Monthly Archives: February 2014

South Sudan: Rebels Shoot Patients in Hospital Beds

south_sudan_hospitals

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — February 27 … Patients in South Sudan have been shot to death in their hospital beds and medical facilities have been looted and burned to the ground by anti-government forces.

Doctors Without Borders announced that they have to re-examine their operations in the country.

Doctors Without Borders states that the extreme violence and lack of respect for health care workers, shown by rebels opposing South Sudan’s government has made Doctors Without Borders’ work almost impossible.

Members of the humanitarian aid group discovered at least 14 dead bodies in a hospital in the contested city of Malakal over the weekend, said the statement. Several of the dead bodies had been shot while lying in their beds, the aid group said. Rebels have been fighting government forces for control of the city, the capital of an oil-producing state.

In addition, Doctors Without Borders’ facilities in the towns of Leer and Bentiu have been looted and completely destroyed, said the group’s leader in South Sudan Raphael Gorgeu. He said Doctors Without Borders does not want to leave South Sudan but must look at the safety of its workers.

Gorgeu told the South Sudan News that his medical aid group does not want to pull out of South Sudan, where 800,000 people are displaced and 3.2 million in immediate need of food due to fighting that broke out in mid-December. Thousands have died in the violence.

At the end of January thousands of residents fled as fighting broke out in Leer, the home town of rebel leader and former South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar.

Doctors Without Borders has worked in Leer for 25 years, evacuated staff while 240 others fled into the bush. They returned this week to find their hospital — a facility that served 300,000 people — destroyed.

South Sudan: Machar Fails To Control His Rebels

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Juba — February 25 … Crisis and violence linger in South Sudan more than two months after Riek Machar’s failed coup attempt. Fighting continue at varying levels of intensity and spread. Surges of tribal and clan clashes continue to the detriment of the civilian population caught in the crossfire. On this background the influential African think-tank “Fashoda Institute” has published analysis of the negotiations’ stalemate.

“The destruction is painful particularly to a country still at the beginning of a recovery process from a generation-long bitter and destructive independence war”, stresses Fashoda. “While rebel forces have been responsible for the majority of these clashes, government forces are not blame-free as evident by arrest of officers and soldiers who got carried away. The political process and negotiations are going nowhere. The opposition is irreconcilably divided between Machar’s camp that insists on seizing power and the former prisoners’ bloc that only wants profound reforms in Juba”.

The think-tank points out that “the main problem though is the rebels’ inability to deliver on the most basic issue – a viable cease-fire”. On the one hand, rebel leaders insist that they represent the people of South Sudan. On the other hand, the moment the AU and IGAD mediators demand cessation of hostilities as part of the start of negotiations in Addis Ababa – the same rebel leaders disavow responsibility, insist that they are not in control of the various armed factions and forces, and therefore cannot order them to cease the carnage and fighting. Simply put, if the negotiators in Addis Ababa and their bosses cannot deliver most of the fighting forces – whose leaders are they? In whose name and mandate do they negotiate?”

The Fashoda Institute’s analysis explains that “the situation is further complicated by growing pressure from the US-led West. Western officials now threaten sanctions and the withdrawal of badly needed humanitarian and financial aid. The US-led West demands reforms in governance and human rights that are out of touch with reality on the ground, but clearly endorse and reinforce the rhetoric of the Machar camp.”

“The greatest danger is the growing loss of commitment to the state among the rebels”, asserts the Fashoda Institute. “Despite the repeated claims to patriotism by Machar – there is clear evidence to the contrary. The repeated attacks on, and growing damage to, oil facilities, as well as the cycles of violence and carnage in and around Malakal, testify to this trend. If Machar really cares about his country as he insists – he should have restrained his followers and forces, and prevented damage to strategic infrastructure that serves ALL South Sudanese irrespective of who’s the leader”.

Fashoda comes to the conclusion that “the escalating violence in and around Malakal suggests that either Machar does not care about South Sudan’s vital oil infrastructure, or he is not in control of the fighting forces – which raises questions about his claim to leadership of the opposition”.

Uganda Supports President Museveni on Anti-Gay Legislation

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

February 24, 2014 — The Observer has published a controversial article defending the sovereign right of the Ugandan Parliament to pass legislation curbing gay propaganda and of Ugandan President Museveni to ratify it. It calls on Museveni to resist Obama’s pressure and asserts that the “homosexualism has reached an extent that we, Ugandans, perceive as alien to our culture and ethos as a people”.

Charlotte Ntulumme who teaches Journalism and Communication at Makerere University argues that the “homosexual movement is taking the world by carefully crafted strategy to mobilise nations to support the gay agenda. According to American conservative organisations, it was set in the late 1980s, in a book, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ‘90s, published in 1989 by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. The authors laid out a six-point plan to transform the beliefs of ordinary Americans with regard to homosexual behaviour over a decade. The points include portraying gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers, making the anti-gay movement look bad and getting funds for the gay propaganda from corporate America. The book calls on gay rights groups to adopt professional public relations techniques to convey their message. Apparently, the strategy is working. That is why opposition to any attempt to subject homosexuality to the law is packaged as “an affront and a danger to the gay community”, oppression of a minority and violation of human rights, freedom and justice”.

The author exposes as a fraud “use of scientific research to prove that one can be born homosexual” and points that  “no matter how rational one’s reasoning may be, dissent on this subject is homophobia”.

As American author Alex McFarland states in an essay, ‘Debunking 5 Common Arguments for Homosexuality’ (adapted from his new book, 10 Issues that Divide Christians), “It matters not on what grounds one’s disagreement with homosexuality is based: A person may disagree with the homosexual agenda for moral, religious, philosophical, sociological, academic, or medical reasons; it doesn’t matter. According to most currently holding seats of cultural leadership, any and all disagreement is rooted in homophobia.”

“This is why President Museveni should be lauded for his bold stance in announcing that he will sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law”, proclaims Mrs. Ntulumme. “The bill has raised a furore – not unexpectedly – from various quarters of the world. The Obama government has warned that enacting the “odious” legislation would “complicate [America’s] valued relationship with Uganda”.

The Washington Post, in its February 11 editorial called for a strong response to anti-gay legislation in Nigeria [and Uganda] from the West. The paper suggested that the US and Britain, “should be aggressively using their leverage to protect the vulnerable gay community…”

A more shocking reaction came from the leadership of the Anglican Church, urging leaders in Africa and, particularly, the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, to criticise new laws criminalising homosexuality. They said “victimisation or diminishment of human beings… is anathema” to the Church of England.

“This is all hogwash”, says Charlotte Ntulumme. “Uganda’s motto is “For God and My Country” and in our national anthem, we petition God to uphold our nation. Every religious denomination in Uganda has failed to find a single scripture in their holy books that condones homosexuality. All agree that the act is abominable, detestable, repugnant and offends God in whose hands “we lay our future”. The bishops of Canterbury and York should, therefore, tell us how we are supposed to reconcile these two opposite positions”.

“As the gay PR machine gets busy, Uganda and her President must snub the lies and withstand the sweeping tide of the gay domino effect”, concludes Charlotte Ntulumme.

South Sudan: UN Silent On Rebels’ Atrocities

southern sudan civilians killedThe body of a man killed in a massacre of civilians by rebels lies on the ground
in the village of Kaldak, in Jonglei state in southern Sudan.

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — February 17, 2014 … The respected Sudan Tribune newspaper asks in its lead article why the international community is silent about carnage and destruction caused by the rebels lead by Riek Machar in Bentiu, Bor, Malakal, Bailiet, Akobo, Jalle, and Kolnyang.

“Why is the UN and the international community maintaining silence over these unwarranted and disheartening atrocities?” asks the newspaper.

The analytical article suggests three steps to end the crisis.

First, government and people of South Sudan must ensure that “Riek Machar’s conspiracy to destroy the country is nipped in the bud so that people’s aspirations are realized sooner than later”.

To do this, the government should institute coordinated and parallel strategies to address challenges caused by the rebels in South Sudan and their allies; namely, intensification of military offensive and formulation of a robust strategy on future negotiated political settlement. The former should be applied if the rebels continue to violate agreement on “Cessation of Hostilities,” signed on January 23rd, 2014 between the Government of South Sudan and rebels in Addis Ababa. The latter, however, should be a continuous process with support from South Sudanese true and creditable allies worldwide.

Second, the government of South Sudan should make it categorically clear to the international community that the Republic of South Sudan is a sovereign nation and should be treated as such. This means that all laws of the land must be respected. And that any attempt to side step these laws must not be tolerated whatsoever.

A wounded South Sudanese child and a relative at a hospital in Upper Nile state

“A recent concerted campaign by foreign agents on the release of seven former political detainees was a flagrant infringement into South Sudanese legal system”, stresses the Sudan Tribune. “It has to be mentioned here that the former detainees’ released to the custody of Kenyan Government was achieved through undue pressure from supposedly allies of South Sudan, particularly the US, Ethiopia, and Kenya”.

Third, “the next looming conspiracy is relentless effort to secure the release of the remaining principal four coup plotters; namely, Pagan Amum Ukiech, Oyai Deng Ajak, Majak D’Agoot and Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth. If South Sudanese’ false allies succeed to release them, God forbid, then it will be a third bitter victory against the government and people of South Sudan. Should these four coup plotters win their release any time soon, Riek Machar will definitely capitalize on his theory that what happened on December 15, 2013, was not a coup but was “only a political crisis within SPLM Party.” And the majority of uninformed South Sudanese will believe his story since no one has been held accountable of coup attempt”.

“Riek Machar and foreign agents’ misinterpretation of facts surrounding the failed coup on December 15, 2013 is worrisome if not taken seriously by Government and people of South Sudan”, warns the newspaper.

“Otherwise, the government and people of the South will always fall victims in the hands of rebels and foreign allies, a move likely to threaten national security and sovereignty in mid- and long-term”.

South Sudan: A Structural Turning Point

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — February 11 … The internationally respected African think-tank The Fashoda Institute has released a report analyzing the continuing unrest in Central African Republic, South Sudan, Mali and prescribing a change in African governance trends.

The Fashoda Institute comes to conclusion that “African states have to cope with the growing schism between the imperatives of the African modern state and the trends of the African population. Under pressure and in growing destitution, much of the African populace is returning to tribal, national, ethnic, and religious frameworks of self-identity in quest for solace, security, and shelter. This is a mega-trend which also takes place throughout Asia and even parts of Europe. In contrast, to be effective and successful in delivering security, stability, reforms, good governance, development, food and water, modern states must be tribe-blind”.

“There is an urgent imperative to formulate new checks and balances between the sub-state, state, and supra-state (regional) levels of self-identity and quests for self-determination”, asserts the think-tank. “This means the imperative for reassessment of all basic services and infrastructure, particularly security, education, energy, communications, and transportation. To be effective in the vast rural areas, all of these long-term planning and reforms must be undertaken with close attention being paid to sub-state and supra-state, or regional, identities and aspirations.”

“Ultimately, the tangible success of proposed long-term reforms and development programs depends first and foremost on the legitimization, trust, and cooperation between state authorities and the populace; both individuals and groupings”, points the Fashoda Institute.

“To succeed, states and regional bodies must be both tribe-blind in caring for all the people as equally as humanly possible, and also tribe-sensitive and -conscious in order to care and cater for heritage sensitivities and proclivities. This delicate balancing will enable the grassroots to celebrate and preserve their distinctions and self-identities while eradicating the ability of aspirant leaders to exploit real, manufactured and imaginary tribal and sectarian tensions and self-identities as the levers to rebel against the modern state and the government”.

The analysis concludes with the summary: “These challenges must be addressed at an all-African level, given the artificiality of African borders and the importance of cross-border population connections. Unfortunately the African Union has so far failed to rise to the challenge. It brings the conclusion that African states must establish small regional groupings to address these burning issues before it is too late. This is the essence of the most urgent reforms”.

South Sudan: Rebels Stole 1,700 Tons of Food From Poor

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Empty tins litter the ground at the looted compound
of an aid agency in Malakal, South Sudan.

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — February 6, 2014 … In its latest analytical report from the respected African think-tank The Fashoda Institute, it is pointed out that “in South Sudan the ceasefire is becoming a political nightmare. Localized fighting continues because coup leader and former Vice-President Riek Machar has no control over the rebel forces, while the administration of President Salva Kiir in Juba is under international pressure to make more and more concessions to rebels”.

The Fashoda Institute points that “liberal West’s traditional approach — that the “rebels” represent the real interests of the people while the government pursues interests of the establishment — is maintained irrespective of emerging evidence to the contrary.

This approach is being applied to Machar, the ostensibly romantic rebel, while in reality Juba has to cope with the destruction and looting of the stockpiles of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Malakal (the capital of the Upper Nile State) when it was under rebel control”.

According to UN officials, thousands of people — mainly rebel soldiers and ordinary civilians — loaded the supplies into donkey carts and trucks and took off for the bush where Machar’s forces were trying to reorganize under SPLA pressure.

The WFP estimates that 1,700 tonnes of food were stolen: long-term supplies for about 100,000 of the poorest people in South Sudan.

Concurrently, rebel forces assaulted and looted the MédecinsSans Frontièreshospital in Leer, Machar’s hometown in the southern parts of Unity State. This hospital treats both the local population and refugees from across the Sudanese border. Consequently, most of the staff and ambulatory patients fled the hospital. Only about 30 staff members remained, trying to care for severely ill patients in the nearby bush. Until the rebel attack, the Leer hospital was the only functioning hospital in Unity State.

On February 2, 2014, SPLA forces returned to Leer and restored order.

Throughout South Sudan food shortages are growing because rebel ambushes and raids make food distribution by international aid organizations impossible.