South Sudan rebel leader Machar back in Juba after two years

2018-10-31 11:30 AFP

Machar

South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar returned to the capital Juba for the first time in more than two years on Wednesday for a ceremony to welcome the latest peace accord for the war-ravaged country.

Machar, who under the terms of the September deal is to be reinstated as vice president, had not set foot in the city since he fled in July 2016 under a hail of gunfire when an earlier peace agreement collapsed.

The latest deal aims to end a civil war that erupted in the world’s youngest country in December 2013 and uprooted about four million people – roughly a third of the population.

The rebel chief was welcomed at Juba’s airport by President Salva Kiir, Machar’s former ally turned bitter enemy. The two rivals then joined regional leaders at the ceremony to publicly welcome the most recent agreement, signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) chief David Shearer hailed the moment of cooperation and said that building trust would be crucial, according to a statement.

“To see parties that have previously been divided by violence coming together here in Juba, in a public sign of unity, sends a strong message to the citizens of this country that you are genuinely committed to end the suffering and build durable peace,” he said.

 ‘Chance to restore hope’ 

Several thousand people gathered for the ceremony at the John Garang Mausoleum, built in honour of the independence hero who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2005.

Among regional leaders attending were Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Ethiopia’s newly appointed President Sahle-Work Zewde, Somalia’s head of state Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

South Sudan gained independence from its northern neighbour Sudan in 2011 after a 22-year civil war pitting rebel groups against Khartoum.

“Sadly, the hopes and dreams of that moment were lost in the outbreak of the war that has plagued this country for five long years,” Shearer said.

“This ceremony is a chance for the leaders here today to restore that hope and to secure a peaceful and prosperous future for their people.”

The deal has encountered delays on several issues including the reactivation of a joint committee on borders and the number of regionals states.

It was not immediately clear how long Machar would remain in Juba, as his aides have expressed concerns over his safety in the city.

Lam Paul Gabriel, a spokesperson for Machar’s SPLM-IO rebel group, had said on Tuesday that he would be accompanied by around 30 political figures.

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“Never in a million years I thought he’d get the death sentence”

Photo credit: AFP

Photo credit: AFP

The wife of former South African soldier, William Endley, who has been sentenced to death, has appealed to the South African government to extradite her husband.

The 55-year-old Endley was sentenced to hang by a South Sudanese court for his role in assisting rebels during the country’s civil war.

Judge Lado Sekwat found Endley guilty of espionage and conspiring to overthrow the government.

His wife, Sana Endley is pleading with South Africa’s international relations officers to bring back her husband “for our daughter”.

ALSO READ: Former SA soldier sentenced to death in South Sudan

In an interview with Jacaranda FM News, Sana says she is yet to break the news to her daughter: that her father might be hung.

Endley describes the verdict as a “mockery of justice”.

“He is a South African man and ex-retired colonel. I have not had any contact with the South African government today. My request would be is to do the best they can and at least clarify,” says an emotional Endley. “I just heard from a mutual friend in Juba that when the sentence was given the judge even declared that all evidence against William will be destroyed. Why will they do this?”

William has been in South Sudan for the past 18 months. He worked as an advisor to former vice president and now rebel leader Riek Machar on the integration of the rebel forces into the national army under the then peace deal.

The peace agreement collapsed in 2016 where he was arrested.

His sister, Charmine Quinn says the family has been left broken.

“We are very broken. We are emotionally very tired, financially we are under strain. It’s has been really tough.”

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Freedom for political detainees James Gatdet, William Endley

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir walks with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir as he arrives to the Juba international airport to attend a peace ceremony in Juba, South Sudan, on October 31, 2018. PHOTO | AKUOT CHOL | AFP

By JOSEPH ODUHA
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South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Wednesday declared the release of two political detainees who had been sentenced to death.

James Gatdet and a South African William Endley, who were sentenced by a Juba court in February, will be freed on Thursday.

ACCUSATIONS

President Kiir made the declaration during his speech at a peace ceremony in the capital.

“Today, I declare the release of two political prisoners James and Endley,” he said.

Mr Gatdet, a former spokesman of rebel leader Riek Machar was arrested in 2017, after his deportation from Nairobi, for allegedly engaging in subversive activities against the Juba administration.

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Mr Endley, a retired South African army colonel and for adviser of Mr Machar, was accused of providing him with military support.

William John Endley, a South African national and an adviser to South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar, stands inside the dock in the High Court in Juba, South Sudan February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Samir Bol

“I will release him tomorrow [Thursday] and deport him back to South Africa,” Mr Kiir said.

PEACE DEAL

Dr Riek Machar — who returned to Juba for the first time in more than two years to take part in the ceremony — reaffirmed his commitment to the implementation of the September 12 peace agreement.

“We come here today to confirm to you that we are for peace. We want peace and unity,” he told the crowd at Freedom Square.

“The peace agreement will bring you federal system of governance,” he added.

Notable among the special guests at the ceremony were Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Ethiopia’s newly sworn in President Sahle-Work Zewde, Somali’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

WAR

South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011 but plunged into a civil war in 2013 after President Kiir accused Machar — then the vice president— of plotting a coup against him.

The five-year civil war has killed an estimated 380,000 people and nearly two-and-a-half million others displaced.

A Mo Ibrahim Foundation report recently ranked South Sudan as the second worst governed state in Africa after Somalia.

Several peace accords have been signed but faltered immediately. They include the last one in 2016 that forced Mr Machar to flee into exile.

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Save the Children: 20,000 children risk starving to death in S. Sudan

A child in Juba waits for milk expected to help him recover from malnutrition|Credit|UNHCR
Save the children has warned that 20,000 children are at risk of dying from hunger-related conditions before the end of this year in the country.

Early this month, the National Bureau of Statistics and UN agencies released a report warning that parts of greater Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile, and Western Bahr El Ghazal states are expected to face acute food shortages early next year.

The report indicated that over six million people face Phase 3 food crises which are classified under the Integrated Food Security as the worst acute food insecurity.

In a statement seen by Eye Radio over the weekend, the agency said the children are among 270,000 who are severely malnourished and at risk of starvation in the four regions.

Safe the children said “the near-famine is a rapid and worrying increase compared to 2017, in which famine was only declared in one state.”

The agency attributes this to continuing conflict in the areas it said is limiting access by humanitarian organisations.

Besides, it added that “reduced aid funding makes it difficult to provide assistance to malnourished children.”

Authorities in the respective states are yet to comment on the report.

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Abyei residents welcome proposal to deploy more peacekeepers

Alhadi Hawari |  | 10:49 pm

South Sudan-Sudan border near Abyei – CNN Photo

Residents of Abyei area have staged a peaceful protest, supporting the UN Peacekeeping Operations’ proposal to deploy additional police units in the disputed region.

”Yes we have  organised the demonstrations to support the proposal of secretary general of United Nations that is presented to the United Nations security council…,” Kon Manyith, the deputy head of Abyei Administration Area told Eye Radio on Monday.

Last month, the UN top peacekeeping official said the unit would enhance the UN’s focus on maintaining law and order there, and furthering peace between local communities.

Thousands of Abyei Area residents took to the streets today to voice their support for the proposal.

….we believe that the proposal has really addressed big changes to take place within united mission in Abyei,”Mr. Kon said.

The area residents also urged the council to endorse the proposal they said will determine the final status of the region.

“We are urging all members of security council to vote for the proposal of secretary general as the proposal was the turning point for the resolutions of Abyei final status…,” Mr Kon added.

The Abyei Area was accorded a “special administrative status” by the 2004 Protocol on the Resolution of the Abyei Conflict, known as, the Abyei Protocol, in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Under the terms of the Abyei Protocol, the Abyei Area was declared, on an interim basis, to be simultaneously part of the states of South Khordufan and Northern Bahr el Ghazal and issues related to be determined by the Presidency, made up of President Salva Kiir and President Omar al Bashir.

The Ngok Dinka and Misseriya had unilaterally held referendums, but both governments of Sudan and South Sudan were mum about the popular votes.

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Gov’t approves 700 million SSP for peace celebrations

Obaj Shago |  | 11:07 pm

Thousands of Southern Sudanese wave the flag of their new country during a ceremony in the capital Juba on July 09, 2011 to celebrate South Sudan’s independence from Sudan. South Sudan separated from Sudan to become the world’s newest nation. AFP PHOTO/Roberto SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

The Presidential Press secretary has said the government has approved nearly 700 million Pounds for the celebration of the revitalized agreement.

The government and opposition parties signed the revitalized agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan last month.

Ateny told Eye Radio on Monday that the ministry of finance has already released the funds to the organizing committee.

“The ministry of finance has availed the fund for it, and so the celebration is realistic as I speak with you.”

According to Ateny Wek Ateny, the budget, which was approved by the council of ministers.

“Well the budget that was passed by the cabinet of the current government is closed to seven hundreds million pounds.”

It aims to facilitate the celebrations which will take place on the 30th this month.

The national celebration of the peace deal was initiated by President Salva Kiir, who signed the revitalized peace agreement on September 12 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

President Kiir invited leaders of the parties who inked the peace accord, including Dr. Riek Machar and Dr Lam Akol; and regional heads of state.

“The opposition are all invited, Sudan government will be guaranteeing for participation of the opposition led by Dr. Riek Machar and Dr. Lam Akol…”

Earlier, the government said it would extend an official invitation to the opposition leaders to attend the celebrations.

However, the parties are yet to confirm the invitation, but the opposition group had insisted that President Kiir lift the state of emergency and release all political detainees first for them to attend the peace celebrations.

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Reduction of hostilities remarkable-JMEC acting deputy Chief of staff

Rosemary Peter |  | 7:01 pm

The Deputy Chief of Staff for JMEC [Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission] said the peace monitoring body has observed a significant reduction in hostilities across the country since the signing of the revitalized agreement.

Dr. Thomson Fontain made the remarks on Eye Radio’s Dawn Show on Thursday, as he provided an evaluation of events – 30 days from the date of signing of the new peace accord.

The evaluation was based on the JMEC monthly report on the status of the implementation of the agreement over the past 30 days in accordance with the implementation matrix, outstanding or missed tasks, upcoming activities linked to implementation, key observations and recommendations.

In the evaluation, the report noted some progress in implementing certain pre-transitional tasks as well as outstanding or missed tasks.

Dr. Fontain said despite some key pre-transitional period tasks not being pursued within the specified time frame, fighting has reduced since the signing of the peace agreement.

 “I must say that we have seen a remarkable decline in the level of hostilities and violence across the country.”

“We will ultimately be in a situation where we see a country that is free of conflict but we are certainly moving in the right direction,” Dr Fontain expressed optimism.

 Among others, JMEC said progress has been made on dissemination of the outcome of the peace process, the composition of the national pre-transitional committee, and the ratification of the revitalized agreement by the parties.

The progress report further indicated that 75% of nominations to the implementation institutions have been received and the CTSAMM Board [Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism] was reconstituted on September 27 as per article 2.4.6 of the agreement.

The outstanding pre-transitional tasks expected to be implemented by IGAD over the last 30 days include the appointment of a Chairperson for the revitalized JMEC, reconstitution of the National Constitutional Amendment Committee, the establishment of the Independent Boundaries Commission and the Technical Boundaries Commission.

Outstanding tasks for the parties to implement include the immediate release of all prisoners of war and political detainees by all parties under ICRC supervision and the establishment of a fund for the implementation of the activities of the Pre-Transitional Period by TGoNU.

Other tasks are the completion of disengagement and separation of forces by the Parties, creating a roadmap for implementing the political tasks of the Pre-Transition Period and preparation of a budget by the body upon its convening.

Dr. Fontain said although several deadlines have been missed, he still sees a commitment from the parties to accelerate the implementation process.

“Yes deadlines have been missed but the fact that the committees are now beginning to get into gear, beginning to work is a very hopeful sign and we are hopeful that a lot more will be done in months ahead.”

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Tired of war, South Sudanese pray for latest peace deal

South Sudanese demonstrators hold signs requesting peace as they await the arrival of South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, at the airport in Juba, South Sudan, on June 22, 2018. (RNS/AP/Bullen Chol)

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN — During a recent Sunday service, Pastor Jok Chol led the congregation at his Pentecostal church to pray for a sustainable peace after President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed the latest peace agreement in neighboring Sudan.

The two leaders signed an agreement in mid-September, hoping to end years of conflict.

“I want to rebuke the spirits of confusion in our leaders,” Chol prayed, amid cheers of “Amen” from hundreds of worshippers. “We thank God and pray that he touches the hearts of our leaders so that they can embrace the new peace agreement.”

During his sermon, Chol urged his congregants to have faith and hope and continue to pray for a sustainable peace. He said they should refuse to be divided by political leaders along ethnic lines.

“We are all children of God,” said Chol, 55, a father of three. “We should treat each other with the love of Jesus Christ. Please don’t do anything wrong because your leader has told you. Follow what the Bible says and you will be blessed.”

Chol and his congregants are among thousands of Southern Sudanese gathering in churches and various mosques across major cities and refugee camps to pray for their country, which has been embroiled in civil war since 2013.

South Sudan erupted into civil war after a power struggle ensued between Kiir and Machar. The conflict spread along ethnic lines, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing millions of others internally and outside the border. The economy has collapsed as a result of the ongoing war. Half of the remaining population of 12 million faces food shortages.

The latest treaty is the second attempt for this young nation to find peace. South Sudan became officially independent from Sudan in 2011. In 2013, civil war broke out after Kiir fired Machar as his deputy, leading to clashes between supporters of the two leaders.

A previous peace deal in 2016 tried to bring warring sides together so they could find a permanent solution. But fighting broke out in the capital city of Juba a few months later when Machar had returned from exile to become Kiir’s vice president as outlined in the peace agreement.

Under the new power-sharing arrangement Machar will once again be Kiir’s vice president.

Religious leaders such as Chol are optimistic that the latest peace agreement will hold up. They believe it is an answered prayer for thousands of faithful.

“I have hope in the new peace agreement,” said Bishop Emmanuel Murye of Episcopal Church in South Sudan. “We have been praying for peace to return to the country and we are happy that our leaders are committed to bring peace.”

Murye has been holding evangelistic meetings in refugee camps in Uganda, where more than 1 million South Sudanese have taken refuge. He said people in the camps have been praying for leaders to embrace the new deal.

“People want to come back home,” he said. “They are tired of staying in the camp. Life in the camp is not easy because there is no food to eat and children are not going to school. They have been praying for peace and they believe this is an answered prayer.”

But others still doubt the new peace deal.

Fighting broke out in the country, killing 18 civilians, two days after the warring sides signed the latest agreement to end the civil war. Kiir and Machar supporters blamed each other for the attacks.

Religion has played a major role in South Sudan’s conflicts.

According to a recent report by Pew Research Center, Christians make up about 60 percent of the population of South Sudan, followed by 33 percent who are followers of African traditional religions. Six percent are Muslim.

Link to web article.

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Sudans Prayer Guide. Week 33. The role of Bibles & Peace

This is part 1 of a two part series on the role of Bibles & Peace in the Sudans. The Sudans Prayer Guide is usually sent out on a weekly basis as an email to encourage prayer partners to continually lift the Sudans to God’s Throne of Grace.

Partnering on Bibles for the Sudans 

One of the key projects that the SSNet [Sudans Support Network] is involved with, is to bless the people of the Sudans through the printing and distribution of Bibles. We partner with Bibles for Africa to have Bibles for these purposes. During the past few months, 100,000 Bibles was printed in South Africa and delivered at various places like Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, as well as several places in South Sudan.

Blessed through the Living Word of God.

The Bible binder are almost in production, ready to bind, the Word of GodA new Bible Binder was bought for Bibles for Africa to increase capacity of the printing of Bibles. This include Bibles for Sudan, South Sudan and Refugee camps.

Two key representatives from SSNet and Bibles for Africa is set to travel to the Middle East next month to consult with Sudanese from various churches and ministries on how to print and distribute Bibles for Sudan and to the Sudanese.

Praise & prayer

  1. Praise God for the amazing way He provided to get His Living Word, the Bible, printed and distributed through strategic partners. Praise God for the extent to which Bibles can now be printed and distributed. Praise God for all of the ongoing partnering relationships that is necessary for the printing and distribution of the Bibles.
  2. Praise God for His provision, not only for the 100,000 Bibles that were printed and distributed, but also HUGE provision for the Bible Binder. God’s provision for and in all of this is just awe-inspiring!
  3. Praise God for the envisioned trip to the Middle East next month. Pray for full provision and protection for the gathering, for everybody coming together. Pray for CLEAR DIRECTION from God as to WHAT and HOW to print Bibles in Sudan and for other strategic matters.

Should you wish to donate or encourage others to donate to the Bibles for Sudans printing and distribution projects of the SSNet and partners, here is the link.

Blessings

Hester de Klerk

On behalf of the prayer mobilization team.

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S4J – love of running for a greater cause

The S4J (Sudan4Jesus) has just released a short video to share the story of how elite runner, Renier Grobler combines his love for Jesus and running for a greater cause. Renier is part of the S4J team of athletes and buddies to raise funds to help the people of Sudan and South Sudan.

Renier in top gear at the Comrades Marathon. He is part of the S4J team that runs for a greater cause.

Renier is an elite athlete. In the past four years he achieved two top 20 positions in the Comrades Marathon and two top 10 positions in the Om die Dam 50 km marathon.

To WATCH the S4J video, click on this link.

To view the various projects the S4J is involved with, click on this link.

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