A group of UN experts has sent their letter on the intelligence they have on the current conflict in South Sudan, as the related information from this letter can be used for further work and next level assistance to the republic. That the sovereign republic that has been in internal conflict since it session from Sudan, therefore, the need for strong intelligence to understand the situation. Some parts of this letter, is old news as the reports have steadily come on the fighting and the problems inside the nation.
That the dire situation in South Sudan is clear, the revealing thing in this letter or report says some new stuff, but not much. Still the evident of certain issues is clear. That the escalation of battlegrounds in more provinces, and also the levels of child soldiers. Secondly, the possibility of several nations exporting arms to the SPLA to further the conflict. This being Ukraine, Egypt and Uganda. These should know that their cooperation are furthering the bloodshed in South Sudan. Take a look!
Conflicts in many regions:
“In the weeks preceding the submission of the present report, SPLA conducted offensives in Upper Nile, in particular around Wau Shilluk on the western bank of the Nile near the Sudanese border; in and around Yuai, northern Jonglei, in the territory populated mainly by the Lou Nuer; and in locations in the Equatorias, in particular the region around Kajo Kaji, Morobo and the hinterlands around Yei near the borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. There have also been reports of fighting in central and southern Unity, near Mayendit and Leer (the home area of Machar), in rural areas of Western Bahr el-Ghazal and near Torit in Eastern Equatoria” (…) “During the same period, the most significant military operations by SPLM/A in Opposition were undertaken by the affiliated Agwelek militia under the command of Lieutenant General Johnson Olony in Upper Nile at the end of January. While it is unclear whether SPLA or SPLM/A in Opposition/Agwelek initiated the fighting, the latter subsequently shelled multiple SPLA positions in and around Malakal, in Wau Shilluk and north towards Renk; both sides engaged in ground operations; and SPLA launched an incursion into Wau Shilluk as well as northern Jonglei, which had been under the control of SPLM/A in Opposition since 2013. SPLM/A in Opposition has since launched a counteroffensive” (UNSC, P: 16, 2017).
“The central bank has almost exhausted its foreign currency reserves, which has limited its ability to play a role in stabilizing the economy. To avoid default and provide liquidity, it may have borrowed between $80 million and $200 million from commercial banks, rendering those banks unable to meet the obligations to their customers, and printed notes, exacerbating inflation. The lack of foreign currency reserves and the risk of losing control over inflation have resulted in repeated requests by the Minister of Finance for international financial support. By the beginning of March 2017, however, no budgetary support had been pledged. To close the budget deficit of some $200 million, the leadership was considering the cancellation of State fuel subsidies” (UNSC, P: 17, 2017).
“On 15 December 2016, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that 17,000 children had been recruited to join the fighting in South Sudan since 2013. As the security situation deteriorated, UNICEF reported a corresponding increase in child recruitment. Some 1,300 children were documented to have been recruited in 2016 alone. In a marked departure from 2015 when 1,755 children were documented to have been released by armed forces or groups, only 177 children were released by armed forces or groups in 2016” (UNSC, P: 24, 2017).
“Between February and April 2017, about 4.9 million people — more than 40 per cent of the total population — are estimated to be severely food insecure. The total number nationwide is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and breadth of the food crisis. The key areas being monitored by humanitarian organizations are central and southern greater Unity, greater Bahr el-Ghazal, drought-affected greater Pibor and the counties of Fashoda, Kajo Kaji, Kapoeta, Lainya, Malakal, Manyo, Morobo, Nasir and Yei in greater Equatoria” (UNSC, P: 30, 2017).
“In its report of 6 March 2017 (A/HRC/34/63, para. 86), the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan summarized the situation as follows:
The Commission deems the continued restrictions and impediments on access to vulnerable populations placed on the United Nations and humanitarian agencies operating in South Sudan unlawful. The ‘scorched earth’ policy may amount to starvation, which is prohibited by international law as a method of warfare, as is denying civilians safe passage from besieged areas. The civilian population is not provided with adequate food or access to health care, and their right to life is often threatened or breached by all parties to the conflict throughout the country” (UNSC, P: 36, 2017).
Violations of UNMISS mandate:
“Sustained, systematic violations of the status-of-forces agreement have continued. There were 21 violations, by civilian and armed actors affiliated with SPLM/A in Government, recorded in January 2017 alone. The largest category of violations (10) were movement restrictions imposed against the United Nations. Such restrictions prohibit UNMISS from patrolling in areas in which conflict has flared and human rights violations are being reported, impeding the Mission from implementing its mandate to protect civilians and monitor and report on human rights abuses” (UNSC, P: 37, 2017).
“As described in its report of September 2016 (S/2016/793), the Panel obtained a contract signed in May 2015 between SPLA and a company called Egypt and Middle East for Development for the provision of “Panthera armoured vehicles”. The number of vehicles and the technical specifications are not outlined in the contract, but the stated value of the contract was $7,187,500. The company contracted to provide the vehicles is registered in Egypt and based in Cairo” (UNSC, P: 38, 2017).
L-39 Jet acquisition:
“In February 2017, the Panel received information that an IL-76 transport aircraft departed from Kharkiv, Ukraine, on or about 27 January 2017, bound for Gulu, Uganda. The aircraft manifest indicated that it contained two L-39 jets and engines provided by Musket OU, a company based in Tallinn, that had been overhauled and that the flight was operated by the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. Subsequently, the Government of Ukraine confirmed to the Panel that the two jets were listed as being operated by the Ugandan military and that the end user certificates indicated that the aircraft were to be used only for advanced pilot training. Given Czingáli’s roles in both South Sudan and Uganda and photographic evidence of the jet he operated in South Sudan, the Panel is investigating whether jets based in Uganda have been operated in South Sudan, contrary to the provisions of the end user agreement. The Panel is investigating reports that the jets have been involved in military operations in South Sudan” (UNSC, P: 40, 2017).
The Security situation together with this knowledge says it all and then you should understand why there are so many refugees fleeing from South Sudan. The SPLM/A are more worried of getting of arms, than making sure the humanitarian intervention are safe, as well as citizens having food security, as the rebels and the state forces are now even using the scorched earth tactics. Meaning that all means of oppression and getting rid of possible livable atmosphere is gone. This combined with the child soldiers, the arms procured and the famine, is surely a tragedy in the making. The world shouldn’t look away, but engage. This is to many innocent civilians getting hurt by the power-struggle to control Juba and earn the profits of the oil. Peace.
United Nations Security Council – ‘Letter dated 13 April 2017 from the Panel of Experts on South Sudan established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2206 (2015) addressed to the President of the Security Council’ – S/2017/326 – (13.04.2017)