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South Sudan News

Government To Conduct Comprehensive Disarmament

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By Aurelious Simon Chopee

 

The government has expressed interest to register all firearms in the country which it has described as ‘unacceptable’ and therefore need to design a strategy to conduct comprehensive disarmament.

“There is an abundance of unregistered firearms in the hands of the military and other organized forces, as well as those being held illegally by civilians. We will initiate registration in the military and collect these weapons, enforce regulations and the law and prosecute offenders” President Salva Kiir Mayardit said during the inaugural ceremony of the Transitional National Legislature on Monday.

“The idea of unauthorized civilians carrying weapons is unacceptable and TGONU will design a strategy and program of comprehensive disarmament” he further explained.

Early this year, the then National Legislative Assembly passed Fire Arms Act, 2016 to regulate and control fire arms in the country. The Act is to ensure only authorized personnel have access to firearms while those organized forces who are not on duty are supposed to have their arms stored in warehouses. Also emphasized by the President, is renewed opposition to the coexistence of the two armies as provided for in the peace agreement. President Kiir argued that two armies coexisting side by side is dysfunctional and has proven to be disastrous as witnessed in July clashes. “There will be one army by May 1st 2017. Last week, I instructed the army Chief of General Staff to start the process” Kiir said. He elaborated that the recruitment, training, command and missions will be professionally determined and based on merit, not according to ethnic or political affiliations.

Already there has been accusation of ethnic domination of the armed forces by particular tribes and serious outcry on the conduct of the military in regards to relations with civilians.

Kiir acknowledged that there have been problems in as far as indoctrination of the army to relationship with civilians is concerned. “The transition from liberation struggle to statehood exposed a gap in military-civil relations. Our military is yet to be fully indoctrinated in line with the duties of the military in peace time and within the context of fully fledged independent democratic state” Kirr acknowledged.

“We still have to achieve military uniformity” he added. He promised to start military reforms by January 2017.

On alleged sexual assault on civilians, the President said it was a serious matter which he said will show “zero-tolerance” towards such incident.

“We have already begun an initial investigations and we are reviewing medical reports and intend to prosecute those who will be found involved” he promised.

He also promised to appoint a commission of inquiry into widespread looting in the aftermath of the July clashes.

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US ‘Outraged’ By Sexual Assault On Aid Workers

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By Aurelious Simon Chopee

 

The United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Samantha Power has urged leaders in the country to investigate reports of sexual violence against aid workers that was allegedly carried out in Terrain Hotel in Juba and hold individuals responsible for such incident accountable.

Power issued a press statement yesterday following reports released by Human Rights Watch and Associated Press Agency implicating South Sudan Army of targeted assault on civilians, sexual assault on aid workers and killing of journalist based on ethnicity.

“The United States is outraged by reports of assaults and rapes of civilians, including humanitarian aid workers and journalists, by South Sudanese soldiers in Juba at the Terrain Compound last month. Attacks against brave individuals attempting to help the people of South Sudan are attacks against humanity itself. All innocent civilians deserve protection” Power said in a statement.

In part of the AP report, soldiers allegedly gang-raped and targeted American aid workers while the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) troops ignored calls to rescue the trapped foreigners. “It is especially reprehensible that the perpetrators appear to have targeted those who came to South Sudan despite risks to their own personal safety to help the country and its people – thereby depriving the South Sudanese people of urgently needed assistance and compounding this man-made humanitarian crisis” Power stressed. She accused the government of routinely allowing impunity for murder and sexual violence.

“This must end. South Sudan’s leaders must investigate this incident and hold accountable the individuals responsible for these cowardly and brutal assaults” she stressed.

She explained that the U.S. embassy in Juba responded to distress calls from the compound and urgently contacted government officials, who sent a response force to the site to stop the attack. “We are deeply concerned that United Nations peacekeepers were apparently either incapable of or unwilling to respond to calls for help. We have requested and are awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the United Nations and demand swift corrective action in the event that these allegations are substantiated” Powers further stated. She said the horrific incident further underscores the need for an enhanced, assertive, and more robust international peacekeeping presence in Juba in order to better prevent crimes against civilians and further deterioration of security. On the approval of additional forces in Juba, Powers said the mandate to create a robust unit of 4,000 peacekeepers is to respond swiftly to security challenges in the country. “The parties to the conflict must immediately cease attacks against innocent civilians and recommit to settle the conflict and leave the South Sudanese to live in peace at last” she concluded.

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Lobonok Clashes Leave 7 Dead, Over 3000 Displaced


By Roger Alfred Yoron

 

Clashes in Lobonok County of Jubek state has left eight people dead and over three thousand displaced, according to the area commissioner, Severino Gworit Kose.

Speaking to The Nation Mirror last Sunday, Gworit blamed what he called “cattle keepers” for the incident, whom he said entered Lobonok from Aru Junction last week Tuesday 9th. “Then on the 10th they started chopping the grass going from Lobonok to Juba and Juba to Lobonok. On that day, they did not harm anybody. Then on the 11th, they shot a car going from Lobonok to Juba killing one person called Joseph Kenyi, a soldier. Then on the 12th, they came burned Sindirudomadang boma completely, and killed three people and wounded four. On the 13th, they came again and burned Morsak boma completely to ashes and the chief of that area escaped death narrowly. He went to the bush and I struggled to communicate with him until I sent a car to bring him. He is with me now,” he said. Displaced people from the two bomas are now sheltering in Yapa, where according to the commissioner, a kid aged one a half “accidentally” died due to cold.

“Total number is 630, as a household. If you multiply by five, it will give you 3150 people displaced. And they are left without anything. All the properties are burned,” he said while appealing to humanitarian agencies for provision of relief assistance, blankets, and mosquito nets, amongst others. Gworit said calm has returned after a force has been sent by the government to Lobonok. The “attackers” have since retreated near the river, he added. Meanwhile, the chief of Morsak Boma Simon Lokuji Wani separately told The Nation Mirror that “attackers” were heavily armed and were in SPLA uniform.

“When these people entered Morsak, I witnessed it by myself; they were wearing uniform of these soldiers called Tiger with a red cap and carrying heavy weapons, all new. According to the people who first saw them coming, they were wearing robes (Jallabiya) and bags on their backs. They then removed the uniforms from the bags and worn them during the attack,” he said.  For his part, SPLA Spokesperson Brigadier General, Lul Ruai declined to comment on the story saying “I am not commenting if there is a connotation of cattle keepers… saying people in tiger attires is enough.” This attack was quick to be claimed by SPLA-IO forces loyal to Dr. Riek Machar, whose spokesperson James Gatdet claimed responsibility for the attack.  The Nation Mirror was however not able to get response from the alleged cattle keepers, whose contacts were never accessible.

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Woman Shot Dead In Mauna Area

By Aurelious Simon Chopee

 

Residents of Mauna woke up to a shock on Tuesday morning when they discovered that one of the neighbors was shot dead the previous night by unknown armed people. The incident happened in Mauna Block B few kilometers from Custom Bus station just next to Abyssinia Bar and Restaurant, where residents were gathered at the crime scene.

According to a resident who spoke to The Nation Mirror on condition of anonymity, the attackers came late in the night and opened fire on the sleeping woman.

The crime scene indicated that the woman was shot dead on her bed through the window. Moreover according to the residents, the door was not broken into and no property was taken away.

It is not clear why the woman was killed in seemingly targeted way. According to the anonymous source, the woman operates a clinic along Customs road, but any suspected armed robbery could have resulted into breakage into the door to take away her property or money, if that was the motive.

Mauna has been known for violent crimes and robbery in Juba City with residents fearing to stay out until late night. However, the latest killing seemed to have taken advantage of the non-functional police patrol since the outbreak of conflict in early July. Before the outbreak of conflict in July, residents of Mauna told Radio Tamazuj about the explosion of Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) shell in the area injuring three people. Despite calm in the security situation in Juba City, residents have been afraid of violent robberies as a result of proliferation of arms to criminals who use them to rob citizens of their property, in addition to worsening economic situation.

During the opening ceremony of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly on Monday, President Salva Kiir Mayardit had told lawmakers about plans to conduct comprehensive disarmament in the country in order to reduce such violent crimes.

It however so remains a wish as several attempts to disarm the civil population has never yield any positive results.

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Local Company Loses 18, 650, 000 SSP During Conflict

REWENG DUTY


By Garang Abraham Malak

 

The Deputy Governor of Ruweng State Mawien Makuach has hailed and commended Chopkuer Company Limited for having provided citizens with good services and their commitment to work. Makuach said Chopkuer Company Limited has played a great role and great efforts to serving “almost all the states of South Sudan with utmost good faith”

Speaking at Millennium Hotel yesterday, in an event organized by the company to celebrate its establishment the state official encouraged and called on all national companies to imitate hard work from Chopkuer Co. Ltd, as a way to contribute positively to the development of the country. 

Makuach registered his happiness to the company for boosting agricultural sector in the area. He encouraged the company to continue with agriculture as the backbone of the economy.

 He called on every company and individuals to practice agriculture to avoid food insecurity in the country.

The Ruweng state official pledged to cooperate and work in collaboration with the company to serve the common interest of the local community.   “I promise to offer a contract because the company is promising and its work is for all parts of South Sudan and that can also promote peace and unity in the country,” he stressed.

Meanwhile the manager of the company James Aniek Nyok explained that the company was established in 2008 and has been struggling till now. He said Chopkuer faced a lot of problems but they had the heart of providing services to the people.

The manager expressed his confidence toward the company and argued them to continue to render services to the people amid security challenges facing the contractor.  

The top manager revealed that Chopkuer Company is operating in many parts of the country including Bentiu, Jonglei, Wau, Warrap, Juba, Yei, Panriang, Kuajok, Renk, Aweil, Mapel, and Tonj.

 He further stated that some other branches are not operating at the moment because of instability in the country.

Manager of Chopkuer recounted some of their problems encountered at the course of its operation, noting that the company loss sum of 18, 650 000 which is equivalent to 128,000 US Dollars during the Dec. 2013 crisis in Bentiu.

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Situation In The Equatorias “Alarming” Says Youth President

By Achol Achien Kiir

 

Equatoria Youth Union on Monday revealed a plan to hold an extra ordinary conference to discuss impacts of recent crisis in Equatoria region and how best to resolve it.

The conference according to plans is expected to draw together youths, women, elders, ministers, MPs and governors of the eight Equatoria states to discuss efforts to sustain peaceful co-existence in Equatoria Region and other parts of the country.  

 Speaking in a press conference Equatoria Youth Union President, Daniel Abocha Ali, said the conference will take two days and will be conducted at Nyokuron Cultural Center from 17 to 18th August 2016 under the theme: “Reconciliation for sustainable peaceful co-existence,”

He observed that the current crisis directly attempt to transfer war from Upper Nile to Equatoria.

He said the war has already caused adverse effects on the lives of people of Equatoria especially in Lainya, Yei, Wondruba, Mundri, and Eastern Equatoria. He said people are scattered in the bushes and others have sought refuge in the neighboring counties in fear of their dear lives.

Ali observed that there have also been consistent attacks and ambushes on the highways and lives continue to be lost on daily basis.

He said women, children and elderly people continue to die with hunger and diseases because of no access to humanitarian help as all the roads have been blocked.

He worried that the crisis presents a security threat to the people of Equatoria and the Country at large.

“The situation in Yei, Morobo, Lainya, Wundruba and Amadi state among others is alarming. Atrocities such as killings, rape, torture and other inhumane behavior unfold on daily basis,” said Ali.

“We categorically condemn these despicable acts in Equatoria region. We call up on all those who are actively involved in these heinous behaviors to immediately ceases hostilities and give peace a chance to prevail,” he added.

Moreover, Ali appealed to the youth who have taken up arms against the government to observes maximum restraint and consider the suffering and pain the people are undergoing.

Ali aspired for dialogue as the only means to resolving conflicts in the country rather than the use of force and military confrontation.

Meanwhile, he also called upon the humanitarian agencies to do more to assist the victims of violence in Equatoria and other affected areas.

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US Congress Petition Obama To Champion S. Sudan Arm Embargo Enactment

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By Majak Kuany

 

The Congressmen and women of United States of America wrote to President Barack Obama to lead the United Nations Security Council to enact an arms embargo on South Sudan to decrease the risk of recurrent violence to foster political progress. The congress letter was issued a day before the United Nations Security Council meeting last Friday that has approved deployment of 4,000 strong protection forces, in addition to 12,000 UN mission in South Sudan blue helmet.

According to the letter, the congress argued that arm embargo will reduced the flow of arms and enhances civilian protection. “an embargo would take the necessary measures to prevent, or the very least reduce and deter, the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer into South Sudan of arms and related materiel of all types, including heavy weaponry and ammunition, military and paramilitary equipment, and spare parts or technical assistance or training related to materiel,” read the letter.

“Doing so would inhibit the ability of armed actors to threaten civilians and tenuous progress toward peace,” the letter added. South Sudan has been engulfed in violence since December 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused then-Vice President Dr. Riek Machar of plotting a coup. The conflict triggered clashes between government forces and rebel groups.

The conflict in South Sudan has claimed lives of more than 50,000 people, according to the non-governmental organization International Crisis Group.

The US widely circulated arms embargo draft alleged that once it is enacted it will demonstrate to South Sudan leaders that there are consequences for continuing to wage a war in which civilians bear the brunt of the violence.

They reiterated that the threat of arms embargo is used to coerce President Salva Kiir into signing last year peace agreement, which has been shaken by the recent renewed fighting.  

“It will encourage South Sudan’s leaders to spend government funds on rebuilding their shattered country and addressing the catastrophic humanitarian situation, rather than building their arsenal,” The congress letter read.

 The conflict in South Sudan has claimed thousands of lives and displaced tens of thousands of people according to the non-governmental organization International Crisis Group. It also estimated that 4.8 million people are food insecure and UN panel of experts has documented that South Sudan government has spent tens of millions of Dollars procuring arms throughout the conflict.

Currently South Sudan economic is ailing due to the ongoing conflict, but analyst said if the country’ leaders stop fighting and focus on delivering service they can afford to control the situation.

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Over 1 Million Pupils Enroll In Schools This Year

Torit East primary school pupils PS

Our reporter

 

Girls’ Education South Sudan a program designed to retain girls in schools has reported that some 1,244,878 pupils have so far enrolled in schools this year with 526,323 girls and 718,555Boys respectively

The program initiated by the ministry of education and funded by the government of the United Kingdom is currently operational according to a press release by the program management.

“Girls’ Education South Sudan Programme is fully operational and is continuing to support the people of South Sudan to maintain its education sector” Hannah Rollings said in a statement.

She said the program continues to operate, helping girls and boys access quality education. “As the Honourable Minister of Education, Deng Deng Yai, recently stated: “Education cannot wait. We cannot wait until conflict ends. The right time is now.” She repeated the statement.

 According to the information, more pupils than ever before have been enrolled on the South Sudan Schools’ Attendance Monitoring System (SSSAMS), – a total of 1.24 million in 3,354 schools.  “Schools have also reported pupil attendance reports to SSSAMS via SMS more regularly: 56% of schools that have submitted enrolment figures have reported this year, and 43% of schools have sent at least five attendance reports so far in 2016. Enrolment totals registered in 2016 to date: a total of 1,244,878 pupils; Girls: 526,323; Boys: 718,555” she elaborated.

 She further stated that a total of 2,116 primary schools and 117 secondary schools have qualified for a school Capitation Grant in 2016, to date with additional schools expected to qualify over the coming months. 

“The number of girls eligible for cash transfers as of August 3rd was 182,626, compared to 138,000 last year. This is a result of increased enrolment in 2016. The validation process for cash transfers for girls has started and schools are expected to complete this by mid-August, upon which the payments can begin” she added. According to Hannah, the Programme continues to broadcast ‘Our School’ radio programme on 29 partner radio stations throughout the country, as well as ensuring that community mobilization and teacher training activities continue to take place throughout the country.  She said the evident resilience and determination of government officers, teachers and pupils throughout South Sudan is inspiring.

“There are many who continue to be committed to delivering and achieving quality education, even in the face of the most challenging circumstances. As one student at a secondary school in Yambio, Western Equatoria, put it: “We struggle, but… school is the best thing all over the world”.

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UK Reaffirms Commitment To Support South Sudan

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By Lindri Godfrey Alex

 

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to South Sudan, Tim Morris on Friday met with Stephen Dhieu Dau, Minister of Finance and Economic planning to discuss current economic and political development in the country besides bilateral relations between Juba and London.

 UK Ambassador to South Sudan(L)Tim Morris and Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau shaking hand in the office

 Addressing Journalists at Ministry of Finance Headquarters after the meeting, Ambassador Tim Morris expressed his government’s long terms commitment to supporting South Sudan in areas of health, education and particularly in areas of humanitarian assistance.

He explained that, they want to maintain the cooperation as he expressed support for the minister’s plan and visions for the economic recovery and creation of jobs and support for public and private sectors. The diplomat showed profound interested in keeping tight relations with South Sudan in support during the challenges it faces on the economic. 

He described the challenges as shared problem with regional and international community. He congratulated the minister on his new assignment to control finance and plan for the economy in the new unity government as he reiterated his government commitment to strong continued support.

On his part, Dhieu assured the ambassador of the commitment to cooperate with UK and other major partners in the areas of humanitarian aid adding that the government is committed to working with international community in the country.

He outlined the vision of his ministry on how to run the public financial economic affairs and also discussed on bilateral relations with UK being one of the major partners to South Sudan and the ministry of finance.

The Minister further thanked the effort of the diplomat to continue support to the people and government of south Sudan in the current economic difficulty and political situation in the country.

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Government Ready For Dialogue Over Protection Forces Deployment

 

By Chuty Anyar

 

President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Monday said that the country under his leadership is ready to dialogue with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and United Nations (UN) over the United Nations Security Council approved regional protection forces.  

 According to President Kiir the government has not reached a decision about the Security Council’s resolution but said the deployment should not be imposed on the country.

 He said more and better approach could be achieved through consultation and dialogue with stakeholders.  “South Sudan is not instinctively or automatically against regional bloc, Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and UN involvement. We welcome assistance, we are attentive to advice. But assistance requires dialogue,” Kiir told lawmakers.  

“It (deployment of troops) should not turn into an imposition that becomes an intervention in which our sovereignty is compromised and our ability to govern effectively diminishes rather than increases,” he added.  

The Security Council on Friday authorized a 4,000-strong regional protection force within the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) “responsible for providing a secure environment in and around Juba, which in early July was the scene of the latest eruption of deadly violence in the young country, exacerbating an already desperate humanitarian situation.

The Security Council threatened an arms embargo if the country refuses the deployment of the protection.

But President Kiir said government is yet to make a decision on the Security Council resolution denying accusations that the government threatened to fight the UN troops.

“Already, there are people who are accusing the transitional Government of National Unity of refusing and fighting the UN. I want to confirm that this not an accurate appraisal of our position. 

The TOGNU has not met to deliberate on final decision taken by the UN Security Council,” Kiir said.

Violence flared in South Sudan last month after fighting broke out between troops loyal to President Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar leading to deaths of hundreds, sexual assaults on women and girls and displacement of over 100, 000 people, casting uncertainty  on a peace pact signed in August 2015.

The fighting forced Machar to leave the capital Juba, leading to his replacement with Taban Deng Gai, a move that caused further split among the SPLM/ A- in Opposition.

Kiir vowed to commission an inquiry into the cause of the July 7 violence and also form an independent body to investigate acts of human rights violations and looting committed during the fighting.

The transitional unity government on Monday officially inaugurated an expanded transitional parliament of 400 seats comprising of elected legislators and appointed members of parliament from the SPLM/ A -IO and other political parties.

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Days Numbered For Norwegian Ambassador To Leave South Sudan

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By Lindri Godfrey Alex

 

The Ambassador of Norway to South Sudan Tones Tinnes has disclosed that she will be leaving the country in few days to come.

She disclosed the plan in her meeting with Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Stephen Dhieu Dau on Thursday. “This is my welfare wish to South Sudan; I will be ending my term as Norwegian ambassador to South Sudan in a few daytime” Ambassador Tinnes told journalists in a press conference after the meeting.  

 However, the ambassador assured the minister good cooperation between Kingdom of Norway and South Sudan and stated that the two countries will continue staying in good friendship and will continue to work for peace and stability in the young nation. The diplomat described the meeting with the minister as very fruitful and good.

She said Norway has been working well with the Minister in his capacity as Petroleum minister. She said they look forward to working with the minister and used the opportunity to thank the minister for the work done and good relationship between the two countries. The meeting between the two sides discussed about necessary reforms in the economic sector, that minister has started on even although he had been in the office only for few days.

During the meeting, they discussed the needs for the humanitarian access and to ensure that there are possibilities for access to South Sudan for humanitarian aids and distribution. Meanwhile, Minister Stephen 

Dhieu described the meeting productive and constructive. “She is living the country to other country for new assignment” Dheiu confirmed. Dhieu further stressed that the diplomat came to congratulate him and added that they shared ideas and views because they have been working together as friends. “The Norwegians government and the people, e are friends and partners to the people and the government of South Sudan as she mentioned” Dhieu emphasized. He added that the country enjoyed Norwegians support in oil sector without which could be difficult to manage the oil sector.

He thanked Norway for continued support to the people and assured the ambassadors that he will continue to work with Norwegians as minister of finance in the areas of economic reforms.

Minister Dau said, the government would provide the needed assistance for humanitarians who will provide aid to the people through UN and NGO’s. He assured the commitment of the government to work with the UN, NGO’s agencies.

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