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Archive for the tag “Poison”

South Sudan: Letter from SPLM-IO in Leer County to a Canadian Team (May 2017)

UN report exposes human rights violations and abuses against civilians in and around Yei, South Sudan (19.05.2017)

The report exposes cases of indiscriminate shelling of civilians; targeted killings; looting and burning of civilian property and cases of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls, including those fleeing fighting.

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 19, 2017 – A United Nations report published today released the findings of an in-depth investigation into human rights violations and abuses committed in and around Yei town, Central Equatoria (150km southwest of the capital, Juba) between July 2016 and January 2017.

The report by the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN Human Rights Office documents violations and abuses against civilians both sides of the conflict, based on ethnicity and/or their  presumed support for other side. This includes 114 killings by pro-Government forces. The extent of the abuses by armed opposition groups remains unclear due to lack of access to areas where these groups are active. The report finds that these violations and abuses may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity and that they warrant further investigation.

The report exposes cases of indiscriminate shelling of civilians; targeted killings; looting and burning of civilian property and cases of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls, including those fleeing fighting.

Until recently, Yei was largely a peaceful town, with between 200,000 and 300,000 residents of many different ethnicities. In July 2016, violence erupted between Government and Opposition forces, which led to the departure of Opposition leader Riek Machar together with a small group of followers across the Equatorias, into the Democratic Republic of Congo. As Government forces pursued him, fighting simultaneously broke out along the route, particularly in Yei. This violence fuelled strong divisions along ethnic lines and resulted in targeted killings, arrests, rapes and mass civilian displacement of more than half of the population of the town.

Satellite imagery used to corroborate allegations shows that there was widespread burning of homes and businesses, resulting in the forcible displacement of tens of thousands of civilians. Even as people fled the violence, reports suggest that armed actors harassed, robbed and targeted them as they headed to Uganda to seek refuge.

The report documents “the profound human suffering caused by the ongoing conflict and the exploitation of local and ethnic divisions for political ends.”

“The conflict in Yei, in particular, highlights the startling level of impunity in South Sudan, which has fed successive cycles of violence across the country,” the report states.

South Sudan: Appointment of Mrs. Angelina Teny as Acting Chairperson of SPLM/A-IO (18.05.2017)

South Sudan: The National Resistance Front/Army (NRF/A) – “The Coalition of Clean Hands (CCH) – (10.05.2017)

Opinion: SPLA became today the SSDF, but suddenly the Republican Decree didn’t matter hours later!

Today, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the Republic of South Sudan and their government has decided to change their name of their military arm. This arm has been since before the independence and while being a guerrilla or a militia who fought for decades to get freedom from Khartoum. Certainly, this is tainting the legacy of Dr. John Garang, but also trying to consolidate the power even more. If not he has gotten advice from President Yoweri Museveni, who himself changed his rebels into the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) from National Resistance Army (NRA), the military arm of the National Resistance Movement (NRM).

President Kiir yesterday renamed the national army, the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) after former militia led by Riek Machar and Paulino Matip in 1990 and early 2000s. Through Republican Order Number 12/2017, the President restructured the Command of the SPLA. As the Republican Order was read out on SSBC, the subtle change of reference from the Chief of General Staff to Chief of Defense Forces marked a new change to the official reference of the army as the SPLA to South Sudan Defense Forces. The title South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF) was previously the name of a pro-Khartoum militia first led by Riek Machar as Commander-In-Chief and later on led by the late Paulino Matip that fought against the SPLA for more than 15 years. The SSDF was the first militia to be integrated into the SPLA in 2006” (The National Courier, 16.05.2017).

Certainly, the name and structure is now different. But their acts still are the same. The renaming itself and the change of structure doesn’t stop the violence and the killings. So this might be a trying of enforcing a different approach, but for the moment it is more fiction, than reality. As the deaths, the man-made famine and the fleeing refugees will not see any different between an SPLA or a SSDF. It is a noble idea, but not life-changing. Until, the army is an institution and a vital part of government. Not a free militia run-by warlords and former rebel generals. That is the situation right now and therefore, the skirmishes and fierce battles, as the collaborated opposition is making the situation even more futile. Until the civil war ends, there aren’t really much to win, as the rebuilding and the create stability will take enormous time, as the warfare in the region has happened for decades upon decades without any end.

If he kicked off King Malong for this reason, as he knew the former general wouldn’t be satisfied being a leader of a national army and being re-branded. That is unknown, as there been indications that he wished to topple President Kiir, but nothing that has come to the surface. However, the government wish to “box” him in. So it is not like the government doesn’t fear that man and his allegiance.

Because of this hours after, the SPLA changed their minds, and didn’t change after all, since the same agency sent this to world, because they knew the issue of changing it:

The office of the president has issued a statement saying that the name of the national army has not been changed from the SPLA to SSDF. The presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny made the announcement on SSBC despite having told a National Courier journalist this morning that the name has been changed. The NC called Ateny to clarify on the new title of “Chief of Defense Forces” whether that meant the name SPLA has been dropped of which Ateny said it indeed has been changed to SSDF. Ateny told the NC that no country has maintained the name of its liberation struggle army giving several examples before adding that the change was long overdue. He said it was in accordance with recommendations of defence review committee. This was met with mixed reaction of equal praise and ferocious condemnation. In a statement clarifying the whole saga, Ateny said the name has not been changed only the structure” (The National Courier, 2017).

So the kid didn’t change name, apparently and the shadow game or whatever it was a few hours of mocking and also the truth. The SPLA and SPLM are the same, one is the military organization and the other political one. If there is a close difference or different procedure between them is surely only known by the ones who deserted or rebelled. There are certain some aspects here that the Office of the President Kiir changed his mind, as he knew what this would mean for him and his respect. Therefore, he didn’t dare to do so today.

You can wonder if the President Kiir will release the Republican Decree 12/2017! This should be seen as a historical document of a failed approach or wishful dream of making a swift change from a rebellious past, into a modern Republican Army. Instead, the SPLA and SPLM are still the same the famous SPLM/A. Certainly, the SPLM-IO and all the other rebel outfits must feel with joy that this maneuver. Who even didn’t last a day and the Spokesperson Ateny has really made himself look vulnerable. Since the last report ot the National Courier, really seemed like saving face after the bravado of changing name of the army came into full-effect. Peace.

South Sudan: Communique of the National High Level Committee to Resolve the Conflict between Dinka Bor and Murle Communities (14.05.2017)

South Sudan: Progressive Democrats Congratulations to South Sudan Defense Force (16.05.2017)

Note to Correspondents on South Sudan (15.05.2017)

NEW YORK, United States of America, May 15, 2017 – On the margins of the London Conference on Somalia, the Secretary-General discussed the situation in South Sudan with a number of international stakeholders. In this respect, on 10 and 11 May 2017, he met with the Chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

In the course of these consultations, the Secretary-General reiterated the United Nations’ deep concern at the prevailing security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan, highlighting the untold suffering being inflicted on the civilian population. He underlined the imperative of renewed regional and international efforts to bring to an end the unfolding tragedy in that country, in particular through the immediate cessation of hostilities, unfettered humanitarian access to the millions of people in need of assistance, freedom of movement for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the promotion of a credible and truly inclusive process involving all the opposition forces in line with the principles enshrined in the August 2015 Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan.

The Secretary-General is encouraged by the commitment of all his interlocutors to further enhance their efforts towards ending the violence tearing South Sudan apart, bearing also in mind the need to prevent further negative repercussions on regional security and stability. The United Nations looks forward to working closely with the IGAD and the AU in the period ahead to identify practical steps that would help arrest the current downward trend towards greater fragmentation of South Sudan, escalating violence and deepening hardship and sustainably put the country back on the track of peace and reconciliation.

New York, 12 May 2017

South Sudan: Uncertainty looms in the Republic, King Malong “boxed-in” and Opposition working together!

There are certainly not any clear indications of good news coming from Juba, the continued civil-war and warfare isn’t stopping, the death toll and the countless refugees are telling their own stories. As the state are grappling with the laws of staying in power, by any means. President Kiir, uses all the tricks in the book to stay and have loyal men in power. As there been rumors that King Malong had also plans to overpower him and therefore was sacked, but none by sources that is credible yet. But there are other, whom we can look at with interests. As the flow of information and uncertainty is there. This being the Opposition trying to make the government look foolish and evil, while the government tries to with their military operation annihilate them. Therefore, these latest reports proves there some sudden approaches, that should worry President Kiir. Just take a look!

What U.S. Intelligence report says about South Sudan:

Clashes between Juba and the armed opposition will continue, heightening ethnic tensions and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis and famine amid a declining economy. Both sides’ use of ethnic militias, hate speech, and the government’s crackdown against ethnic minorities raise the risk of additional mass atrocities. The government will probably continue to restrict political freedoms and civil liberties and obstruct humanitarian assistance” (Coates, 2017).

Opposition groups consolidating to topple Kiir:

A group of seven South Sudanese opposition movements said they had agreed to work closely against the current government in Juba. Signatories of the agreement included Henry Odwar, deputy chairman of the SPLM-IO faction led by Riek Machar, FDP party leader Gabriel Changson Chan, Thomas Tut Doap of UDRA, SPLM-FDs member Kosti Manibe, SSNMC leader Joseph Bakasoro, and NDM leader Lam Akol, as well as Thomas Cirillo Swaka, leader of the newly formed National Salvation Front (NAS). “There is great value in working together and, as a result, the opposition groups will actively work together with a view of seeking a united front on common strategic and operational issues, the group wrote in a joint statement dated 11 May” (Radio Tamazuj, 2017).

Legacy of King Malong:

Major General Khor Chuol Giet, the Commander of the SPLA-IO 5th Division, told the South Sudan News Agency that Awan is responsible for recruiting ethnic militias who mercilessly kill civilians with impunity. “Awan is the one who recruited Mathianganyor militia group. Anyone who knows the story of this bloody-thirsty ethnic militias should not celebrate his [Awan] removal.” Giet said” (…) “However, one senior government official who asked for anonymity because of fear of reprisal told the South Sudan News Agency in Juba that Awan is capable of causing chaos in Juba and even overthrowing Kiir. “I wonder why Kiir wanted him back after he left Juba. But I understand the fact that the President probably realized how powerful Awan is after he sacked him on TV,” the official said. The South Sudan News Agency has learned from a reliable source that Kiir will ask Awan to serve in his government, adding, “The post will definitely be a boxed one.”(SSNA, 2017).

Clashes in Fashoda State:

The number of civilians who died of thirst after being forcibly displaced from their villages in Panyikang County in Fashoda State due to clashes between government troops and rebel fighters in late April, has reached to at least 50, according to an opposition official” (…) “Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Friday, Morris Orach, the Minister of Information in the rebel-controlled area in Fashoda, said the 50 dead bodies were found along the Fashoda-Tonga road” (Radio Tamazuj, 2017).

Ukraine arms trade:

It said the aircraft manifest indicated that it contained two L-39 jets and engines provided by Musket OU, a company based in Tallinn, that were overhauled, and that the flight was operated by the Ukranian Defence ministry. “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 piloting training,” the report reads. However, PoE disclosed it was investigating if the aircraft were transported to South Sudan following reports that there was a new military plane with obscured marking, parked at the Juba International Airport” (Oduha, 2017).

These initial signs are not of strengthening the republic, as the power is still all in the hands of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who have again used his hands and changed leadership roles to be in-charge and not question of his authority. While this is happening, all of the famous rebels and rebel groups have decided to gather together in one unit. To all consolidate and work to topple President Kiir. Therefore, the insecure structure of opposition is now on a clear path. In the midst of military operations and the skirmishes. This is all creating the famine, the destruction of institutions, if so also stopping the build-up of government and local government operations. As the armed battles and military operations are the most important and imminent importance.

There is no indication of peace and rebuilding the state, as the arising power-structures are still bound by two warlords, this being the President and Dr. Riek Machar, who has two armies and soldiers battling in different states, now with deflectors and other smaller rebel-groups standing together with the SPLM/A-IO fighting the SPLM/A. This is not the look, the President, nor the hierarchy in Juba administration wants to see. We can only think of the consequences, as the President will continue to buy arms and use connections to be able to fight this, though Ukrainian or Ugandan counterparts, who deliver gladly for profit bullets, planes and rifles to the SPLM/A.

We can just wonder and hope when this will end, as so many innocent civilians has fled their villages and patches of lands, for a bit of hope in refugee camps in Uganda, DRC, Sudan and Ethiopia. This is not the reactions anyone want to see, but they don’t want to stay home, when their fields and patches becomes battlefields between armies. As well, as these battles also comes to the refugee camps, where even the killings appear. There is only uncertainty, and lack of will to generate peace, because two men and their allies are more keen power, than trying to forge peace. Peace.

Reference:

Coates, Daniel R. – ‘Statement for the Record Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community – Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’ (11.05.2017) – Director of National Intelligence, United States

Oduha, Joseph – ‘Ukraine on the spot over arms sale to South Sudan’ (14.03.2017) link:http://www.africareview.com/news/Ukraine-on-the-spot-over-arms-sale-to-South-Sudan/979180-3926538-xjvisf/index.html

Radio Tamazuj – ‘South Sudan opposition groups agree to work together against Kiir’s government’ (14.03.2017) link: https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/south-sudan-opposition-group-agree-to-work-together-against-kiir-s-government

Radio Tamazuj – ‘Thirst death toll rises to 50 in Fashoda State, official says’ (14.05.2017) link: https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/thirst-death-toll-rises-to-50-in-fashoda-state-official-says

South Sudan News Agency – ‘Rebel General blasts ousted army chief over recruitment of “blood-thirsty ethnic militias”’ (13.04.2017) link:http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/index.php/2017/05/13/rebel-general-blasts-ousted-army-chief-recruitment-blood-thirsty-ethnic-militias/

South Sudan: Newly appointed SPLA Chief of General Staff: “My Priority is to stabilize the country” (13.05.2017)

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