Worrying signs of a new civil-war in South Sudan

Maribor Garang 31.07.2016

Maribor Garang on NBS TV Uganda Liveat9 31.07.2016: “The situation in South Sudan is deteriorating. There is lack of command. Riek Machar is now with his forces. Our forces have been under attack”.

There been various reports all from besieging of Juba from the SPLM-IO rebel forces towards the SPLA/SPLM under President Salva Kiir, who has in the recent days made General Taban Deng Gai his First Vice-President from the SPLM-IO; instead of Dr. Riek Machar who left after the recent in-fighting that happen between 7th to 9th July. The days after has left things in a limbo, where even UNMISS and other organizations have fled the Capital. While the Storage and Warehouse of UN World Food Programe have been raided and taken from. As the crisis have surged; that will also the outbreak of Cholera and other staggering issues. The fragile state is also with the dwindling loyalty and structure as the SPLA/M and the SPLM-IO is taking areas and battling. The battle continues to between the Government under President Kiir and the Chairman of SPLM-IO in opposition under Dr. Machar. Both have history of distrust, not only the 3 year civil war that we’re squashed under the 2015 Peace Agreement, but also through the loyalty bonds between Garang and Khartoum. As Kiir has taken over from Garang, while Machar fled to Khartoum and “sold out” to the Khartoum regime something Kiir never forgiven him for. But here is the recent report, which is not really good news, but worry of the signs in the sand.

South Sudan 21.07.2016 SPLMIO Deflector

Deflection from SPLM-IO:

“More than 1500 recently defected forces from SPLM IO under General Dau Aturjong have crossed into South Sudan from Sudan’s Darfur yesterday. The forces were received at Gok Machar in Lol State by the SPLA Third Division commander Major General Santino Deng Wol” (Talk of Juba, 21.07.2016).

Attacks in Nasir:

“According to Dukhan Jundit Both, a spokesman of SPLM/SPLA-IO in the county, Salva Kiir’s loyal forces have attacked their position this morning outside Nasir town. “Salva Kiir Mayardit SPLM_Juba is on offensive again for third time in our defensive positions in Nasir County.” Both said. “This month the president Kiir force had attacked our forces twice on 7th and 8th July, 2016 just after the fighting broke out in Juba between the bodyguards of First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar-Teny, and president Salva Kiir’s presidentials guards in Palace or J1.” (…)“Let the world know that shelling our position by Salva Kiir forces since 4:30 am today on Sunday ,is a clear violation of peace as they did last week by appointing their friend General Taban Deng Gai as illegitimate first vice president in Juba.” (…)  “In self-defense we most fight as the bullets are burning hut of cattle ,crops and endangering the life of children ,vulnerable people’s and pregnant women in Nasir” (…)“As our chairman declared on 14/7/2016 ,SPLM IO is awaiting the arrival of the third party forces from IGaD to be buffer zone between the two rivals army in juba.” (Nyamilepedia, 30.07.2016).

Endorsing Gen. Taban Deng Gai:

“Hon. Duer Tut Duer, the SPLM-IO Governor of Sobat state, confirmed his allegiance to the FVP Taban Deng Gai today and called upon all Jikany all over the world to support Gen. Taban and President Salva Kiir. Hon. Duer Tut advised the Jikany in the Diaspora not to support Riek Machar who is not working for peace in South Sudan. He strongly urged the entire Jikany community to work for peace under the competent leadership of Gen. Taban and President Kiir” (Wel Yam, 30.07.2016).

In Juba: Dozen of wounded SPLA soldiers were brought to Juba Teaching Hospital last evening, according to an eyewitness. The anonymous source confirms that two military Landcruisers arrived yesterday to the hospital at about 8pm with dozen of SPLA soldiers who were wounded in Luri. More information is yet to be obtain from the local authority” (MirayFM, 30.07.2016).

In Juba: Two SPLA soldiers have been executed for killing and robbing civilians in various areas around Juba, according to a military source. The two disgruntled individuals were arrested in Gudele on Wednesday after being involved in robbing a civilian and shooting the victim. The victim later died at Juba teaching hospital due to a heavy bleeding. Another source that identifies himself as Cosmas Taban, in Jebel says that people in camouflage robbed some of his neighbours at a gunpoint early this week. He added that Juba is in a state of dystopia; proliferation of brutality everyday and everywhere, which forced some of his neighbours to seek refugee in Uganda” (MirayFM, 30.07.2016).

No Shift in Intervention Force:

“Michael Makuei says that President Kiir hasn’t changed his position unlike what JMEC chair told BBC and said in a press statement. He said the government had never rejected deployment of Personal Protection Force for Riek Machar. He revealed that this was also discussed by President Kiir and President Museveni when they met earlier in the week. He said that “incase Riek Machar comes back he can be accorded protection by a third party force if he so wishes.” He said that in the agreement, Article 5.4 allows for deployment of Personal Protection Force for Riek Machar if he wants assuming that the IO allows him to resume the chairmanship” (The National Courier, 30.07.2016).


Order from SPLM-IO:

“The chairman and commander in chief of SPLM/SPLM_IO Dr.Riek Machar Teny has appointed Lt.General John Jok Gai as sector commander for Greater Central Equatorial” (Daboul Roow, 31.07.2016).

First orders of FVP Gen. Taban Deng Gai:

“Taban Deng Gai accepted one army, 28 states, and no foreign force intervention which goes against the Agreement on Resolutions of the Conflict in South Sudan(ARCISS) provisions. Taban Deng Gai’s Crown Hotel SPLM/A-IO and illegal office will eventually disappear in a similar passion to Lul Ruai Kong’s paper based political and military movement” (Kuaijen Lual Wechtuor, 31.07.2016).

Stealing cattle from Kiir’s farm:

South Sudan’s SPLA in Opposition forces of Dr Riek Machar on Saturday invaded and grabbed about 2,000 cattle from the farm of the country’s President Salva Kiir. Yesterday’s battle in the Central Equatoria extended to Juba County and eventually reached Luri, 15 kilometers south of capital Juba where Kiir has a cattle farm and indeed his known biggest personal investment” (Okello, Dickens H, 31.07.2016 – Chimpsreport).

Yei, 31.07.2016
Yei, 31.07.2016

What Miray FM have reported:

In Yei today:

“In Yei: Fierce shooting erupted on Kaya road in Yei County of former Central Equatoria State this morning, according to a local source in Yei. The source confirms that until now vehicles are not now allowed to go to Mororbo County or from Morobo to Yei. Authority in the area says that the shooting was just a small incident perpetrated by some criminals. However, the recent security forces which were deployed in the area have also become a problem, locals have accused them of perpetrating unbearable harassment, arrest, killing, beating and robbing due to lack of communication. When the forces stop you they will demand everything in your pocket and sometimes you don’t even understand them, because 99 percent of them don’t speak Arabic accept their dialect” (MirayFM, 31.07.2016).

In Juba today:

“In Juba: Juba military hospital full of wounded SPLA soldiers according to a military source in Bilpam” (MirayFM, 31.07.2016).

A message of Hope:

“Bishop Elioba Laku of Lainya Diocese in Juba has sounded an impassioned plea for peace. Renewed violence in Lainya has prompted many people to leave their homes. Bishop Eliabu is one of the few people that have remained stuck in Lainya, hoping that peace and calm will return. Speaking to Miraya Breakfast show, Bishop Eliabu said; “There is no need to evacuate the people, rather efforts must be made to restore peace so that people can return to their homes.” (Radio Miraya, 31.07.2016).

Festus Mogae 28.07.2016

All of these reports from recent 48 hours are not of a stellar secure situation as the remain factors are not developed as the battling and skirmishes seems to happen between Kiir’s SPLM/A and the Machar’s SPLM-IO forces in different districts and states. As the space around Juba is under siege or not is not certain, but that there is SPLM-IO forces who tries to take areas from the Government. When their leader has been clipped of by the Government as Gen. Taban Deng Gai we’re sworn in as First Vice-President of the Republic. These actions have put the fractions of SPLM/A and the SPLM-IO into the same waters as they we’re in before they signed the Peace Agreement of 2015. This happens just months after he came back to Juba and we’re reinstated and parts of the SPLM-IO we’re integrated into the newly formed Parliament under the Transitional Government for National Unity (TGNU). The question we now can ask if these brother really wanted peace?

As the length of the stay in Juba we’re small and the window between the first shooting and open battles we’re in fragments of imagination. The issue is if President Salva Kiir or FVP Riek Machar really had it in their heart to even try, as it seems to be easier to be on the trigger finger and by the rifles than speaking and negotiating as they both wants to rule with Chain-in-Command and with force; not with transparent and accountable governance as the military aspects and the militarized politics doesn’t create a space for the institutions and government to grow. The NGO’s and the Foreign Aid agencies do what the civil government are expected to do. Therefore what is left in the new nation is the army and power of force instead of building sound institutions. These might be why the men are fighting with force. What do you feel, as there skirmishes and battles continue and the soldiers die in their name for their wish to run and rule the Republic? Peace.