Sunday, April 27, 2014

Kenyan president says will not allow genocide in South Sudan | Reuters

* Stops short of vowing action, Ugandan troops already there
* Massacre of civilians in Bentiu provoked outrage
* Negotiations aimed at political reform resume Monday
By Richard Lough
NAIROBI, April 26 (Reuters) - Kenya's president said he would not let the conflict in neighbouring South Sudan descend into genocide, though he stopped short of spelling out any action to end the increasingly ethnic slaughter.
Four months of fighting between government and rebels in the world's newest nation has raised fears of a wider conflict that could further destabilise a fragile region and send hundreds of thousands more refugees over borders.
Uganda, another neighbour of oil-producing South Sudan, has already sent in troops to back the government. Regional bloc IGAD, which is brokering troubled peace talks, has said it will hold a meeting in coming days to "consider options".
"We refuse to be witnesses to such atrocities and to remain helpless and hopeless in their wake," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement late on Friday.
"We especially reject the possibility that we are creeping into genocide again in our region. We shall not stand by and allow it to happen."
Fighting began in December between troops loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy, Riek Machar. Clashes spread quickly beyond the capital, often pitting Kiir's Dinka people against Machar's Nuer.
The United Nations said rebels slaughtered hundreds of civilians when they seized the South Sudan oil hub of Bentiu earlier this month, hunting down men, women and children who had sought refuge in a hospital, a mosque and a Catholic church. The rebels dismissed the accusations.
Days later, Dinka residents of Bor town in Jonglei state attacked a U.N. base where about 5,000 people, mostly Nuer, were sheltering, the United Nations said.
Kenyatta's use of the word "genocide" has resonance in a region that has vowed never to see a repeat of the ethnic slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans twenty years ago.
The stalled talks are due to resume in Ethiopia on Monday to try and thrash out a deal on political reform after a long power struggle between Kiir and Machar triggered the unrest.
South Sudan's government, under growing pressure from regional and Western powers to end the conflict, on Friday released four senior political figures it had accused of helping start the violence in a bid to seize power.
Machar's negotiation team on Saturday welcomed the release of the four detainees - a former top ruling party official, national security minister, deputy finance minister and ambassador to Washington - after treason charges were dropped.
But rebel spokesman Hussein Mar Nyot said another of their key demands - the exit of Ugandan troops and other militia supporting the government - had not been met.
"If these forces from outside are withdrawn, this will give a very strong ground for peace to come," Nyot told Reuters.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel next week to Ethiopia, another South Sudanese neighbour which is leading the mediation, to discuss peace efforts in the region.

South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in 2011 under the terms of a peace deal that ended decades of civil war fuelled by ethnicity, religion, ideology and oil rights. (Additional reporting by Aaron Maasho in Addis Ababa; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S Sudan rebel leader says not behind Bentiu massacre - YouTube

S Sudan rebel leader says not behind Bentiu massacre - YouTube: ""

'via Blog this'

UN Condemns Ethnic Killings of Civilians in South Sudan

A young man describes the experience of his journey from South Sudan in the Kule refugee camp near the Pagak Border Entry point in the Gambela Region of Ethiopia, on April 2, 2014, during a visit of the head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). (Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)
A young man describes the experience of his journey from South Sudan in the Kule refugee camp near the Pagak Border Entry point in the Gambela Region of Ethiopia, on April 2, 2014, during a visit of the head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). (Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)A young man describes the experience of his journey from South Sudan in the Kule refugee camp near the Pagak Border Entry point in the Gambela Region of Ethiopia, on April 2, 2014, during a visit of the head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). (Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)
A young man describes the experience of his journey from South Sudan in the Kule refugee camp near the Pagak Border Entry point in the Gambela Region of Ethiopia, on April 2, 2014, during a visit of the head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). (Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)

Sudan Expels UN Official for Interfering in State Affairs

South Sudan Mob Attacks UN base, 12 Killed

Soldiers try to stop a crowd of people surging to look at skeleton of persons suspected to have been killed by kidnappers in a bush near an abandoned building in the southeastern city of Ibadan March 24, 2014. (Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images)
Parents Report 234 Girls Were Kidnapped From Nigeria School

A Somali police officer looks at the wreckage of the car in Mogadishu, Somalia, Monday, April, 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Car Bomb Kills Somali Lawmaker

Algerian security forces stand guard on a ridge looking down on the Algerian city of Ghardaia on March 18, 2014 during an operation to secure the city following sectarian clashes. The city of 90,000 inhabitants has been rocked since December by clashes between the Chaamba community of Arab origin and the majority Mozabites, indigenous Berbers belonging to the Ibadi Muslim sect. (Farouk Batiche/AFP/Getty Images)
Insurgents Kill at Least 11 Algerian Soldiers

KAMPALA, Uganda—The United Nations Mission in South Sudan on Monday condemned what it called “the targeted killings of civilians based on their ethnic origins and nationality” in a disputed town that is now under the control of anti-government forces.

In Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, more than 200 people sheltering inside a mosque were killed last week after rebel forces seized the town, the mission said in a statement, describing an apparent massacre after rebel forces ousted government troops from the key town.

Some individuals “associated with the opposition” had used an FM radio station to broadcast hate speech, even urging “men from one community to commit vengeful sexual violence against women from another community.”

After rebel forces captured Bentiu on April 15, “they searched a number of places where hundreds of South Sudanese and foreign civilians had taken refuge and killed hundreds of the civilians after determining their ethnicity or nationality,” the statement said, citing the accounts of U.N. human rights investigators on the ground. At Bentiu Hospital several men, women and children from the Nuer ethnic group were killed for hiding and declining to join other Nuers who had come out to cheer the rebels as they seized the town.

Individuals from other South Sudanese communities — as well as people from Darfur — were specifically targeted and killed at the hospital, the statement said. Hundreds more people, who were sheltering at a mosque and a Catholic church, were killed or wounded.

Toby Lanzer, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in South Sudan, said in Twitter posts late Sunday that there were shocking scenes of atrocities, with “bodies of people executed” lying in the streets of Bentiu.

Thousands of people have been killed in violence since December, when presidential guards splintered and fought along ethnic lines. The violence later spread across the country as soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir tried to put down a rebellion led by Riek Machar, the former vice president.

The U.N. has been warning of mounting evidence of ethnically-targeted killings in the world’s newest nation as both government troops and rebel forces lose and gain territories in sporadic clashes. Despite a ceasefire signed earlier this year, both sides continue to trade allegations over rights violations and civilian abuses.

Machar, an ethnic Nuer, has said he wants to see the exit of Kiir, an ethnic Dinka whom he accuses of acting like a dictator.

Kiir accuses Machar of launching a failed coup attempt in Dec. 2013 that the government says sparked unrest across the country.

Peace talks in neighboring Ethiopia have proceeded slowly.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

S. Sudan's Kiir reassures Ethiopia PM on dam, Egypt military accord

S. Sudan's Kiir reassures Ethiopia PM on dam, Egypt military accord

Friday, April 18, 2014
ADDIS ABABA – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has reiterated support for an Ethiopian dam project that has been a source of tension between Ethiopia and Egypt, denying that a recent military agreement between Juba and Cairo was directed at Addis Ababa.
Speaking during a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday, Kiir said that a recent visit by South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Benjamin to Egypt had nothing to do with the Ethiopian dam project.
Kiir, who arrived in Addis Ababa on a one-day visit on Thursday, reiterated that his government supports the construction of the Ethiopian dam, according to the Amharic Daily Addis Zemen.
Benjamin had visited Cairo in March, where he had held talks with Egyptian and Arab League officials.
The visit came shortly after the South Sudanese Defense Minister visited Cairo, where he signed a military cooperation accord between Egypt and South Sudan, a move that sent shockwaves in Ethiopia.
The newspaper quoted Hailemariam as saying that Kiir confirmed his country’s readiness to sign the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) – an agreement designed to replace the old colonial accords of the Nile water.
The CFA was signed by Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. The agreement was ratified by the Ethiopian parliament.
Ethiopia is building a $6.4-billion dam on the Blue Nile, which represents Egypt's primary source of water.
The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which fears a reduction of its historical share of Nile water.
Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era treaty giving Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water.
Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency

Friday, April 11, 2014

Humanitarian crisis looms as refugees from South Sudan pour into Ethiopia | Global development |

Ethiopian official insists borders will not be closed despite influx piling increasing strain in one of the country's poorest regions
MDG : South Sudan children in in one of refugees camps in Gambella province of Ethiopia

South Sudanese children gather at a refugee camp in Gambella, one of the poorest regions in Ethiopia. Photograph: Elissa Jobson for The Guardian
"We left all our property – our home, our goats and chickens. I ran out and this is all that I have," Nyakuom Tongyik says, pointing to the floral dress and pink scarf she is wearing. The 22-year-old is one of more than 70,000 refugees who have crossed the border into Ethiopia, fleeing fighting and devastation in South Sudan.
Her husband and father were killed when clashes erupted in their home town of Malakal, she says, sitting in her cramped, hot white tent at Leitchor refugee camp in Gambella, western Ethiopia. She escaped with two of her children, but was separated from the third amid the chaos. During the 20-day walk to the Akobo border, Tongyik's daughter fell sick. "She died on the way," she says. "There was no way to get her to the hospital."
Gambella, one of the poorest regions in one of the most food-insecure countries, was home to more than 76,000 asylum seekers from South Sudan when fighting erupted in Juba in December. The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, is preparing to accommodate an influx of 150,000 refugees, but the government is concerned that the actual figure will be much higher.
"I don't want to exaggerate, but maybe 300,000, maybe more than that because there is no food in South Sudan and the rains start in this region in May, so people will come to Ethiopia to seek refuge," says Ayalew Aweke, deputy director of the Ethiopian Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (Arra).
Refugees from South Sudan are also escaping south to Uganda and Kenya and north to Sudan, but with the onset of the rainy season, options will be limited and many more civilians will be driven towards Ethiopia. Transporting food and other supplies to the refugees will become more difficult and expensive as the few existing roads, many of them little more than dirt tracks, become impassable. Then there are the additional threats around sanitation and health – malaria, diarrhoea and cholera included.
Moses Okello, the UNHCR representative to Ethiopia, is aware of the pressing need to respond. "The rain is bringing to us an urgency, the need for us to act very, very quickly to get things in place where they are not." In response, the World Food Programme is pre-positioning 1,530 tonnes of food in the region – enough to cover the needs of 80,000 refugees for one month. UNCHR is also trying to secure the use of helicopters to help move people and provisions before the rains begin.
About 95% of those seeking refuge in Ethiopia are women and children – an unusually high proportion. "I came with many women from the village. The men went to fight. We were only women," Marsara Nyakuicak, a refugee from Gul Guk, South Sudan, says. Almost all the refugees interviewed had friends or relatives who had joined the rebel forces.
"We have heard reports of children as young as 14 and 15 being kept behind deliberately by the fighting forces on the South Sudan side," says Dr Peter Salama, a representative of the UN children's agency, Unicef, in Ethiopia.
The refugees deny forced conscription is taking place, but 19-year-old Kong Chul said he had been requested to join the White Army – a Nuer militia originally formed for cattle raiding – but no arms had been available to him.
Salama is also concerned about the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border – more than 500 have been registered so far. Brothers Gatluak and Nhial Koang, aged eight and 10, respectively, were separated from their parents. "The fighting was very close to our village. When we saw others running we started running away," Gatluak whispers, tightly holding his brother's hand. "We don't know where they are," he says.
As the crisis continues, the physical condition of arriving refugees is deteriorating and the prevalence of malnutrition is alarmingly high. A recent survey recorded global acute malnutrition levels of almost 38%, more than double the critical emergency rate of 15%.
"We've also got huge issues with measles," Salama says. Outbreaks of the disease in South Sudan have been reported, and 60-70 cases were documented across the border in Ethiopia during the past week. Unicef, together with Arra and the regional health bureaux, is supporting a mass immunisation campaign. To date, more than 22,000 children have been vaccinated, but Salama is worried about a possible epidemic. "We have a very short, time-limited window of opportunity to scale up this operation if we are going to avoid an enormous amount of preventable deaths and disability," he says.
The response of the central and local authorities has been roundly praised. "The Ethiopia government and the people have been very generous. They have opened up their borders and allowed refugees to come into this country and this is not the first time they've done this," Okello says.
But the absorption of a huge number of people into a region with a population of about 307,000 is bound to present problems. So far, the local communities have welcomed the refugees – it helps that the exiles and their hosts are from the same Nuer ethnic group. However, Gatluak Tut Khot, Gambella's regional president, is aware of the possible tensions. "We received them peacefully,' he says. "The host community are very willing and very happy. There is no problem, but they are asking that if the town is growing there may be some contribution for the indigenous population."
Despite the strain placed on Gambella, Gatluak insists the borders will not be closed. Ayelew confirms this, and appeals for assistance from the international community. "The world knows that there is a problem in South Sudan but they don't know that people are coming to Ethiopia … Our efforts are overstretched and still people are coming," he says. "I don't know when they will stop coming to Ethiopia unless some great assistance is given in South Sudan."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

South Sudan Refugees in Ethiopia living in terrible conditions - Press TV

Sat Apr 5, 2014 2:59PM GMT


Coletta Wanjohi, Press TV, Addis Ababa

Fact Corner
  • South Sudanese refugees arriving at the Ethiopian border are in appalling conditions. Every day an average of 12-hundred refugees-- mostly women and children, arrive in Ethiopia. Left without shelter and proper food, many are forced to sleep on wet ground.
Nyawecu Puoch sits with her seven children on the ground of a tent in the refugee camp in Ethiopia that is hosting south Sudan refugees. She says they walked for 15 days from South Sudan as she fled the ongoing conflict. Like her, other South Sudanese are relieved that they have made the journey across the border safely. However, at the camp which hosts mostly women and children, the living condition is poor.
These are some of the refugees who have just arrived from South Sudan and this make shift tent and a muddy ground is all they can call home for now. The situation is bound to get worse as rains have begun. Those who had a career back home have been reduced to disillusionment. Ethiopia is hosting over 80,000 South Sudan refugees. However, the capacity that individual camps can hold is exceeding as an average of 1200 refugees arrive daily. A camp that could host 25,000 refugees is now holding 40,000. As they move around the camps some with tattered clothes and bare feet, for now this is the only safest place these refugees know. They will have to learn to live without knowing what tomorrow holds for them.

Interview with James Wani Igga

تفاؤل بقرب وقف النار في جنوب السودان والطرفين يتبادلان الاتهامات

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Egypt Signed Military Agreement with South Sudan and condemned rebel leader Riek Machar

Djibouti (HAN) March 30, 2014 – The Republic of South Sudan is a key player in the region and we want to maintain a strong relationship with them, by investing in it and be part of its nation building process,” Egyptian Foreign Minister said. Therefore , It seems South Sudan is attempting to distance itself from Ethiopia of late. On Sunday, 22 March South Sudan signed a bilateral military cooperation with Egypt, following a visit to Cairo by a delegation led by defense minister Kuol Manyang Juuk. The signing comes a week after state-owned News Agency of South Sudan reported Egypt condemned rebel leader Riek Machar, and promised to send troops to South Sudan in support of the government.
But why is South Sudan risking its relationship with Ethiopia? This military agreement with Egypt is certainly going test their relationship, especially with Egyptian leaders threatening of military action against Ethiopia over the controversial Renaissance Dam. Perhaps Juba is suspicious Ethiopia is supporting Machar’s insurgency?

Despite Ethiopia’s public support for South Sudan, there are circumstantial evidence, and rumors that suggest Ethiopia is arming and funding Machar’s insurgency. Within this narrative, South Sudan’s military cooperation with Egypt could be interpenetrated as a tit for tat move against Ethiopia. If these allegations are true, then this wouldn’t be the first time Ethiopia supported insurgents while claiming they backed the government.
Ethiopia regularly arms, trains and funds Islamist and warlord militant groups in Somalia, all while professing they support the government in Mogadishu. By supporting each side, Ethiopia seeks to permanently keep Somalia in a state of crises so it can continue to milk the international community for military and financial aid. Ethiopia also seeks to use the conflict to deflect attention from its deteriorating human rights issues by presenting itself as a willing vassal for the West to conduct crises management in the region.

South Sudan’s suspicions of Ethiopia’s support for Machar is not without merit. Ethiopia is the only country that still maintains close ties with Neur rebel leaders, including Machar. In fact, Ethiopia arms, trains and supports Neur militant groups in the Gambela region against Anuak people. Moreover, when South Sudan requested military assistance from Uganda to battle the insurgents, only one African country was adamantly opposed to this: Ethiopia. The only rational explanation for Addis Ababa’s bizarre behavior is they were attempting to favor the odds for Machar’s insurgency to succeed.

But it seems as Ethiopia’s spoiler role in the region has finally caught up with it. South Sudan’s military cooperation with Egypt could potentially provide Cairo the legal framework to intervene in Ethiopia under the guise of defending South Sudan from Ethiopian destabilization. With Egyptian troops heading to South Sudan, the Renaissance Dam also becomes within Egypt’s combat radius, which is sure to sound alarm bells in Addis Ababa.

Cairo’s military cooperation with Juba also gives more credibility to a report on February that said Egypt was seeking military defense pact with Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia.With these defense pacts, Egypt’s goal appears to be to isolate Ethiopia regionally, something the latter has been attempting to do with Eritrea since 1998, but to no avail.

At any rate, South Sudan’s military alliance with Egypt is a pragmatic move that serves both country’s national interests. For South Sudan, the military alliance gives the young country access to advanced military equipment, and trained troops that can decisively tip the battle in its favor. For Egypt, it gives the legal framework to defend its lifeline, the Nile, by using its defense agreement with South Sudan as a pretext for a possible future intervention against Ethiopia that will almost certainly mean the destruction of the Renaissance Dam.
Originally published on, on March 30th, 2014, titled: Is South Sudan Trying to Distance Itself From Ethiopia?

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