Wednesday, October 7, 2015

South Sudan opposition fighters accuse government forces of fresh attacks - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

October 6, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – Government forces loyal to South Sudanese president Salva Kiir have been accused of 00carrying out fresh air and ground attacks on civilians suspected to be loyal to the former vice president, Riek Machar, in violation of the ceasefire agreement signed in August.
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South Sudanese SPLA soldiers in Pageri in Eastern Equatoria state on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Samir Bol)
In a statement issued on Tuesday, military spokesman of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA-IO, said government forces attacked civilians in Mundri county of Western Equatoria state, west of the national capital, Juba.
“It was at 9:00 AM, yesterday [Monday] when government troop launched an aerial bombardment on civilian at Munduri County in Western Equatoria state. In the same day, they send military convoy from Juba to Munduri where they overnight at Jumbo and they began to shell on civilians, burned down the villages around Jumbo Payam,” said Colonel William Gatjiath Deng.
He said this was another violation which showed that the government was aiming to make difficult the implementation of the peace agreement.
“We must always turn face to IGAD plus, AU and International Community to send down verification team to check that uncontrollable violations always made by the government,” he said.
The two rival forces have been trading accusations even from the day president Kiir signed the peace deal in Juba on 26 August. Fighting last week also resumed in Unity state over the control of Leer and Koch counties. The two parties accused each other of initiating the clashes.
The parties are yet to agree on ceasefire implementation and security arrangements at a workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which brings together senior military commanders from the parties to the agreement.
Tens of thousands of people have died and millions more displaced internally and to the neighbouring countries of Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda since the break out of war in December 2013

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

SPLM-IO protests to IGAD over ceasefire violations : spokesperson - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan’s armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) led by the country’s former vice president, Riek Machar, said they have submitted a letter of protest to the East African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), over continues violations of ceasefire by president Salva Kiir’s government.
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SPLA soldiers sit at the back of a pick-up truck in Malakal, Upper Nile state January 12, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)
The opposition said government’s forces and helicopter gunships have continued to carry out attacks on their positions in the country’s oil-rich states of Upper Nile and Unity, which will be governed by the SPLM-IO in accordance with the peace agreement.
“We have submitted a letter of protest to IGAD mediation over these ceasefire violations by the regime in Juba,” Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune when contacted on Sunday.
He accused the government of lacking political will of commitment to respecting the ceasefire declared on 29 August and implementing the peace deal they signed on 26 August.
“For the past four days, government forces have been attacking our bases in Upper Nile state, to the west bank of the River Nile near Malakal, using ground troops backed by helicopter gunships. They have also moved out from Unity state’s capital, Bentiu, and begun to attack our bases near Nhialdiu. These are serious violations,” he said.
Dak denied government claims that the rebels had been delaying the conduct of the workshop on the ceasefire arrangements scheduled in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, saying the leadership had already selected senior military officers to take part in the workshop after ratifying the peace agreement beginning on Tuesday.
He said it was important to first ratify the peace deal in accordance with the provisions of the accord itself before implementation of other provisions kicked in.
Dak argued that in the peace agreement, the declaration and respect of the permanent ceasefire came first followed by ratification of the peace agreement and then the ceasefire workshop and so forth.
He accused the government of violating the very ceasefire which should be respected first before the workshop in Addis Ababa.
In a separate statement, SPLA-IO military spokesperson, Colonel William Gatjiath Deng, also claimed that continued attacks by president Kiir’s forces on rebel positions took place on Sunday in Upper Nile state, alleging that Ugandan helicopters took part in the attack.
“This afternoon at 12:00AM, two Ugandan helicopter gunships used by the government of South Sudan continuing aerial bombardment at our bases in Panyikang county, Tonga and Nyijuat payam in Upper Nile state. They are targeting both military and local civilian population around. The SPLA/Juba faction is continuing making random shooting at civilians and burns some villages nearby,” said Col. Deng in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
President Kiir in his remarks during a meeting on Sunday with a tribal Jieng [Dinka] Council of Elders admitted that his army violated the ceasefire, but blamed it on undisciplined officers, warning them of punitive actions unless they respected his ceasefire orders.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in New York has been discussing a US-led draft sanctions on individuals in the parties or party which is seen to be violating the ceasefire and spoiling implementation of the deal. The sanctions would include assets freeze, travel bans and arms embargo, among others.

Friday, August 21, 2015

South Sudan journalist Peter Moi shot dead - BBC News

South Sudan journalist Peter Moi shot dead - BBC News: "South Sudan journalist Peter Moi shot dead
20 August 2015
From the section Africa

Peter Julius Moi was killed on the outskirts of Juba on Wednesday evening
South Sudan strife

South Sudan: Obstacles to a lasting peace
From 'Lost Boy' to education minister in South Sudan
Tracking down South Sudan's missing
South Sudan economy 'in intensive care'
Gunmen have killed South Sudan reporter Peter Julius Moi by shooting him twice in the back in the capital, Juba, his family said after identifying his body.
He is the seventh journalist to be killed this year in South Sudan, where a civil war is ongoing.
His killing comes days after President Salva Kiir threatened to kill reporters "working against the country".
A presidential spokesman said the words were taken out of context and police were investigating Mr Moi's death.
Ateny Wek Ateny said a statement would be issued to clarify President Kiir's remarks, made at the airport in Juba before he went to Ethiopia for peace talks to end the civil war.
BBC Africa Live: News updates
Mr Moi worked for South Sudan's Corporate Weekly newspaper and was killed at about 20:00 local time (17:00 GMT) on Wednesday night by unidentified gunmen on the outskirts of Juba.
Juba-based journalist Jason Patinkin told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that the killing of Mr Moi was a very worrying development for the journalist community in South Sudan, which has seen a steady decline in press freedom since the outbreak of the civil war in December 2013.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says security agents shut down two privately owned newspapers earlier this month as well as a media group that produced a popular radio series.
The media freedom lobby group has also been critical of Mr Kiir's comments, which local journalists believe were connected to media criticism of the protracted peace negotiations.
"The leader of any country threatening to kill journalists is extremely dangerous and utterly unacceptable," the CPJ's Tom Rhodes said in a statement.

President Salva Kiir has ruled South Sudan since independence in 2011
Mr Kiir has also been under fire from diplomats for failing to sign a peace deal on Monday.
The US state department has said he has now promised to sign after "a couple more days of consultation".
But the US has submitted draft proposals for a UN arms embargo on South Sudan.
Nearly two million people have been left homeless since conflict broke out in the world's newest state in 2013.
Fighting erupted after Mr Kiir accused rebel leader Riek Machar, his former deputy, of plotting a coup.
Mr Machar signed the accord in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday - the deadline set by mediators.

South Sudan's elusive peace
At least seven ceasefires agreed and broken since conflict started in December 2013
Nearly one in five South Sudanese displaced by the current conflict, from a total population of 12 million
Former rebel leader Salva Kiir became president of South Sudan, the world's newest state, when it gained independence in 2011
South Sudan has been at war for 42 of past 60 years"

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Leaders of Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and S. Sudan Hold Close-door Summit

Leaders of Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and S. Sudan Hold Close-door Summit in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa - The Presidents of Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan Sunday held a close-door meeting at Sheraton Addis Ababa as part of the IGAD efforts to achieve solution for the dispute in South Sudan State.

The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

On Saturday evening, the leaders of Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda held a tripartite summit which reviewed the efforts of the countries that are neighboring to South Sudan for solving its problem.

SUNA learned that Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Chad and Algeria were added by the African Union to join the IGAD group of Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda, while the IGAD partners' group includes Britain, the United States and Norway.

SUNA learned that the IGAD summit will be held on Monday between the two groups and participation of the African Union, the European Union and China.

The dispute parties participating in the IGAD summit are South Sudan government headed by President Salva Kiir, the group of Dr. Riek Machar and the group of former detainees who were released after Arusha agreement led by Pagan Amum.

The American envoy for Sudan and South Sudan and the envoys of Britain and Norway have arrived in Addis Ababa

Friday, August 14, 2015

South Sudanese rebel leader in negotiations with defected commanders - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

August 13, 2015 (JUBA) - South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar is in negotiations with some of the senior commanders with whom he had political and security disagreements over the approach to handle the talks with the government, revealed assistant press officer in the rebel camp.
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Riek Machar sits in his field office in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State February 1, 2014. (Photo/Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
Rebel commanders led by Peter Gatdet Yak, former deputy chief of general staff for operations in the rebel movement and Gathoth Gatkuoth, former deputy chief of general staff for logistics, both of whom were relieved from the positions last month by Machar, announced at a press conference in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Tuesday to have” denounced and disowned” Machar from the leadership of the rebel movement.
It was not immediately clear how many officers attended the conference, although unverified reports indicated Maj. Gen. Gabriel Tanginye, Maj. Gen. Chuol Gakah, Maj. Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, Maj. Gen. Malith Gatluak and Brigadier Gen. Gatwec Puoc were among those who have declared their defection.
Five other politicians allegedly issued a separate statement announcing their support to the decision of the commanders in which they claimed to have dismissed Machar.
Former minister of youth, culture and sports, Gabriel Changson Chang, their ring leader, Timothy Tot Chol, Thomas Thoan Teny, Michael Mariew Dhuor and Gabriel Yoal Dok were said to have been among those who issued the statement denouncing the manner in which Machar had managed the leadership and the movement.
Several opposition figures have in response to the defection downplayed the significance of the decision of the rebel commanders and accused the government of having allegedly played a role to create a rift between the members of the opposition leadership using all means available at its disposal, including the use of monetary enticement by way of bribery to defecting officers and members of their families.
Dickson Gatluak Jock, who claimed to be assistant press secretary in the office of the armed opposition leader, Machar, said the press release denouncing his boss was not written and sent by the commanders but politicians wanting to pull the commanders out from the movement and against Machar in order to divert his vision, reduce his dignity from the entire Nuer community and South Sudan at large.
“This is to let him go. The sacrifices he made for the sake of his nation to go in vain. Their objectives are meant to spoil an anticipated peace agreement which may be signed in the coming 17th of this month”, said Jock in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
The aide of the opposition leader, however, asserted that obstructing peace wouldn’t make sense because it’s the demand from the public in South Sudan rather than individual interest.
He said Machar had already sent a team to Khartoum to negotiate the return of the defected rebel commander, Peter Gatdet Yak.
"As I am writing, Peter Gatdet is in Khartoum, Sudan, engaging in negotiating with the team sent to him by the chairman of SPLM/A Dr. Riek Machar to get him back to Pagak as well as the Nuer elders over there,” he said.
He admitted that there were differences between Machar and commanders but these differences, he explained, could have been addressed in the recent consultative conference held at the headquarters of the opposition group inside South Sudanese territory at the border with neighbouring Ethiopia.
“Yes there were differences sometimes back when the two generals were relieved but the leadership in Pagak during the consultative meeting ironed out all these issues and resolved that the generals would be assigned to other positions with in the SPLA IO military headquarters. These are normal ways of making thing in the system,” he added.
“If they accept to dialogue and present their complaints to the leadership of the movement, then they will be reassigned”, he explained.
The rebel official charged that “elements that are running up and down to create division within the movement for their own personal interest would not be given room.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Martin Elia and associates deported from Ethiopia | Radio Tamazuj

Martin Elia and associates deported from Ethiopia | Radio Tamazuj: "
Martin Elia and associates deported from Ethiopia

JUBA (10 Aug.)
A group of pro-government political parties headed by South Sudan's Cabinet Minister Martin Elia Lomuro have been deported from Ethiopia in response to Juba preventing opposition leader Lam Akol from traveling to the Addis Ababa talks.

Elia and his group traveled to Addis Ababa with the government delegation last week to participate in the peace talks, but Akol, who leads a group of independent opposition parties, said he was prevented from boarding his flight minutes before takeoff on orders of President Salva Kiir.

Speaking on Sunday at a hotel in Juba, Elia said an IGAD administrator approached his delegation hours after they arrived in Addis Ababa and told them arrangements were made for them to return to South Sudan the next day.

Elia said the administrator showed them a document reading: "unless Dr Lam Akol is allowed to travel with his delegation, the IGAD mediators reject your participation and have directed us to inform you accordingly."

The minister in Kiir's cabinet said IGAD was not fully informed about what happened to Lam in Juba. He claimed that Akol was requested to obtain clearance and wait for travel permit from authorities but refused to wait. Akol said a police official prevented him from boarding the plane.

"Why didn’t the IGAD mediators prevent the government delegation from traveling because it was the government not political Parties which Prevented Dr. Lam Akol from traveling?" Elia also charged.

Elia accused IGAD of bias against Kiir's government, and urged the venue of the peace talks move to either Tanzania, Rwanda, or South Africa.

"The attitudes of the IGAD mediators seem to favour groups both internal and external that are opposed to the democratically elected government of South Sudan in fulfillment of their regime change agenda," he accused.

"It is now our conclusion that for peace to return to South Sudan the entire IGAD mediation team must be reconstituted. While [Kenyan] General Lazarus Sumbeiywo may be acceptable definitely, Seyoum Mesfin [of Ethiopia] and Mohammed Ahmed Mustaffa El Daby [of Sudan] must be replaced," he said.

He said the two latter countries are undemocratic and have their own rebels so are unfit to negotiate peace in South Sudan.

This is the latest incident in an ongoing power struggle within the "political parties" group of stakeholders meant to participate in the peace talks between Akol's group of opposition parties and Elia's group parties which have joined the government.

Last year IGAD deported Elia's associate Martin Tako from Ethiopia. Tako had claimed to represent the political parties after South Sudanese authorities prevented Lam from traveling to Addis Ababa during a previous round of talks.


Mediators call on Juba to allow Lam Akol group to travel to peace talks (7 Aug.)

Kiir stops Dr. Lam Akol from going to peace talks (6 Aug.)

IGAD mediators ask Martin Tako to leave South Sudan peace talks (23 Sep.)

Kiir's cabinet minister Martin Elia excluded from opposition platform (25 Jul.)

Photo: Martin Elia Lomuro Credit: The Niles"

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Monday, August 10, 2015

IGAD-plus mediate South Sudan peace talk in Addis Ababa -Coastweek -

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Under the mediation of the IGAD-Plus, the South Sudan peace negotiation kicked off on Thursday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.The East African bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has been mediating the peace process of South Sudan towards ending the crisis erupted since mid-December in 2013 in the world’s youngest nation.
In this latest round of peace talks, participants in the South Sudan peace process will, for some days, deliberate on the IGAD-Plus proposal, the Compromise Agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan.At the recently convened meeting in Addis Ababa, the IGAD-Plus agreed on the urgent need to resolve the conflict, which has devastated South Sudan.

The IGAD-Plus mediation has put it that the Compromise Agreement is signed by August 17 towards resolving the crisis in South Sudan.

"The IGAD-Plus are united in their determination to see that the Compromise Agreement is signed by August 17, which will go a long way to ease the suffering of the people of South Sudan," according to a statement released earlier by the mediation.
Speaking at the opening of this round of negotiation, Seyoum Mesfin, IGAD Chief Mediator, noted that the latest peace talks is a critical moment whereby the participants would make decision that might impact the destiny of the youngest nation and the people of the country.
Participants attend the mediation peace process of South Sudan peace negotiation in Addis Ababa | Coastweek
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Participants attend the mediation peace process of South Sudan peace negotiation in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. The East African bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has been mediating the peace process of South Sudan towards ending the crisis erupted since mid-December in 2013 in the world’s youngest nation. XINHUA PHOTO - MICHAEL TEWELDE
"We have now reached at critical juncture whereby participants of this phase will make decisions that may impact the destiny of the people of South Sudan and their youngest nation," said Seyoum.
The IGAD-Plus include the IGAD member states, the five members of the African Union High-Level Ad Hoc Committee, the Troika, China, the African Union Commission, the European Union, the United Nations and the IGAD Partners Forum.


Juba prevents opposition delegation from travelling to peace talks in Ethiopia
KHARTOUM (Xinhua) -- A delegation of South Sudanese opposition parties has said the Juba government has prevented them from travelling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to take part in the peace talks between the South Sudanese warring parties.

"We have been doing our travel procedures when a police officer told us that there were directives from the Presidency to prevent the delegation from travelling," Lam Akol, head of the opposition delegation, told reporters at Juba airport Wednesday.

"Such decisions do not serve the peace issue in any way," Akol said, describing the move as "a flagrant violation" of freedom of movement stipulated in the country’s constitution as well as international laws.

He further reiterated that the delegation has received a formal invitation from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development in Africa (IGAD), which is mediating between the South Sudanese rivals who are to resume talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Friday.

The South Sudanese opposition parties’ alliance brings together about 18 political parties that are not participating in the government.

Earlier IGAD announced a reviewed proposed draft peace agreement to be considered by South Sudan’s warring parties, the government led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, led by former vice president Riek Machar.

The mediators availed the two sides until Aug. 17 to sign a peace deal to end the violent clash in the newly-born state.

Despite many rounds of talks under IGAD’s patronage, the two South Sudanese rivals have failed to reach a peace deal.

South Sudan plunged into violence in December 2013 when fighting erupted between troops loyal to President Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy Machar.

The conflict soon turned into an all-out war, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension that pitted the president’s Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.

The clashes have left thousands of South Sudanese dead and forced around 1.9 million people to flee their homes.

Sudan oil minister denies war in South Sudan to harm oilfields
KHARTOUM (Xinhua) -- Sudan’s oil minister Mohamed Zayed Awad has denied that the on-going civil war in South Sudan would disturb the country’s oilfields, affirming that petroleum is a source of wealth for the two neighbors.

Awad arrived in the South Sudanese capital of Juba on Friday, and met with President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

"The two warring parties in South Sudan are aware that harming the oilfields would harm all sides," Awad told reporters at Juba airport.

"We do not expect any harm to be inflicted on the oilfields", noted the Sudanese minister.

He said the cooperation between Khartoum and Juba was continuing, pointing out that the oil deal was the "most distinctive" among the agreements signed by the two countries.

The South Sudanese oil minister, Stephen Dhieu, meanwhile, said Juba welcomes bilateral cooperation in oil production sector and other domains.

The South Sudanese rebels, led by former vice president, Riek Machar, said earlier they were seeking to control the oilfields to prevent President Kiir from using the oil to prolong the war.

South Sudan’s oil production has dropped by nearly 30 percent since mid-December 2013, where the country’s daily oil production used to reach 245,000 barrels before the fighting broke out, but now that figure has been slashed to about 175,000 barrels.

South Sudan plunged into violence in December 2013, when fighting erupted between troops loyal to President Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy Machar.

The conflict soon turned into an all-out war, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension that pitted the president’s Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.
The clashes have left thousands of South Sudanese dead and forced around 1.9 million people to flee their homes.

S. Sudan parties competing for majority power percentages in peace talks - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

August 9, 2015 (JUBA) - South Sudanese rival warring parties in the resumed peace talks in Addis Ababa have presented different power sharing percentages in which each side sought majority representation in the proposed transitional government of national unity.
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South Sudan’s rival forces resumed peace talks on 6 August, as international pressure mounts ahead of an August 17 deadline to strike a deal to end 19 months of civil war. (Photo AFP)
“The negotiations have started. The two sides have gone into the real and tough engagement now. They all want to reach the peace agreement this time because both of them have challenges which they are trying to escape if they sign a peace [agreement],” leading member of the civil society alliance participating in the talks told Sudan Tribune on Sunday from the venue of the talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia .
The government, according to the activist, was keen to sign a peace deal which would not undermine the executive powers of the president and avoid demilitarization of the national capital, Juba, as well as the proposition of the two armies under separate command from the president as the commander in chief, whether during pre-interim period or during interim period.
He said the government was however willing to make compromise on the power percentage in the oil-rich Upper Nile region.
“From what I see, the government could sign the peace because it is already seen by some people in the country and also some western powers as an illegitimate government because it has no mandate from the people,” he said.
The life of the current government, the civil society activist said, was extended by the national legislature whose period had also elapsed, adding that from the legal and constitutional point of view, it was not right that another legally challengeable institution extended the term of another legally challengeable institution.
“The term of the assembly had expired, so was the term of the office of the president,” he explained.
This, he said, was one of the factors which would persuade the government to sign the peace so as to get new mandate through a peace agreement that will allow the conduct of new elections after the end of the transitional period.
Another factor, he added, was the international threat of government with the sanctions. On the side of the rebels, he pointed, the issue of sanctions and the latest reports of sharp division within the leadership would force them to make some compromise and accept peace deal.
The activist explained that both the government and armed opposition representatives demanded bigger percentages of power in a transitional government than what the mediating team had offered.
He said the government proposed to be given 70% of power sharing in the proposed transitional government and proposed only 20% to be given to the rebels and 10% to other political parties.
“Interestingly, they did not include a percentage to the former detainees. I think it is because they consider them as part of the government since they have returned to Juba,” said the activist.
Also, the rebel representatives in the talks have asked for 70% of power sharing in the government of national unity. They gave the government 20% and the remaining 10% to other political parties. They also did not mention former detainees in their proposal.
The proposals presented by the two main warring parties, he said, were not compatible to or in an agreement with the proposal of the regional mediating team which proposed different power percentages to both parties to the conflict.
After the last round of peace talks for South Sudan failed back in March, IGAD mediation drafted a compromise agreement that proposed that the government should have 53% of ministerial portfolios in a transitional government, the SPLM-IO should have 33%, and former detainees, majority of whom have returned to the country, with other political parties share 14%.
Sudan Tribune was unable to independently verify the credibility of the information, as none of the members of the delegation of the two parties was able to provide official comments on their presentations on power sharing percentages.
Several of their representatives however confirmed each had presented a proposal seeking majority representation in the proposed government of national unity, saying these proposals were subject for revision.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Peace Eludes South Sudan as Rivals Hold Talks - The New York Times

NAIROBI, Kenya — Even as South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and his longtime rival, the rebel leader Riek Machar, met here at the behest of Kenya’s president to end South Sudan’s civil war, Mr. Machar’s forces captured the strategic city of Malakal.
“My two brothers held five hours of face-to-face talks last night, which is important to build confidence and trust between them, in order to cement a viable path of peace,” the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, said in a statement.
The talks have yet to produce a breakthrough, though “progress is being made,” according to Mabior Garang, a spokesman for the rebels. Mr. Garang also confirmed that on Saturday evening, rebel forces seized control of Malakal, an important oil center and the capital of Unity State. Malakal has changed hands several times during the conflict.
A South Sudanese military spokesman, Philip Aguer, could not be reached for comment.

A civil war has been raging in South Sudan since fighting erupted in December 2013 between forces loyal to Mr. Kiir and rebels allied with Mr. Machar, his former vice president. Tens of thousands of people are believed to have been killed in the fighting, and about two million have been displaced.
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, which is made up of East African countries and has served as a mediator in talks at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week put forward a new “compromise” proposal to move the talks forward. The proposal involves security and power-sharing arrangements.
As part of Mr. Kenyatta’s peacemaking efforts, a group of former political detainees who had gone into exile in Kenya have returned to Juba and been reintegrated into the ruling party, including Pagan Amum, who was reinstated as secretary general
On Wednesday, the United States put forward a proposal at the United Nations Security Council that called for sanctions against six top military leaders from the warring parties, three from each side.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

South Sudan’s Latest Talks Begin in Ethiopia

FILE - Seyoum Mesfin, Chairman of IGAD Special Envoys to South Sudan, gives remarks at the launch of the Multi-stakeholder Roundtable Negotiations on June 16, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
FILE - Seyoum Mesfin, Chairman of IGAD Special Envoys to South Sudan, gives remarks at the launch of the Multi-stakeholder Roundtable Negotiations on June 16, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Marthe van der Wolf

South Sudan’s negotiators are once again gathering in Ethiopia to try to solve the 18 month old conflict dividing the world’s youngest country. The warring factions only have one month left to form an internationally-mandated power-sharing government.
Delegations from South Sudan’s government, the rebel opposition and the former detainees are meeting to find a solution to the crisis sparked a year and a half ago when President Salva Kiir had a political fallout with his former deputy, Riek Machar.
South Sudan is expected to form a transitional government of unity by July 9 – the country’s fourth anniversary of independence. But with just one month to go, it is not clear this deadline will be met.
The last round of talks ended in early March without any kind of agreement and the current agenda has to be finalized.
Monday’s talks amounted to consultations on ways forward and a new negotiating mechanism also known as ‘IGAD Plus’. IGAD is the East African Bloc that has been mediating talks throughout the conflict.IGAD Plus would now include the African Union, European Union, Britain, the United States, Norway and China as new mediators.
Lead mediator, Seyoum Mesfin of IGAD, underscored at the last round of talks that the fighting parties must not fail to find a lasting peaceful solution:
“The whole world is watching the conflict in South Sudan. And call on IGAD, the AU and the United Nations and all international partners to join us in calling for an end to this conflict now.”
Several cease-fire agreements have been signed and broken since January 2014.UN Security Council approving sanctions also failed to stop the hostilities.
Fighting has flared ahead of these talks especially in the major oil-rich Unity State.
Thousands have died, more than two million displaced - 300,000 people alone have taken refuge in Ethiopia.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Top diplomats from Ethiopia and Kenya meet S Sudan's President Kiir | Radio Tamazuj

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom and Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed visited South Sudan's capital Juba recently and met President Salva Kiir in a bid to halt fighting in the young country.
According to a diplomatic source, the meeting reportedly focused on the mediation by IGAD, a regional bloc which had led peace talks for more than a year until negotiations fell apart in March of this year, Anadolu Agency reported. According to the diplomatic source, the two neighbouring countries are exerting maximum efforts to prevent the total collapse of the peace negotiations between the government and the opposition group.
IGAD failed to call for a round of talks scheduled to take place in last April, according to the source.
The same source said the meeting which brought together two Foreign Affairs Ministers of Kenya, Ethiopia and President Kiir in the presence of South Sudan Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin focused on the prospect of discussing the ongoing conflict in South Sudan at an extraordinary summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on the sidelines of the African Summit which will be held on 14 June.
Kenya urges greater G10 role
Meanwhile, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta recently met with members of the SPLM-G10, a group of former political prisoners who were leading members of the SPLM party and are participating as a third group in the negotiations between President Salva Kiir's SPLM and former vice president Riek Machar's SPLM-In Opposition.
Kenyatta said that the G10 should play an increased role in the peace talks and that the IGAD process should merge with a parallel set of talks between the three SPLM factions which has been taking place in Arusha, Tanzania.
Photo: Kenya's foreign minister Amina Mohamed

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ethiopia: UNHCR launches relocation of South Sudanese refugees - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
May 11, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has begun relocating thousands of South Sudanese refugees from flood-prone areas in Ethiopia’s Gambella region to a newly constructed refugee camp.
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South Sudanese children who fled the country’s latest outbreak of violence gather at a refugee camp in Gambella, Ethiopia (Photo: Elissa Jobson/The Guardian)
The UNHCR is conducting the much awaited relocation operation in collaboration with the UN refugee agency’s local partner, the Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA).
In a statement issued on Monday and extended to Sudan Tribune, over 4,000 refugees have been relocated from the flood-affected Liet-chuor and Nip-Nip camps near the border with South Sudan to the newly established Jewi camp, only 18 kilometres away from the Gambella regional capital, Gambella town, in western Ethiopia.
The refugees were transferred to the new camp during the last three days with an additional convoy of buses carrying some 1,680 people on their way to Jewi camp.
“The relocation exercise to Jewi reefugee camp was launched on Friday, 8 May with the first convoy of 1,376 refugees arriving in the new camp,” said the statement from the UNHCR-Ethiopia.
“Over the weekend, more than 4,200 refugees had been relocated from flood-prone Liet-chuor and Nip-Nip camps,” it says.
The UNHCR head of sub-office, Angele Djohossou, and the ARRA zonal coordinator, Teferi Bekele, welcomed the first batch of refugees to Jewi camp and assured them of protection and better humanitarian services.
Djohossou commended all partners for ensuring that protection and essential services such as shelter, medical care, water and sanitation were in place for the relocating refugees.
“We are sincerely thankful to the government of Ethiopia and to all donors for making the launch of relocation to Jewi camp a reality,” she said.
UNHCR said relocating refugees from flood-prone areas had been fraught with challenges key of which was identifying a suitable site.
Jewi camp has a capacity of about 50,000 refugees. It will accommodate about 48,000 refugees from the low land Liet-chuor camp, which was established in January 2014, but became flooded last August together with Nip Nip camp.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is facilitating convoy movement which will now focus on relocating refugees to better suitable locations within Gambella region.
WFP is also providing the refugees high energy biscuits and water during the journey and other basic assistance up on arrival.
There are over 200,000 South Sudanese refugees in various camps in Ethiopia, who are predominantly from the Nuer ethnic group.
Meanwhile, the United Nations said on Monday over 300,000 South Sudanese civilians are without "life-saving aid" after fierce fighting in the country’s oil-rich Unity state forced all international aid organizations to suspend their relief operations.
"Ongoing hostilities in Unity state have now obliged all non-governmental organisations and UN agencies to evacuate staff from Leer and other locations," UN aid chief in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, said in a statement.
"As a consequence, over 300,000 civilians who are in need of emergency relief, including food aid and medical services, do not currently have access to such life-saving assistance," he said.
On Monday, the UN revealed that all its agencies as well as other non-governmental organizations have evacuated their staff from Leer and some other areas of the state.
According to the UN over 100,000 people had been uprooted in the first week of May alone, following heavy fighting between the two warring factions.
Among aid groups which pulled out of the war zone include the International Committee of the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.
Lanzer called on the two rival factions to immediately allow aid groups to resume their humanitarian operation.
He further said the renewed violence in southern part of Unity state came at a time when stocks of food were depleted and precisely at the height of the traditional planting season when civilians could be planting their crops in order to reap a harvest later this year.
The intensity, destruction and subsequent humanitarian consequences of the fighting between president Salva Kiir’s government and rebel group led by his former deputy, Riek Machar, is concentrated in the strategic and richest Upper Nile region where national army and rebel forces have massively deployed to battle for its control.
The peace process led by the East African regional bloc, the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa, which aimed to end the 17-month long conflict in the youngest nation, only yields little progress.
The last round of peace negotiations collapsed on 6 March after rival leaders failed to agree on almost all outstanding issues.
IGAD has prepared a new draft proposal for the next round of talks along with the African Union, UN, EU, troika countries and China who wanted to participate on the peace process.
Regional mediators haven’t yet officially announced timetable for resumption of next round of talks, which is however expected to resume later this month.
The war has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than 2 million South Sudanese.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

S. Sudan’s rebel controlled counties and neighbouring Ethiopia sign cooperation agreement - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

South Sudanese officials in the rebel controlled counties [districts) in Jonglei and Upper Nile states sign a cooperation agreement with their neighbouring Ethiopian woredas [districts] in promotion of cohesion between the cross-border communities.
Signed in Tiergol woreda [district] in Gambella region of Ethiopia early this week, the cooperation agreement which is sanctioned by the Gambella Regional Justice Bureau, was inked by cross-border district officials, chiefs, traditional leaders and representatives of religious leaders, women and youth groups from the rebel held bordering counties in Jonglei and Upper Nile states and the districts of Gambella region in Ethiopia.
Officials from both sides told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the deal aimed to promote harmony between the Ethiopian and South Sudanese neighbouring communities and to control movement of firearms across their common borders as well as clear feeder roads connecting their neighbouring districts.
The deal reiterated to continue to grant free cross-border movement of people, particularly the displaced persons or refugees from South Sudan into Ethiopia and share fishing and grazing lands as well as work in collaboration with their respective administrations.
The agreement further addressed other social matters including the need to harmonize or reduce dowry payment in case of cross-border intermarriages, saying this would reduce marriage-induced violence and cattle raiding.
Currently, most of the South Sudan’s Jonglei and Upper Nile states’ bordering counties with Ethiopia are under the control of the opposition forces led by former vice-president, Riek Machar.
Also the districts on the side of Ethiopia and South Sudan are predominantly inhabited by the Nuer communities in the two countries, with the Ethiopian Nuer inhabiting four counties in Gambella region in Ethiopia.
The two communities also share history, culture and language although they are separated by the international borders. Representatives from the neighbouring Anyuak community also signed the cooperation agreement.
Ethiopian Tiergol commissioner, Simon Dol Kek, hailed the agreement, saying the deal would promote cohesion and ease some of the concerns arising from the influx of refugees from South Sudan, who are being resettled in many different refugee camps within Gambella region, including Tharpam at Itang and Panyidu.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ethiopia this week announced that the number of refugees, mainly from the Nuer ethnic group, has reached 200,000, in Ethiopia, with thousands of new arrivals registered every month.
The deal further stressed the need to clear the feeder roads on both sides of the border to ease movement and trade. Ethiopian government has already constructed a tarmacked road up to it border with Pagak, a border town in Upper Nile state, which the rebels have renamed as Adar state.
South Sudanese county officials said they wanted to initiate and promote peace and harmony between the bordering communities with the sisterly Ethiopia, which they hailed for its historical support to South Sudan which lead to its independence and for leading a peace process to end the war in the young country.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

South Sudan president rejects pressure to sign “bad peace” with rebels - Sudan Tribune

South Sudan president Salva Kiir said he rejected signing a “ bad peace” with his former deputy in party and government, Riek Machar, assuring Dinka council of elders that he will never succumb to pressures from the international community.
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President Salva Kiir Kiir with members of the Dinka (JIENG) Council of Elders as its chair Ambrose Riny Thiik appreas at his right (Photo Larco Lomayat)
President Kiir in a briefing with the Jieng [Dinka] council of elders on Saturday narrated to them that after days in direct negotiation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in March, he refused to sign a peace agreement with the rebel leader, Machar, despite mounting pressure on him.
He said he would not accept a peace agreement that would not last longer.
“I know our people need peace which is what the government is pursuing. We want to bring lasting peace, a peace that will not return our people to another senseless war,” he said.
“We want just and lasting one,” he told the Dinka council of elders who hail from his ethnic group and serve as advisors on peace.
The head of state said he wanted peace that is initiated at home and not from the regional or international players.
“We need a home-grown solution to this conflict. We want our people to feel the sense of ownership of the solution so that when the peace is signed, it should not face obstacles in the implementation,” he added.
President Kiir’s government said they wanted a peace agreement that would see the former vice-president only become a twin deputy vice president with the incumbent James Wani Igga. They wanted the rebelled regular South Sudan army to lay down their arms and be reintegrated into the army, but without their new recruits or the bulk of their force known as the White Army.
The government also didn’t want federal system of governance to be implemented during the interim period, saying this would be referred to the permanent constitutional making process for consideration.
Juba also resisted introduction and implementation of various security, governance, public and economic sector reforms, including a proposal by the rebels to distribute wealth of the country among the states.
President Kiir also acknowledged that by not meeting some of the demands by the rebel group a ceasefire will not hold.
“You know why the ceasefire has never been respected by those Riek claims to be loyal to him is because they do not support whatever agreements which are signed in Addis Ababa with Riek and his team. So we want to sign a peace that will be accepted by everybody so that it is not violated. We should not just sign a peace because we are under pressure from others,” he said.
The government, according to the president at the briefing of the Dinka council of elders, will do what it thinks is the best to the people of South Sudan and not what others think is the best, vowing that he will never heed to threats from the international community.
“They [IGAD] were saying someone was ready with the stick to hit if we do not sign peace, I told them to let them hit anywhere they want but I cannot be threatened to sign a bad peace. Nobody will impose anything we do not want,” he further emphasized.
Kiir, however, expressed optimism that the next round will surmount difficulties he and his negotiating team had in reaching the deal with the rebel leadership when peace talks collapsed.
Earlier the Dinka council of elders presented their position to president Kiir which seemingly further influenced the decisions of the president.
For instance, the Dinka leaders urged the president not to succumb to outside pressures, saying they would not accept what was imposed and not home-grown.
“It should also be made known to IGAD and the African Union that South Sudan will not become a testing ground for crude and new governance theories and that such attempts will be resisted to the fullest,” declared the Dinka council of elders in their letter to the president.
Echoing president Kiir’s stance, the Dinka elders plainly threw in their resolve to stand behind him and mobilize the masses to stand behind their president.
They also declared to fight deployment of any foreign force without prior approval of the government, referring to the recommended deployment of African troops in the leaked report of the African Union (AU) on crimes committed in the conflict.
“As for the proposed African Oversight Force, it should be clear to the continental body that such a force could only touch ground in South Sudan only with the government’s permission. Any movement of such force illegally into South Sudan would be an act of war and will be met with a tested resistance,” the Dinka elders warned.
“We want peace, but it has to be our home-grown, not a regional or international peace that undermines the sanctity of our sovereignty,” they further stated.
The tribal grouping could not however criticize the presence of the Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF) in South Sudan as a factor undermining the country’s sovereignty.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

South Sudan - future talks should be moved to Kenya from Ethiopia after mediators failed to convince the warring parties

March 13, 2015 (JUBA) - South Sudan on Friday downplayed reports claiming one of its officials opposed Sudan’s involvement in the peace process and the choice of Ethiopia as venue for the ongoing negotiations.
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An extraordinary session of the IGAD heads of states meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 10 June 2014 (IGAD photo)
The South Sudanese deputy envoy to Kenya, James Pitia Morgan, said future talks should be moved to Kenya from Ethiopia after mediators failed to convince the warring parties on a deal last week.
He said involving Ethiopia and Sudan was “domineering” the peace talks.
“The next round of peace talks should be out of Ethiopia and Sudan should be excluded from being a mediator, since it controls, trains and arms the rebels,” Pitia was quoted saying.
But South Sudan’s foreign minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Sudan was participating in the mediation on the basis of being an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member state.
It was the assembly of the regional bloc, which decided on the composition of the mediation team when conflict erupted, stressed Marial.
South Sudan president, Salva Kiir and rebel leader, Riek Machar failed to resolve the contentious issues in the peace process after days of direct negotiations in Ethiopia.