Friday, April 29, 2016

Ethiopia conducts operation to rescue abducted children-

 "Ethiopia conducts operation to rescue abducted children- Official
Posted by: APA Posted date : April 28, 2016 at 2:54 pm UTC 73 views In : Africa
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said the government is conducting massive, careful and calculated operation to rescue the over 120 abducted children by the Murle tribe in neighboring South Sudan.Explaining the rescue mission to African ambassadors in Addis Ababa, State Minister Taye Atsekesilassie said “It is a very careful, a very targeted and a very calculated move we are pursuing. Slowly but surely we would have our children.â€�

The State Minister said what made the April 16 incident different which was perpetrated by the Murle tribe of South Sudan was that the attacks were unusually massive and appeared well-organized.

The Ethiopian government last Friday said its defense force surrounded the place where the abducted children were hostaged and was conducting massive rescue operation.

Ambassador Taye also noted Ethiopian forces had managed to secure the areas from further pillages and brutal attacks.

The violent cross-border attacks also caused the displacement of some 20,000 Ethiopians away from their villages Taye said adding rehabilitation works have been intensified for the displaced people.

With regards to cooperation with the South Sudanese government, Ambassador Taye said, “We are moving in a coordinated manner to solve the problem.�

Signature : APA"

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Riek Machar, South Sudan Opposition Leader, Returns as Part of Peace Deal - The New York Times


President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, right, with the opposition leader, Riek Machar, left, as Mr. Machar was sworn in as vice president on Tuesday in Juba, the capital. CreditReuters

JUBA, South Sudan — More than two years after South Sudan’s civil war began, its opposition leader landed in the capital, Juba, on Tuesday and was sworn in as vice president, a vital first step in the effort to bring the country back together.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, was born in 2011 to great international fanfare. But shortly after independence, it spiraled into a civil war that killed tens of thousands and displaced more than two million people.
Nearly two years of peace negotiations in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, yielded several cease-fires, and recommitments to cease-fires, that were broken almost immediately.
Now the return of the opposition leader, Riek Machar, puts him basically back where he had started, as the official No. 2 to his chief rival, President Salva Kiir.
Still, many analysts doubt that the two will work effectively together after so much blood has been spilled.
As Mr. Machar took his oath of office inside the presidential compound, soldiers were on guard outside. Near the main gate, a truck full of government troops sat a few feet away from a truck weighed down by opposition soldiers. Members of both groups looked glum, sweating under the oppressive heat.
Even before Mr. Machar landed, officials on his side were voicing doubts.
“Juba has not been demilitarized, and aerial bombardment is still happening in some areas of the country,” said Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, who flew to Juba on Monday. “So maybe the government is not serious about peace. That could lead us back to war.”
The trouble began in the summer of 2013 after Mr. Machar said he would contend for the leadership of South Sudan’s governing party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.


Rebel Leader Returns to South Sudan

The United Nations sees the return of the opposition leader, Riek Machar, to South Sudan as vice president as a “positive development” for the embattled region.
 By SOUTH SUDAN TV, VIA REUTERS and UNTV, VIA REUTERS on Publish DateApril 26, 2016. Photo by Goran Tomasevic/Reuters. Watch in Times Video »

He was dismissed by Mr. Kiir in July, and fighting erupted in Juba that December, quickly splitting the nation along ethnic lines. Mr. Kiir belongs to the Dinka ethnic group, the country’s largest, while Mr. Machar is a Nuer, believed to be the second largest.
Opposition leaders say that Dinka soldiers hunted down and killed hundreds of Nuer civilians in a few days. Clashes then spread across the country as troops vied for control of South Sudan’s oil fields and regional capitals.
Fighters on both sides have been accused of mass atrocities, including rape, the wanton killing of civilians and the recruitment of child soldiers. The clashes were further complicated by smaller-scale divisions among the country’s ethnic groups, leaving no clear battle lines in the conflict.
In accordance with the negotiations, the opposition leader, Mr. Machar, who had been living in exile at eastern bases in South Sudan and in neighboring Ethiopia, had refused to return without the presence of 1,370 opposition soldiers in Juba, and the last of them arrived last week.
But recent events brought more disruptions: Mr. Machar was scheduled to be sworn in last Monday but postponed his flight to Juba because of disagreements with the government over how many soldiers would accompany him and his chief of general staff, General Gatwech. On Wednesday, the government agreed to allow 195 more opposition soldiers into the capital.
“The delays have been unfortunate,” Mr. Machar said on Tuesday, as he waited to board a plane that would take him to Juba. “I expected to be a little bit earlier, but the organization was problematic. Now I’m going to Juba, and hopefully I’ll take the oath. Then we start forming the transitional government of national unity.”
Despite the long-awaited moment, the mood in Juba was subdued. An idea to organize a public rally welcoming Mr. Machar was discussed, then discarded.
At the swearing-in ceremony, Mr. Kiir said a rally might take place in the future, without specifying when. He also apologized for the peace deal’s slow implementation, and said the country’s leaders were responsible.


Rebel soldiers supporting Mr. Machar at a military camp in Juba, South Sudan, this month, before his expected return to the country. CreditJason Patinkin/Associated Press

“We acknowledge that there are unresolved issues related to the agreement,” he said. “But I promise we will equally resolve those matters amicably.”
While stationed at a rebel base about three months after the war began, Mr. Machar said Mr. Kiir had been “discredited” as a president. “I don’t know what sort of compromise would be reached with him remaining in power,” he added.
But the two sides signed an agreement in August that called for a transitional government in Juba. In February, Mr. Kiir announced that he would restore Mr. Machar as vice president.
An army spokesman, Lul Ruai Koang, said thousands of government troops had been moved to bases outside the city in accordance with the peace plan.
“The army is ready to receive the vice president, as shown by our compliance so far,” he said.
While Mr. Machar’s return to Juba appeared to be a concrete step toward reconciliation, serious questions remained.
Mr. Kiir’s decision in December to divide South Sudan’s 10 states into 28 and appoint new governors has disrupted the negotiations over power sharing. Analysts also warn that after years of bloodshed, a peaceful reintegration of opposition and government soldiers in Juba will be difficult.
General Gatwech said that while he intended to carry out the peace deal, his troops had the right to defend themselves if necessary.
At the United Nations on Tuesday, Secretary General Ban Ki-moonwelcomed the news of Mr. Machar’s reinstatement and urged the “immediate formation” of the transitional government for the country, where United Nations peacekeepers have been sheltering tens of thousands of displaced civilians.
Mr. Ban also announced the appointment of a veteran Nigerian diplomat, Abiodun Oluremi Bashua, to lead an inquiry into an attack two months ago on the United Nations peacekeeping base in the northern area of Malakal that left at least 25 civilians dead and 144 wounded.

Continue reading the main story

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rebel Leader Riek Machar Denied Permission to Return to Juba

South Sudan Rebel Leader Riek Machar Stuck in Ethiopia After Week of Delays

South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar is in limbo in the Ethiopian border region of Gambela, where he has been stalled for a week as he awaits clearance to fly to Juba to complete a critical phase of a peace deal between his forces and the government.
Machar, who was dismissed as President Salva Kiir's vice president in mid-2013 and went on to lead a faction of the national army when civil war broke out months later, had planned to return to Juba, the capital, on April 18. His arrival would have solidified the formation of a unity government in which he is expected reassume the role of first vice president.
Airport clearances and disagreements over how many weapons and people Machar can bring with him have repeatedly delayed the trip. The government claimed last week that it had reached an agreement with Machar concerning some of the disagreements over what could come with him into the country. The rebel leader had hoped to return to Juba by Saturday to meet a deadline that was set by international mediators, but that didn't happen, with the US slamming both Machar and President Salva Kiir for their roles in the holdup.
In a statement on Sunday night, the US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby said America was disappointed by what it called a failure by both the government and Machar's Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition in implementing the peace agreement.
"Leaders on both sides have blocked progress," Kirby said.
Kirby criticized South Sudan's decision to bar Machar from landing, while also condemning Machar's desire to bring in a higher number of weapons and forces than the agreement allowed. Previous negotiations determined that he could be accompanied by 195 men armed with AK-47 assault rifles, 20 machine guns, and 20 rocket-propelled grenades.
"Given the actions by both sides to prevent or delay his return, it is now time for the parties to assume primary responsibility for facilitating the return of Riek Machar to Juba," the statement said.
The State Department also said that future engagement on the part of the US would depend on the ability for both sides to work together in implementing the peace deal. The US is among one of the larger foreign donors in South Sudan, and has been heavily involved in the negotiations.
Soon after Kirby's statement, the rebels publicly claimed that the US government had revoked funding that was set to provide to cover the costs for Machar's return. Spokesperson Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said they were requesting help from the United Nations after the loss of funds, Bloomberg reported.
"Definitely the transition is on hold unless we have another person that can volunteer to help transport the first vice president," Gatkuoth said. If the issue were resolved, Machar would reportedly be able to fly out of the Gambela airport by Tuesday.
While Machar's return remains in question, General Simon Gatwech Dual, the rebel leader's chief of staff, arrived in Juba with 195 soldiers on Monday — a positive sign that the peace agreement is still viable.
"I am happy that I am in Juba," Dual declared from the airport in Juba, according to Reuters. "Our coming is to implement the peace process, and we are not going back to war."
Rebel Leader Riek Machar Denied Permission to Return to Juba:
The government and rebels signed the internationally orchestrated peace deal in August 2015. As part of the agreement, the camps agreed to a ceasefire and the formation of a unity government that would restore Machar to office.
Machar's return is seen as a final step in the peace process for the conflict that has displaced hundreds of thousands. Fighting sparked in the landlocked, East African country in December 2013 several months after Machar was ousted from office, with the government accusing troops loyal to Machar of attempting to carry out a coup. Kiir is of Dinka ethnicity while Machar is a Nuer, and the two leaders have largely populated their forces with their respective ethnic groups.
Despite the peace agreement, various ceasefire violations have reportedly occurred over recent months as violence and fighting from both sides of the conflict continue.
In one instance last fall, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission blamed South Sudanese government forces for the deaths of 50 people who suffocated in a shipping container. The national army was also accused of entering a civilian protection camp at a United Nations compound in February after deadly ethnic clashes erupted there.
Throughout the conflict, the UN has documented and detailed accounts of human rights violations and atrocities committed by both sides, including mass rape, castration, forced cannibalism, and civilians being burned alive.
While optimism and celebration marked the country's 2011 declaration of independence from Sudan, the two-and-a-half-year conflict has had a devastating impact on its people and the oil sector on which its economy in based. Famine has been a constant threat, while oil production has dropped by more than 33 percent since fighting erupted.
Follow Kayla Ruble on Twitter: @RubleKB