South Sudan News
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
The minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperations, Hon. Deng Alor Koul, has suspended the Undersecretary in his ministry. Amb. Joseph Ayok Anei is suspected because of what Hon. Kuol said in suspension letter seen by the Nation Mirror Newspaper as insubordination to his authority.
Minister Deng Alor Kuol
Hon. Kuol wrote, “I, Deng Alor Kuol, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooporation, in exercise of powers confer upon me under article 95 (a) and (b) of Civil Service Act, 2011, read together with Diplomatic and Consular Service Act, 2011 do hereby issue this suspension of Ambassador Rev. Joseph Ayok Anei, undersecretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation with pay”, read part of the suspension notice. The Minister cited in the suspension notice that he suspends Ambassador Anei because he “Disregards my orders number of times, and Refusal, ignorance and failure to obey and comply with the laws governing Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations”, read part of the suspension letter.
The Undersecretary is using his connection the President Kiir Mayardit to undermine the authority of the Minister Deng Alor Kuol. The suspension took effect on 20th December 2016.
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
By Wol Deng Atak
The recent proposal for National Dialogues unveiled by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, in his speech to Parliament, is a good stride toward a right direction. The revelation is also in line with political opposition’s leaders and media personalities who earlier called for the same national exercise. Thus, it is evident that the opinion resonates with President Kiir. Furthermore, nurturing this quest for national dialogue will consolidate peace and national spirit. This, however, is only achievable if President Kiir creates environment for free media and relax curbs placed on freedom of speech in the country.
Salva Kiir Mayardit
Concern is growing in proponents as quarters within Kiir’s administration secretly voice serious reservations on the proposed National Dialogue. Their reservations are understandably based on fear of loosing influence they have enjoyed during years of political and economic crisis in the country. Their major fear is in possible new dimension to power equation that may result from National Dialogue. However, the opposition to National Dialogues needs not to be incentivized because it is the only road to peace building, reconciliation and national unity.
It is important for the nation to have well-defined national dialogues to bear transparency and independent patronage to steer the process toward inclusive and measured success. This seems not to be the case as President Kiir recently nominated himself to serve as the patron to National Debate exercise. This self-nomination is not plausible because Kiir is a side with interest to defend. Thus, handing himself a podium to lead the process would only result into a replica of December, 2013 political monologue on SPLM documents in National Liberation Council. The proponents on side of President Kiir were then given chances to advance positions favorable to President Kiir’s views while sentiments for constitutional amendment were denied the same opportunity. Subsequently, many SPLM leaders for amendment of the clauses boycotted the deliberation on 15th December 2015; leaving Kiir’s side to pass the documents in their absent. This deepened disagreements and later degenerated into violence, pillaging and destructions, ethnic targeting killings, and divisions the dialogues would now aim to undo. For this reasons, it would undermine the process if President Kiir leads the Dialogue.
International personality like Kofi Anan can lead the process of National Dialogues. He has led a successful political dialogue in Kenya in 2008 and he proved to be up to the task.
Let us be very clear here that there are important steps recent calls for National Dialogue ignored yet they are very important to its success. These include lifting restriction on free speech and media spaces required for serious dialogues. Let us first examine what it means to have National Dialogues. Heibach informs that National Dialogues can be understood, as an “argumentative interaction of political elites in the framework of an institutionalised or non-institutionalised process outside a constitution or established associations that aims at engaging as many relevant actors as possible on a national level in negotiating socio- political issues relevant to the whole society”(Heibach, 2011, 78). In other words it is a political process geared toward establishing consensus on major issues of national importance. More so, it is a crucial tool for peace building, reconciliation, fostering good governance, and national unity. In a nutshell, it encompasses debates on constitution making, good governance, and provisions of vital services such as health, education, infrastructures, rules and procedures, legitimacy, etc.
Kiir calls for forgiveness for the mistakes he might have committed against the nation needs to correspond to his behaviours toward oppositions. The oppositions currently under detention for opposing him or on ground of being sympathizers of Riek Machar should be released to show a good gesture. It would also serves as signal for reconciliation. For example releasing Hon. Andrew Kuach, Hon. Wol Mayom, Hon. Elise Wayuai, including critics from Eastern and Western Equatoria, among others political detainees would send a tone for reconciliation.
In the same light above, Media houses forced close by Kiir’s office because they reported stories directly touching him or are owned by people opposed to his rule should be allowed to resume print or broadcast. For example, the Nation Mirror, Citizen, Destiny, Al Waton, Al Raiai, Al Masir, among other Newspapers currently under the National Security’s ‘Detention’ should be allowed to resume print. Not to over emphasize the importance of free media and free speech as key ingredients to a successful National Dialogues, allowing political space and free media is crucial for fostering good governance and peace building in a country.
Most experiences on national dialogues have been on post-war situations. Unlike South Sudan where President has called for it as violence rages on in former Western Equatoria, Bhar el Ghazal and Upper Nile states. It is, therefore, incumbent on President Kiir to reach out to armed oppositions to consolidate the success of discourse, thereof.
I wouldn’t want to think of presidential calls for National Dialogues as a bluff to get every opposition back to the country then shut the doors behind them. But it is also difficult to ignore any sentiment gearing toward that direction if the president does not take key decisions to create conducive environment required for National Dialogues. For no national debate can shape nation’s future without the presence of free media and free speech.
In conclusion, it is equally important for President Kiir to reconsider the thorny Order No. 36 creating more states outside stipulations of peace agreement, and the directives revoking dissidents’ passports and private properties to echo a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation he asked of the nation.
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
Juba, Nov. 24 (The Nation Mirror) - United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) has strengthened livelihood of 226 Inmates and prison staff in South Sudan central prison to enable them sustained income, as economy and humanitarian situation continue to embattle the youngest African republic.
Tiodolar Kiden, proudly said while clutching her certificate of tailoring, that the course has changed her life.
“I joined the tailoring course in February and was released from prison in April. I am back in Kajo-Keji and have started my small tailoring shop to support my family. Said Kiden. “I am really happy to get this opportunity to learn and do something for myself and my family.”
The National Prisons Service of South Sudan (NPSSS) feted the graduation of the first batch of 226 inmates and prison staff trained in eight trades at the Vocational Training Centre in Juba Central Prison late Wednesday.
UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen said UNDP has renovated existing buildings for use as classrooms, and supplied the equipment and materials required for instruction in eight trades: carpentry, masonry, electrician, welding, vehicle mechanics, agriculture, hair dressing and tailoring.
“I take this opportunity to congratulate all the trainees for successfully completing the training. You have shown the way for others by converting the difficult period of your life into an opportunity to acquire new skills,” said Kamil Kamaluddeen in remarks delivered at the occasion late Wednesday.
Anthony Oliver Lege, National Police Director of Production and Rehabilitation said he Centre aims to reduce recidivism by imparting technical skills to inmates that enable them to earn a living and facilitate their rehabilitation as contributors to society when released.
“I appeal to all partners to support our efforts to promote prisoners rehabilitation through establishment of a pilot vocational training at Juba central Prison,” said Lege.
Dutch Defence Attaché Col. Dirk Burger in his brief remarks said the Center has inspired hope in the lives of so many people and thanked prison service and UNDP for the achievement.
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
Juba, 6th 12/2016 - The office of South Sudanese First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, cancelled his planed visit to Bentiu amidst security concerns. Sources say the decision was arrived at after Security apparatus advised First President office against going to Bentiu. An impeccable source told the Nation Mirror “There is a genuine reason to be concerned about First Vice President safety in his hometown, because forces hostile to him are presence around Bentiu areas. The government forces can’t guarantee his safety”, he said. Gai was scheduled for a visit on Monday 5th December 2016 for the first time since peace agreement was reached. Since the Peace Agreement was reached he has never set foot to the area. Gai hails from Guit Section of Nuer of Bentiu area.
Taban Deng Gai, First Vice President of the Republic
Bentiu has been under the government forces when the Peace Pact signed and operationalized. FVP scheduled visit to Bentiu was thwarted amidst security reports that IO forces are preparing to attack the Government garrison in Bentiu. Riek’s IO and the government forces are at daggers draw as each of the parties wants entrench its presence or dominance. UN reports indicate that the belligerent parties are preparing for resumption of hostilities in and around Bentiu, Upper Nile, including Bhar el Ghazal, and Equatoria areas.
Taban Deng replaced Riek following the eruption of violence at Presidential Palace in July, which saw IO Base in Jabel overran. Riek fled Juba and Taban replaced him raising controversy and division within IO Camp. Taban had earlier felt out in yet another low tone with his former boss Dr. Riek Machar leading to his resignation in April 2016 from position of IO Chief Negotiator.
After replacing Riek on 23rd July with Taban, Kiir sacked ministers loyal to Riek replacing them with Taban Loyalists. Since then the IO forces under Riek Machar and those loyal to Taban Deng do not see eye to eye.
Last Month forces loyal to Machar overran government garrison comprised of IO under Taban and government forces in Bentiu. But the attacking forces withdrew after ransacking the garrison. After fighting at J1, Presidential Palace, violence spread across the country with Former Western Bhar El Ghazal, Central and Western Equatoria witnessing heavy military concentration leading to human rights violations. The US has raised concerns of recent surge of violence in Greater Equatoria areas.
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
JUBA, Nov. 24 (The Nation Mirror) - South Sudan’s national leaders and citizens have pinned their hopes on U.S. President elect Donald Trump to support peace and reconciliation efforts in the world’s youngest republic.
The election of Trump as the American new leader on Nov. 8 caught many in the world by surprised, but not in South Sudan where government officials hope his election victory will bring change to American policy on South Sudan government. Obama’s administration occasionally criticized Kiir’s government for lack of political will to end violence conflict and alleviate the suffering of the people of South Sudan. President Salva Kiir sent the New York billionaire a congratulatory note after Trump won a hotly contested presidential election in the United States of Africa.
President Elect, Donald Trump
Kiir pledged to work closely with Trump to restore political stability and economic progress in South Sudan.President Kiir’s Press Secretary, Ateny Wek Ateny, told journalists recently that Juba anticipated cordial relationship with the Trump’s administration.
“President Kiir is optimistic that a Trump administration will support our peace and reconciliation efforts in line with earlier commitments made by the U.S. government,” Ateny remarked.
Political commentators stressed that South Sudan should re-organize its foreign policy to tap into opportunities that a Trump administration might offer to Africa.
“The government in Juba has an opportunity to reset bilateral cooperation with the new administration in Washington. It is vital that Juba rest diplomatic ties with Washington for the sake of our security and economic interests,” said Ariik Atekdit, a Juba based political commentator.
South Sudan has since December 2013 been engulfed in violence marred by ethnic targeting, rape, and pillaging leading to a large-scale humanitarian crisis in the country.The international community and neighboring countries have been spearheading efforts to restore elusive stability in South Sudan.
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
Juba, Nov. 30 (The Nation Mirror) – Soaring economic hardship in South Sudan has left many women to solely shoulder family’s responsibilities traditionally known as male domain (main breadwinners). Many families of the armed forces whose salaries not paid for nearly four months bear the brunt.
Adut Aguer Ajang, a mother of two, earlier forced into marriage at age 19 in 2012, turned a family breadwinner. Adut told The Nation Mirror this week in an interview that spiraling economic situation has forced her to venture into selling tea in a makeshift café to make ends meet for her family. Tea business has become her major source to support her two children, her mother after her husband salaries in the national army were not forthcoming.
“I started boiling tea for sale earlier this year as a way to sustain my children, because there was no other better and easies option to sustain my family,” Ajang told the Nation Mirror.
Mary. Picture Source: CARE South Sudan
The 23 years old mother said her struggle began after her husband sort alcohol for solution to agonizing months of salary delay, leaving her to take up family responsibilities. She says her husband’s frustration resulting from his inability to meet the family’s immediate needs as army spends months without salaries. Adut’s husband is a major in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), but his pay barely comes in time. This December marks fourth month without pay, a situation that has forced some members of armed forces to take their lives after witnessing unbearable agony of their children. In May this year two soldiers form Police service and other from SPLA, a woman in Torit commit suicide, respectively as a result agony relating to children condition.
Adut is one of the few women ventured out to search for an alternative source of income. “My condition forced me to this business because my husband is not getting pay to support us and nothing else can help my children, and myself”, she said. Adut earns 500 South Sudanese Pounds on tea sells a day, an equivalent of dollar $4.86, USD 145.8 a month.
Suzan Keji, another sole family breadwinner, told The Nation Mirror in Juba that tea business is very annoying because of sexual harassments from her suppose customers. Marks of frustration are visibly telling from Keji’s eyes. Despite alleged harassment from at her makeshift café, Keji says she is left with no option available to cater for her siblings, but to sell tea. She believes, “Tea selling is mostly mistaken by men as a way of prostituting. I am selling tea because it is the only way I can support my family. I can’t get office work because I lack required education,” Keji said.
South Sudanese Pound depreciated following its devaluation by the authority in the Bank of South Sudan in 2015. Currently, a U.S dollar trades at 103 South Sudanese Pounds.A development that did not down well in a country with high unemployment rate, making it increasingly become challenging for South Sudanese to make the ends meet.
The recent wake of violence has reversed nation’s recovering process from series of violent conflicts, destruction, and pillaging. The South Sudan government says it will repair pipelines damaged in war in bid to increase oil production to counter the spiraling economy hardship. However, the recent flare of violence in Unity makes the plan unlikely to succeed.
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
By: Majak D’Agoôt and Remember Miamingi
South Sudan requires urgent international intervention to avert a looming genocide. Since South Sudan’s ascent to statehood in 2011, the country has witnessed a volatile landscape of ethnic-based insurgencies. These conflicts have irresponsibly preyed on primordial communal animus and further deepened ethnic cleavages between these ethnicities. Impunity, and indeed, poorly thought through amnesty granted to those waging such local conflicts have reinforced this pattern of violence. The proclivity toward sectarian politics based on ethnicity and region was the main driver behind why the conflict that began in December 2013 as a political contestation within the ruling party, quickly took on an ethnic dimension. This phenomenon made it easier for leaders of the warring sides to turn their communities into violent constituencies.
For Riek Macar, the former Vice President and current leader of the SPLA-IO – the Nuer his ethnic group and the second largest tribe in South Sudan, form the backbone of his fighting force and political power base. For the President, Salva Kiir who hails from the Dinka ethnic group, it is the Dinka, the largest ethnic community, that forms the base of his support and from which he and his cadres have recruited government-backed vigilantes and militias. The unintended consequence of the two tribes fighting on the opposite poles of the war has been targeted mass atrocity along ethnic lines. In particular, the state policy of ethnic targeting and disenfranchisement of communities has alienated broad segment of citizenry, thereby paving the way for communal war of all against all
To make an already hopelessly complex situation even worst, a number of tribes in the Equatoria region have joined the fray. This is turning areas that were previously peaceful and home to a diverse mix of non-Dinka and non-Nuer tribes, into killing grounds pitting these local communities against the Government and the Dinka.
At last, the lid has come off the dormant ferment of age-old interethnic rivalries. Even though ethnic rivalry has been part of the history of South Sudan, it never reached the current combustible proportions. A number of interlocking tragedies orchestrated by state and non-state actors have finally set South Sudan on the fast lane to genocide of momentous magnitudes. Clearly, this has spelled a significant change in the past structure of social conflict – epitomizing a new shift in conflict dynamics.
One of the factors responsible for the march to a genocidal war is the senseless killings by a plethora of warlords loosely allied to both Kiir and Machar. The horrendous crimes committed against civilians in Juba, Bor, Malakal, Bentiu, and Akobo – and more recently along the highway, smack of patterns of ethnically targeted mass slaughter never seen before in the history of South Sudan. Without much flurry, they have caused a degenerate war and placed the country on a staircase to former Yugoslavia. While security tensions arising from threats beyond the borders still exist, South Sudan is now more encumbered by its own internal conflict.
Dr. Majak De'Agoot
To make matters worse, the recent Government counterinsurgency response in Equatoria has been high-handed and counterproductive. In July, villages along Machar’s axis of retreat were pummeled with heavy artillery and tank fire. Civilians were strafed with attack helicopters, villages torched, and livelihoods destroyed. It was a scorched-earth policy on display.
By and large, the government’s response was anchored on a maximum use of force. It has not succeeded to suppress the rebellion, but has instead fueled an intractable ethnic hatred among the citizens, caused accidental guerrillas, and more international condemnation. In truth, in Equatoria, the recurring theme of Dinka domination has rebounded into the arena with unparalleled force and intensity.
Deplorably, ethnic targeting and lynching of vulnerable ethnic Dinka civilians have spiked in recent weeks all across Equatoria. These heinous crimes are sometimes justified by their perpetrators as being impelled by a motive of counter-atrocity and revenge. In other words, these Dinka commuters are condemned to these cruel punishments on the basis of associational guilt. These incidences have served the cause of President Kiir to mobilize a violent constituency of ethnic Dinka latched to him by fear of existential threat.
At the moment, the country is segmented and polarized along ethno-regional sectarian faultlines deliberately promoted by leaders on both sides. According to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, “the spate of rising ethnic rhetoric, hate speech and incitement to violence in South Sudan is highly dangerous and could result in mass atrocities if not reined by community and political leaders at the highest level.”
The state has lost the hearts and minds of its population and has encouraged vigilante groups to emerge and act violently with impunity. Even if the legitimate use of force is functionally vested in the state, it should not be the end in and of itself. Compulsion through the state-sponsored violence has never built any nation. Generally, it is the promotion of mutual trust, mutual benefits, and mutual interests that encourages state formation and enduring solidarity.
The dangerous rhetoric by Machar to ratchet-up levels of violence to make himself more relevant, as evinced by his recent statements, presents another trigger. Moreover, a number of armed groups have intensified attacks on towns and on highways in most parts of the country. These attacks have attempted to hit the economic lifelines of the country and cause chaos and fear along key highways. The result has been massacres of one ethnic group by the other, thereby generating retaliatory counter-attacks.
The incisive question then is whither South Sudan bound? South Sudan, as its erstwhile progenitor – Sudan, has been, from the inception, set on a sectarian trajectory by its gun-toting class of leaders. It is therefore far from being a stable polity. A more pessimistic view on the current state of affairs is that the country is “on life support”, “on a freefall”, “an Humpty Dumpty sitting on a cliff” or securely “on a stairway to former Yugoslavia”. Whichever the direction it is slanted to take, South Sudan needs an urgent rescue from collapse to avert a catastrophe – in fact a looming genocide – and urgent rebooting to reclaim its sovereignty.
As it stands, the country has lost its magnetic needle and is out of orbit sliding dangerously towards anarchy. The unstable political calculus of both leaders has generated a conflict, which is rapidly transforming into genocidal war. Unlike Rwanda, a multi-polar system of vicious atrocities is leading towards state fragmentation. The country has hit a highway to former Yugoslavia with the potent mix and interplay of the four horseman of apocalypse – war, death, famine, and mass emigration.
Even as we have warned of the dire consequences of this “coming anarchy” in South Sudan, there are possible ways of averting the catastrophe. The swift response of IGAD, AU, Troika and the UNSC culminating in the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2304 (2016) on the deployment of 4000 strong Regional Protection Force (RPF) is a welcome step. This force should be immediately deployed. At the same time, the mandate of UNMISS should be recalibrated to new realities and to tally with the milestones necessary to prevent genocide and restore the country back to stability.
The RPF should deploy at once to assist in averting catastrophe by managing some of the “tiny initiating events” indicative of genocidal war which are contained in various inflammatory and inciting statements being made by high echelon political leaders and various reactionary community organizations.
Eventually, once there is an environment for dialogue, the society must be allowed to ventilate to address its fears and security dilemmas in an unconstrained manner. At present, a roundtable conference of all stakeholders, the faith-based groups and the civil society – among others – should be invoked. The people of South Sudan must be given the space and support necessary to bridge the chasm of ethnic divisions and redesign the roadmap for the country. This roadmap, should – among other things, embrace the establishment of at least four-year-tenured caretaker administration of technocrats and eminent national personalities who shall have no stakes in the future running of South Sudan beyond the next general elections.
*Dr. Remember Miamingi is an international lawyer based at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
Juba, Nov. 27 (The Nation Mirror) – Greater Yiorl communities on Thursday in Minkaman wrestle to engage on sport for peace and reconciliation. The event came against the backdrop amidst inter-communal violence in the defunct Lakes State. The former Lakes State is one of the states most affected by vicious cycle of revenge. The violence has uprooted many people from thier homes resulting into acute humanitarian needs across the country.
South Sudanese Wrestlers, Photo Professsional Affairs
The sport festival brought together more than 5,000 spectators after travelling from up to six hours from Yirol and Awerial to cheer wrestling for peace competition with internally displaced person in Minkaman.
“We are here for promoting peace and peaceful coexistence,” said Gabriel Modol, Awerial County wrestling committee member and lead referee of the competition. “At this event you will see community, you will see love and socialization.”
The competition consisted of 21 matches, each lasting up to three minutes. The first wrestler to force their opponent onto the ground was declared the winner. If neither wrestler is wrestled after three minutes the match a draws. The team were divided between the “home” community of Awerial and “visitors” from Yirol East and West.
Yirol Wrestling Manager said, “This event is important as it brings people from Yirol and Awerial together, to meet and interact in a place that allows understanding. Now when (the spectators and wrestlers) return to their homes, they will remember the people they met here. If, say, a member of this group gets in trouble in an opposing community, it doesn’t need to turn into a bigger problem. They will know each other. They will have understanding,” said Sibet Jenena.
UNDP’s Community Security and Small Arms project supported the wrestling competition as part of its initiatives to encourage social cohesion and strengthen ties between neighboring communities.
“The role that sports can play in bringing communities together and building peace is often underestimated,” said UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen. Adding, “This initiative is community-led, supports an area which has seen many challenges in the past few years, and we are pleased to see the competition organized well, providing the community with a reason to celebrate themselves and promoting cooperation and understanding between the groups.”
It is first of its kind in the area since the country gained independence from Khartoum in 2011.
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
By Wol Deng Atak,
Before you stop reading, please, note that raping, looting, and killing of innocent unarmed civilians by the cliques’ administration in Juba did happen in my village before it started in yours. It started way back in 2008 and 2010 before the country got its independence from the Sudan. As a Dinka from Warrap State, I have experienced the harshness of the brunt of policy designed to cow the citizens to silent.
The sponsored violence, which others referred to as targeting ethnic community on highways, has its roots in J1 calculated for political maneuvers and evil survival techniques for the cliques. And to some extend equally used by their contender in armed violence who has his headquarters in Pagak. The kleptocratic regime wants every citizen to lie on its behalf or die. This explains why the regime has been harsher to Dinka nationals who do not tow its line. Understandably, my brother and sister at the other side of my other community in this country may not be aware that Dinka nationals opposed to the regime are dying in silent.
You may recall, in 2008 and 2009, I presented to Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly a case of a civilian dragged out of health facility where he was admitted for treatment and shot dead by the SPLA soldiers. He was pulled out shot dead right in front of the health facility in Aliek Payam of Tonj North County of Warrap State. Chol Geeng, a victim, hand was tight against Payam Administrator of Aliek Payam, Mr. Mathiang Akol, both Dinka from Warrap State, before he was shot dead leaving the administrator highly traumatized. The deceased was wounded by SPLA soldiers over cattle dispute a day before, but he hid himself only to be followed to the hospital where he was receiving treatment and killed by the same soldiers who wounded him a day before.
Within the area mentioned above, SPLA soldiers subjected school girl-children and women to gang rape, looted properties, destroyed food crops and scattered them just to punish Aliek community. Women were equally raped in Warrap town, and Gogrial East. I presented these issues in parliament, but not only it receives disapproving node from the leadership but sabotage. It was a double tragedy to justice because the culprits did not only get state protection from prosecution but got promotion. Which government worth its name could do such things to it own citizens? I feel justified in terming them as cliques, predators who hijacked the people hard won independence for their selfish ends. In deed they are mere competitors of violence for wealth and power who brought shame to the nation.
In 2010-2011, systematic killing started in Tonj East of Warrap State. In one incident eighteen unarmed youths in Tonj East of Warrap State were rounded up, their hands tight against one another, line up and shot dead by the SPLA soldiers at the full glare of the sunlight. Their crime was never made public though found walking. In Akop Payam of Tonj North County of Warrap State, soldiers shot dead a chief at his court together with score of others. This happened in 2014. With these examples, tell us many premeditated murder, rape, torture, looting, etc. unleash to communities in Warrap State, President Kiir home State, happened to the poor Dinka community, but President Kiir looks other way just like he does to other communities he represents in State House. I can understand when other ethnic communities complain of the same in their localities. Although it is difficult to understand why others bend their frustration against the innocents Dinka nationals, it is perceivably frustrating though I can’t justify their actions.
The crux of the matter is not only that the President Kiir looks the other way as crime is being committed against citizens, but also helped sabotaging quest for accountability through intimidation, promotion of the culprits, and dismissal of any voice that opposes.
My observations taught me that members of Dinka Community who opposed regime’s earth-scorching policy don’t only loss government employment or denied opportunities, but get their livelihood attacked and destroyed to beat them into submission or even get killed. For examples, the case of The Citizen Newspaper, The Nation Mirror Newspaper, and The Destiny Newspaper, Al Ahoton, among others explains how the regime operates against disagreeing voices. Dengdit Ayok, a son of Warrap State, who served as Editor-In-Chief of The Destiny Newspaper was not only exiled but was followed abroad and attacked and left for death. These things are happening everywhere in the country.
The above businesses were found and ran by Dinka nationals, but since the owners did not tow the regime’s line, they have been forced to shut sending most of the owners to exile. The objective is to deny the owners income so as to induce poverty subsequently, into allegiance. Isaiah Abraham, Dinka from Bor, who wrote a number of opinion articles about the lost direction of the leadership, received a number of warnings, just as I am being warned now, before he was attacked and killed in his peaceful house in Gudelle, in Juba. Ustaz Deng Athuai, a Dinka from Warrap State, survived attempts on his life twice leaving him with gunshot wounds. The author had also his own narrow escapes. The list is long!
The scope might have changed with the rise of the political crisis that erupted in 2013 violence leading to ethnic targeting with killing directed against civilians of various ethnic communities in the country. The poor citizens including the Dinka communities barely know the current episodes of violence directed against the communities are a calculated political move to keep the regime in power. Instead of uniting against the kleptocrats in Juba, the poor citizens turn arms against themselves hence ending up implementing the script of J1.
The competitors in violence mainly the IG and the IO are determined to fit communities against each other so as to attain their respective political goals. The regime in Juba in particular is at its worse in using armed criminal syndicate commonly known as “Unknown Gunmen”, also recently referred to by Dr. Majak De’Agoot, as “Gunclass” to unleash terror against members of the public who opposes their policies of divisive rule. Members of this network impersonate different ethnicities before they attack their targets by speaking in dialects or languages of the attacker before they kill. They often make sure they leave a survival to tell a story so as to arise anger in victims of a community to seek revenge, hence justify their stay in power. The cliques would turn around and remind the victims of being hated because of their numbers or ethnicity by the attackers, when in fact are the one attacking. This is their tool for fueling ethnic hatred for their interests for political survival. The citizens can stop them, instead of reacting according to their violence script. Whether the soldiers get approving nodes from the leadership for raping and killing innocent citizens or not, the citizens have moral obligation to unite against the kleptocratic regime in Juba. The regime’s contender whose headquarters is based in Pagak, Dr. Riek Machar, is not worth following either. They are the same!
The gunclass network is cunny and disguise at ease without unsuspecting victim getting a hint. Those that the regime dispatched to fetch for me in July were non-Dinka from one ethnic group. Their mission was designed to fit the two communities against each other. J1 script was intended to bring me harm then expose unsuspecting framed individuals and using their action to mobilize ethnic community for the support.
President Kiir is on record pronouncing this myth and repeated it on Kenyan Television Network (KTN) with Jeff Koinage Live. He said if he quits the office like today there would be genocide. Some of my fellow citizens believe him. I don’t blame them for accepting it on a face value though. They never known that they are manipulated into fear and fitted against one another for political survival of the kleptocrats for South Sudan violence political contest (VPC).
An article attributed to uncle Aldo Deng Akuey and the company (JCE) warns against possible retaliation by the Dinka against killing being directed to Dinka nationals along the highways of South Sudan by certain groups in Equatoria. It is worrying because the warning does not see how the regime is killing the Dinka they say they represent. Reacting to the symptoms whose roots are in State House cannot help. Unity of the nation and not revenge attack can help. South Sudanese are dying everywhere. They are dying in Wau (Kiir has the report but refused to make it public), Warrap, Equatoria and Upper Niles.
I am aware the Dinka nationals are being targeted in Equatoria, Bhar el Ghazal, and Upper Nile, making it a double tragedy for the Dinka community. The regime is killing the Dinka and frustrating individuals, though, they don’t represent the entire ethnicity they belong, are also killing Dinka nationals. However, it makes no sense talking of Dinka being targeted on Juba-Nimule Road, and Yei-Juba Road, leaving others killed on the said roads unmentioned. The article in its content amounts to inciting for violence against others; therefore, I would like to urge Uncle Aldo Ajou to withdraw the statement attributed to him before his sentiment picks momentum. If Radio Tamazuj put those words in his mouth, then he should come clean and demand the medium to remedy.
Nonetheless, I believe the solution is not to response in the same manner and kill in retaliation, but create understanding that all of us are the victims of the gunclass (Dr. D’Agoot). I strongly believe the solution to South Sudan political crisis is not a threat for revenge, but appealing to the national sentiment to rid the country of competitors of violence for power and wealth.
The author is a former MP, Resigned Deputy Commissioner of Information Commission and the Editor in chief, The Nation Mirror.
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
Juba, Nov. 25 (The Nation Mirror) - As the armed conflict in South Sudan approaches its fourth year, civilians continue to flee the violence that has gripped much of the country and resulted in vast humanitarian needs, IOM said.
Displaced South Sudanese, Photo: AFP
The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continues to rise, currently standing at 1.87 million since December 2013, according to recent UN figures. Over 212,000 IDPs are hosted in UN protection of civilian (PoC) sites across the country.
The IDP population at the PoC site in Bentiu, Unity has reached more than 108,300, representing an increase of over 14 percent since August, and matching levels not seen since April of this year. More than 7,300 people have arrived at the site since the end of October, largely from Koch, Leer and Rubkona counties.
Insecurity and corresponding increases in humanitarian needs in these parts of Unity are likely driving the increase in displacement to the PoC site. Fighting, particularly in Leer, is likely to continue prompting people to move to the Bentiu PoC site or more stable areas in Unity.
“Worsening trends of insecurity are preventing IDPs from returning to their homes in many parts of the country. While civilians are grappling with deteriorating humanitarian conditions, access constraints are making it more difficult for IOM and relief agencies to deliver aid to the most vulnerable, particularly in recent weeks,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission William Barriga.
As camp manager at the Bentiu PoC site, IOM tracks entries and exits at the site. It also registers IDPs for the efficient delivery of humanitarian services, and supplies relief agencies with data to inform response planning.
Displacement figures also remain high in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal, the site of heavy fighting in June and ongoing insecurity. Over 41,000 people, the highest number since June, are sheltering at the PoC site adjacent to the UNMISS base and in collective centers across Wau town, according to IOM-led population counts.
Of the 174 IDPs who arrived at the Wau PoC site last week, all cited security concerns as their core motivation for seeking protection at the site.
Outside the town, IOM and humanitarian agencies have been unable to consistently provide assistance to populations in areas south of Wau, due to bureaucratic constraints and blockages since early July.
Violence also continues to drive increased displacement in other parts of the country, including areas around Yei, Central Equatoria.
Nearly 3 million South Sudanese have fled their homes in the past three years. With over 1.1 million refugees in neighbouring countries, over 362,000 people have fled the country since July, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
IOM is coordinating with relief partners to provide multi-sector humanitarian assistance to displaced and conflict-affected people across South Sudan.
Category: South Sudan News Written by News Desk
By Wol Deng Atak
The debate whether Kiir and his co-competitor, Dr. Riek Machar, in violence for wealth gains and power could set the nation engulfed by power free has been ongoing without concrete conclusion. Would it in anyway serve the best interest of the nation if both men to leave active politics? I think their exit is a remedy to South Sudan political crisis because their actions continue to generate recipes for crisis.
Firstly, in pursuit of complete dictatorship, President Kiir turned state security into regime protection or his personal protection force to the misery of the citizens. He has completely squeezed media space forcing it to only parrot government’s propaganda or remain muted to avoid forced closure. On the other hand, professional associations like lawyers association is controlled, debates prohibited even within academic premises.
The above situation is so enforced that even parliamentary deliberations are reduced to a mere rubber stamp to avoid Kiir dismissing decree. Riek is no better either. He ran the IO like his private company giving no space for difference voices. He would be another Kiir if not worst than him if Riek ascend to presidency. Kiir’s earth scorching policy nearly put every media house in fear with each journalist believing he could be arrested anytime and subjected to torture or even killed. His security services do these at his directives because he knows that people have withdrawn every single trust they had in him. Complete deteriorating social security and services, delayed salaries, extreme inflation, an unprecedented lawlessness.
All these happened at Kiir's watch and doesn’t think he and his rival Riek Machar have caused all these to the most tolerant people never found elsewhere in the world. Kiir has turned national security service into a mere Personal Protection Force (PPF) and so is Riek with his security apparatus then based in Pagak. As it is the case in Juba and else where in South Sudan, citizens are being arbitrary arrested each time without access to legal services and this amounts to complete denial of civil liberty contrary to what the SPLM fought for. The citizens' fate rests with the discernment of the national security officers whom are often at a whim. IMG 2486 President Salva Kiir Mayardit The above is contrary to the SPLM founded on democratic principles and freedom of expression and of media. Surely, this is not our country; this isn’t the South Sudan we wanted to live in.
It is becoming another Sudan – it is sad that the head of state turned back and adopted the very system each of us ran away from. This is a lost direction and a dangerous precedence. Secondly, economy collapsed, with prices of primary goods having increased by more than 600%, subsequently students dropped out of school because their parents can’t afford their education. Kiir’s government never provided quality education at first place so those who could have their children school in foreign countries had them returned home because they can’t keep in school. Apart from the fact that South Sudan is one of the poorest countries (yet natural-resource rich) the citizens are poorer today than three years ago. Many citizens skip lunch in order to get supper or at times take one to two days without a meal so they can save for another day in order to live. A 50kg of maize flour costs 3,000-7,000SSP, which is four times more than a graduate earns a month and six times the salary of an ordinary soldier. And more so nation currency losses value every single day. Kiir’s government has resolved to let everything takes its own course.
There’s no magic in economy, there’s need for a hard work and change of policies, something Kiir’s administration won’t do and no one of the countries will bail out this nation under President Kiir. What can improve the economy when much of the hard currencies go into buying military hardware? Why would anyone expect a major comeback in economy when top elites including the head of state are involved in looting the country? Our economy can only be rescued if President Kiir resigns, Machar barred from returning to active politics and then borrow from the World Bank and IFM.
Thirdly, failed foreign-relation is hurting the nation harder. It’s abundantly clear that our country suffers and geared toward international isolation. We lost our diplomatic support in almost every country because of the failed policies of President Kiir and his inconsistence decisions. He fell out with the TROIKA countries, the very countries, which are called midwives of South Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia, Eritrea as well as other East African countries. Don’t we need them yesterday like now and tomorrow? We surely need them at our back. Remember, South Sudan can’t walk alone. If President Kiir thinks so, that’s a political mistake. While we’re locked up in senseless war with each other throat, much and valuable parts of this country is being taken away from us at the watch of Kiir. -Kafi-Kengi at the border with Darfur, for example, is on the brink of being taken away, a place full of uranium reserves, part of Eastern Equatoria with abundant oil is on the verge of being lost, Abyei is nearly gone, Heglig is never mentioned, parts of Kajokeji is taken by Uganda as well as some parts is going into Ethiopia not forgetting bigger parts of western and Central Equatoria occupied by DRC- these are tangible issues a patriotic citizen in leadership should engage in them, but turning guns against innocent citizens who happened to have a different opinion. President Kiir just needs to resign so that we can save this country.
Fourthly, rampant corruption, this is the most visible act in this country and President Kiir had admitted publicly while addressing people earlier this year in Dr. John Garang Mausoleum that corruption had reached unmanageable state. This is evidenced in the recent Sentry Report confirming that he himself is involved in corruption with impunity. While we would admit that there is corruption all over the world, each government sets mechanisms to control it. In our case the leadership has undermined institutions capable of fighting the graft. If the anti-corruption commission was allowed to perform its task, the auditor general performs its duties without hindrance and accountability prevails then it would have made sense there is zero tolerance to corrupt practices.
Fifthly, lawlessness has taken reign of the nation; even as you read this, there is someone dying out there in South Sudan because men in uniform are engaged in killing citizens. Many have been killed in numerous occasions. Visit Juba Teaching hospital each morning and you will meet wards packed with bodies of people shot the previous night. There is “Joint criminal enterprise (JCE)” in Juba that grabs homes at gunpoint during daylight. It is currently taking place in the areas of Thongping, Gumbo, Jebel, Munuki as well as Gurei and police have withdrawn from this due to the fact that the legal system has collapsed.
Therefore, Juba, the national capital has turned into where the strong takes from the weak. The previously busied streets of Juba are currently largely empty. People have run for safety to the neighboring countries. Every night there is noisy sound of gunshots in all corners of the capital. These shots are from security forces that shot into the air to justify their action of looting shops at night. Although I can’t blame them because their families are starving, I can’t justify their actions either. Their salaries can’t sustain the family with such an economy. All these can stop if President Kiir accepts request to stand down and allow transition to end. We are all tired of war. Gen. Paul Malong, the chief of staff of SPLA reportedly said during the security meeting that he’d asked President Kiir to relinquish power because the country was exhausted and everyone wanted no war anymore. This is a big confession, which means it is not you and I that are tired of war but everyone else.
Sixthly, President Kiir is talking of calling for early elections because he believes he will run unopposed because there’s no political discourse and all politicians will shy away from such crooked elections. Surely, no one will want to participate in elections in which President Kiir will give himself 99% votes. During the last election most Southerners voted for him including myself because there was a task for him to do - takes us to the Promised Land, which he did very well, this is enough and an honor we gave him. He will never at this point unite this country; this is a fact clear to some of us. Besides, to be sincere there will be no elections in real sense, for conditions to meet in order to have elections are far-fetched. There’s need for border demarcation of state borders, constituencies, national census- all these require money, which the country barely have.
Seventhly, two and half years have passed and citizens are still in the POCs in their own country because of war imposed on us by Salva Kiir and Riek Machar for the reason of power. How can their freedom be given away in exchange for power? Whether the war being fought is justified either to President Kiir or Riek Machar, it’s never justified to subject people to the suffering. Those in their homes are even more miserable than those in the POCs. For they live in fear all the time not knowing when he/she will be attacked at night by unknown gunmen. I have never heard a country in which unknown gunmen operation prevails for more than four years unabated except in Kiir’s administration in Juba. It has become common slogan by some security officers who jokingly tell those voicing different opinion that “unknown gunmen would be sent your way if you continue saying what you stand for”. Others may say that President Kiir has done nothing to leave his position others on the other hand believes Dr. Riek Machar hasn’t done anything to deserve being barred, but now each has his supporters having different definitions of these conflicts and no side is willing to concede or accept the truth.
In fact there is no truth depending on which side you are listening to the version. Enough is enough, the two should be asked to leave in order to move the country forward. South Sudan isn’t all about them. It’s about all of us. Eighthly, Dr. Machar, Dr. Riek is already out and shouldn’t be allowed to return active politics again. It’s extremely important that Kiir step aside and leave active politics so South Sudan regains its promise of hope and freshness - brought to unthinkable state by the duo full of selfish interest. This country shouldn’t be left to serve self-interest of the duo. The nation interest is bigger than them. Fellow compatriots, countrymen and women you and I have endured so much for too long. You and I have undergone unspeakable situations and one of the worst civil wars ever imposed on us by leaders that are too good to be good.
While millions South Sudanese languish in severe hunger, the two leaders are busy calculating how many lives of young men and women they should give their blood to maintain their status quo and yet their children are abroad enjoying life like there has been no war, as though people are miserable back in the country. Thousands of people have died during this conflict, 2.4 million have been displaced and as many as 5.1 million are food insecure and could starve to death and many others die of diseases.
If people from the hometown of the chief of General staff of the SPLA fled in large numbers to the neighboring Sudan, of what use is our government? By the way, there’s no small government and there’s no big government. A government is that which takes care of its citizen day in to day out. Lastly, our social fabric is broken. Kiir’s administration has subjected his own tribe to one of the worst insecurity ever. People from Dinka ethnic are being dragged out in buses while travelling within the country by people frustrated in the way the government is being run by President Kiir and his JCE syndicate. And people outside think it’s the Dinka that has destroyed this country and the one keeping him in power, so that some places are unsafe for them in the country. And the problem isn’t the Dinka, it is President Kiir that has a dumped the private manifesto and resort to ethnic mobilization and thus making the self-appointed Jieng Council of Elders more powerful than the party, which brought freedom and him to power. It’s not that other tribes don’t want Dinka to exist in this country, this is wrong and a complete ignorant if at all it is the opinion, but a failed system is the very one colliding people so that each tribe thinks it is the other one responsible for failing of the country. It is kleptocratic government, cliques who have captured and hold the state hostage to their selfish interests. There’s no law and order and this has given armed men an opportunity to grab land, kill, torture, beating unarmed civilian at will. Kiir’s regime isn’t only disapproved by other tribes and outside countries, a large number of his tribe mates don’t like his kleptocratic style. High profile politicians like Dr. Majak Agoot, Dinka said the country is controlled by the “gun-class” to show how the political system failed the nation. The first people to go critical of his regime are Dinka, many have been exiled including Dr. Luka Biong, John Pen De Ngog, including my poor self. Others have been killed for speaking out against his handling of state of affairs, the likes of Isaiah Abraham. Deng Athuai cheated death twice at the hand of “gun-class” who tried eliminating him. And I say all these just to advocate a return to country South Sudanese died fighting for.
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