Monthly Archives: December 2013

South Sudan President Kiir’s Christmas Message – End Tribal Violence

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South Sudan President Kiir’s Christmas Message – End Tribal Violence

By Christine Walters
South Sudan News

Juba, South Sudan — December 26 … South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a Christmas call for the immediate restoration of peace on an official Twitter social media account of South Sudan’s government: “Innocent people have been wantonly killed. People are targeting others because of their tribal affiliation. This is unacceptable,” announced the President. “These atrocities recurring have to cease immediately.”

VIDEO: Christmas And New Year Message From South Sudan President Kiir

President Kiir, a devout Catholic, has attended the Christmas mass in Juba, the capital of  war-torn South Sudan staying at the service shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of refugees seeking protection in the church.

The compound of the Catholic cathedral of Juba has been transformed into a refugee camp in the past week. Close to 7,000 people have found shelter there from tribal violence, which began with an attempted coup by Riek Machar, former Vice President, on 15 December and has since spread to half of South Sudan forcing up to 80,000 civilians to flee their homes.

“The current crisis in South Sudan cannot be comprehended in isolation from the country’s tormented past and challenging current posture. South Sudan has been trying hard to build a nation and a state after the debilitating war of independence, autonomy period, and the post-independence austerity period (caused by Sudan’s blocking of oil exports until very recently). It is a mighty challenge given the diversity of the population and the gravity of the situation”, wrote in its analytical report an influential African think-tank The Fashoda Institute.

“President Kiir was doing as great a job as can be expected under such horrific conditions. For several months now, Machar has tried to further the self-interests of his Nuer tribe by undermining the nation-building effort of the Kiir administration, and by reawakening the sectarian-tribal tensions”, opined the analysis.

“When Machar was rejected by the South Sudan government and Party establishments – he launched the revolt that is now tearing the nation apart along tribal-national lines. Reik Machar must not be rewarded for awakening and capitalizing on sectarian-tribal hostilities and enmities (as he did in the 1990s and caused several Nuer massacres of Dinka). The South Sudan government should be helped to restore stability and unity in the country, and then should be helped to improve both good governance and the economy”, concludes The Fashoda Institute.

South Sudan: Khartoum’s Aid to Machar’s Tribal Violence

By South Sudan News Staff

Juba — December 24 … During the weekend of 20-22 December, the Republic of South Sudan underwent through the low of the crisis and emerged to the next phase of putting down the Machar revolt. The African think-tank, The Fashoda Institute, has published a current analysis of the South Sudan’s crisis.

 

“Juba entered the weekend having lost control over most of Jonglei State. However, this loss of control was the result of an uneasy cease-fire and tenuous cooperation between the predominantly Nuer ex-SPLA forces of General Peter Gadet Yaak and the Merle forces of the warlord David Yau Yau. It is still not clear just how much of Unity State – Machar’s home – and the vital oil fields remained under Juba’s control and how much were under the rebel control” says the report. “On 22 December, the situation in Juba itself was calm and stable. There was no threat to President Kiir’s hold onto power and to the Government’s functioning”.

 

“The main Machar-related threats remained the two military units that defected. Despite repeated efforts, Gadet’s and Koang’s forces failed to break out of the Nuer-populated areas” stresses the report. “The Nuer-dominated areas where these forces operate presently are surrounded by Dinka-majority areas and large SPLA forces. President Kiir intends to bring these mutineer forces back to the fold. If reconciliation doesn’t work – the rebel forces will be defeated”.

 

“To affect a dramatic breakout despite the military stalemate, the Machar camp is pursuing an audacious strategy. On the one hand, they are portraying Machar himself as a world class leader and democrat worthy of the presidency and definitely on par with President Kiir (a theme that is being reinforced by the highlighting and endorsement of Machar’s harsh criticism of President Kiir and his government by the mainstream media in the West)”, explains the report.

“On the other hand, Machar’s forces are escalating their crazy operations – shooting at US Air Force MV-22s trying to evacuate foreign citizens from Bor (and wounding four US military personnel),  shooting at UN helicopters trying to deliver emergency humanitarian supplies in both Jongeli and Unity States, attacking a few UNMISS bases (where three Indian UN troops and 33 South Sudanese refugees were killed), and the threats to blow up the oil facilities in Jonglei State”.

 

“Khartoum started exploiting the diversion of SPLA units from the border to surrounding the mutineer units in Jonglei and Unity States in order to push large quantities of small arms and ammunition to both rebel (like Yau Yau’s) and Nuer forces”, asserts Fashoda.

“A few convoys were interdicted by the SPLA over the weekend. However, the quantities of weapons in hostile hands in sensitive areas are visibly growing. Moreover, the attackers of the UNMISS base used brand-new Sudanese-made ammunition (as determined from the empty cartridges left behind). The SPLA will have to tackle these challenges only after Machar’s coup is brought to an end”.

 

“Unless Juba is capable of marshaling the country’s military forces quickly, suppressing the revolt in Unity State (as distinct from Jonglei where Juba’s control had been tenuous since independence), and restoring SPLA presence along the Sudanese border – the rebellion will spread and a multitude of smaller foci of violence will join the fray as local leaders will conclude that Juba is vulnerable and will therefore attempt to extract-by-force favors, funds and services for their own constituencies”, advises the analytical Institute.

 

“The current crisis in South Sudan cannot be comprehended in isolation from the country’s tormented past and challenging current posture. South Sudan has been trying hard to build a nation and a state after the debilitating war of independence, autonomy period, and the post-independence austerity period (caused by Sudan’s blocking of oil exports until very recently). It is a mighty challenge given the diversity of the population and the gravity of the situation.

President Kiir was doing as great a job as can be expected under such horrific conditions. For several months now, Machar has tried to further the self-interests of his Nuer tribe by undermining the nation-building effort of the Kiir administration, and by reawakening the sectarian-tribal tensions. When Machar was rejected by the Government and Party establishments – he launched the revolt that is now tearing the nation apart along tribal-national lines”, concludes the report. “Irrespective of President Kiir’s actions – Machar must not be rewarded for awakening and capitalizing on sectarian-tribal hostilities and enmities (as he did in the 1990s and caused several Nuer massacres of Dinka).

President Kiir should be helped to restore stability and unity in the country, and then should be helped to improve both good governance and the economy. Hopefully, South Sudan will quiet down and stabilize well before election time in 2015”.

 

 

South Sudan: Riek Machar’s Coup Failed, Nation’s Unity Preserved

By Joe Odaby

On the night of 15 December 2013, former South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar and his supporters attempted a military coup in Juba. The security forces quickly rallied in support of the acting President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his legitimate government and put down the coup after few brief clashes in the capital. By mid-day Juba was quiet and a shaken government was back operating.

The Fashoda Institute, a leading African think-tank, has published an in-depth analysis of the events leading to a failed coup. It unveils that Machar and his colleagues were relying on Nuer troops from Machar’s tribe against the national authorities and armed forces, while the government’s forces were comprised mainly of soldiers from all backgrounds.

“Hence, the coup was a milestone that cannot be ignored. After a decade-long concentrated effort (in the last phase of the war, during autonomy, and since independence) to bring together the country’s diverse population into an all-inclusive joint national effort to build the state and nation – Machar, a power-hungry leading politician, attempted to reverse the trend and base his lust for power on reawakening separatist demons”, concludes the analysis.

Fashoda Institute points out that during the War of Independence Machar’s predominantly Nuer forces fought on both sides – for and against the SPLA – at times directly fighting SPLA troops under Kiir’s command on behalf of Khartoum. The main reason for the frequent switching of sides has been the Nuer’s struggle for power against what Machar and his allies called “Dinka dominance.” The fight got very bitter.

For example, Machar’s Nuer troops were responsible for the 1991 brutal massacre in the ethnic Dinka town of Bor. After independence, President Kiir nominated Machar as his Vice-President in order to draw the Nuer – the country’s second largest tribe – into the nation building effort. However, Machar has manipulated the national reconciliation effort and any other political initiative possible in order to empower himself, his coterie and the Nuer (in this order) at the expense of the national interest. At the same time, Machar revived his lines of communication with the uppermost leadership in Khartoum in order, in the words of his loyalists in London, to keep “all his options open.” 

In June 2013 the Islamist government of Khartoum cut the oil pipeline delivering South Sudanese oil to the markets. This breach of all contracts and peace agreements was designed by Sudanese President al-Bashir  to strangulate the young, Christian democracy of South Sudan.

Machar, then the Vice President, was dispatched to Khartoum to negotiate the resumption of oil flow. Instead he started his private back door dealings with Khartoum. As his allies and confidants explained, “a renewed oil cutoff could bring South Sudan to its knees, triggering a wider governmental collapse” which Machar “can capitalize on to force [Kiir] out and then rise to power.”

This observation of Machar’s plans by his own allies and confidants shed a sinister and significant light on Machar’s own conduct of the negotiations in Khartoum.

“Little wonder that Machar was fired soon afterwards as part of South Sudan’s President Kiir’s revamping of the entire government. Now in opposition, Machar and his supporters, including Pagan Amum then Secretary-General of the ruling party – the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – launched a series of drives to subvert the party’s institutions from within in order to topple President Kiir and declare Machar the SPLM’s uncontested candidate for presidency for the 2015 elections”, asserts the Fashoda Institute. “No matter how convoluted these efforts were  - they did not work. They did, however, compel President Kiir and his stalwarts to purge some of the SPLM’s elite in order to prevent chaos.”

“Cornered and nearly out of options, Machar reached out to his allies in Khartoum”, continues the analysis. “In early December, Machar sent emissaries to Khartoum in order to ask Hassan Al-Turabi, the Islamist luminary and leader of Sudan,s opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), “to mediate the current political crisis” in South Sudan. Turabi was specifically asked by Machar’s emissaries and in Machar’s name “to intercede” with President Kiir in order to reverse the dismissal of “senior figures from the ruling SPLM and the government,” as well as subdue the “atmosphere of tensions” in Juba by permitting Mchar and his coterie to assume leading positions of power. Machar’s reaching out to Turabi – the main ideologue of Jihad – is not surprising given Machar’s long relations with Khartoum going back to the war of independence”.

Meanwhile, in early December, Juba was going through a political crisis in the SPLM as Amum kept manipulating procedures and planned events in order to empower Machar and his camp on the road to the 2015 elections. On 15 December, President Kiir harshly criticized Secretary-General Amum during a speech at a meeting of the SPLM’s council. The vast majority of the SPLM’s activists and rank and file strongly support the policies of President Kiir and his government.

“This was made clear by the reaction to Amum’s accusations and President Kiir’s response”, concludes the Fashoda Institute. “Hence, having realized that their efforts to subvert the SPLM from within in order to topple President Kiir and the majority support he enjoys came to naught – Machar and his coterie immediately launched the attempted coup in Juba. To the great fortune of the people of South Sudan, the sectarian coup has failed and the nation has preserved its unity”.

President Kiir Declares Curfew In Juba As Attempted Coup Fails

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South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, sits in his office in Juba on December 16, 2013. Kiir declared a curfew in Juba on Monday after overnight clashes between rival factions of soldiers, but said his government has regained full control of the capital.

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — December 16 … The President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit has imposed a curfew over Juba  following heavy gunfire that started early Saturday, December 15, in the city and its suburbs. The situation though is under control; sporadic gunfire still continues to be heard in some parts of the capital. The curfew, the President says takes immediate effect.

In a press briefing in the early hours of the day, President Kiir called for calm among the citizens while assuring that “the Government is doing all it can to make sure the citizens of South Sudan are secure and safe”.

President Salva Kiir told reporters in the capital city of Juba that his forces were in control following a night of fighting with soldiers from an army faction loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.

“Justice will prevail and those attackers are being pursued,” President Kiir said. “This was an attempted coup but it failed.”

“An unidentified person near Nyakuron Cultural Center released gunshots in the air and escaped,” he said.

“This was followed by an attack at the SPLA general headquarters near Juba University by a group of soldiers allied to the former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny and his group,” Kiir said.

“The attackers fled and your armed forces are pursuing them. I promise you today that justice will prevail,” Kiir said.

South Sudan: President Kiir Calls for Regional Stability Amid CAR Crisis

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba, South Sudan — December 16 … The Fashoda Institute, a highly respected South Sudanese think-tank, has asserted in its latest analysis that the French-led Operation Sangaris in Central Africa is driven by the French desire for uranium ores and that “Paris is focusing on the uranium deposits in the Bakouma sub-prefecture of the Mbomou prefecture, in south-eastern CAR.

The primary sources of France’s uranium in southern Algeria and northern Mali and Niger are increasingly threatened by jihadist terrorism and sabotage, the endemic kidnapping of engineers and technicians, the scaring away of local miners and workers, as well as the destruction of facilities and support infrastructure. Hence, Hollande’s Paris decided to fully control and develop the alternate resources in the CAR. “

“A coalition led by Michel Djotodia had seized power in Bangui on March 24, 2013, and overthrew France’s stalwart puppet, President François Bozizé”, writes Fashoda. “Paris panicked. Initially, Djotodia seemed to be an ally of Iran and Sudan. However, in Summer 2013, Djotodia emerged as his own man.

Paris argued that power must be returned to the CAR’s legal president, Bozizé. However, Bozizé is an ex-general who also seized power in a military coup on March 15, 2003, when his forces captured Bangui and overthrew then-President Ange-Felix Patasse, who was out of the country.

Early December 2013, on the eve of the French-led intervention, saw a sudden marked escalation in the fighting in Bangui. Until then, the entire Bangui area had been completely quiet and stable for a few months. Anti-Djotodia forces launched a concentrated effort to turn incitement into fratricidal violence. The main instruments were well-armed vigilante militias that arrived in Bangui from neighboring states and pro-Bozizé regions.”

The Juba-based think-tank opines that “the French-led forces neither address the deep-rooted indigenous causes for the fratricidal violence, nor destroy the main forces threatening local stability. The French will stay and patrol for a few months, and then abandon the area to the hapless — ill-trained and ill-equipped African forces — who will prove incapable of meeting the challenges, and unwilling to try. The escalating jihadist and tribal-secessionist violence in Mali and Niger already attests to this. The CAR will not be different.

Ultimately, the fratricidal violence against civilians in the CAR is a mere excuse for Paris to intervene and impose its political will over Bangui. President Hollande has been very clear as to the real objective of the Paris in Operation Sangaris: to topple the Djotodia Administration and restore a French-dominated government. Hollande stated his objective explicitly. “We can’t leave in place a president who hasn’t been able to do anything, who let things happen,” Hollande said on Djotodia’s fate. As for the humanitarian concerns, had France, the US, and the rest of the international community, been genuinely committed to the alleviation of genocidal violence against civilians, there were worse carnages and genocides in Sudan’s Darfour and South Kordofan, as well as the multitude of vicious conflicts throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo, to which they could have turned their attention”.

President Hollande has announced that France would support “the creation of a rapid reaction force controlled by the African Union”. He declared that France would provide training for 20,000 African troops for five years, as well as the commanders and professional echelons until such time Francophone African armies have their own qualified cadres. The African leaders understood that Hollande means the creation of a French-controlled rapid intervention force for future unilateral interventions and “regime changes” where and when Paris deem French interests to be threatened.

“The blatant cynical move by France in Operation Sangaris sends shivers throughout the entire sub-Saharan Africa”, states the Fashoda Institute’s analysis. “The reawakening, exploitation, and exacerbation of indigenous crises and enmities in order to create excuses for the French-led intervention know no borders. The conflicts and the fratricidal violence they reawaken and engender spread among cross-border ethnic and tribal groupings over vast areas. African governments are already too stretched thinly and are too economically-burdened to be able to meet the new challenges. Urgently-needed development programs are postponed in order to restore stability in areas long-pacified in reaction to the new waves of exacerbation originating in French provocations.

African leaders increasingly focus on regional development in the context of regional cooperation, thus enabling even poor countries to implement major programs together while jointly reducing threats of spreading cross-border violence and instability. South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit is the most eloquent and visionary proponent of this vision.

President Kiir argues that the overall situation in Africa is unique and extremely complex. The myriad of crises and fratricidal violence are rooted in Africa’s unique history, tapestry of tribes and nations, and unfulfilled decolonization process. Western attention to African crises is selective and frequently at variance with Africa’s own priorities. Most foreign military interventions proved to be counterproductive and detrimental to African interests. Therefore, it was imperative, he felt, for Africans to formulate African solutions for Africa’s problems”.

The Fashoda Institute’s analysis concludes with assertion that “fighting and instability throughout Africa are manifestations of deep-rooted, endemic and indigenous problems. Just fighting the multitude of armed groups would not solve the root-causes of the fratricidal violence. Eliminating armed gangs should take place in the context of launching long-term development, self-empowerment, and good governance programs for the grassroots populace, thus addressing grievances and integrating the zones of crisis into the stable states.

President Kiir believes that only comprehensive modernization of all aspects of society and economy by the Africans themselves would guarantee the long-term stability and prosperity of Africa”.

South Sudan: SPLM Supports President Kiir, Accuses Splinters Of Aiding Khartoum

By Joe Odaby

Juba, South Sudan — December 12, 2013 … The Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) top leadership has asserted that there is no crisis in the party and dismissed the party rebels as “disgruntled elements”.

A group of SPLM party members led by former South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar and ex-Secretary General Pagan Amum accused in a press conference held in Juba, South Sudan last Friday the leadership of the ruling party of deviating from the party’s initial vision, and of corruption.

In response the party issued a press statement labeling the group “some disgruntled elements” whose intention is to “discredit and distort facts”.

Former Vice President Riek Machar was fired by President Kiir in July 2013as part of an effort to trim the Government and make it more efficient. However, the influential think-tank The Fashoda Institute and other South Sudanese analysts opined that Machar was fired for his alleged back door dealings with the Islamist government of Sudan, South Sudan’s northern neighbor and bitter enemy.

The Khartoum government led by General al-Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide, has allegedly promised Riek Machar to support his effort to unseat President Kiir and bring Juba back into Sudan’s fold.

In a press statement read out by the Vice President of the Republic and Deputy SPLM Chairperson H.E James Wani Igga, the SPLM Political Bureau accused the group of using cheap propaganda of intended to divide the people of South Sudan.

“These people are a disgruntled group united by one common cause of having lost power or influence either in the party or in the government. This comes out clearly in their words, whether spoken or written”, the press statement issued by a committee of the party’s Political Bureau and National Liberation Council stated.

“To us in the SPLM, we are more mindful of the vision and the core values of the liberation movement so much that we don’t see our struggle in the narrow lenses of those who referred to other people as “anti-Garang” elements. We all cherish our dear iconic leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior who brought freedom for the people of South Sudan”, the statement read in part.

Meanwhile, the SPLM has called for the 3rd National Liberation Council (NLC) to pass the party’s basic documents consisting of the constitution, code of conduct and the party manifesto.

“If these comrades are genuine, they should raise their “so-called crisis or deviations” in the NLC or subsequently in the Political Bureau meeting,” Mr. Igga stressed.

The party leadership has cautioned the splinter group not to incite the army against the democratically elected President Kiir and not to threaten creating instability, ‘chaos and disorder’ and falling into an ‘abyss’. Vice President Igga said the ‘gate as compared to the narrow door’ is open for dialogue within the party.