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SPLM-IO: “Response to Reuters Article: Some African States Oppose a return by South Sudan Rebel Machar” – Wednesday April 26, 2017 (28.04.2017)

South Sudan: Intense Fighting Around Kodok Forces Up to 25,000 People to Flee Without Humanitarian Support (27.04.2017)

The humanitarian organizations that have up until now been providing essential medical services, water, food, non-food items and shelter have had to temporarily suspend activities on the west bank of the Nile River because of the increasing insecurity.

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 27, 2017 -Over the last three days, close to 25,000 people have been displaced by intense fighting between the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Agwelek forces around the town of Kodok. The humanitarian organizations that have up until now been providing essential medical services, water, food, non-food items and shelter have had to temporarily suspend activities on the west bank of the Nile River because of the increasing insecurity.
“This is a disaster in the making, just as the demand is greatest,” said Marcus Bachmann, Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) head of mission for South Sudan. “Hospitals in the area are not operational, and water deliveries are unreliable. Yesterday no water deliveries were made to the IDPs because of the fighting. Given the scorching heat and the exposure of population to the elements, soon we will see people suffering from chronic dehydration and diarrhea as well as diseases like cholera.”

MSF had been providing emergency medical support—including at a field hospital and through two mobile units in the area—to the 13,000 displaced people who had fled fighting in the area in January. However, MSF has been forced to suspend activities because of the recent surge in violence.

Escaping the violence is difficult as positions are rapidly changing hands between the different forces, and displaced people find themselves surrounded by conflict on all sides. Without protection, many will have few other options than to leave for camps in Sudan where they can find refuge. Those who decide to go face a long and arduous journey on foot with hardly any access to food or water.

“We are calling on both parties to ensure that all civilians are protected from the fighting and provided with safe and secure access to essential humanitarian services,” Bachmann said. “As we have been forced to suspend most of our operations, we have provided runaway bags which contain essential medicines and supplies so that our staff who are with the fleeing IDPs can provide basic treatment in the field.”

With the rainy season approaching, it seems likely that the flow of people leaving for Sudan will increase as they avoid being trapped in the area.

Water remains a major concern for these new IDPs. On Tuesday, the people in and around the nearby town of Aburoc only had access to about 16,000 gallons of water per day. This is only an average of less than half a gallon per person, well below the amount needed for survival. On Wednesday, there were no deliveries of water because of the fighting. Water trucks are on hand to resume limited deliveries, but only if the situation becomes safer.

The South Sudanese Pound continue to lose value!

As the results of the instability in South Sudan, the Republic’s currency continues to be devalued and lose trust compared to the United States Dollars, as the people using it has to use more to get the services needed. The news from Juba of the amount of South Sudanese Pounds needed to exchange to US Dollars are showing the little value the currency currently have. That even in midst of years, the taxi-fares in the capital has risen 50 times from 1 SSP to 50SSP. This show’s the lacking financial structure and the fiscal policies to underline the paradigm. Certainly that is dwindling with the civil war between the government and rebels, as well as famine and use of funds to buy arms! Take a brief look!

In Juba: The South Sudanese Pounds continue to depreciate against the U.S. dollars, early this morning at Konyo Konyo Market trades were buying $100 at 21,500 SSP. Taxi drivers have also lifted the fare by charging 50 SSP for a distance that used to cost 1 SSP in 2014” (MirayaFM, 24.04.2017)

That this is the reality, proves the problems in the simplest forms, that the Republic of South Sudan, cannot keep their inflation at bay. The SSP are losing value and it happens quick. The local currency is soon worthless and the paper is more expensive, than the real value of the currency. This is the reaction to the violence, the despair and famine. The Currency is just the proof of the dire situation, as the Taxi Drivers are hurting and have to gain more money to be able to sustain their living in Juba. Therefore, this is the evidence of the issues that are in the country, by just seeing the numbers and the value of their currency. This should be so easy to grasp and understand. When the price of the same service has not only doubled or tripled, but gone up 50 times! Peace.

UN Experts April Report reveal certain horrific facts from South Sudan!

 

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).

State Economy:

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).

Child Soldiers:

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).

Food Security:

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).

Scorched earth:

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).

Weapons import:

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.

Reference:

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)

Kasai violence drives over 11,000 Congolese to seek refuge in Angola (21.04.20017)

The brutal conflict in Congo’s previously peaceful Kasai region has already displaced more than one million civilians within the country since it began in mid-2016.

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 21, 2017 – A spike of violence in the Kasai Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has now forced over 11,000 refugees to seek safety in Angola. Border points and villages inside the Southern African nation have seen a sharp increase in refugee arrivals with over 9,000 arriving so far in April. The brutal conflict in Congo’s previously peaceful Kasai region has already displaced more than one million civilians within the country since it began in mid-2016.

Those fleeing into Angola continue to arrive mainly in Dundo, the capital of north-eastern Luanda Norte Province.

Refugees reported fleeing attacks from militia groups, who are targeting police, military officials, and civilians who they believe are supporting or representing the Government. After running away from fighting rebel and Government forces, some refugees had to hide in the forest for several days before fleeing to Angola. Refugees are arriving in desperate conditions, without access to clean water, food or shelter.

The situation among children is dire, as many arriving malnourished and sick – suffering from diarrhea, fever and malaria. Two children are reported to have already died from severe malnutrition. UNHCR is concerned for the fate of others suffering from worrying levels of food insecurity and illnesses.

The new arrivals are terrified and still fear for their lives and mentioned they do not have any immediate plans to return home. Some parents have reportedly sent their children across the border, worrying they would be forcibly recruited by the militias if they had stayed in the DRC.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is currently coordinating refugee response with the Government, local authorities and partners on the ground. We are also negotiating with the Government for proper hosting sites as the current border locations are overcrowded and not suitable. UNHCR is sending an additional emergency team to Dundo this Saturday to support relief efforts.

UNHCR is in the process of shipping family tents, kitchens sets, blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and other essential relief items to the area.

Further aid is urgently needed, as refugees are forced to stay in makeshift buildings in the border villages. Angola’s wet season peaks in April, and UNHCR is especially worried about the ongoing rains –– which could further complicate living conditions and the health of refugees, especially the most vulnerable such as women, children, the elderly and the disabled.

UNHCR welcomes the response of the Government of Angola in keeping its borders open for continued refugee arrivals. We hope that this gesture of goodwill will continue as the situation remains dire in DRC’s Kasai region. UNHCR is also underlining the importance of not returning people in need of international protection to the DRC.

DRC: “Further mass graves and killings discovered in Kasais” says Zeid (19.04.2017)

This brings to 40 the number of mass graves documented by the UN in Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental Provinces since August 2016.

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 19, 2017 – UN investigators in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have confirmed the existence of at least 17 further mass graves in Kasai Central Province, which has been the scene of clashes between soldiers and members of a local militia known as Kamuina Nsapu. This brings to 40 the number of mass graves documented by the UN in Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental Provinces since August 2016.

The presence of the additional graves was confirmed during an investigation mission to Kasai Central between 5 and 7 April by staff from the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) and UN Police (UNPOL).

Fifteen of the mass graves were in a cemetery in the town of Tshimbulu and two in the locality of Tshienke. The UN team gathered information that soldiers from the Forces armées de la Republique démocratique du Congo (FARDC) had reportedly dug the graves, after clashing with presumed elements of the Kamuina Nsapu militia between 26 and 28 March. At least 74 people, including 30 children, were reported to have been killed by soldiers as a result of these clashes.

The UN team also visited Kananga to gather information about alleged abuses and violations there. Between 28 and 30 March, FARDC soldiers were reported to have shot dead at least 40 people, including 11 children and 12 women, in the Nganza commune of Kananga, and injured at least 21 others. The majority of the victims were said to have been killed in their homes as soldiers went door to door looking for militia members.

Two of the victims died in hospital, while the remaining 38 were reportedly buried by the local population in three mass graves. FARDC soldiers were also reported to have buried an unknown number of bodies in a fourth mass grave in Nganza cemetery.

UNJHRO also received reports that at least two women and three girls had been raped by FARDC soldiers during the same operation in Nganza. Defence and security forces were alleged to have arrested and detained 27 people, including 10 boys and a 15-year-old girl.

The UN investigators, who also visited the Katoka commune of Kananga, heard reports that during search operations by officers from the Police nationale congolaise (PNC) on 28 March, a 23-year-old man, a 17-year-old boy and a one-month-old baby had been killed. The UN team was told that the baby had been fatally injured after being trampled on by police officers searching their house.

The Kamuina Nsapu militia, which is loyal to a local customary chief killed by the army on 12 August last year, has been accused of recruiting hundreds of children into its ranks, and targeting state agents and symbols, including government premises, schools, hospitals, police stations, as well as churches. An example of such violence happened on 30 March when about 30 alleged Kamuina Nsapu militiamen attacked the parish church of Saint-Jean de Masuika in Luiza territory, where they ill-treated at least three nuns and a priest, threatening to kill them. In addition, the priest and one of the nuns were reportedly abducted and then released the next day after money was paid. The militiamen also vandalized the church, breaking doors and windows, and burning the priest’s chasubles.

“The discovery of yet more mass graves and the reports of continued violations and abuses highlight the horror that has been unfolding in the Kasais over the last nine months,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

“It is absolutely vital that the Government of the DRC takes meaningful steps, which to date have been lacking,  to ensure that there is a prompt, transparent, and independent investigation to establish the facts and circumstances of alleged human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by all parties, and other abuses of justice. My Office has offered its assistance in conducting such a credible investigation. We reiterate our request for access to all sites of mass graves, as well as to all witnesses, including those in detention, and other relevant information necessary to determine responsibility at all levels,” Zeid said.

“The scale and nature of the violence increasingly underscore the need to monitor the situation closely. Should there be no effective national investigation, I will not hesitate to urge the international community to support an investigation by an international mechanism, including the International Criminal Court, which recently reminded the DRC authorities of their primary responsibility under the Rome Statute to investigate and prosecute the alleged acts of violence in the Kasais,” the High Commissioner said.

South Sudan: As genocide unfolds in South Sudan, much of the world looks away (17.04.2017)

SPLM/A is now reported to have started Chemical Warfare in the Bieh State!

This is a game-changer as the conflict of South Sudan escalates, it has become less clear of all the actors, as there isn’t only SPLM/A and SPLM-IO, there are more rebels and even more armed deserters who works against the Juba Regime. Therefore, the picture be more distorted, but the similarities between the rebels are that they all work to end the Presidency of Salva Mayardiit Kiir. They are not interested in keeping his regime alive.

So this news are breathtaking:

South Sudanese government has dropped containers of toxic gas on rebel-held areas in Bieh State, a senior rebel military source told the South Sudan News Agency on Saturday. The official who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak said the government used at least three military helicopters to drop the poison gas. “After days of failed attempt to capture our areas in Waat, the genocidal regime in Juba decided to use poisonous gas on our gallant forces and civilians. The gas is suffocating people. People affected by this gas attack are experiencing severe coughing,” the officer told the South Sudan News Agency” (SSNA, 2017).

That the SPLA, the Government forces has now taken it further, there has been earlier reports of sexual assaults, burning of villages and harassment of aid workers. So the situation in the different states is various condition, as the SPLM-IO and the other rebels are continuing to fight the government forces. This makes it harder for the SPLA, as they don’t have one enemy and one rebel outfit, but they have many. Therefore, even as the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) or the Juba Regime tries to kick-off the National Dialogue in the states of Lou Nuer, it is a bit disrespectful that they are delivering church services to the people of Bieh State and Akobo State. THis with the knowledge of the poison gas drops done by the TGoNU army SPLA.

“One senior rebel official in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, told the South Sudan News Agency today that the armed opposition intelligence branches have evidence showing Ugandan government is secretly assisting South Sudanese government in the gas campaign” (SSNA, 2017).

That the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) are helping SPLA/M isn’t new, what is new that the UPDF are helping again the TGoNU, like they did before the newest peace agreement between SPLM/A and SPLM-IO. Certainly, this also shows why Gen. Taban Deng Gai, the Vice President spoke of peace with the President Yoweri Museveni recently. This seems to be fitting together in a glove. As the VP of South Sudan wasn’t travelling to Uganda with peace in mind, but with the intelligence of the help of Ugandan army inside South Sudan, wouldn’t be the first or the last time they are involved.

President Museveni likes to get his army hired for the foreign exchange and the wealth it creates for him, as the loyalty to UPDF is still strong. As the possibility for career inside the army is stil there. But the news that the UPDF are helping SPLA with doing crimes against humanity.

That the reports that the SPLA are together with the UPDF dropping chemical weapons in Bieh State. And certainly the fighting is monitored, but the UNMISS mission is clearly using a scripted language to make sure it doesn’t make headlines:

“Fresh fighting has broken out between government SPLA and opposition forces in a number of locations including Raga in the west of South Sudan, Waat in Jonglei to the east and in the area of Wunkur and Tonga in the northern Upper Nile region” (…) “UNMISS continues to push for access to areas affected by the conflict. Despite the challenges in reaching some parts of the country, the Mission has successfully deployed a number of peacekeeping patrols to deter violence and protect civilians. UNMISS is also monitoring any human rights abuses as a part of its mandate” (UNMISS – ‘Restraint urged on warring parties in South Sudan as violence escalates’ 15.04.2017).

That UNMISS has a mission, but the intelligence of chemical warfare in Bieh State is proving that the SPLA are keeping vital information hidden from the UNMISS. This is happening as the SPLA are fighting on multiple fronts. So the use of stronger force to silence the rebels seem needed and the knowledge of the use of chemical warfare should be put on display for the whole world to see. So that all the lives lost and the innocent dying for the greed of power get their justice proven. Since the SPLA and SPLA/M doesn’t care about now, they use all sorts of methods to stay in power. They even use the vile force of poison to kill civilians and rebels.

That SPLM-IO and other rebels should worry, as the unforgiven SPLA have now started to drop poisons gas on their own civilians as well as the possible rebels. This is proof of the extent that the SPLM/A or the TGoNU do now. That the innocent dies, that the refugees continue to come to the neighbouring countries like Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia. So, the international community should be extra worried, as the new settlement are opened in Uganda and that the vicious attacks in Bieh State.

That chemical warfare are now happening together with the stalemate between the SPLA and all the other rebel factions in the Republic. This is not making a true statement of wishing peace or national dialogue as innocent civilians die in acts against humanity. Peace.  

Reference:

SSNA – ‘South Sudan drops poisonous gas on rebel-held territories’ (15.04.2017) link: http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/index.php/2017/04/15/south-sudan-drops-poisonous-gas-rebel-held-territories/

Easter Message of Hope to the People of South Sudan (15.04.2017)

South Sudan: Humanitarian Coordinator Condemns Horrific Killing of Aid Workers in Wau (15.04.2017)

Juba, 15 April 2017: The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, has expressed shock and outrage after being informed of the killing of three workers involved in the delivery of vital food aid in Wau, less than one week after he called for an end to all attacks against aid workers in South Sudan. “Just last week, I appealed for an end to the targeting of innocent people in this conflict,” said Mr. Owusu. “And yet yesterday I learned that three porters were heinously killed while making their way to a World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in the midst of security operations in Wau town on 10 April. I am appalled by this abhorrent act and demand an urgent investigation to identify those who are responsible and bring them to account.”

The deaths bring the number of aid workers killed in South Sudan to 82. Fourteen aid
workers have already been killed in 2017, compared to 24 in all of 2016. “There are no words left to explain the level of frustration and outrage I feel regarding the continued attacks against humanitarians in South Sudan who are simply trying to help the civilians who are suffering as a result of this conflict,” said Mr. Owusu. “I join WFP in sending my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the three brave men who lost their lives this week in the service of the vulnerable people in this country.”

Separately, 60 humanitarian workers have had to relocate from multiple locations in Jonglei yesterday and today – including Waat and Walgak – due to intensified conflict in the area. Early indications are that the civilian population is also fleeing, though the number of people displaced has been unable to be verified due to the highly fluid situation.

“I call on the parties to the conflict to uphold their responsibilities under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and ensure the proportionality of their actions,” said Mr. Owusu. “I am deeply disappointed that, despite the assurances that we have received and the commitments that have been made, humanitarians are again having to relocate, and civilians again being uprooted, in an area where needs were already high.”

Across South Sudan, humanitarian needs continue to rise, while the operating environment is becoming increasingly dangerous and difficult. In March alone, 79 humanitarian access incidents were reported.

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