Danish minister pledges humanitarian assistance to S. Sudan

September 2, 2013 (JUBA) – The Danish Minister of Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs has pledged to continue providing humanitarian aid to South Sudan as millions struggle to survive because of a lack of food, water, healthcare and basic shelter.

JPEG - 75.3 kb
People in conflict-affected areas of South Sudan collect food from WFP (WFP/eter Testuzza Photo)

Tørnæs was in war-torn South Sudan where he met the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer.

Shearer briefed the Danish minister on the political, security and the humanitarian situation in the war-torn East African country.

The two officials reportedly discussed the challenges of protecting civilians and building durable peace in a country where millions of people have fled their homes because of the civil war that erupted in 2013 following a political dispute within South Sudan’s ruling party.

“We are very worried about the humanitarian situation with two million refugees in the neighbouring countries and two million internally displaced people as well as learning about the humanitarian workers having difficulty in access and doing their work,” said the Danish minister.

“We are contributing right now, about $30 million US dollars to the humanitarian assistance and I look forward to continue very strong Danish support to the humanitarian situation in South Sudan,” she added.

The Danish official also held meetings with the South Sudanese minister of foreign affairs and his humanitarian affairs counterpart, with discussions reportedly focused on implementation of the August 2015 peace agreement.

“I really urge the politicians of South Sudan to make sure that peace will come. Peace and security are necessary to create prosperity so that the streets of Malakal can once again boom with life and business,” stressed Tørnæs.

Over the last three years, the Danish government has reportedly provided US$12 million in development assistance to South Sudan.

(ST)

Link to web article.

Yet another Russian ambassador turns up dead, this time in a swimming pool

Mirgayas Shirinskiy (photo) is the fourth senior Russian diplomat to “unexpectedly” die this year under.

From Reuters:

Russia’s ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinskiy, was found dead in the swimming pool at his home in Khartoum on Wednesday, the Sudanese police said.

The ambassador, who was known to have suffered from high blood pressure, is believed to have died of natural causes, a spokesman for the police told Reuters.

Sudan’s foreign ministry expressed its condolences to Russia in a statement, hailing Shirinskiy’s diplomatic efforts.

Russia ambassador to Sudan found dead in swimming pool. 4th senior Russian diplomat this year, after UN, India ambassadors, diplo in Greece

Link to web article.

The U.S. Military Is Cozying Up to Sudan, of All Countries

A genocidal regime is America’s newest possible ally

The U.S. Military Is Cozying Up to Sudan, of All Countries

WIB POLITICS August 22, 2017 

The United States seems to be working toward courting an unexpected ally in its operations in Africa. On Aug. 9, 2017, Alexander Laskaris — an American diplomat that works for the U.S. military’s Germany-based Africa Command — visited Sudan for a series of meetings with military and diplomatic officials.

The visit comes amid a gradual move toward warmer relations. In March 2016, the Sudanese government reopened the military attache’s office in its U.S. embassy after a 28-year gap. Around the same time, Washington named a military attache for its own embassy Khartoum. And in April 2017, a delegation of Sudanese military officials met with AFRICOM in Stuttgart.

Washington and Khartoum aren’t natural allies. The Sudanese government has a long history of shady arms deals, genocide and harboring terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden and Carlos the Jackal.

It was from Sudan that Bin Laden plotted the 1993 World Trade Center attack. In the aftermath, the U.S. State Department marked Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism. It’s also possible that Bin Laden’s followers participated in the Sudanese civil war on the side of Pres. Omar Bashir.

In 1998, U.S. president Bill Clinton ordered missile strikes on a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan that the Clinton administration claimed was doubling as a chemical weapons factory producing VX nerve gas.

The strike has long been controversial. In 1999, The New York Timesreported that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and a senior deputy “encouraged State Department analysts to kill a report being drafted that said the bombing was not justified.”

Not long after Khartoum entered into a peace agreement with South Sudanese separatists, a rebellion began in the mostly black Western Darfur region. Bashir responded with a bloody air war and began arming ethnic Arab militias known as the Janjaweed. The resulting violence — which the U.S. government recognizes as genocide — has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced millions.

Above — a Chadian Hind gunship that crashed on the Chad-Darfur border in 2008. David Axe photo

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes in Darfur, though it ended its investigation of crimes in 2015. Nevertheless, the ICC condemned South Africa for failing to arrest Bashir during a visit this summer.

As recently as 2016, Sudanese forces allegedly deployed chemical weapons in Darfur. Less publicized is the bloody fighting in eastern Sudan’s Nuba mountains, where the Sudanese military regularly bombs schools and where violence and starvation have caused countless deaths.

By some estimates, Bashir’s 2016 national budget earmarked as much 70 percent of the country’s total spending for the military. Among its main weapons-suppliers are China and Iran. Khartoum also has a reputation as a resale outlet of sorts, forwarding weapons to warlords and rebels across Africa. During the Ugandan civil war, Sudan was one of the main sources of arms for Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Liberation Army.

Despite a long relationship with Iran, Sudan has strengthened ties with Tehran’s sworn enemy Saudi Arabia. The Sudanese military joined the Saudi-coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen after the House of Saud’s traditional allies Egypt and Pakistan declined to answer the call. Khartoum sent planes and troops, many of whom had gotten their counterinsurgency experience razing villages in Darfur.

During Laskaris’s visit to Khartoum, he and Sudanese officials discussed terrorism and human trafficking. Many displaced Sudanese — particularly Darfuris — have paid human smugglers for passage into neighboring Libya to flee violence in their country, with with many hoping to flee to Western countries, Israel or to Egypt.

Sudan was one of the six countries on the Trump administration’s travel ban, which now bars refugees from Darfur and Juba. Nevertheless, U.S. and Sudanese officials seem eager to move forward on closer ties. Sudanese army chief of staff Emad Eddin Mustafa Adawi told Chinese reporters that American officials had invited Sudanese troops to attend Exercise Bright Star in Egypt.

Meanwhile few in the United States have questioned whether allying with a genocidal regime is the right thing to do.

Link to we article.

South Sudan refugees face long exile: UN’s Grandi

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi talks to journalists on August 15, 2017, as he visits the Al-Nimir camp in the Sudanese state of East Darfur for an on-the-ground assessment of the situation of South Sudanese refugees living in Sudan

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi talks to journalists on August 15, 2017, as he visits the Al-Nimir camp in the Sudanese state of East Darfur for an on-the-ground assessment of the situation of South Sudanese refugees living in Sudan

The UN’s refugee chief said Tuesday a long period of exile lies ahead for South Sudanese refugees fleeing the war that erupted in their country after it split from the north.

Tens of thousands of South Sudanese have been killed and millions displaced since the world’s youngest country fell into a civil war less than three years after it seceded in 2011.

Urging crowds of refugees at Al-Nimir camp in the Sudanese state of East Darfur to “be strong and hopeful”, Filippo Grandi said it was about time leaders of South Sudan ended a war that continues to rage on.

“I must confess that I think it may be a long-term exile” for the refugees who continue to flee from their country every day, Grandi told AFP as he toured the camp, where about 5,000 South Sudanese have taken refuge.

Given the bloodshed in South Sudan, he said, many refugees would “think twice” before returning to their homes.

Grandi said the refugees had to remain hopeful of returning to their country, but a lot depended on when South Sudan becomes stable.

“That hope depends on the action first and foremost of the leadership of South Sudan and of the opposition,” he said.

“They have to start behaving responsibly and thinking of their own people and not only of themselves.”

South Sudan’s civil war began in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup. Since then the war has spread across the country, sweeping up ethnic groups and local grievances.

Overall the refugee population from South Sudan has reached about two million, of whom more than 430,000 have taken refuge in Sudan, the United Nations says.

Grandi praised Khartoum for opening “human corridors” to deliver aid directly from Sudan to areas of South Sudan, and for hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees.

“Sudan has kept its doors open at a time when so many countries have closed their doors,” he said, addressing hundreds of refugees gathered to meet him in the sprawling camp of thatched huts and brick homes.

– ‘Respect the law’ –

Grandi said it was time to develop “new models” for aiding refugees, rather than just keeping them in camps.

“For how long can you support these camps?” he said as aid agencies face increasing financial struggles.

It would be better to support the local economy, he said, as that would “benefit the refugees also”.

While touring the camp, Grandi visited a newly built school as well as some refugee families in their huts, where women described how they fled the war at home.

“We will now return only when there is peace in our country,” one woman, who came to Al Nimir in May, told Grandi.

“Don’t lose hope,” Grandi told her, as behind him groups of refugees performed traditional dances to mark his visit.

Urging Khartoum to continue supporting the refugees, Grandi said the occupants of camps should also “respect the law” of the land.

Earlier this month a mob of South Sudanese refugees went on a rampage at the Al Waral camp in Sudan’s southern White Nile state after reports that a refugee youth had died in police custody.

The mob burned down the camp’s administrative buildings and looted warehouses, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said.

Khartoum now plans to split the Al Waral camp, which has more than 50,000 South Sudanese refugees, into three separate units.

“It worries me if the law is broken, and it worries me that this may open up a feeling of hostility to the refugees,” said Grandi when asked about the unrest.

Link to web article.

South Sudan Kiir urges opposition to prepare for elections

President Salva Kiir addresses delegates during the swearing-in ceremony of FVP Taban Deng Gai at the Presidential Palace in Juba, July 26, 2016. (Reuters/Jok Solomun)
August 14, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan president Monday urged the hold out armed and political opposition groups to stop the fighting and to prepare themselves to take part in the general elections after the end of the transitional period.

President Kiir made the comments during a meeting with Koma and Gajaak communities at the presidential palace on Monday during which he called on the traditional leaders of the two communities to unite and move forward together in order to overcome the challenging security situation in the country.

“There is nothing you will gain in splitting Maiwut or moving away from Maiwut and go to another area. You have to understand that your union has a lot of strength than division,” said President Kiir.

He further asked the communities to reconcile and embark on peaceful sensitization campaign to bring people together in the area.

Kiir took the opportunity to call the whole South Sudanese to embrace peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and unity, stressing that because of these needs he launched the national dialogue process which should allow them to chart together their future.

“We are now calling on the people who are still advocating for war to denounce violence, stop fighting and come back to participate in the dialogue process so that people go for elections after the end of the transitional period. Elections will people give an opportunity to make their own choices,” further said Kiir.

Following a series of attacks and counterattacks, the government forces last week captured the SPLM-IO stronghold town of Pagak which is part of Maiut state.

The government plans to use t this victory to generate a new dynamic to discourage those who joined the rebellion or the opposition hold out groups to join the government-led dialogue process.

Meanwhile, the Maiwut state parliamentary speaker told Sudan Tribune on Monday that the meeting was fruitful, saying the Koma and Gajaak communities were brought together by the president.

“The community of Koma and Gajaak held a meeting with President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E General Salva Kiir Mayardit this morning in J1about the creation of Maiwut State.

He further announced that the Koma who were opposed to the new state have finally accepted to remain in Maiwut State and abandoned their demand to join the Northern Upper Nile State.

“The Koma community members who attended the meeting are directed to unite themselves and to nominate a candidate for Deputy Governor position,” said speaker Choul Dep Kiir.

The President Kiir, according to speaker, advised Gajaak not to mistreat Koma Community.

“The President directed Gajaak to share the State Government with Koma fairly. He told Koma that he will try his level best to take the development to Koma County,” the speaker said.

The population of Maiwut State, which consists of Maiwut, Longochuk and Koma counties, is composed of the Koma ethnic group and Gajaak who are a sub-clan of Jikany Nuer.

Following the establishment of Maiwut, the Koma split into two groups some of them said hostile to be part of a new administrative entity dominated by the Nuer who killed their tribesmen in other states when the conflict erupted in December 2013.

The Koma group headed by Hon. Ali Adlan, an MP in the National Transitional Legislative Assembly was opposed to the new state but it is accepted by a group headed by Hon. Col. Baryach Uluch who is the leader of Koma community.

(ST)

Link to web article.

UN investigating South Sudan killings

The United Nations is investigating reports of 25 people killed in South Sudan’s central Gok state in clashes between tribal factions.

Thousands of people have died in South Sudan during a four-year civil war pitting forces loyal to incumbent President Salva Kiir against his former deputy, Riek Machar.

A quarter of the country’s population of 12 million has been uprooted and displaced by violence largely along ethnic lines.

A UN official in Juba, who spoke on condition he should not be named, told Reuters they received reports on Saturday that 25 civilians were killed and 27 wounded in clashes between Waat and Ayiel, two ethnic groups that are part of South Sudan’s Dinka Gok tribe.

He did not say what triggered the clashes, but said they occurred in the state’s Cueibet county and they also received reports South Sudan’s military was deployed in the area to restore order.

“UNMISS is planning to conduct a patrol to Cueibet to assess the situation,” he said, referring to the UN mission in South Sudan.

Reuters attempted to contact the government spokesman, but he could not be reached.

Baipath Majuec Riel Puop, a legislator from Gok State told UN local radio, Miraya, the clashes began with the killing of a member of one of the two groups by another, which then set off retaliatory attacks.

He did not name the group that killed first but said violence was exacerbated by authorities’ failure to arrest the perpetrators.

“The role of the state is protect people and when something like that happens, they have to arrest,” he told the radio.

Link to web article.

Rwandan Soldiers Arrive in South Sudan Ahead of Thousands More Extra UN Troops

Rwandan peacekeepers from the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) check their armored personnel carriers (APC) before a parade in Juba, South Sudan, August 8, 2017.

About 120 Rwandan peacekeepers have arrived in South Sudan, United Nations said on Tuesday, the first detachment of 4,000 extra troops approved by the U.N. last year to help protect the capital of Africa’s newest country.

The U.N. approved the deployment in August after days of heavy fighting in Juba between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing former Vice President Riek Machar. There are already 13,000 U.N. peacekeepers in South Sudan.

South Sudan four-year civil war triggered by Kiir’s sacking of Machar as his deputy. The men come from rival ethnic groups and the fighting, which has uprooted a quarter of the country’s 12 million people, has been largely along tribal lines.

The U.N. Secretary General’s special representative in South Sudan, David Shearer, told a news conference that the recruits, who arrived this weekend, would join a battalion from Nepal and Bangladesh attached to the regional protection force (RPF).

The arrival of this contingent … marks the beginning of the phased deployment of the RPF,” Shearer said. More troops were also expected to be deployed from Ethiopia, he said.

The RPF is mandated to enforce peace in Juba and protect the capital’s sole international airport and other important facilities as well as stopping anyone “preparing attacks, or engages in attacks” against U.N. sites, aid workers or civilians and would confront South Sudanese government troops if needed.

“Having additional troops means we can carry out more tasks related to our mandate to protecting civilian and build a durable peace,” Shearer said.

Link to web article.

Dozens killed in South Sudan’s inter-communal fight

Link to web article here.

July 18, 2017 (KWAJOK) – A least 18 people were killed and more than 30 wounded in clashes involving the Apuk and Aguok communities of South Sudan’s Gogrial state, an official disclosed.

PNG - 24.9 kb
Map of South Sudan showing Warrap state in red

“Some of our people are now moving to the side of the former Western Bahr el Ghazal and Northern Bahr el Ghazal states for fear of their lives,” said the state information minister, Ariech Mayar Ariech.

Ariech, however, said tension remained high as some group of youth suspected to be from the Aguok community attacked the Apuk, burning down villages and forcing residents to flee their homes.

“We need the intervention of many troops to have the state special forces that are now at the places of the clashes,” he added.

Tonj state governor, Akech Tong Aleu and his Gogrial state counterpart, Gregory Deng Kuac have reportedly camped in Gogrial state as they try to persuade the youth to stop fighting.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Tuesday convened an emergency meeting of the national security committee, a day after a state of emergency was declared in parts of the country.

The meeting followed the communal clashes in four states. The state of emergency covered parts of Aweil East, Wau, Gogrial and Jonglei states.

(ST)

Hunger kills more than 40 people in S. Sudan’s Amadi state

Link to web article here.

More than 40 people have died as a result of hunger in Mvolo county of South Amadi State, authorities disclosed Tuesday.

PNG - 51.2 kb
The map of Western Equatoria in red

The state coordinator for Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, Wilson Moga attributed it to influx over 25,000 displaced persons into Mvolo county.

“In Mvolo, we have a serious hunger as a result of the dry spell and due to influx of IDPs [Internally Displaced Person] from some payams who were displaced due to conflict between cattle keepers and farmers in Mvolo county and because of the crisis in the country we have people who came from Yambio, Maridi, Mundri and other places who fled due to conflict in those area,” Moga told Sudan Tribune.

“Since 2015, we have a serious drought in Mvolo which resulted into poor harvest and people could not plant well as it used to be in the previous years. As per now people are surviving on wild fruits and very few people have vegetables that they are feeding on, but this is not enough for the entire population,” he added.

In response to the crisis, Moga said, the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) are assisting primary health care centers handling children suffering from malnutrition and other diseases within the county.

The official appealed to other partners to visit Mvolo and assess the conditions being faced by women and children in the county and offer the necessary assistance.

An estimated 1.1 million children in the country are acutely malnourished, according to UNICEF. In addition, children lack clean water, which has led to the ongoing outbreak of cholera – the longest and most widespread in the country’s history – with 10,000 cases reported, the majority children.

The civil war in South Sudan has raged on for the past three years with such viciousness that parts of the country are bereft of food and a third of the population fled their homes.

(ST)

Over 26 million people need food aid in East Africa: U.N

Link to web article here.

(KAMPALA) — The United Nations humanitarian agency (UNOCHA) said at least 26.5 million people in East Africa are in need of food assistance due to severe drought that is ravaging the region.

JPEG - 72.6 kb
Part of an 18-truck WFP convoy crossing into South Sudan from Sudan, carrying 700 metric tons of food, in Nov 2014 (WFP video screen capture)

OCHA, in its latest report, said the number of refugees who have sought protection in the Horn of Africa region has increased by 640,000 people to 4.4 million over the past six months or so.

The report, for instance, said more than 3 million people have been displaced in the East African region over the last eight months alone.

“This is driven by successive episodes of drought and failed harvests, conflict, insecurity and economic shocks affecting the most vulnerable. Humanitarian needs are expected to increase in the months ahead,” partly reads the report.

The East Africa region currently faces one of the biggest humanitarian crises in its history. Recent rainfall has been insufficient to compensate for the delayed start of the rainy season, which brought below average levels of precipitation in March and April.

In South Sudan, it said, a famine outbreak affecting 90,000 people in Unity State was declared in February. Conditions in South Sudan continue to deteriorate with 5.5 million people expected to be severely food insecure in July, figures from the world body indicate.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the probability of El-Nino occurring in the autumn is at 50 to 60 percent and is expected to affect Ethiopia, northern Kenya, Somalia, western Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and southwestern South Sudan.

“The Fall Armyworm has appeared in western Kenya, southwestern Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda and central and western Uganda. In Uganda, it affects 54 districts, attacking up to 40 percent of maize farms in some areas,” the UN said.

According to OCHA, acute malnutrition, especially among refugees and children under five, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers remains a major concern in many parts of South Sudan, Sudan (Darfur, Kordofan region, and Eastern Sudan), northern Kenya and Uganda’s Karamoja region.

Meanwhile, the report said 640,000 people have sought protection since the start of 2017, making a total of 4.4 million refugees and asylum seekers in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa region.

The majority of the newly displaced are from South Sudan and Burundi, with South Sudan being the fastest growing refugee crisis globally.

Almost 2 million people are internally displaced in South Sudan, and more than 1.9 million South Sudanese have fled the country as refugees and asylum seekers since December 2013.

(ST)