Tag Archives: rebels

South Sudan: Rebels Shoot Patients in Hospital Beds

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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”.

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: 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.

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.