Sudan Border closures with Libya, CAR begin to have impact.

By Naba Mohiedeen October 17, 2019 04:00 PM

FILE – Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, left, head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, meets with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, in Juba, South Sudan, Oct. 14, 2019. The council has ordered the closure of Sudan’s borders with Libya and Central African Republic.

KHARTOUM – Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council recently ordered the closure of the country’s borders with the Central African Republic and Libya, citing security concerns. The order has been gradually implemented in the last three weeks.

However, some Sudanese say the decision is affecting business.

Spare parts trader Ahmed Bushara thinks reopening the borders would ease the country’s transportation crisis.  

The current high price of transportation isn’t about the fuel shortages only, he says. Spare parts are a major element for cars. If the borders are open and trade is facilitated, he says, it’ll reflect positively on the car sector and spare parts. 

Unlike Bushara, Noman Eisa has welcomed the measure, even though he once tried to migrate through Libya to Europe, only to return to Darfur.

Map of Sudan

Eisa says Libyan gangs and militias are a danger for Sudanese youth hoping to escape poverty and strife.

He says the closed borders are positive if they stop illegal migration, but he hopes the new government will deal with the people detained and lost in Libya, and handle the root cause of Sudanese youngsters leaving. In addition, he wants measures in place for legal migration.

The Sovereign Council decided to close the borders after a September clash between rival militias in Birau, Central African Republic, that left 23 people dead.

Council members cited reports that militiamen were sneaking into Sudan on their way to join other militias in Libya.

But political analyst Othman Mirghani thinks the council has both economic and security concerns.

The main smuggling of commodities is on the eastern borders not on the westerns ones, he says, but western borders have many security concerns, including weapon smuggling and armed troops entering the country from Libya and other countries that suffer from security issues.

Sudan is located on a widely-used migration route that links east and central Africa with the Mediterranean and Europe.

The unrest Sudan has seen before and since the ouster of former president Omar al-Bashir led the European Union to suspend funds for migration control, allowing a greater number of migrants to enter the country. It remains to be seen whether the border closures will slow that flow.

https://www.voanews.com/africa/sudan-border-closures-libya-car-begin-have-impact
 

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South Sudan displacement crisis still desperate, one year after peace deal

Published 4 Sept 2019

One year on from the signing of the peace agreement, millions of South Sudanese remain displaced as the country continues to face a humanitarian crisis and people fear that peace may not last, according to a new report published today.

Women, who lead the vast majority of displaced households, may be especially vulnerable, including facing the threat of sexual violence. While some women have begun returning to South Sudan, many are not going back to their homes but seeking a safer and better place to live.

The report, No Simple Solutions: Women, Displacement and Durable Solutions in South Sudan, is by Oxfam, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Care Foundation, Danish Refugee Council, and South Sudanese organizations, Nile Hope and Titi Foundation. It highlights the experiences of women in transit and the conditions they need in order to return home.

After five years of brutal conflict, more than seven million South Sudanese – over half the country’s population – are in need of humanitarian assistance. Homes, schools and hospitals have been destroyed and it will take years for essential infrastructure and services to recover.

The conflict created the largest displacement crisis in Africa with over 4.3 million people forced to flee their homes; 1.8 million people are internally displaced and there are 2.3 million refugees in the region.

Elysia Buchanan, South Sudan policy lead, Oxfam said: “Since the signing of the revitalized peace deal, armed clashes between parties have reduced, bringing tentative hope to many. But because of the slow implementation of the deal, many women told us they are still not sure if lasting peace is at hand.”

The civil war also fueled the rise of sexual violence, including rape as a weapon of war, and the abduction of women and girls who were forced into sexual slavery.

With the sheer scale of the crisis, and endemic levels of sexual and gender-based violence, a South Sudanese woman activist quoted in the report warned humanitarian agencies against rushing to support people to return home. “This would be like throwing people from one frying pan to another. Humanitarian actors should take things slow, until refugees and internally displaced people can move themselves.”

Due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis, people returning from neighboring countries often find themselves in more difficult conditions than when they were displaced, including struggling to find somewhere to live.

Connolly Butterfield, Protection and Gender Specialist of NRC, said: “Time and again, women spoke to us of the challenges they face in returning to their homes. They make the journey back, only to find that their houses and properties were completely destroyed, or had already been occupied by strangers, sometimes soldiers. Some of the women said that if they try to reclaim their properties, they have no means of support. They are more likely to be threatened or exposed to physical or sexual assault.”

Because the context still poses risks, all actors should take a long-term, community-driven vision around supporting the conditions required to deliver a lasting end to the displacement crisis, to mitigate the risk of people falling into an endless cycle of movement. It is estimated some 60 percent of displaced South Sudanese have been displaced more than once, and one in 10 have been displaced more than five times.

Buchanan said: “Helping people return to their homes and rebuild their lives is our goal. But by ignoring or downplaying the issues that make returning dangerous, or not ensuring people have adequate information on what they are coming home to, humanitarian agencies could inadvertently endanger people or make their lives worse.

The international community must only support the return of internally displaced people if conditions are safe and dignified, and the decision to return is informed and voluntary. The humanitarian response must be sensitive to the needs of women and girls, taking into consideration the country’s harmful gender norms.

Martha Nyakueka, Gender and Protection Coordinatior of the national NGO Nile Hope, said: “After years of conflict, it will take time for the country to recover. The warring parties who signed the peace deal must ensure that the agreement leads to lasting changes on the ground, not just in terms of security, but also in terms of improving the lives of the South Sudanese people.”

Link to web article.

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Sudan declares ‘permanent ceasefire’ as peace talks hit snag!

AFP Thursday, 17 October 2019

Sudan announced Wednesday a “permanent ceasefire” in the country’s war zones even as a key rebel group threatened to pull out of peace talks, accusing government forces of bombing its territory.

Juba has been hosting talks between new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s government and delegates from two umbrella groups of rebels who fought now-ousted president Omar al-Bashir’s forces in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan states.

The talks were launched on Monday, but the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) told journalists it would pull out unless the government withdrew from an area in the Nuba mountains.

The group said that for the past 10 days government forces had kept up attacks on its territory despite an unofficial ceasefire.

Late on Wednesday, the chief of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, announced a permanent ceasefire in the three conflict zones.

“General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has announced a permanent ceasefire to show that the government is committed to peace,” the sovereign council said in a statement.

“The ceasefire is valid from the signing of this declaration.”

An unofficial ceasefire had been in place since Bashir was ousted by the army in April in a palace coup following nationwide protests against his decades-old rule.

A joint civilian-military sovereign council is now ruling Sudan and is tasked with overseeing the country’s transition to civilian rule as demanded by protesters.

A new transitional government is in place to carry out the daily affairs of the country and has been leading the peace talks in South Sudan’s capital with the rebel groups.

Bloodshed in the three states has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions displaced, in turn severely impacting the northeast African country’s economy. Last Update: Thursday, 17 October 2019 KSA 04:19 – GMT 01:19

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/10/17/Sudan-declares-permanent-ceasefire-as-peace-talks-hit-snag.html

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Faltering peace deal risks return to violence: report

JUBA – 4 Oct 2019

A UN Protection of Civilians Site (POC) in Malakal. Photo credit: IOM/Bannon 2015

Failure to address critical issues in the revitalised peace deal could restart the devastating violence of recent years and displace even more people, a new report has warned.

The report by Refugees International “No Confidence: Displaced South Sudanese Await ‘Real Peace “ says failure to address critical issues, including relocation and disarmament of soldiers and disenfranchisement of ethnic minorities, could restart the devastating violence of recent years and displace even more people.

The new report on South Sudan by Senior Advocate for Human Rights Daniel Sullivan  stated that a year after South Sudan signed a peace agreement to end the country’s devastating civil war, a staggering one-third of its population is still displaced.

Few feel safe enough to return home, and the situation remains dire, according to the report released on Thursday.

It calls on the government and opposition leaders of South Sudan to implement the peace agreement, pointing out that little of it has been fulfilled even while a November 12 deadline to form a transitional government looms.

The report urges the government and opposition groups to prioritize the cantonment of soldiers, integration of armed forces to reflect ethnic diversity, and settlement of state boundaries to avoid disenfranchisement of ethnic minorities

It also calls on the parties to the peace agreement reach a political agreement on former Vice President Riek Machar’s permanent return to Juba.

The organization advised the international community to pursue a robust, coordinated, diplomatic effort to engage South Sudan’s leaders toward the creation of a transitional government by November 12, and further implementation of the peace agreement.

It also called for further analysis by UN and NGO actors on the issues of population movements, intentions, and barriers to returns to better plan for returns and avoid manipulation of those returns for political purposes.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan on Wednesday said a transitional unity government should be formed by 12 November as originally planned, pointing out that there should be no more extensions.

The 2018 peace deal brokered by the East African bloc IGAD reinstates opposition leader Riek Machar as first vice-president, one of five vice-presidents.

Last year, a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimated that at least 382,900 South Sudanese died as a result of the country’s civil war.

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/faltering-peace-deal-risks-return-to-violence-report

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Pastor released in Aweil after 6 months in jail without trial.

AWEIL – 15 Jul 2019

A Christian leader was released last week in Aweil State after six months of imprisonment without trial.

South Sudan’s transitional constitution requires detainees to be produced before a court within 24 hours.

Rev. Malong Baak Malong of Jenina Christians’ Tabernacle (JTC) was arrested on 4 January after his church members opposed a government decision to demolish the church buildings in Aweil town over a land row.

During independence celebrations on 9 July, Aweil state governor Tong Akeen Ngor announced the release of the detained pastor as part of activities marking the country’s 8th independence anniversary.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Sunday, the director for criminal investigation department, David Dut said the pastor had been released after several months in jail.

On his part, Pastor Malong Baak applauded Aweil state governor for ordering his release from prison.

“I am now free after my release from prison on 11 July. I thank the governor and I call upon all South Sudanese to embrace forgiveness,” said Malong. The religious leader has called on authorities to guarantee freedom of worship across the country.

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/pastor-released-in-aweil-after-6-months-in-jail-without-trial

Credit: Google maps of South Sudan
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Kenya-South Sudan highway to be completed in 2020: official

July 4, 2019 (NAIROBI) – Chinese contractors working on the Kenya-South Sudan highway will complete project by 2020, an official said.

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The principal secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, Julius Korir told Xinhua that three Chinese contractors won the tender to upgrade about 248 km of road to bitumen standards on the road section linking South Sudan.

“So far the project is about 30 percent complete and we expect the road to be commissioned in 2020,” he said Monday.

Korir said Kenya is prioritizing the highway, which is part of the East African Community road network so as to boost intra-regional trade.

He said the poor quality of the existing roads has negatively impacted on trade between Kenyan and Africa’s youngest nation.

“Kenyan traders are forced to travel through Uganda in order reach South Sudan, a process that could take up to three days. With the new road, travel time will be cut by at least two days,” stressed Korir.

South Sudan is a strategic partner of Kenya in many areas. The two countries have cultural similarities as many South Sudanese lived in Kenya during the war before independence.

(ST ) http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article67726

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African Development Bank approves $24.7m for Water and Sanitation Development in South Sudan!

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank on June 20, 2019, approved a proposal to commit $24.7 million to finance the South Sudan Strategic Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project.

26June - PR3

Image: Implementation will commence during the 2019/2020 financial year. Photo: Courtesy of African Development Bank Group.

The Strategic Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project will support the rehabilitation of approximately 50km of the Juba town distribution network and related works, including metering and public water collections outlets. The project will also cover feasibility and

engineering design for two other towns under the jurisdiction of South Sudan Urban Water Corporation. The project will additionally cover the development of solar powered water distributions systems and sanitation and hygiene promotion in high-density rural communities surrounding Juba, as well as capacity development in the relevant water institutions.

Implementation will commence during the 2019/2020 financial year, with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and the South Sudan Urban Water Corporation serving as the executing and implementing agencies, respectively.

South Sudan’s capital city of Juba, like many urban centers in the country, suffers from the effects of years of armed conflict and under-investment in the development and maintenance of basic water infrastructure.  Increased numbers of displaced people and rapid urbanization have placed considerable strain on existing urban water supply infrastructure and the illegal supply of untreated water drawn from river Nile by private water tanker operators is common in the city and its suburbs.

On completion, the project will directly benefit 300,000 people in Juba and the surrounding rural Jubek state. The nearly $2 million grant will ensure that schools and communities in eight targeted rural areas of Jubek state, will benefit from 40 public/institutional latrines blocks to be constructed, as well as hygiene education.

“The incorporation of a rural water and sanitation component in areas that are relatively safe to reach indicates that the project opens a pathway for more support for rural WaSH going forward,” said Osward Chanda, Manager for the Water Security and Sanitation Division at the Department of Water Development and Sanitation.

“By helping to improve the quality and delivery of urban water supply services in Juba city and strengthening rural water supply and sanitation services, the project will greatly assist its target population,” said Bank Country Manager for South Sudan, Benedict Kanu. He added that it will help in combatting diseases, reducing health costs, improving quality of life, as well as helping women save time and increased convenience due to closer water supply outlets.

Since 2012, the Bank has contributed more than $136.79 million in development aid across various sectors in South Sudan. Bank support has focused on capacity building, infrastructure development, and creating conditions for promoting peace, stability and state building, among the Bank’s strategic priorities.

The project aligns with South Sudan’s National Development Strategy (2018-21) and the orientation of the Bank’s 2012-18 Country Strategy Paper, which was extended in May 2019 to 2021.  Both strategies emphasize nation building through capacity building and infrastructure development.

https://kmaupdates.com/afdbank-approves-usd-24-7-million-for-water-and-sanitation-development-in-south-sudan/

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South Sudan Refugees in Uganda Hope to Return Home.

By Halima Athumani June 11, 2019 01:47 PM

ADJUMANI, UGANDA – Uganda hosts Africa’s largest refugee population – one and a quarter million people, with two-thirds having fled conflict in South Sudan. Last year’s peace deal raised hopes for some South Sudanese that they could soon return home.  But the fragile peace has discouraged many from leaving Uganda’s refugee camps, despite struggles for adequate aid.

James Gwemawer joined other South Sudanese elders for a board game at the Maaji Refugee Camp in Uganda.
 
It’s been six years since he arrived here after losing his cattle during fighting in South Sudan.
 
His family scattered to different refugee camps in Uganda, and he’s still wondering when they can all go home.
 
“I need to first witness peaceful resettlement of my people back home, with no war or tribal conflict, before I can return.  But now, I can’t think of going back. Things are still bad, I can’t leave.”
 
Sixty-three-year-old Madelena Moria hopes to return to South Sudan – one way or another.
 
“My husband died and was buried in South Sudan.  My other children are buried there.  When I die, I want to be buried beside them.”   
 
There are more than 800,000 South Sudanese refugees in camps just inside Uganda, more than four times the number in 2016.
 
Musa Ecweru, Uganda’s state minister for refugees, says Uganda’s ability to help is being challenged.    
 
“We’d never known that at any given time we would host over 1 million people.  We had always oscillated between 200,000 and 300,000. That was what we knew, even at the peak of displacements from DR Congo, from Rwanda and from Burundi.  But when South Sudan collapsed, then we received refugees surpassing millions and that overwhelmed our system,” Ecweru said.
 
In May, Uganda and the United Nations refugee agency appealed for $927 million in funding to address refugee needs until 2020.
 
The appeal is complicated by the alleged misuse of aid and the exaggeration of refugee numbers, which prompted the dismissal of four Ugandan officials and launched several investigations.
 
Joel Boutroue of the U.N. refugee agency also says donors no longer see the situation as an emergency.
 
“We are falling short of what is really required in terms of access to basic services – such as education.  Water is slightly better covered health slightly better covered.  But, education needs, for environment energy, protection, we are falling short of really what refugees deserve and need,” Boutroue said.

For the time being, South Sudanese refugees in Uganda will get by on basic services and wait for the day when it is safe to return home

.https://www.voanews.com/africa/south-sudan-refugees-uganda-hope-return-home

A refugee from South Sudan transports food she received from the World Food Program (WFP) in Palorinya settlement camp for distribution, in Moyo district northern Uganda, Oct. 26, 2017.
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South Sudan worries neighbour’s troubles could threaten oil exports 19 May

South Sudan’s energy minister, Ezekiel Gatkuoth, attends the reopening of the first session of the transitional national legislature at parliament in Juba, South Sudan, May 14 2019. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREEA CAMPEANU

19 May 2019, 21:20  Paul Burkhardt

South Sudan, recovering from a civil war in which 400,000 people died and a quarter of the population was displaced, is concerned that an uprising in neighbouring Sudan could threaten its oil exports, choking off its economic lifeline.

Two pipelines deliver about 175,000 barrels of oil a day to a port in Sudan, the country from which South Sudan seceded in 2011 after a lengthy conflict, according to the nation’s oil minister Ezekiel Gatkuoth. While Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was ousted after popular protests, the military, which is running the country, is at loggerheads with the opposition over who should rule.

“What is happening in Sudan now is concerning me,’’ Gatkuoth said in an interview in Bloomberg’s office in Johannesburg. South Sudan’s president has sent him to meet with officials “to make sure that the port where we are having our oil transported to the international market is secured”, he said.

Transport of drilling chemicals used for production could also potentially be interrupted.

The smooth flow of oil to Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, is key for the economies of both countries. South Sudan depends on oil for most of its foreign exchange and Sudan benefits from transport fees, which compensate it for losing 75% of its oil production when South Sudan seceded.

South Sudan pays its neighbour a commercial fee of $9 a barrel along with a so-called transitional financial arrangement of $15 per barrel, Gatkuoth said. The need to pay the latter fee will end in December, he said.

South Sudan has a production goal of 200,000 barrels a day by the end of 2019, a 14% increase on its current output, said Gatkuoth. The nation could potentially produce 350,000 barrels a day in 2020, returning to levels it hasn’t seen since its own civil war started.

South Sudan has agreed to participate in the Opec+ cuts deal, but Gatkuoth said it hasn’t yet curbed production since it is pumping below its full potential. The minister was to attend a meeting of the group’s joint technical committee in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this weekend.

“We have to be sure we’re meeting the demand of the market instead of overflowing the market,” he said. “So we want to make sure we maintain the cut.”

The nation will consider applying to be a fully fledged member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) once it reaches its output potential, the minister said.

Bloomberg.

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/world/africa/2019-05-19-south-sudan-worries-neighbours-troubles-could-threaten-oil-exports/

 

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South Sudan’s Salva Kiir warns against revolt !

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (right) waves after attending a session at parliament in Juba, May 14 2019. Picture: CHOLMAY AKUOT / AFP

May 16, 2019. Juba — South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir said on Wednesday that any attempt to forcibly seize power in the country would be met with “violent resistance”, as calls for his ouster spread on social media.

In the past two weeks, a new group calling itself the Red Card Movement, has been circulating calls online for a protest on Thursday with the hashtags #KiirMustGo and #SouthSudanUprising, with organisers appearing to be based mostly in the diaspora.

The movement appears to be inspired by street protests in neighbouring Sudan which led to the toppling of veteran president Omar al-Bashir.

“Violent attempts to usurp power from the people would be met with violent resistance and the cycle of violence cannot end,” Kiir told a press briefing. “The way to stability in South Sudan is through democracy and democratic elections, and this is what we fought for and we will not compromise it.”

Since last week security on the streets of Juba has been beefed up. However, officials have said this was unrelated to the planned protests, but was in preparation for a public holiday on Thursday celebrating those who took up arms in the fight for independence from Sudan, achieved in 2011.

Army spokesperson Major-General Lul Ruai Koang said that the celebrations had been postponed by a week for “final touches” to preparations.

“The security deployment and all sorts of security arrangements [are] to provide maximum security and safety for the people during the celebrations,” he added.

Independent radio station Eye Radio reported on Wednesday that some Juba residents had woken up to security officers going house to house searching for guns.

South Sudanese activist Keluel Agok, now living in Kampala, Uganda, is among those calling for the protests. “If you want to end the impunity please come out on 16th May 2019 to restore liberty, justice and unity in South Sudan,” he wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

South Sudan plunged into civil war in 2013 after Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup against him.

The war has left 380,000 people dead and forced more than 4-million South Sudanese — almost a third of the population — to flee their homes.

A peace deal signed in September 2018 has largely stopped fighting, but implementation has run aground and the planned formation of a unity government on May 12 was postponed for six months.

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/world/africa/2019-05-15-south-sudans-salva-kiir-warns-against-revolt/

 

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