On the proposed Hybrid Court of South Sudan, Samantha said justice and peace “have to go hand in hand” to ensure alleged rape and looting is stopped and perpetuators brought to justice to avoid impunity.


 “There has been a lot of rhetoric about the regional protection force, this additional force on top of the UNMISS is proposed with one constituency in mind and that is the people of South Sudan” Power told the press last week.


The peace deal says that the Hybrid Court should consist of a mixture of African and South Sudanese judges, but there is no progress so far in setting up of the court.

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Religious Leaders, UNDP Discusses Human Development In South Sudan

 By Staff Writer

 

The Bureau of Religious Affairs and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) hosted a workshop for Muslim and Christian leaders to present Biblical and Islamic perspectives on the need to close the gender gap and work towards women’s empowerment on the country’s context.


This was conducted as a way to strengthen the efforts to improve the country’s Human Development Index (HDI) value.


Among the members of clergy, Presidential Advisor on Economic Affairs, Aggrey Tisa Sabuni was the keynotes speakers during the workshops and also served as chair of the report Advisory Committee. He said the report was important for “us here in South Sudan, as we strive towards rapid economic and social development.”


“Human development indicators were created as a way to move beyond only looking at income to assess the well-being of people and take into account key factors in health and education,” said United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Acting Country Director Jean-Luc Stalon.


South Sudan’s Human Development Index (HDI) value puts the country in the low human development category – positioned 169 out of 188 countries. As much as 85% of the working population is engaged in non-wage work, mainly in subsistence agriculture and livestock rearing. More than 15% of the population is malnourished, according to UNICEF estimates.


Stalon also said the workshop was a chance to highlight and discuss findings from UNDP’s recently launched Africa Human Development Report 2016. This year’s report highlights how poverty and hunger can be alleviated by closing the gender gap in labour markets, education, health, and other areas. Specifically, the report finds the gender gap is costing Africa US$95 billion per year.


 The South Sudan National Human Development Report found gender inequality contributing to a 19.5% loss in the country’s overall human development index value. Only 15.6% of women over the age of 15 are literate – and a young girl in South Sudan is three times more likely to die in childbirth than to finish primary school.


 “Without harnessing the potential of women in society, South Sudan will struggle to make the transformational development milestones it is capable of achieving,” said Stalon.

 Presidential advisor Sabuni said the workshop is equally important for South Sudanese religious leaders to understand the challenges facing the country and discuss ways to improve its human development indicators.

“As you may know, South Sudan’s long history of armed struggle and civil wars has produced one of the worst human development indicators in Africa in health, education, poverty alleviation, and social and economic programmes,” said Sabuni. “As religious leaders, you have a role to play in the stability and progress of South Sudan.” 


According to the UNDP, The workshop is one of several initiatives taken to broaden conversations on the National Human Development Report, with support from the Government of South Sudan and civil society actors. The aim is to use the findings as a launch pad for increased dialogue and practical implementation towards sustainable, inclusive development that builds a better future for South Sudan.

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Jonglei, Boma State To Form A Joint Police Force

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By Garang Abraham Malak

 

Jonglei and Boma state said they will form a joint police force which will address issues of cattle raiding and child abduction at the borders of two states. 


The governor of Jonglei state Phillip Aguer Panyang told The Nation Mirror in an exclusive interview over the weekend that the reason for visit to Boma state was to address the issues of cattle raiding and child abduction that has been roaming between the two states for quiet long and has not been settled. 


“In addition to stop cattle raiding and child abduction, we also agreed to open up joint business for traders and business members from respective states to have an opportunities of visiting other states, exchanges commodities between themselves hence promoting trade among. 


Aguer reiterated that he and governor Baba Medan of Boma, James Nyuon and Bol Kong as members of former Jonglei state all agreed to build to Greater Jonglei, as Jonglei and Boma state have started implementing agreement were us the rests will join us in embracing the agreement deeds in Greater Jonglei and south Sudan at a large”.


Aguer stated that his purpose for the visit to Gumuruk was based on peace embracement, “the peace building meeting went on successfully as the meeting was attended by more than forty administrators on both parties”.


“The administrators involved both governors, commissioners, peace advisors, members of the traditional authorities, paramount chiefs, the representative of women and youth which was well balanced as I can explained that we all shared the meeting well” he stressed.


Aguer  mentioned that the governor of Boma Baba Medan and Hon. David Yau Yau the deputy Minister of defense have worked to recover some of the children that were abducted.  “There was also one child that was abducted by the criminals from Jonglei state, that child will be returned back to Boma state in the coming Anyidi Peace conference that will take place on 15 September 2016, am so glad with the authorities of the Boma because of the promise they gave relating to elimination of child abduction” Aguer added.


He stated that more than eight children have been returned since last year and the process of return continues. 


Aguer also mentioned that the only way were Juba-Bor road ambushes (Khor Makuac) is through the establishment of joint police that will keep on patrolling the highway.


The governor calls on the media to extends the word of peace to grassroots level, it is the only tool we can use to see peace prevailing, through sensitization the local communities, communities need to be preached the word of peace through local languages because they are sometimes been misled by the politicians.

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Civil Society Calls For Immediate Investigation Into Use Of Children In Arm Forces

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By Manase James Okony


Jonglei Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (JIPDD), a civil society organization based in Bor is urging the Right groups     and the   International Community to launch an immediate investigation into alleged forceful recruitment and use of children in the arm forces by the South Sudan’s warring parties. JIPPD’s call came amidst growing concerns over the allege use of children by Machar’s SPLA-IO faction in the recent fighting in Jonglei State’s Pajut. Mr. Mach Samuel, the executive Director of JIPPD in a strongly worded   statement said the alleged use of children in recent combat in Pajut is unacceptable act and violates South Sudan and international laws.


He said laws of South Sudan   and the international laws   prohibits the use of children as combatants. ‘’There  are  reports that children were killed (in frontline) during insurgency  that  happened in  Pajut and that  is totally  unacceptable  in the  UN  Charter   and South  Sudan Constitution,’’ stressed  JIPDD’s executive Director in a statement.


Samuel urged concerned bodies to immediately launch an investigation into the matter and take punitive action against the commanding officers.


‘’The International Community should establish a body to investigate commanders who used children to carry out an offensive in Pajut,’’ Samuel added.


In 2015, the South Sudan’s warring parties pledged to disarm and demobilize any child soldiers in their ranks and JIPDD’s executive Director asked why children are still seen in frontlines.


He questioned the fate of South Sudan children who he said ‘are the future’ but continue to lose life in unnecessary fight.


On the other hand JIPPD’s executive Director condemned the fighting between the SPLA forces and the SPLA-IO   forces loyal to the relieved First Vice-president Riek Machar in Pajut that led to the displacement of over 7000 and hundreds killed from both sides. He said   such acts are violation and impediment to the implementation of peace agreement. The Director pleaded for peace and implementation of August Peace Deal to the letter and spirit. In 2015, United Nation Child Fund (UNICEF) reported that up to 12,000 child soldiers were recruited by South Sudan’s warring parties. The UN agency said factional fighting in South Sudan  triggers   the recruitment of children into the ranks and hampers efforts to bring the act to an end.


The South Sudan’s  warring parties however repeatedly said that   they have demobilized child soldiers in their ranks.


In the same year, more than  3000 child soldiers in  the  then Cobra Faction, with the  help of  UNICEF  and the line agencies, were demobilized   and reintegrated  into  their respective communities.

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Failures, Threats To Fulfillment Of Public’s Right To Information In South Sudan

By Roger Alfred Yoron

 

South Sudan’s Right of Access to Information Act explicitly recognizes the constitutional right of citizens to access information held by public or private bodies, as fundamental to fulfilment of human rights and fighting corruption. But nearly three years since enactment, the law has failed to achieve its purpose.


Nicodemus Ajak Bior, the Information Commissioner together with his deputy Moses Wol Deng Atak were appointed by President Salva Kiir and took oath of office in February 2016 with the mandate to amongst others, promote maximum discloser of information in the public interest provide for in the Act, a task they both have failed to execute. 


Wol resigned nearly two months ago, citing absence of political will and institutional support to ensure independence of the commission.


Ajak who still holds office blames the commission’s failure on lack of budget and funding from donor sources.


“We cannot start when we don’t have people. We need people.  The whole structure of the office is in place but we don’t have individuals to do those jobs. Like if it is receiving and reviewing complaints from requesters, we need to have a department for that,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Nation Mirror.

“We need people to monitor compliance and how other government institutions are making information available. We need people to do the training, public awareness so that people are aware that there’s a law that actually gives them the right to access information. This is the challenge now we have. Not many people know that the law permits them to seek information.”


Ajak said the Information Commission has not been considered for any “budgetary allocation” because it was established when the Country was already in the middle of the Financial Year 2015/2016. 


He currently occupies “temporarily” an office space inside the Public Information Center, a department within the Ministry of Information after failing to secure an “establishment fund” from the government for an acquisition of an office. 


Article 24 Sub-Article 2 and Article 32 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan respectively provide that “All levels of government shall guarantee the freedom of the press and other media as shall be regulated by law in a democratic society.” And “Every citizen has the right of access to official information and records, including electronic records in the possession of any level of government or any organ or agency.”  The Right of Access to Information Act is one of the Media Laws which have been enacted to give effect to the exercise of those constitutional rights in the Country. 


However, right groups continue to call for reform of the laws to conform to international human rights law. “Everyone, not just citizens of South Sudan should be entitled to access information under the law,” partly read a submission by Article 19 to the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of South Sudan.


Commissioner Ajak however disagrees insisting that “...we have it (the right of access to information) in our Constitution, there is nothing that can stop it from being the right of everybody in this country. That is why there are institutions like the Information Commission.”


On his part, Oliver Modi Benjamin the Chairperson of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan UJOSS and an Executive Member of the Association of Media Development in South Sudan AMDISS reiterated calls for full implementation of the law.


Speaking to The Nation Mirror, Modi urged that the vacancy of the deputy commissioner vacated by Wol be filled in line with provisions of the Act. He however maintained that there are better alternatives to solving work differences than resignation.  

“When those people resigned, they have their own reasons which I cannot be able to pre-empt but all I can say is some people need a peaceful environment and some people can work throughout, in peaceful environment and in hardship... but rather my advice to my fellow South Sudanese is that, resignation is not a solution to our offices, to our responsibilities,” Modi said.


Modi said members of the commission should be “active and collaborative” with local partners. “We are eager to sharing with them, not necessarily all that they want but I think sharing of opinion, ideas and information,” he said. The Information Act criminalizes obstruction or destruction from public of information not exempted under the law.


The Commissioner of Information said the commission will embark on enlightening government officials on their obligations under the law once there is a budget. 

 

Commissioner to Regulate Fees 

The Act authorizes the commissioner after consultations with the ministers of information and of finance to regulate amongst other modes of pay and maximum fee payable to public and private bodies for cost of production of information.

“The fee amount… shall exclude costs of searching for the information requested, the time spent examining and redrafting the relevant information, or those related to those related to transcribing the information,” states section 12 subsection 2 of the Act. Ajak said the commission is still going slow on the matter.

“This is a fee that we will all agree [on] because we don’t want to overcharge people and even make it hard for people to access information. We also don’t want to make it so free so that even other administrative things don’t happen. That can only be done with the ministry of finance, once we settle the budget, once we have the place, and we hire people,” the commissioner said before conceding that the fee shall be only for production cost of information.


Meanwhile, Modi has called for “flexibility” from the institutions saying affordable amount of fee should be adopted because of the current inflation in the Country. “Because at the moment it is very difficult to determine a cost of a document because of the high prices in the market... So we shall not be able to have a stable price that can really make such kind of activity to run,” he said. 


The information Commissioner agrees that it would be difficult to find an appropriate affordable amount  Two Journalists spoke to The Nation Mirror on condition of anonymity expressing concern that the fees should not go beyond a reasonable production cost of providing the information.


Ajak said the information commission will compel all government institutions to establish a “working interactive” websites, equipped with the activities and personnel of each body to in order to reduce the cost of accessing of information by the public. 


“You don’t need to go to every particular institution in order to find some information. When I worked in the Ministry of Petroleum, people were coming to us to ask even very simple things,” the commissioner said as he decried the poor mode of communications amongst institutions of the government.


“So we will work with those institutions to see into it that if they have websites that have stalled and are not working, they are brought back to work.  If there are institutions who do not have websites, they need to create them.  Every public institution....”


He pointed out that the use of personal emails for office correspondences, an act commonly practiced by South Sudan’s government officials, is hampering the rights of the public to access information.


Some ministers when relieved from duties leave with office computers and files, forcing their successors to start from scratch, Ajak added.


“Some of those information that goes like that are very, very sensitive and then it becomes difficult for citizens to get those information, not because they were not there but simply because there was no laid down procedure of keeping that information,” the commissioner said adding that he will work to see in to it that government emails for officials in “sensitive positions” are created. 


“Correspondences of the government either within or outside must be done with the government emails...so that when you leave, that email does not function with you and you don’t leave with all the government information,” he stated.


Threats and Hopes 

With only a logo approved by the cabinet, a temporary office space, no “support staff,” no Deputy, no agency supporting it, coupled with the economic crises facing South Sudan, the Information Commission’s hope is centered on the new budget for the Fiscal Year 2016/2017 which is currently under discussion.


That hope almost came into a complete end last week when the ministry of finance “accidentally” issued the Commission a budget limit of 5 Million South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) for the proposed budget for the new financial year.  


“What we are seeing now is that the ceiling that has been given to us is a bit worrying. We have been told that the access to information commission has an operating ceiling of 5000000 pounds, at this particular rate this is less than 75 Thousand [US] dollars. Basically there is nothing you can do with such an amount of money,” Commissioner Ajak said at the time. 


He later told The Nation Mirror on Saturday that the finance ministry has now rectified the matter after realizing that the Commission is an independent institution and not a department within the ministry of information. 


Ajak said an SSP 75 Million budget prepared by the Commission “to ensure for full implementation of the Act” will now be presented to the cabinet for consideration in the Fiscal Year 2016/2017 budget.

“We just have already the one that we have done, it is only unfortunate that they did not put it in this new budget but we will have to make our case again, and the minister of information will have to take it back to the cabinet for reconsideration,” he said.


Concerns have been raised on whether the commission’s budget passing through the executive (cabinet) as opposed to parliament direct would not jeopardize the work or independence of the commission.


“We are hopeful that the council will work this out… and will pass it and we will take it to the ministry of finance, so that it is included in the new budget,” the commissioner said.

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Last Batch Of Japan Sponsored Students, Leaves For Tokyo

By Aleer P. David

 

The last batch of students awarded scholarship by the Japanese government through Japanese International Corporation Agency [JICA] under the program of African Business Education [ABE] Initiative for Youth will set off for Japan today.


ABE has fully sponsored eleven students for two-year master’s program. Seven of them left for Japan last week and the four who were left behind will leave today.


According to Dr. Mitsuaki Furukawa, the Chief Representative of JICA, South Sudan, ABE initiative is a five-year strategic plan introduced by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development [TICAD V] in Yokohama in 2013. He said it sought to provide 1000 youths in Africa with opportunities to study at Japanese graduate schools and do internship at Japanese enterprises.


The students applied for the scholarship last year in October, the first time for South Sudanese to participate in the ABE Initiative. The successful candidates underwent through a series of screening from both the ministry of Higher Education and the Japanese embassy according to JICA official.


“Last October, the JICA opened the application opportunity of ABE Initiative for the first time in South Sudan with the great support of Ministry of Higher Education. 


It is my sincere hope that the eleven who are going to Japan will absorb a lot of knowledge and skills from universities and enterprises, and many people will apply for the program and that the people of South Sudan will enjoy its benefits as soon as possible”, Furukawa told the press. 


Dr. Benjamin Gabriel Apai, the Director General for training and external relations in the Ministry of Higher Education said he was fascinated by the wonderful work that JICA has been doing in the country to support developmental projects.


“I am very happy for this wonderful offer from the government of Japan and I urge the beneficiaries to utilize this opportunity at the maximum for their benefit”, Benjamin stressed.


Francis Wani is among the eleven who have succeeded and he is going to pursue masters of information Science. He is said the process was a very transparent one.

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Western Lakes, Gok States Quarrel Over Territory

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By Garang Abraham Malak

 

The two states of Western Lakes and Gok previously curved from Greater Lakes State have quarreled over, an expanse of land in the border between the two sisterly states where each state claims ownership.


The Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports in Gok State, Madol Panther told The Nation Mirror that the neighboring State of Western Lakes State has been attacking and  intimidating their state citizens with the aims of destroying agricultural produces in the area. The State government official spokesman accused Gok states authorities of looting, and killing two civilians as well as wounding two others within a disputed payam. Information Minister Madol said Western Lakes State deputy Governor Madam Agum Ruben Machir and accompanying delegation frequently visit the area he called Ngap Payam, leaving communities in chaos.


“Deputy governor with her teams were accused several times of distributing ammunitions, bullets to local communities of Jur Bel of Western Lakes state with intention to fight communities of Ngap Payam in Gok state,” Madol stressed. Madol mentioned that Gok state government under the leadership of Governor Madhang Majok Meen has been quiet over the matter with hope that authorities from neighboring state under the leadership of Abraham Makoi Bol refrain from the attacks but to no avail.  “Western Lakes State governor surprised us with announcement of the newly created counties of his state that include Ngap or Barel as one of his state counties. Ngap county does not belongs to them, this is a clear indication that the Governor was behind the attacks on our people,” Madol accused Governor Bol.   Madol claimed that his government will always remain committed to peaceful resettlement of the matter and called upon local population to remain calm.


“Our government is fully committed to peace and reconciliation and this is why our state is peaceful despite external aggressions,” he concluded. On his side, a member of Gok state Legislative Assembly representing the said area John Aremic Manga seriously condemned the attacks on innocent people and called for immediate sacking of Western Lakes States deputy governor Madam Agum Ruben from her position citing charges of instigating sisterly communities to fight.  


“Ngap is one of the proposed counties of the newly created Gok state that Western Lakes Government claimed to be one of their areas under Wulu county of Western Lakes state,” he explained. However, Western Lakes States Information Minister Daniel Dut told The Nation Mirror that armed criminals of about 240 youth from Gok State attacked what he called Barel payam and abducted two ladies, raped them and one managed to escape. Dut said the armed youth from Gok State also stole two solar panels from the states hospital including hand free (HF radio) and killed one person leaving three others wounded. “The criminals also disarmed four police men and attacked Barel primary school and also looted 600SSP from the neighboring school,” said Dut.


Asked about the claimed of announced Nyap payam or Barel payam as one of their county, he replied “I have never heard of any story about Nyap payam nor do I know whether that name exist,” said information Minister.


Dut stated that Gok state elements first attacked Barel payam twice in which later they formed a committee comprise of deputy governor of Western lakes, National security advisor and police commission to verify the first attack but were also attacked before reaching Gok governor.


“Western Lakes State governor called Gok state’s governor when he heard of the second attack but assured to investigate the incident,” he stressed.

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SPLA To Execute 60 Soldiers Accused Of War Crimes If Found Guilty

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By Garang Abraham Malak

 

The number of the Sudan people’s liberation Army (SPLA) accused of war crimes that include rape, murder, looting and random shooting has risen from 19 to 60, SPLA spokesperson has said.


Speaking to The Nation Mirror on Phone yesterday, SPLA Spokesperson Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang aid the number has risen beyond expectation.


“The law has as per now, convicted them as criminals. they have got varying charges, as the charges are categorized into four; murder, looting, random shooting and rape and the sentences also vary according to crime each have committed,” Gen. Lul said.


The army spokesman revealed that the list of those accused will soon be availed to the public once their interrogation is complete, before the President could issue sentence within his prerogative as Commander in Chief of the forces. Ruai expounded that his office has recorded high number of cases related to looting of cars, generators, food items, among others.


 “Looting at gun point is a serious crime, a scenario where individuals are attacked at their houses/shops and properties are taking while watching as they get scared,” he stressed.


He described July as “dogfight” the incident that erupted outside presidential compound between forces backing then first vice president and forces loyal to President Salva Kiir which resulted into the ransacking of World Food Program (WFP) warehouse in Jebel, Jebel market including other households near Checkpoint, Jebel estates.

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We Need UN But Not The Armed Ones, Juba Protestors Say

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By Staff Writer

 

Handful of protestors took to streets of Juba yesterday to denounce and voice their rejection to the proposed protection forces authorized by the United Nations Security Council to take charge of security in Juba following clashes between rival factions in July.


The protest which ended up at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum was organized by a civil society network named South Sudan Anti-Trusteeship Network (SSATN). The protestors carried placards and chanting anti UN troops slogans.


“The world must listen to us before ordaining the death on South Sudan. Irag has not recovered, Libya has not recovered and Syria is in coma but they cannot learn. We have come for a serious business. We have come to tell the United Nations to invalidate its resolution to deploy 4000 foreign troops. We need the UN but not the armed ones” John Maac Jool, Chairman of SSTAN said in the rally.


The protestors accused the world body of interfering with the sovereignty of the country and threatened to close all the borders and airport if the UN insists on deploying the said troops. They said the problem within the country can be resolved domestically instead of involving foreign influence. The group claimed that the country is more united now than ever before. “We are now united and our unity may not augur well with the unknown. Tribal politics leave our country vulnerable to graft by greedy vultures. The spirit of brotherhood is descending” they stressed. The protest precedes the visit by members of the United Nations Security Council to Juba on Friday. The UN top officials are expected to see for themselves the security, humanitarian and economic situation in order to make sound judgment on the deployment.


Earlier, the government had protested on the resolution for not being consulted. However, President Kiir had demanded that consultations be made with his lawmakers before any decision could be taken. Since then, no public statement about the deployment of the troops has come out of the government.


It is to be noted that civil society organizations had earlier demonstrated across the country but the impact of their demonstration has not been felt as UN went ahead to approve the resolution in spite of the protests.

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Hunger Grips Thousands Of New South Sudan Refugees In Uganda

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VOA


When the refugees arrive at this camp near the border with South Sudan, the beans provided by the United Nations are their only source of protein. There is no milk, not even for the toddlers with distended bellies who tightly hold onto their mothers’ skirts in the intense afternoon heat.


Now, less than two months since a new outbreak of violence in South Sudan sent a surge of about 70,000 refugees into this neighboring East African country, the U.N. and its partners are struggling to feed them. Last month, the U.N. announced that South Sudanese refugees who arrived in Uganda before this latest wave would see food rations or cash allowance cut in half.


As the U.N. refugee chief visited Monday, some of the refugees held up placards demanding better rations and a chance to move out of overcrowded camps and grow food for themselves.


The refugees are running “on empty stomachs,’’ they said in a memo they presented to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.


The humanitarian emergency could become a disaster if things go out of control, Grandi said. “The resources are still insufficient.’’ Close to one million people have fled South Sudan since civil war began in December 2013, and a peace deal reached a year ago has been repeatedly violated. Tens of thousands have been killed.


Nyumanzi Transit Center, built to hold 2,000 refugees before they can be sent to a more permanent settlement, is now home to more than 7,000 newcomers, most of them women and children. They live in crowded structures of tarpaulin that bake like furnaces in the sun.


There are not enough toilets and water sources. Earlier this month, a cholera outbreak in some refugee centers infected 54 people; no deaths were reported. Young girls going out to collect firewood or fetch water have been sexually assaulted.


But it is the food that causes the greatest concern. The U.N. rations are beans and a corn porridge known locally as posho.


Martina Murra, a 56-year-old woman who was among those who erupted in tribal song and dance at the sight of Grandi, said her five children were starving.


A 15-year-old from South Sudan, Henry Ojja, nodded. “Sometimes we eat posho without sauce,’’ he said.


The U.N.’s World Food Program says it needs about $7 million a month to provide life-saving food assistance to refugees in Uganda. Earlier this month, the U.N. and Uganda’s government said about 200,000 refugees who arrived before July 2015 would have their food rations or cash assistance reduced by 50 percent because of low funding and the surge in new arrivals.


A full ration means 2,122 calories of food per person per day during their first year, decreasing as they become increasingly self-reliant, according to WFP. Others get cash, which they can spend however they choose.


At the edges of Pagirinya camp, home about 20,000 more settled South Sudanese refugees, shops are being erected for businesses selling everything from groceries to timber. Shelters hammered out of iron sheets dot the verdant plains, makeshift homes for refugees who try to survive the unpredictable rations by planting crops like corn.


This is the life that Richard Lagu, 22, hopes for once he leaves the holding center he shares with family members after fleeing South Sudan following the latest fighting.


He said he was happy to be in Uganda, where fully settled refugees can access the same health facilities and schools as the locals. Asked when he might return home, Lagu said simply: “I don’t know.’’

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