Flour shortage shuts many Khartoum bakeries

September 19 – 2017 KHARTOUM / MEROWE

A miller selects the grain to obtain flour with his automatic mill in Al Moashi market in El Fasher, North Darfur (Albert González Farran/UNAMID)

In Khartoum almost a quarter of all bakeries are reported to have stopped work because of the lack of flour. Residents in Merowe locality in Sudan’s Northern State have had to endure an interruption in the water supply since the start of this month.

In Khartoum, Abdelgader Mohamed Ahmed, the head of the statistical office announced that 666 out of the 2,800 bakeries in the country have stopped due to lack of flour; 23 per cent of all bakeries in the capital city.

This was contradicted when the director-general of the Ministry of Finance, Adel Abdelaziz El Faki, announced this week that no bakeries in the state have stopped working because of a lack of flour.

Last week, a resident in Khartoum told Radio Dabanga of overcrowding in front of bakeries in a number of districts of the capital city. “People have described the current crisis as a prelude to increase the price of bread.” Sudanese economic expert Dr Siddig Kabello also predicted the government might resort to changing the general bread price or portions.

Expensive medicines

The National Fund for Medical Supplies acknowledged a scarcity of a number of medicines and rise in the prices at health facilities and private pharmacies.

The price has risen by more than 130 per cent since the Sudanese government announced an increase in the price for medicines, according to a pharmacist who spoke to Radio Dabanga yesterday. “The government is unable to provide hard currency for the import of medicines. This has led to a large number of people not being able to buy their medicines before the price increase,” the pharmacist said.

The price of insulin, for example, rose from SDG85 to SDG100 ($12.65-$14.90). Asthma spray has risen by more than 20 per cent. In addition, intravenous solutions and respirators have been scarce.

Water shortage

People in Karima in northern Merowe informed Radio Dabanga that a price of a barrel of water amounted to SDG25 ($3.70) because of the shortage of water. A resident said that the water network of the city has been disrupted for 19 days.

“We have informed the localityby there has been no reaction. People have to fetch water from the Nile, which is a long way away.”

Earlier this month farmers complained about the problems with irrigation, which they attributed to a lack of adequate supervision.

Link to web article.

USA ends temporary protected status for Sudanese, extends for South Sudanese

Acting Homeland Security Secretary, Elaine Duke (left) and President Donald Trump (AP)

September 19 – 2017 WASHINGTON

Acting Homeland Security Secretary, Elaine Duke (left) and President Donald Trump (AP)The United States is ending the temporary protected status for citizens of Sudan as of 2018, although Sudanese nationals currently in the country with this status can stay for one more year. After that, they will become illegal residents in the country.

The Department of Homeland Security extended the temporary protected status for citizens of South Sudan until mid-2019, it said in a statement on Monday. Temporary protected status allows nationals of certain countries, often facing armed conflict or major natural disasters, who are already in the United States to temporarily remain and work there because they cannot return safely.

Both Sudan and South Sudan’s designations were due to expire on 2 November. Sudanese nationals are allowed to stay legally for another year, but then must leave. Homeland Security (DHS) urged them in a statement to use their remaining time to “prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States” or apply for other visa types allowing them to stay.

But acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke decided to extend South Sudan’s temporary protected status until 2 May 2 2019. DHS said “because the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions” that prompted the 2016 decision to grant the status to South Sudanese have persisted.

South Sudan dissolved in civil war less than two years after it gained independence from Sudan. 3.5 million people have fled their homes, and tens of thousands have reportedly died in the armed conflict that sparked between President Salva Kiir’s armed supporters and those of his former deputy Riek Machar.

El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Syria and Yemen are the other countries whose nationals can qualify for temporary protected status in the United States. Since November 1997 Sudan has been designated for the temporary protected status for Sudanese nationals already present in the US and those who apply for the benefit to reside and work lawfully.

Travel ban

In March, President Donald Trump included Sudan in a new travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. He said that Sudan still harbours elements linked to terrorist groups. The Sudanese government has expressed its “deep regret and discontent” over Trump’s revised travel ban that has barred its citizens from entering the US.

The revised decision bans refugee admissions and new visas for citizens of the countries: it suspends refugee admissions for 120 days and halts new visas for travellers.

(Source: Reuters)

Link to web article.

South Darfur displaced refuse to receive Sudan’s president

Al Bashir in an earlier mass rally in South Darfur (Ashraf ShazlyAFP)

September 18 – 2017 GIREIDA / KALMA

The displaced in Gireida in South Darfur have voiced their rejection of the expected visit of President Omar Al Bashir to one of the camps this week.

On Saturday, a community leader told Radio Dabanga that the Gireida branch of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association have decided not to accept Al Bashir’s planned visit to the camps.

President Omar Al Bashir will visit Darfur this week. According to the Information Minister of West Darfur, he will officially open the new roadbetween the state capital of El Geneina and Adri in Chad on Tuesday. He will also open 25 health centres, new buildings of the Central Bank branch in El Geneina, the Sultan Bahreldin Museum, and the El Geneina Football Stadium.

The president plans to visit Kalma camp and the Gireida camps in South Darfur on Thursday.

“We all know that Al Bashir only wants to show the world that even his victims are welcoming him.”

“Al Bashir is the person who has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Darfuri people, and caused us to flee our villages to search for protection in the camps,” the Gireida camp leader said.

“We all know that Al Bashir aims to mislead the local and international public opinion with his visits to Darfur. He only wants to show the world that even his victims are welcoming him.”

The source predicted that the Commissioner of Gireida locality will pressure the camp leaders to receive the president.

“He will threaten the camp sheikhs, and force some of them to go out to receive Al Bashir on the day of his visit. A number of displace will be forced to waive banners containing slogans that glorify the president. This is the way it always goes with official visits.”

Provocative’

The Darfur Displaced General Coordination in Kalma camp issued a statement on Sunday, in which it renewed its members “unanimous rejection of Al Bashir’s visit”.

They described the planned visit as “provocative to the families of the victims of Al Bashir and his regime”, and called on Al Bashir to step down instead, and pay a visit to the International Criminal court in the Hague.

They further urged “the international community and its various institutions to accelerate the arrest of all war criminals, headed by Omar Al Bashir”.

The statement concludes with an appeal to the international community “to pressure this regime to allow the return of the international organisations that were expelled years ago, in order to put an end to the malnutrition and the cholera epidemic that plague the people throughout the country, especially in the camps for displaced people”.

New cholera cases in Central Darfur and Sennar, hepatitis in Blue Nile

September 18 – 2017 ZALINGEI / EL SOUKI / ED DAMAZIN
Cholera bacteria (Himachal Live)

Cholera bacteria (Himachal Live)

 

Seven new cholera cases were recorded in the camps for the displaced near Zalingei, capital of Central Darfur, over the weekend. The isolation centre in Nierteti received four new patients. Cholera is spreading again in eastern Sudan’s Sennar. Hundreds of people have reportedly been infected with Hepatitis B in Blue Nile state’s Geissan.

El Shafee Abdallah, Coordinator of the Central Darfur camps for the displaced told Radio Dabanga that two new cases of cholera were recorded in Khamsa Dagayeg camp on Friday, and five in Hamidiya camp on Friday and Saturday.

The number of cholera patients being treated at the isolation centre of the Zalingei Royal Hospital reached 13 on Sunday.

A medical source reported to this station from Nierteti on Sunday that the isolation unit of the Nierteti Hospital recorded four new cases of cholera over the weekend. “Three patients come from Nierteti, while the fourth came from the camp for the displaced north of the town”.

There are currently ten people being treated for cholera at the isolation ward of Nierteti Hospital, he said.

Sennar

The hospital of El Souki received eight new cholera patients over the weekend.

A pregnant woman in her seventh month died of the infectious disease on Sunday, a medical doctor reported to this station.

He said more cases are expected to reach the hospital, “because of the easy transmission of infection and the deterioration of the environment “.

Hepatitis

At least 400 people have been infected with hepatitis B in Village 10 in Geissan locality in the south-east of Blue Nile state.

A doctor in El Damazin, capital of Blue Nile state, called on the residents of Geissan to exercise caution to prevent infection with hepatitis B.

Link to web article.

South Sudan: The Country Needs More Than a Hybrid Court

Photo: Stefanie Glinski/Thomson Reuters Foundation

ANALYSIS

When government soldiers stormed the Terrain residential compound in Juba, South Sudan, on 11 July 2016, they attacked, robbed and raped foreign aid workers and shot dead a local journalist.

‘I was trapped in a room and repeatedly raped – sometimes by one person, sometimes by many people in the room until I was taken out of that room and put into another room, and it started all over again,’ was the chilling testimony of one of the foreign aid workers.

Thirteen soldiers are on trial for this attack, but whether they will be held accountable for their crimes remains to be seen.

South Sudan has seen over 50 years of conflict, with unimaginable atrocities and no justice for its victims. The Terrain attack is just one of many that have taken place across the country – most are undocumented.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a protracted armed struggle that started in the 1950s. Under the new administration, a civil war broke out in December 2013. This was initially seen as a struggle between Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar over the presidency, but the conflict has now taken on a more ethnicised dimension.

The African Union (AU) established a Commission of Inquiry in 2014 to investigate human rights violations but impunity in South Sudan remains rampant. Killings, kidnappings and disappearances are commonplace and the conflict is changing with new actors and conflict dynamics. Amnesty International reports that South Sudanese people are subjected to sexual violence on a ‘massive’ scale.

The hybrid court, truth commission and reparations must all be given sufficient attention

The criminal justice system lacks the capacity to address crimes and the government lacks the political will. If peace is ever to be achieved, the country needs to reaffirm the rule of law and convince the population of a better future – one with basic security and strong independent institutions.

A 2015 peace agreement aims to achieve this through transitional justice processes, including the establishment of a hybrid court – the joint responsibility of the AU and the country’s Transitional Government of National Unity. But the establishment of this court – made up of South Sudanese and other African employees – cannot be the AU’s sole focus to the exclusion of other complementary transitional justice mechanisms, the Institute for Security Studies notes in a new report.

The establishment of the hybrid court has met resistance from within the South Sudanese governing elite, who are wary of being prosecuted for international crimes. It’s no surprise the government says it would rather opt for a mediated peace, truth and reconciliation process.

In the past, countries have dished out amnesties and cited truth commissions as a means of achieving justice through public acknowledgement of wrongdoings. But international law is clear – amnesty for gross human rights violations is not an option; and truth commissions should complement criminal trials, not replace them.

Criminal trials at international courts are lengthy, costly and often cause division in the post-conflict context. And one of the most complex aspects of international criminal trials is the prosecution of sitting heads of state. While they can be indicted, prosecution rarely occurs in practice.

A national dialogue can’t be used as a means to avoid other transitional justice mechanisms.

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on transitional justice, Pablo de Greiff, stresses the importance of a victim-centred approach for effective transitional justice. This entails capturing a victim’s sense of justice to meet their needs. Truth commissions for example are often seen as providing an opportunity for victims to tell their stories in their own way.

A truth commission not only has the mandate to investigate and document human rights abuses with a focus on a victim’s stories, but must also examine the underlying causes of the conflict and provide recommendations to prevent a recurrence.

Reparations are a transitional justice mechanism to uniquely and remedially focus on the situation of victims. A reparations framework is primarily concerned with rehabilitation, restitution and compensation, and guarantees victims a non-recurrence of the conflict. Despite the potential to redress generations of economic disparity and inequality, the UN notes that reparations are often the least implemented element of transitional justice.

For transitional justice to be effective in South Sudan, the hybrid court, truth commission and reparations authority must be given sufficient attention by those involved in dealing with the past. They must coordinate and sequence their activities to avoid duplication and gaps, and contribute to a holistic strategy.

If the AU is serious about transitional justice in South Sudan, it can’t focus on the hybrid court alone. It must engage in a wide-ranging consultative process to determine both the victim’s needs and avenues to provide necessary redress. Evidence used by the court may contribute to establishing a narrative of events and the underlying causes of the conflict which could contribute to a common truth.

Reparations are often the least implemented element of transitional justice

A victim-focused and complementary approach across transitional justice mechanisms is especially important. This would require consultative and inclusive dialogues and the right to participate in legal and administrative proceedings. Capacity building to ensure that victims are aware of their rights is also essential.

Moreover, a victim-centred approach requires that their rights are protected and that victims are entitled to reparations. This however will remain a challenge in South Sudan, especially regarding the precarious security situation despite Kiir’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire.

Kiir’s recently announced national dialogue aims to link political settlements with grassroots grievances, redefine unity, address issues of diversity, agree on a mechanism for sharing resources and enhance reconciliation, he says.

A truly inclusive dialogue in South Sudan is necessary, but it can’t be used as a means to avoid the other transitional justice mechanisms in the peace agreement. And a single transitional justice mechanism such as the hybrid court or a truth commission won’t successfully address the country’s past crimes against humanity and build a society governed by the rule of law.

If South Sudan’s victims of atrocities are to achieve justice, a holistic transitional justice process is essential.

Amanda Lucey, Senior Research Consultant and Liezelle Kumalo, Researcher, Peace Operations and Peacebuilding Programme, ISS

In South Africa, Daily Maverick has exclusive rights to re-publish ISS Today articles. For media based outside South Africa and queries about our re-publishing policy, email us.

Link to web article.

As the death toll climbs in Sudan, officials shy away from the ‘cholera’ label

 September 14

Link to video.

As of July 7, health actors had recorded more than 23,200 cases of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) since August 2016, according to the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Sudan (GoS) Ministry of Health (MoH).”
— U.S. Agency for International Development, fact sheet, July 27, 2017

“The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum informs U.S. citizens that there are confirmed reports of cholera cases in some areas of Sudan, including the greater Khartoum metropolitan area, that have resulted in fatalities.”
— U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, emergency message, June 1

The State Department and USAID are related agencies, both reporting to the secretary of state, but there is an odd disconnect in how they have described a looming public health emergency in the African country of Sudan. The embassy declared that there were “confirmed reports” of cholera that have killed people, whereas USAID, citing the World Health Organization and the Sudanese government, said there were cases of “acute watery diarrhea,” known in medical circles as AWD.

What’s going on here?

The Facts

According to the WHO, there are three types of diarrhea: acute watery diarrhea, which lasts several hours or days; acute bloody diarrhea, also called dysentery; and persistent diarrhea, which lasts 14 days or longer. AWD can include cholera, which is an acute diarrhea infection caused by ingestion of food or water that is contaminated with Vibrio cholerae bacterium. (Cholera infections are most commonly acquired from drinking water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

If left untreated, however, cholera can kill within hours. AWD is a symptom of cholera, but cholera requires more urgent care and immediate rehydration.

The first indication of a problem in Sudan was in August 2016, when 100 deaths, mainly children, were reported in Sudan’s Blue Nile state. “A medical worker from Blue Nile state revealed an increase in incidences of diarrhea that he believes to be cholera,” reported Radio Dabanga, an independent news source that operates out of the Netherlands with correspondents in the field. “He attributes the spread to polluted water and said that hospitals in the state have to isolate patients with diarrhea to avoid infecting others.”

Sudan has known little but civil conflict since its independence more than a half-century ago, especially between the largely Arab, Islamic northern part of the country and the largely animist and Christian African south, which formed the independent country of South Sudan in 2011. There are also ongoing conflicts in other parts of the country, principally Darfur in the West and the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, which border South Sudan.

President Omar al-Bashir, who has ruled the country since 1989, was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 for allegedly pursuing a genocide campaign in Darfur.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, descended into civil war shortly after independence, and a cholera outbreak was declared there in May 2014. The index, or first, case was retrospectively identified with an onset of illness on April 23, and then four cases were laboratory-confirmed in Kenya; by May 25, officials had reported 586 cases, including 22 deaths.

The WHO has assiduously tracked the spread in the country and administered more than 1.5 million doses of cholera vaccination in an effort to stem the spread, but an additional 2 million doses are required, according to the agency. Recent reports say another 2,500 cases in South Sudan have been registered since April, for a total of 8,000, including 250 deaths.

The cholera outbreak in South Sudan is probably linked to the growing health emergency in Sudan.

ACAPS, a nonprofit, nongovernmental project that assesses humanitarian needs, on June 16 issued a report stating that a “cholera outbreak” that started in Blue Nile “began to spread rapidly as of April this year. Conservative estimates suggest a minimum of between 15,000- 23,000 people infected, with 280-820 deaths.” But the group said that without immediate intervention, infection is likely to spread further now that it had reached the densely populated capital of Khartoum. More than 5 million people live in the capital’s metropolitan area.

ACAPS said a factor in the rapid spread may be the large refugee population from South Sudan that fled the fighting and is crowded in refugee camps in the White Nile state. “ACAPS is curating and triangulating a lot of different sources to produce its own independent analysis,” said spokeswoman Caroline Draveny. “In the case of Sudan, all data we analyzed led us to call it cholera.”

In its reports in South Sudan, WHO acknowledged that “all the states bordering South Sudan are affected” by a growing number of cases of acute watery diarrhea.

But here’s the problem: The government in Sudan refuses to acknowledge one.

In fact, Khartoum has actively sought to prevent hospitals, doctors and journalists from reporting that there is a cholera outbreak. As far back as January, doctors reported that laboratory tests on acute diarrhea samples proved that it was cholera. “The management problems at the Health Ministry have impeded containment of the disease. Instead of acknowledging the disease and taking measures to prevent the spread of cholera during the past six months, the authorities opted for not announcing the test results,” said one doctor.

Al-Fateh Omar al-Sayed, a leader of the Sudanese Doctors Union and the National Epidemiological Corporation, in June told Radio Dabanga that the cholera epidemic has turned from a severe temporary situation to a constant epidemic. But the Sudanese government has taken steps to play down the threat:

  • In April, newspaper reporter Ammar al-Daw was detained for reporting on the outbreak and accused of defamation by the health minister of his home state, Gedaref, of violating the Information Crimes Act. The reporter was accused of “defamation for publishing materials related to the watery diarrhea that has swept many localities in the state and led to the death and infection of hundreds.”
  • In June, the Sudanese health ministry fired a hospital director who dared to publicly say it was treating cholera cases.
  • In July, security officers questioned a group of volunteers who had set up an awareness campaign on how to prevent the spread of cholera in the area. “The volunteers were told to stop mentioning cholera,” Radio Dabanga reported.

“WHO has not received any lab results to date that confirm cholera in Sudan,” said Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman. “However, the Government of Sudan has confirmed an outbreak of AWD. Preventing the spread of the AWD outbreak and saving lives are two of the highest priorities for WHO and Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health. WHO is coordinating efforts with all parties to ensure an effective and rapid response. Early detection is key to containing any outbreak, regardless of the cause.”

He added that “whether an outbreak is called ‘cholera’ or ‘acute watery diarrhea’ does not alter WHO response, and in the case of Sudan, WHO and partners are free to act on the ground to support the government in providing people with the care they need.” He did not respond to a query about whether a cholera declaration would allow the use of the cholera vaccine to prevent further spread of the disease.

In an open letter to WHO, a group of U.S. physicians have decried “WHO’s failure to confirm or disconfirm the findings of Sudanese labs tests in Geneva, using stool samples appropriately transferred from Sudan.” Addressing WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the letter said: “Your failure to transport stool samples from victims in Sudan to Geneva for official confirmation of cholera makes you fully complicit in the terrible suffering and dying that continues to spread, out of control, with daily new reports confirming that this is indeed a cholera epidemic.”

When he was health minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros, as he is known, was accused of covering up cholera outbreaks by labeling it as AWD to avoid harming the country’s tourism industry. Tests by the United Nations confirmedit was cholera that had led to 60,000 infections and more than 600 deaths.

WHO’s Hartl insisted: “Sending stool samples overseas is not called for at this point. WHO understands that the capacity of the Central Public Health Laboratory of Sudan to test and confirm Vibrio cholerae has been demonstrated in the past, and that the Government of Sudan has in fact performed such laboratory tests in response to the recent outbreaks.”

A USAID spokesman noted that “typically, a cholera outbreak is declared by the Ministry of Health in the affected country, in coordination with the World Health Organization. In Sudan, there is no official cholera declaration.” He said USAID was responding to the AWD outbreak and added: “The United States calls on the Government of Sudan to support timely testing and identification of the causes of acute watery diarrhea, in order to enable both government and international donor efforts to address the immediate outbreak, and provide longer-term solutions.”

The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum did not respond to a query about why it warned of a cholera outbreak. Representatives of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington and Sudanese mission to the United Nations did not reply to queries about the government’s handling of the health emergency.

An admission of a cholera outbreak would be embarrassing for the regime in Khartoum, exposing its deeply troubled health system. It also comes as the Trump administration is facing an October deadline on whether to lift some sanctions on Sudan. One of the issues under review is improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan.

Eric Reeves, a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights who closely follows Sudan, said it was “preposterous” to assume that a government that punishes people for uttering the word cholera could be trusted to report accurate lab results.

The embassy announcement indicated the outbreak was “only now getting attention because it is occurring in areas where Americans might travel (not the case with Darfur, Eastern Sudan, Blue Nile, or South Kordofan),” Reeves said. “Up until then, only Sudanese lives were at risk.”

“Any time a specific disease appears in certain nations, political sensitivities unfortunately arise about announcing it,” said Amesh A. Adalja, senior associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “Cholera is a disease that does carry some stigma around it and that may be behind the ‘acute watery diarrhea’ label despite the diagnosis of cholera being confirmed. In early stages of an outbreak when precise causation hasn’t been established, a clinical descriptor will temporarily suffice but once a definite disease agent has been confirmed it is important to name it exactly and respond accordingly.”

David A. Sack, professor of internal health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, noted that most sub-Saharan African nations, with the exception of Sudan and Ethiopia, do report cholera outbreaks. “Most Asian countries fail to report, and do not even report AWD even though the largest numbers of cases actually occur in Pakistan and Bangladesh,” he said. “India does report a few cases, but they report only a small proportion of the actual numbers.”

The Pinocchio Test

We understand the diplomatic niceties here. A country’s health ministry is supposed to declare a health emergency, and WHO may be reluctant to intervene for fear that the regime would eject needed medical professionals. But it seems absurd for the State Department to warn Americans of confirmed reports of deaths from cholera while USAID sticks with the more politically convenient designation of acute watery diarrhea, even as the death toll rises.

Amazingly, the death toll may be higher (800) in Sudan than South Sudan (250), but that’s because WHO has been able to respond to the crisis in South Sudan with a program of vaccinations and education about the deadly disease. The Pinocchios here are mainly for the Sudanese government, which refuses to admit an apparent cholera outbreak, but WHO and USAID should not escape blame either. Words make a difference. The accusations that WHO’s director-general tried to mask a cholera outbreak in Ethiopia by labeling it as AWD, when tests showed otherwise, make it even more imperative that the international agency should appear above politics.

Link to web article.

Revealed: The Spies Helping Push South Sudan to Genocide

ACCOMPLICES TO ATROCITY

GORAN TOMASEVIC/REUTERS
Documents obtained by The Daily Beast from several sources show the way other African leaders and intelligence services collude with President Salva Kiir’s brutal regime.

More than two decades ago Africa learned that the United Nations and United States would not act to stop mass murder. Nearly a million people were killed in less than a hundred days during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

But today a new lesson is being learned. Court documents and U.N. reports, some obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast, show that African states will not only stand by during mass bloodshed, but will assist a brutal government—South Sudan—as it pushes the country closer to genocide.

A court affidavit in Nairobi alleges a close partnership between Kenyan and South Sudanese spies. A confidential report that describes U.N. peacekeeping operations suggests military cooperation between Uganda’s and South Sudan’s government. And an internal U.N. letter shows that Egypt has provided diplomatic cover to South Sudan at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

This support has contributed to the collapse of South Sudan, the youngest country in the world that gained independence in 2011 with the strong support of the United States.

African states pushed for a greater role in solving regional crises after the Rwandan genocide in 1994, where the U.S. and U.N. received blame for standing by during mass atrocities. There is no doubt President Salva Kiir and the constellation of rebel groups who have taken up arms against him are overwhelmingly responsible for their country’s fate. But the documents show how in one of East Africa’s first opportunities to take the lead in ending one of the world’s worst wars is failing, miserably.

Leaders are afraid of supporting an arms embargo, sanctions, and attempts to bring leaders to justice in South Sudan, because it could set a precedent in the broader East African region, Luka Kuol, a professor at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies said in an interview. The thinking of these African leaders is simple: these tools may be used against them next.

 

The U.N. says South Sudan is at risk of genocide and ethnic cleansing already is underway. Earlier this year a million people were on the brink of a famine created by the conflict. Since the summer of 2016 nearly a million South Sudanese have fled marauding government forces into Uganda, where they have created the world’s largest new refugee camp.

Uganda also appears to be one of the biggest military suppliers to South Sudan’s government, according to a collection of public reports by U.N. experts (PDF).

Military cooperation between Uganda and South Sudan is close. When the exodus of refugees was at a peak last winter, Uganda’s military crossed the border into South Sudan to assist civilians fleeing the brewing ethnic conflict, according to a confidential report from the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, a body that monitors the country’s peace deal.

The Ugandan military “temporarily helped civilians return to their villages to collect belongings, and encountered the SPLA [the government’s militia] gang raping women, especially near the Asua military barracks,” the report said.

No intervention on behalf of Uganda’s government was described in the March report.

Agreements to operate on each other’s territory appear to work in both directions. In late May, around 50 South Sudanese government soldiers toting automatic weapons were sighted some 20 kilometers across the border in northern Uganda. The rag-tag soldiers were traveling in the direction north to Kajo-Keji, a once bustling South Sudanese town that has seen some of the worst ethnic fighting and is nearly fully deserted.

In the case of Kenya, there is evidence that its intelligence officials work closely with their South Sudanese counterparts. In late January 2017, a pair of South Sudanese living in Kenya—human rights lawyer Dong Samuel Luak and opposition official Aggrey Idri—disappeared in the capital of Nairobi.

Telephone transcripts filed as an affidavit in Kenyan court obtained by The Daily Beast show a South Sudanese intelligence officer, John Top Lam, appeared to have inside knowledge of the disappearance. He sought a $10,000 bribe from a confidant of the two men and implied it was for Major-General Philip Wachira Kameru, the head of Kenya’s intelligence service.

Kameru told Lam, the South Sudanese intelligence officer, that the two kidnapped men “will not be taken to Juba, we will first get information from them,” according to the telephone transcript. “You know these people, it is always the language of money.”

It is unclear if the money was ever sent but Dong and Aggrey were never found. As a result, a flood of South Sudanese opposition figures who used to lounge and drink warm Guinness in Nairobi’s rooftop hotels have fled the country.

After hundreds died in fighting that spread across the capital of Juba last summer, evidence of Egypt’s military support to the South Sudanese surfaced in U.N. reports. They indicate Egyptian nationals have supplied South Sudan’s government with caches of small arms and ammunition, as well as armored vehicles.

Egypt’s government called these reports “inaccurate” and “erroneous” in a June letter of protest from the country’s United Nations delegation that has been obtained by The Daily Beast. Importantly, the letter does not dispute charges that Egypt has fueled South Sudan’s civil war.

Cairo later tried to block future investigations into the conflict, U.N. officials say. That effort was unsuccessful, but along with its vocal opposition to an arms embargo at the Security Council, Egypt’s diplomatic maneuvers have chilled resolutions at the U.N.

Sudan was a frequent supplier of weapons to rebel groups in South Sudan, but there has been little public evidence that operation continues. Pressure from the U.S. government has helped.

The African Union has been charged with holding South Sudan’s leaders accountable for crimes against humanity committed during the civil war, but progress has been slow. A court of both African and South Sudanese judges to try the country’s leaders for crimes committed during the civil war has been agreed to, and observers say that its creation is a test.

A former senior official from the Obama administration said that this is an important moment for the African Union to show that it has both the will and the capacity to hold regional leaders accountable when they engage in some of the worst crimes known to humanity.

There is cause for hope. After two years of delay, the African Union and South Sudanese government recently made some progress on details of what that court will look like. But like previous agreements South Sudan’s government has made, it is likely to stall or back out entirely.

For all the criticism of the African states’ role in fueling South Sudan’s war, relying on them for peace would not be necessary if the United States, United Kingdom, or other Western nations stepped up. Western nations like the United States and United Kingdom are hesitant to commit peacekeepers to South Sudan to protect civilians.

For more than two years the United States essentially blocked an arms embargo on South Sudan. Heads of state and high-ranking officials from these governments have never participated in a sustained diplomatic effort for peace in South Sudan.

If these countries don’t like the way East Africa is fueling South Sudan’s civil war, it’s time for them to begin acting, not just talking.

Link to web article.

Sudan Hopes to Deepen Economic Ties With Russia – Officials

© Sputnik/ Alexandr Graschenkov

Sudan seeks to further develop economic relations with Russia and is open to the Russian investment, Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz, the Sudanese presidential aide, told Sputnik on Saturday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Sudan has seen the increase in investments from Russia following the creation of the higher committee for the development of bilateral relations. The presidential aide stressed that the committee on relations with Russia is headed by Sudanese President Omar Bashir.

“We see a constant flow of investors from Russia to Sudan in different areas — mining, industry, agriculture. During this visit, we called on all organizations and the private sector [to develop these relations], we are open to the development of these ties,” Al-Jaz said.

On Friday, Al-Jaz met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Both sides noted mutual willingness to expand Russian-Sudanese cooperation, as well as to deepen partnership in trade and economy.

In a separate statement on Saturday, Sudan’s Minister of Minerals Hashim Ali Salim said that Sudan wants Russian companies and investors to contribute to the development of its mining industry.

“There are now 35 metal reserves in Sudan, but only 13 are mined. We call on all companies to invest in other metals, in their extraction and processing. Doors are open to all Russian companies,” Salim said.

The minister also stressed that by the end of 2017, Sudan was planning to establish in the capital city of Khartoum an exchange of precious metals in a bid to solve the problem of gold smuggling.

Russia and the Republic of Sudan have maintained a strong economic and political partnership since the African nation split into two sovereign entities in 2011. In 2014, they agreed to promote cooperation in a wide range of areas, including health care, mineral prospecting, industry, and finance.

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SPLM-N al-Hilu reiterated its commitment to a united Sudan, African Union official

Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu (2ed L) with some of his aides after his arrival in Koda in South Kordofan on 30 June 2017 (ST Photo)

September 10, 2017 (KHARTOUM)- In a recent meeting with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North al-Hilu (SPLM-N al-Hilu) explained its position on the self-determination reiterated its commitment to the unity of Sudan, said an African Union official on Sunday.

In March 2017, the Nuba Mountains Liberation Council (NMLC) rejected the resignation of al-Hilu from his position as the SPLM-N deputy chairman and announced its support to the right of self-determination, and refused to disband the SPLA-N during the interim period.

Furthermore, the NMLC decided to remove Yasir Arman from the position of secretary general and chief negotiator of the rebel group in support of al-Hilu who accused Arman of accepting the dissolution of the Movement’s army during the transitional period and refusing to include the self-determination in the SPLM-N’s position paper to the negotiations.

The two tools are seen by al-Hilu as the only guarantee for the full implementation of any peace agreement they would sign with the government.

Mahmoud Kan, AU representative in Khartoum, told the semi-official Sudanese Media Center (SMC) that the SPLM-N al-Hilu delegation held a “successful meeting” with the AUHIP mediators in Addis Ababa on 28 August.

Regarding the self-determination, Kan said the delegation explained that this claim is intended to address the root causes of the crisis in the Two Areas and does not mean to separate from Sudan.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu wants “a Sudan united on the basis of the Movement’s conditions related to the recognition of religious rights and particularities of the people in the Two Areas, the rights of people in the Two Areas (for developments) and not to apply the Islamic law on Christians in the two Areas,” the African Union official said according to SMC.

The Sudanese government called on the SPLM-N al-Hilu to resume negotiations under the auspice of African mediators but the rebel group says its priority for the time been is to hold a general conference next October and adopt new programme and structures before negotiations.

Khartoum stresses its readiness to resume talks on the basis of a framework agreement signed with the SPLM-N negotiating team headed by Arman.

But it is not clear whether it would accept the addition of clauses of self-determination and maintaining the SPLA-N during an interim period.

(ST)

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U.S considering more sanctions, arms embargo on S. Sudan

September 11, 2017 (JUBA) – The United States government is considering the imposition of further targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on South Sudan if its warring factions do not agree on how to resolve the ongoing war, diplomatic sources told Sudan Tribune.

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Donald Trump gestures during a campaign rally in in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., July 29, 2016. (Reuters Photo)

The proposal was, however, rejected by Russia, which reportedly argued that such a move would not be effective since the war-torn East African nation was already in possession of plenty of illegal arms.

On Wednesday last week, the U.S government imposed sanctions on two serving South Sudanese officials and the ex-military chief of staff, accusing them of fueling and profiting from the country’s civil war.

The U.S Treasury Department in said a statement on website that it had blacklisted Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, deputy chief of defense for logistics in the SPLA; Paul Malong, former army chief who was dismissed in May; and Minister of Information Michael Makuei Lueth.

The measures freeze any assets in the U.S or tied to the U.S financial system belonging to the three men. The U.S Treasury said Riak was central to weapons procurement during the first few years of the conflict and helped plan an offensive in Unity State in April 2015.

It also accused him of issuing military contracts at inflated prices “in order to receive extensive kickbacks. The U.S. Treasury blacklisted All Energy Investments, A+ Engineering, Electronics & Media Printing and Mak International Services which it said was owned or controlled by Malek. The Treasury said former chief of staff Malong “did not discourage” the killing of civilians around the town of Wau last year.

The U.S Treasury also accused the South Sudanese information minister of attacks against the U.N mission in South Sudan and obstructing peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in the country.

In July 2015, the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on six South Sudanese generals accused of fuelling conflict in the world’s youngest nation. The generals, three from each side of the conflict, were meant to face global travel bans and asset freezes.

However, in November 2016, the U.S demanded the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Malong and minister Lueth for hampering the peace process in the world’s youngest nation.

The armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) leader, also the country’s former First Vice President, Riek Machar was also on the proposed list.

South Sudan’s civil war has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than two million people since it broke out in mid-December 2013.

(ST)

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