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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”.

Obama’s “Humanitarian Interventionism” in Africa is Exacerbating Conflicts

By Joe Odaby

Juba — January 25, 2014 … The respected African think-tank The Fashoda Institute has published an analysis of the root causes of the current turmoil in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. It blames US-led Western interventionism which is focused on “feel-good, instant-gratification” in the Western media while having access to African riches as its primary objective.

Fashoda analyses the pattern of the US demands made of the local governments and leaders, naming the constant three: “Cease hostilities immediately and at all cost. This effectively rewards those who provoked and unleashed the hostilities and those who use civilians as human shields; Immediately implement Western-style democratic reforms, human rights, and swift elections. This undermines local governments, rooted in local customs and practices, and prevents them from addressing the real crises; and Establish weak governments totally dependent on Western patronage and protection for survival –both  for security and economically — and  then extort them for access to local riches”.

Fashoda notes that “these interventions continue as if the recent West-orchestrated “regime changes” in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria (attempted), and even Mali worked or benefitted the public at large. Undaunted, the US and France continue to lead the West in self-destruct policies in sub-Saharan Africa because of blatant disregard of the facts and realities on the ground while pursuing feel-good, instant-gratification interventionism”.

“The coup in South Sudan would not have happened without the conviction of the Riek Machar camp that they had the support and endorsement of the US-led West”, asserts the analysis. “In Autumn 2013, the Obama White House all but encouraged Machar to rebel, warmly endorsed Machar’s rhetoric about reforms and human rights, arranged for supporting coverage in the Western liberal media, and harshly criticized Pres. Kiir’s actions and record. Private foundations, mostly very close to the Obama coterie, were urged to funnel funds to Machar. Thus, the Obama White House and the liberal foci of power in the West created the impression of support and endorsement should Machar seize power.”

“Obama’s continues to threaten President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his government with sanctions and cutting of aid in order to coerce Juba into giving Machar victory in a failed coup rejected by the vast majority of South Sudanese”, notes the think-tank.

“Significantly, the US position stands in stark contrast with both all African states and all other Western powers, all of which rejected the coup and have supported the restoration of state authority in Juba.“

The grassroots Nuer population from Bor to Bentiu refused to cooperate with the coup attempt. The main Nuer communities demonstrated by action that they preferred Kiir’s tribe-blind nation-building to Machar’s sectarian benefits. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) — including both Nuer troops and senior officers — remained loyal to the State and carried out successful operations against the rebel forces.

“The Obama Administration’s distinct — and failed — intervention on the side of a power-hungry Machar and its willingness to derail the tribe-blind nation building effort in South Sudan will not be forgotten or ignored not only by virtually all South Sudanese, nor by the bulk of sub-Saharan African leaders and peoples who dread the reawakening of the tribal-secessionist ghosts”, concludes the Fashoda Institute.

South Sudan: Cease-Fire Signed

southsudan_ceasefireSouth Sudan’s government-delegation leader Nhial Deng Nhial (left) and the rebel-delegation leader Taban Deng Gai (right) shake hands after signing a ceasefire agreement in Addis Ababa.

By South Sudan News Staff

NAIROBI, Kenya —  January 23 … The government of South Sudan was pleased to announce that rebels loyal to the country’s ousted former vice president signed a cease-fire agreement today. The cease-fire ends more than a month of fighting that displaced thousands of people.

Under the agreement, signed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, both sides in the conflict promised to lay down their weapons. But they have also said that a cessation of hostilities would be a temporary measure, short of a formal peace agreement, and that negotiations would have to continue.

The cease-fire was scheduled to begin 24 hours after the signing.

“We promise total cooperation in the monitoring and verification mechanism that we urge the special envoys to quickly set in motion,” said Nhial Deng Nhial, the head of the South Sudanese government delegation.

South Sudan: George Clooney’s Sentinel Project Exposes Machar’s Atrocities

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — January 22 … In Adis-Ababa, Ethiopia, negotiations between the South Sudanese Government led by President Kiir and  representatives of the rebel forces of Riek Machar continue without a breakthrough. Machar’s camp refused to negotiate the only issue of importance to the South Sudanese delegation – a cease-fire that will stop the suffering of, and casualties among, innocent civilians.

Influential think-tank The Fashoda Institute has commented that civilians are kept “hostage” to Machar’s “power hungry demands from Juba”.

Meanwhile the use of child soldiers by Riek Machar in his so called “White Army” has caused international condemnation and a stern letter from UK legislators. Satellite imagery collected by George Clooney’s Sentinel Project clearly show the massive destruction in Bor inflicted when Machar’s forces were present in Bor and that the buildings and shacks were destroyed by people and vehicles on the ground rather than government’s artillery fire (no craters and signs of fire). UN photographs taken on the ground confirm the senseless destruction by Machar’s rampaging forces.

Meanwhile, regional governments were increasingly petrified by the possibility that tribes and other sectors in their own states be inspired or assisted by Machar’s coup attempt. Most directly threatened and thus ready to act is Uganda. Ugandan involvement was a result of Kampala’s apprehension about the dire impact that certain developments in South Sudan might have on the national security and stability inside Uganda. Kampala acknowledged that Ugandan “army has marched into South Sudan” in order to “protect Uganda’s own security and economic interests.”

Other IGAD leaders keep urging the rebels in South Sudan to put down arms and engage in a dialogue with President Kiir. “Machar’s coup attempt – futile and doomed as it might have been – reminded all African leaders of the looming threats to the African political system”, notes the Fashoda Institute. “

Perhaps, a blessing in disguise of the Machar coup attempt will be a reminder to all African leaders and government of the urgent imperative to focus on tribe-blind state building and development reforms for the future”.

 

South Sudan Optimistic Of Reaching Ceasefire

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By South Sudan News Staff

Juba — January 15 … The head of the South Sudan governmental delegation on peace talks has expressed optimism over ongoing peace talks with rebels loyal to former South Sudan Vice President Dr. Riek Machar in the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa.

Nhial Deng Nhial, the Head of the South Sudan government negotiation team arrived home from Addis Ababa on Monday for consultations with President Salva Kiir following the start of face to face talks with the rebels in its first day on Monday.

“We are hopeful,” Nhial told journalists in Juba on Tuesday shortly after meeting President Kiir.
“So there is an intense process that is going on aimed at arriving and speedily as possible to cessation of hostilities,” he said.

“Initially, there was a hiccup that threatened to scuttle the negotiation but fortunately the problem was resolved. The other side basically insisted that they cannot talk unless they see that the detainees are set free,” Nhial said.

“I want to tell you that it will not be very long until a cessation of hostilities agreement is signed,” Ateny Wek Ateny, a spokesman for President Salva Kiir, told reporters in Juba.

Three Chief mediators from Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya on behalf of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are brokering the talks and also arrived in Juba to meet President Kiir for consultations.

Release of detainees before the talks reaches a peak and a commitment to other issues including cessation of hostilities remained key demand of the rebels.

Though South Sudan government said the detainees, accused of masterminding a Coup on the 15 of  last month, can only be released in accordance with the laws of South Sudan.

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More than 400,000 South Sudanese civilians have been driven from their homes by the fighting, with most believed to be internally displaced in the country and nearly 80,000 fleeing to neighboring countries.

As rebels advanced, crowds of civilians fled to the river to escape the violence, rushing into barges to cross the White Nile. Amid the frenzy, officials said Tuesday, more than 200 people were killed when the ferry carrying them to safety went down.

All of the people killed, possibly as many as 300, were civilians, including children abandoning the town of Malakal, said Colonel Philip Aguer, a spokesman for the South Sudanese military. “The boat was overloaded,” he said.

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: 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.

 

 

South Sudan: Khartoum To Invade Abyei As Referendum Favors Union With Juba

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba, South Sudan — November 14, 2013 (SSN) … The Ngok Dinka people of the Abyei, a disputed region between Sudan and South Sudan, held their own informal referendum as a desperate cry to the international community to save a people under threat of genocide.

The organizers of the referendum announced on October 31, 2013, that virtually all Ngok Dinka voted to join South Sudan. The Dinka tribe played a key role in South Sudan’s generation-long liberation war: one of the opening clashes in South Sudan’s liberation war was the 1965 massacre of 72 Dinka Ngok by Misseriya tribesmen in the Abyei town of Babanusa.

The semi-nomadic Arab Misseriya tribe boycotted the referendum and promised not to recognize it. The home grounds of the Misseriya tribe are in the deserts of central Sudan and the tribe traditionally move down to the Abyei area, as well as other areas along the Sudan-South Sudan border in quest for grazing for their cattle as well as black slaves for the urban markets in northern Sudan.

Khartoum has announced that it would not recognize the unilateral referendum.

As the Fashoda Institute think-tank points in its analysis, Sudan is determined to hold onto Abyei in order to secure the vast oil reserves underneath: “all the more so as the economic collapse of Sudan is evolving into major popular riots which threaten the very existence of the Khartoum Government”.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir invited President Bashir to Juba on October 22, 2013, for an emergency summit on the future of Abyei. Following the summit, senior Sudanese officials reiterated Khartoum’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Abyei crisis in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement CPA of 2005 as subsequently supplemented by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel.

However, “developments on the ground contradict Khartoum’s assertion of a commitment to a legal and peaceful resolution of the crisis over Abyei”, as the Fashoda’s report has pointed out this week. In early October 2013, the Sudanese Army and Air Force have intensified the build-up of forces in the south of Sudan: mainly Kordofan and Blue Nile States. The Army deployed heavy battalions and regiments equipped with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and artillery. Smaller units — mainly company-level — deployed all the way to the border with South Sudan.

The Air Force deployed to the El-Obeid area strike aircraft — Su-24s and A-5Qs — as well as Mi-24/Mi-35 & Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopters. All the forces and weapons detected are optimized for offensive operations.

Fashoda’s experts agree that “all evidence points to Khartoum’s intent to increase military pressure on Juba in order to force Juba to compromise over Abyei. But a lot of things can go wrong with Sudanese patrols aggressively probing and shooting along the border”.

“All of these activities can be considered harbingers for the possibility of Bashir’s Khartoum electing to provoke a major crisis over Abyei as a way of both avoiding tackling the Abyei crisis while mobilizing Sudan’s own restive population — particularly the Islamists — into supporting and joining a jihad against South Sudan rather than riot against the Bashir Government”, writes the Fashoda Institute.

“Several opposition leaders — including former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and Hassan al-Turabi — promised to endorse and support any armed undertakings aimed to not only secure Abyei but also “reunite Sudan” (that is, occupy South Sudan). This is a temptation the besieged Bashir cannot ignore. Hence the growing Sudanese bellicosity along the border. The distance between provocations and an unintended war is very small and perilously vague.”

South Sudan Establishes Database On Homeless Children

By Christian Edwards

Juba, South Sudan — September 19, 2013 (SSN) Mrs. Awut Deng, South Sudan Minister of Gender Child, Social welfare and Humanitarian Affairs, has engaged in a countrywide audit aimed at establishing the actual number of street children and orphans for the purpose of national planning.

Minister Deng has travelled to the Eastern Equatoria state to assess the situation of the homeless children there. Her visit, she said was to collect views of various civil servants, experts, charity workers on how best the street children could be helped to lead a normal life.

“It’s our collective responsibility to ensure that all these children go to school. They are the future of this country”, the Gender Minister urged.

She called on the governments of regional states, development partners, civil society organization and religious leaders to join efforts in ensuring “streets free of street children”.

Hon. Awut who was received by the state’s deputy governor Mr.Jerome Gama Surur, visited a school of the orphans in the state’s capital Torit. The school is operated by the charity organization, Hope for Sudan. It has enrolled a total of 86 orphans. Madam Awut applauded the well wishers whose contributions made it possible to set up the center that she said has become home for many homeless children.

Awest Lomoro, a street child aged nine, appealed to the government for support, saying the government needs to take action to protect the fathers and the mothers. The South Sudan Gender Minister has in the recent past visited Warrap and Western Bahr el Ghazal states.