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South Sudan News

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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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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$300 Million Needed In External Support For New Budget

Reuters

 

South Sudan’s government wants $300 million in aid and loans to support its next budget, as it seeks to stabilize the country which has been scarred by civil conflict since achieving independence in 2011.


Last week, the cabinet approved a budget proposal for the 2016/17 fiscal year which nearly tripled spending at 29.6 billion South Sudan pounds ($520 million). “If it is approved by the transitional National Legislative assembly (the funding aim) will be around $300 million, for which we will seek support from the donor community in terms of grants or external borrowing,” Finance Minister Stephen Dau said in comments broadcast on local Radio Miraya FM.


The world’s newest country has been devastated by war since December 2013, when soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed in the capital Juba with troops loyal to his former deputy Riek Machar.


The conflict has hammered the economy and left swathes of the 11 million population without enough food. Oil production, South Sudan’s main source of revenue, has tumbled as oil fields have been cut off and global prices have dropped. Dau said in 2016/17, the government planned to raise 9 billion South Sudanese pounds in non-oil revenue, a 50 percent increase from the previous year. “This financial year budget is different from the last because it contains reform measures that were advised by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) in their consultation when they came here last May. There are reform measures will be taken that will lead to the increase of non oil revenue,” he said.  Juba has also taken loans from Chinese companies, offering to pay them back with future oil proceeds.


Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Deng Alor said the country planned to ask China for a $1.9 billion loan - a sum equal to more than a fifth of its national output - to be used for infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges. A wobbly peace deal saw Machar return to Juba as deputy president in April but Kiir appointed a new deputy to replace him in late July, when he left the capital after street battles between rival troops. Machar is now in Khartoum, where he is undergoing treatment after being picked up this month by U.N. peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of Congo with a leg injury.

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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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South Sudan’s Olympic Team Returns With Big Recognition

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By Garang Abraham Malak

 

The National Olympic team returned home on Saturday from 2016 Rio Olympic in Brazil with big recognition from International Olympic Committee membership officials have said.


The officials said the country has fully been recognised as Olympic member State when her flag was raised at Olympic Village in Rio Janeiro Brazil on 4thAugust for the very first time in history of Olympic.


Wilson Deng Wek, President of the National Olympic Association said the flag was officially raised by Vice President James Wani Igga.


Though South Sudan National Olympic Team has returned without medals, he said, recognition means a lot to the new nation, Wilson Deng Wek told Press upon arrival on Saturday.


“In spite of we did not win any gold medal, we achieved a lot of things; Our Flag was raise for the first time in history of Olympic, on the 4thof August before the opening ceremony of the Game and that was indication that South Sudan is fully recognised in the Olympic Family and will be participating in coming Olympic games in the near future” Deng Wek.


Deng stated that the country’s Olympic Association was registered as 206 member of International Olympic Committee According to the South Sudan National Olympic Committee (NOC).


He mentioned that the first participation of the country in Olympics will be commemorated every year and assured readiness to Tokyo Games in 2020.


“We also conduct the sideline meeting with the president of International Olympic Committee.  He promise to construct an athletic track in South Sudan, we started the procedure from the time when he declared that.  So I am telling you sooner or later we are going to have our Athletic track” Deng stressedSouth Sudan Olympic President further stated that their Olympic period in Rio Janeiro enabled them to meet with other counterparts for the future of South Sudan National Olympic.


He said the national Athletes got exposed to the world because of their competition in Rio Olympic 2016.“We really achieved a lot, especially in the field of athletics, our athletes got exposed to the world e.g. one of our athletes has been invited by Italian Athletic Federation to go there for the visit” he explained.

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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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Juba City Mayor Optimistic Of Successes Despite Challenges

Stephen Wani Michael Commissioner of Juba County Central Equatoria State CES speaking in an interview with Radio Tamazuj 1


By Chuty Anyar

 

Stephen Wani Michael, the Mayor of Juba City Council is optimistic the current Political and financial constrains in the country will end and the country will soon come out of the turmoil despite challenges.

Wani Michael said South Sudan will be strong and prosperous despite the current crises.

He remained hopeful that “there is no situation which is perpetual” if people work for change. “The current situation that we are in should be taken as challenging because I believe this is a situation that our Country is being set to go through and if you go to the history of other Countries, they are good Countries today because of such situation they underwent.  They have just emerged from Country hood to the level that they are in today,” the Mayor stressed.

“Every Country has gone through such difficulties we are in but at the end they took those challenges as the permanent ways forward for success against those challenges with determination and hardworking from the leaders,” Wani added.

 His worship was addressing members of press in his office last week after receiving invitation from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to attend Tokyo   International conference in Nairobi-Kenya.

Tokyo international conference is held after every four years and it’s the first kind of it to be held in the African soil. The conference is meant to focus and highlight on Financials aids and technical cooperation support given to Africa by Japan.

The Mayor applauded the opportunity given to him by JICA to represent City Council in Tokyo International conference.

He explained that JICA has been working closely with City Council in waste management and collection and dumping of garbage since its establishment.

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SPLA Denies Blocking Civilians From Taking Food To The Villages

By Aleer P David

 

The SPLA has denied reports that it has been restricting civilians in Lainya County from taking food to the people who fled to the villages due to insecurity in the town.


The unrest that ensued after the departure of former vice president Dr. Riek Machar from Juba spilled over to Lainya and some of the citizens who fled their homes did not return. According to Eye Radio, the residents of Lainya County have complained that they were restricted from taking food to the civilians who were forced to flee the villages because of insecurity caused by SPLA soldiers.


Eye Radio quoted the Episcopal Church Bishop of Lainya Diocese, Bishop Eliaba Laku as having said citizens in the area are more than “traumatized” to return due to conflict that took place after eviction of Dr. Machar.


“Most of them are traumatized. They don’t seem like going back home,” Bishop Laku told Eye Radio.

When contacted by The Nation Mirror for comment, the SPLA spokesperson Brig. General Lul Ruai denied the allegation, saying that the national army cannot restrict the civilians for taking food to the villages. “We have no reason to deny our civilians movement” Gen. Lul said.


He rubbished the accusation as baseless and said that there was no reason for some of the civilians to continue hiding in the bushes when the situation has improved. Lul questioned the motive of the civilians who opted to stay in the bushes and rely on those who are in the town to transport for them food to the bushes.


Until today, roads to the Southern town of Yei the capital of Yei River State have been closed due to insecurity that ensued the July 8 fighting. Media reports have hinted worsening insecurity in Yei with several civilians killed.

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16 Students Win Kenyan High-School Scholarships

By Akon Dut Paul

 

At least 16 South Sudanese students have been offered high school scholarships by two Kenyan secondary schools based in Mombasa in an effort to enhance two countries bilateral ties. According to Anip Majok, a member of the South Sudan Basketball Federation, the 16 luckiest students include seven girls and nine boys, between the age limit of 15 to19 years.“For now sixteen is the number the schools could take though we wanted more but there is always next time. This scholarship caters for education, health, and accommodation,” Majok told The Nation Mirror in an exclusive interview on Friday.

“During holidays, they are going to be occupied with a lot of sports activities since some parents cannot afford the costs of movements all the time but if a parent wants their child back in South Sudan for any reason, they are free to pick them,” he said.

Majok further noted that the Basketball Federation is currently working with the students’ parents on issues including visa and transports both at South Sudan embassy in Kenya and in the Country. He reiterated that the first priority is for children to get quality education. He thanked the parents of the students for motivating their children to engage in sporting activities saying “by uniting this generation, we can unite the nation.”

Wilex Moses, a representative for the two schools said the scholarship was meant to cover all the states of South Sudan but the crisis has since limited the program to only Juba. Moses said the sponsorship is based on the talents seen in the students adding that the rest of the states will also be engaged in various sporting activities such as volleyball, football and handball.

“The students are expected to be hard working but if one is not smart enough, it doesn’t mean that we are going to take away the sponsorship from him or her we just want them to get education for their future and not to waste their future under any circumstance because they are the hope of the nation,” he stated.

“So we encourage all South Sudanese across the country to get involved in at least one sports activity.  It’s good for health, keep you away from bad practice and shape one’s discipline.”

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National NGOs Protest ‘Unfair’ Conditions For Registration

By Chuty Anyar

 

 National Non-Governmental Organizations (NNGOs) operating in the Country on Monday convened a meeting at Civic Engagement Centre in Juba to discuss challenges of registration after operationalisation of the new NGO Act, 2015.


In the meeting, the local organizations described conditions specified as procedures for registration including the fees as ‘unfair’ and challenging to the NGO fraternity and therefore called on South Sudan Relief Rehabilitation Commission (SSRC) to unconditionally recognize and legalized their work to perform their duties as expected.  


David De-Dau   Executive Director for Agency for Independent Media (AIM) during the meeting revealed that only 22 National NGOS out of 70 have registered so far, while the rest find it challenging to process registration certificates.


“Out of 70 national NGOS in the Republic of South Sudan only 22 have turned up for registration exercise and have  completed processing registration certificate with Relief Rehabilitation Commission,” De-Dau said.


He explained that they in the NGOs meeting discussed issues that derail effort of local NGOs during registration process that includes high charges of fees among others.


The executive director further explained that monitoring and strategic plans are key challenges facing National NGOS particularly the criteria enshrined in the Non-governmental organization acts. “We need to discuss with RRC on how those challenges should be addressed but RRC has not turned up for the meeting due to some technical issues. We were to disuss issues to do with our recognition for the NGOS who have turned up for   this particular   meeting which was meant for healthy dialogue between national NGOS and RRC,” Dau said. The meeting according to the organizers was meant to bring the two sides; NGOs and RRC together, but the government regulator failed to show up.


On that regard Dau said, the members decided to form committee that will register their challenges and later present the draft to RRC.


He stated that what will be formulated by the Committee are issues which are facing all NNGOS operating within the capital and outside Juba.


According to Dau, the government and especially RRC should consider the timeframe of which   NGOS are being registered and prioritize National NGOS.


Jacob Chol Atem the Executive Director for Organization Community Initiative said that RRC office has boycotted the meeting simply because they claimed majority of local NGOs did not complete their registration process.


However, Atem acknowledged that most of NNGOS have not register due to some unfair conditions tabled by RRC.


“And this was the reason we called for the meeting with SSRCC so that more explanation is given but they decided to not heed the calls,” said Atem.

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KenyaWithdraws Parliamentary Motion To Deploy Its Military In South Sudan

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By Aurelious Simon Chopee

 

The Kenyan Majority Leader in the parliament Aden Duale has withdrawn a special motion seeking Parliament’s approval to deploy Kenya Defense Forces troops in South Sudan as a “matter of urgency” as requested by the UN, The Star website has reported.


The motion was moved in order to deploy Kenyan troops as part of the protection force authorized by the United Nations Security Council, the region and African Union.


While withdrawing the motion according to the reports, Duale said he needed time for “further consultation on the matter”. 


The motion was tabled on August 18. Prior to this, the UN Security Council authorized the deployment of a 4,000-strong protection force in South Sudan’s capital. The troops will be part of the UN peacekeeping mission.


The Security Council also threatened an arms embargo if South Sudan’s government does not cooperate. Duale’s motion argued that deploying KDF will see security beefed up in the country as well as deepen regional integration. Deployment of forces by neighboring countries has been a very contentious issue since South Sudan threatened not to cooperate and treat those forces as invading forces. In the past week, Sudan and Uganda announced that they will not deploy their forces in the war ravaged country. It has then remained Ethiopia and Kenya who had pledged to contribute forces that will make part of the 4,000 strong forces under the banner of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.


It is however not clear whether the Kenyan lawmakers will approve the motion if they meet next week. Amina Mohamed, Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs in her statement with US Secretary of State John Kerry, had remarked on the need to deploy the forces as soon as possible.


“All of us that spoke today discussed and addressed that issue of the protection force, and we agreed that it was something that needed to happen. We had a serious discussion with our colleagues and friends from South Sudan urging them to allow for that deployment as quickly as possible” Amina told reporters in Nairobi on Monday.

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