Archive for September 30, 2011


Posted on September 30, 2011 by Editorial Team

LETTER FROM JUBA:

From Marvis Birungi

No one can blame President Salva Kiir Mayardit if he looks unhappy in this snap. With barely three months in power and after more than 25 years of war, a rebellion is the last thing he needs.

Barely three months since coming to power and heading what is still Africa’s youngest country, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit is facing a rebellion after a rebel movement was formed this week and went on to call for his ouster. The news is a major talking point here in Juba this week and first appeared on South Sudan News Agency, a pro-government news website.

The NDF is led by one Jack Deng whose details still remain a mystery. It joins more than three other insurgent groups in the just independent South Sudan. The country experienced a number of militia groups after the April 2010 general elections where the latter accused the government of rigging elections in favour of the ruling Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) candidates. Among these groups is one led by George Athor, a former gubernatorial candidate in South Sudan’s Jonglei State. Athor signed a ceasefire with the government early this year but broke it a month later when he attacked two of the national army’s bases in Jonglei state.

Athor accused the army for launching the attack first but said he was ready for further peace talks. He still remains the most active militia in the south. Officials here accuse the Khartoum government of arming and supporting him. He was also accused of last month’s tribal attacks between the Murle and Lou-Nuer tribes that left more than 600 people dead and thousands displaced in Jonglei State. The group’s statement says it will unite all the fighting groups in order to fight for the change of the regime. Other notorious groups included the South Sudan Liberation Army led by the late Gatluak Gai in Unity State. Gai was killed by his deputy after a disagreement within the group. Insurgents Gabriel Tanginya, Yau Yau and Peter Gadet surrendered to the army. Like most of the other disgruntled groups, NDF accuses the SPLM-led government of corruption, tribalism, insecurity, mistreatment of foreigners, spiralling inflation and nepotism.

This is how some locals here think about the new group:

Patrick Riruyo, an employee with United States Aid International Development USAID in Juba describes the group as confused and without concrete reasons to defend their rebellion, while Deng Bol Aruei lines with most officials that NDF is another long stretched arm of the Khartoum government. Joseph Eluzai says: “Expect a handful others over time.” It is predictable, he adds while Mary Lasu calls it a ticking time bomb. Mugabe Benjamin says: “I know “they” (referring to the government in the south) are going to be quick to point fingers to Khartoum but what does Khartoum have to with Deng? We will give it another 22 years and sub-divide the country again.”

“The hippo and the crocodile will enjoy the game. Both know the waters well,” says Alunyo Alfred Lukooya. Alas for the cats and camels, he adds while Agok Anyar says: “All this shall come to pass. Many have tried but ended up
coming back with no proper reason than demanding to be given V8 vehicles, mansions and school fees for their many children.”

Juba Teaching Hospital need help from you.

Another talk in town is about South Sudan’s main hospital, Juba Teaching Hospital. The hospital is currently overstretched with flowing patients suffering from different diseases, an incident many attribute to the returnees from Sudan that led to an increase in Juba’s population and heavy rains. A visit at the female Emergency medical ward shows that conditions are so over-crowded; patients are forced to sleep on the floor. The patients, most of them adults, are on intravenous medication for malaria treatment, although there are also diarrhoea, heart and liver cases.

Sarah Joseph Ladu says she brought her baby girl of eight months two days ago for malaria treatment but then she also got infected. She says that she only managed to get attention several hours later on her day of arrival. Diana
Kepsolsol, the nurse in charge says the ratio of nurse to patients is one to more than ten instead of 1:6. Like other basic services in South Sudan, the health system is struggling to get to its feet after the 20 years of war left it in shambles.

Nevertheless, these improvements to this vital service during the past six years have been slow. Malaria, diarrhoea and respiratory infections still kill people at a higher rate here than almost anywhere else in the world. This is because, IN PART, many families live far from functioning health centres and lack clean drinking water. At issue as well is the fact that many centres have little or no drugs as is the case today at Juba Teaching hospital, says nurse
Kepsolsol.

The recent flow of returnees from North Sudan into Juba, combined with the heavy rains have contributed to the over-congestion which is higher than usual cases of malaria and diarrhoea cases in health centres. Deputy Minister
of Health, Dr Yatta Loli Lugar admits that there is a problem, and while he does not offer any immediate solutions to the over-congested hospital, he says preventative methods can help. Locals here say that South Sudan’s health care system must be given immediate attention in order to improve the standard of living of its people. There is a push in some sectors to begin shifting money previously allocated for funding the military towards improving health care.

People here are keenly talking about Sudan’s rush to apply for East African Community (EAC) membership ahead of their government in Juba. President Omar al Bashir of Sudan wrote to the chairperson of the summit of EAC heads of state, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi expressing his country’s interest in joining the EAC. Basher’s application has already been submitted to the partner states and a meeting was held to consider several issues pertaining to the integration process.

Although some say Sudan would boost EAC credibility, others strongly argue that South Sudan should be given first priority to join the EAC for the role played by neighbouring Kenya and Uganda during the liberation struggle. Uganda is said to have heavily supported South Sudan with weapons and even some men to the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA). Michael Ladu says South Sudan shares cultural ties with the rest of the East African people and that it has built a strong economic presence in the country already. Elija Malok Aleng, former Governor of the Central Bank, said South Sudan informally accepted the EAC because citizens from East African countries are running almost all businesses in the country. He added that South Sudan should formalise the joining of the EAC by signing the treaty.

Democracy and governance specialist Daniel Wuor Joak argues that it is not yet time to join the EAC because South Sudan does not have a competitive industry. Joak says: “Free movement of people and goods would not benefit South Sudan.” Joak suggested that South Sudan should sign as associate membership and later on when it develops it should apply for full membership. But the Vice Chairman of South Sudan Business Union, Aggrey Esbon said there is no problem in joining the EAC because all economic activities in South Sudan are done in partnership with East Africa. He stressed that South Sudan should initiate and intensify its production of goods.

marvis.birungi

http://www.thelondoneveningpost.com/barely-three-months-in-power-and-kiir-faces-calls-for-his-ouster/2/

New Rebel Movement Emerges in South Sudan; Calls For The Overthrow Of The Government

Soldiers of the South Sudan Liberation Army; SSLA is one of the rebel movements already operating in South Sudan. Photo: molochik.ru

September 25, 2011 (SSNA) — A new group calling itself “the National Democratic Front” has been launched in South Sudan calling for the overthrow the current government of the Republic of South Sudan accusing it of corruption, tribalism and sliding into the abyss. It pledged to unite all the fighting groups in South Sudan in order to fight for the change of the regime. The Front is led by Jack Deng of whom little has been heard of before.

The following is the full text of the statement issued by the “National Democratic Front”:

25 September 2011
The Founding Statement of The National Democratic Front

The birth of the Republic of South Sudan was a moment of great joy. It was the moment the Southerners have been struggling to attain for centuries. The independence of South Sudan is not an end in itself but the beginning of the long road for the attainment of peace and prosperity for our people, who have been kept behind by the war. All these need a government that is forward- looking and rises to the enormous challenges posed by the birth of the new state.

However, the situation in South Sudan is slipping into an abyss unless drastic steps are taken to stop the slide. The country is gripped by many problems, for instance:

1. Rampant Corruption:

Corruption in South Sudan is a cancer that has evaded treatment. It permeates all levels of government from top to bottom. The widely spoken of corrupt ministers in GOSS who many believed would be relieved came back in force in the government of the new state. The message to the people is that those in charge do not care about their feelings. Thus, nothing short of the change of government will ever eradicate corruption.

2. Insecurity:

The country suffers from many forms of insecurity and nine out of the ten Sates are affected in one way or the other. Former SPLA officers are fighting the government, tribes are fighting each other, sometimes with the abetment of the government such as the most recent Murle-Lou Nuer fighting where more than six hundred people were killed. The life of a human being has become so cheap in South Sudan! A government that cannot provide security for its citizens is not worth being in office.

3. Tribalism and Nepotism:

National unity is the safety valve for the progress of our country. Unfortunately, tribalism and nepotism have become the order of the day threatening the fabric of our unity.

4. Treatment of Foreigners in Juba:

Since 2005, many foreigners from the neighbouring countries have come to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to render much needed services. However, a lot of them have been subjected to mistreatment and extortion; some lost their lives and others are languishing in jail without charges. All this is done by security agents. The South which has enjoyed the hospitality of the neighbouring countries and others in the region during the difficult times of war, the least expected of it is to reciprocate by treating the foreigners well.

5. The Spiralling Inflation:

Lack of clear economic policies has led to uncontrollable rising prices in basic commodities, especially the staple foods making them beyond the reach of the common citizen. For example, in Unity State, a bag of dura (90kg), which is the staple food, sells at 1,600 SSP when the minimum wage is only 300 SSP!

For all these failures and more, the National Democratic Front is launched today to spearhead the struggle to rid the people of South Sudan of this corrupt, inefficient and tribally-oriented government. The NDF shall:

1. Strive to unite the ranks of all the groups fighting in the bushes of Southern Sudan,

2. Upon the removal of the current government, establish a transitional government of national unity with the following objectives:

(a)- work out and implement a special socio-economic revival programme for South Sudan that will reverse the current decline of the economy and render basic services to the people.

(b)- pursue a sound foreign policy based on our interest and promotes regional and international co-operation.

(c)- Build a truly national army of South Sudan, both in mission and composition.

(d)- Carry out a complete overhaul of the security and law enforcement agencies to be for the service of the people and their protection.

(e)- hold a National Constitutional Conference in which all the political parties will take part. The NCC shall discuss and agree on the principles of the permanent constitution of the country, and set the time for holding the general election for the Constituent Assembly that will promulgate the permanent constitution.

The NDF is open to all South Sudanese who believe that South Sudan deserves better than the present government which is like a rudderless ship. We call upon all the masses of our people to stand with us in order to bring the suffering of our people under this misguided regime into a speedy end.

JACK DENG
Chairman of NDF

 


The struggle for freedom from the grip of the Khartoum government has been the most unifying force for South Sudanese. Now that this struggle has borne fruit and there is no more north to blame, what will unite South Sudanese is the desire to build a nation with a shared identity—Dr. Jok Madut Jok of the United State Institute of Peace.

By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA

On the occasion that South Sudanese were marking World Peace Day in Juba—September 21st, a special report entitled “Diversity, Unity, and Nation Building in South Sudan” was released by Dr. Jok Madut Jok, a South Sudanese professor of African studies in the department of history at Loyola Marymount University—USA, and a senior fellow at the United State Institute of Peace in Washington DC, USA.

The report was prepared and released as “part of a series of U.S. Institute of Peace reports on state building in South Sudan, [focusing] on how the new state will manage its cultural diversity with a view to bringing all its ethnic nationalities together, forming a national identity that can reduce the level of suspicion and ethnicity-based political rivalry.”

The report argues that new emerging countries such as the Republic of South Sudan invariably find it hard to achieve long lasting peace and meaningful national unity. Frequently, this elusiveness to attain peace and order is due to total failure by the new leadership to avail “expected dividends of independence.”

Mostly, the report maintains, this failure to deliver is occasioned, for the case of South Sudan, by two main factors: those from within which are sometimes self-inflicted by those in power and those from without and of which the new leadership may or may not have control over, the looming border war with the north, for example.

Among the findings of the report is that “poor infrastructure, a volatile political climate, limited capacity for governance, weak state institutions, financial crises, violent ethnic divisions, and an uncertain regional and international political atmosphere” are some of the evils that are seriously threatening the transformation of South Sudan into a viable nation.

And despite the initial excitement and anticipation towards the new nation, the report has it that “claims of corruption, nepotism, exclusion, and domination of government and business by some ethnic groups” have substantially dampened and “erode public’s enthusiasm for the upcoming transition” into nationhood.

Another issue addressed by the report is the apparent “lack of a respectable constitution that [would] spell out a clear social contract between government and citizens.” While there is currently a transitional constitution in place, the report notes that, owing to the opaque and controversial nature of its preparation and promulgation, it has not received universal mandate from the citizens. Hence, it has failed to act as a unifying symbol that all South Sudanese could be proud of.

But above all, the main stumbling block to a long lasting peace and unity is ethnic strife and rivalries. For instance, the author informs us that “ethnic relations in the city of Juba have been extremely volatile due to accusations that the Dinka, South Sudan’s largest ethnic group, have dominated the government.” This is couple with the unflattering “claims of violence by Nuer and Dinka–dominated army personnel; and suspicions of land grabbing by people who are not indigenous residents of the town.”

Because this “widespread suspicion of ethnicity-based exclusion from the national platform and other aspects of South Sudanese national life” do come “with tragic consequences for national unity, human life, and development programs,” the main problem facing policy makers in Juba, the report observes, is “the question of whether the historical experiences—a negative unity driven by opposition to the north—that have long united the old south will endure in the new south, enabling the young country to become a unified political, cultural, and social entity—in short, a nation.”

In addition to internal problems cited above, the report identifies “activities of the Khartoum government on the borders” especially those that fuel and sustain “local militias, rebel movements, and tribal warfare” within South Sudan’s borders. The fighting in the regions of Abyei, Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain is also threatening to draw in the Republic of South Sudan, particularly the oil-producing regions where security is paramount for the economic viability of the new state.

What is the outcome of these combined forces? The disillusionment from within and the fear from without, the report asserts, have produced disunited and tribalized citizens in the Republic of South Sudan. While there was no question that most South Sudanese had “remained focused on the need for unity of purpose and ranks [during] their struggle for self-determination,” after independence though, “the country has found itself with only a hazy notion of a collective national identity beyond its unified opposition to the north, making its viability as a nation a matter of speculation.”

Ironically, the report implies that the continued menacing threat from the north might be what is keeping the South from implosion. (Although of a different nature, it does sound like a unity by force that was rejected during the referendum.) Interestingly, to the outsiders, South Sudan appears to have been “driven more by the euphoria of independence from Sudan, the political pronouncements of its leadership, and the history of an extremely violent conflict with the north than by its practical abilities as a nation-state.”

So what should be done to avert the seemingly impending disintegration of South Sudan along ethnic line? The report stresses that a “country seeking unity, collective national identity, and stability must have a clear policy.” According to the report, South Sudan’s government should “envisions the new nation as standing on four pillars needed to hold up the country: political unity, a strong and disciplined military, a strong economy and services delivery, and a vibrant civil society.”

Political unity is feasible through concerted political cultivation and construction of South Sudanese collective identity out of the present conflict-ridden cultural diversity. And “it is the task of [the] leadership, government, civil society, and private enterprise to do it by turning South Sudan’s cultural diversity into a national asset.”

The report correctly concludes that “the most obvious impediment to national cohesion is exclusion from the national platform, especially exclusion along ethnic lines” which regrettably precludes South Sudanese from having “pride in their nation.” Therefore, the author emphasizes, for those South Sudanese leaders who are preoccupied with how to turn South Sudan ethnic and cultural diversity into a useful national asset, fair “representation of all ethnic nationalities and creation of a broad-based government is central to South Sudan’s transition to nationhood.”

One more promising factor, among others in the report, is that the recognition that national education, a disciplined national army, a national anthem and flag and the celebration of “the country’s diverse culture through cultural centers, museums of heritage, and national archives” would act as “unifying symbols in the face of [divisive] ethnic and cultural diversity” in South Sudan.

Of course, not everyone will gladly welcome the report without faulting it. One main criticism obviously would be the usual claim that these types of “special reports” are nothing more than academic papers produce and consume by academicians and the organization[s] that funds them. Critics would maintain that as the academicians and their sponsors marvel over this latest special report on South Sudan, ethnic divisions and fighting would go on unabated.

Mainly, this is because the work might never get accessible to the relevant people—those that are actually involved either in the fighting or in the decision to fight. And while the work would indubitably make a great reading among the government ministers in Juba, and South Sudanese intellectuals, it is hard to gauge the extent of its distributions so far, much less its apparent impact, time notwithstanding.

The second criticism would be about the assumed South Sudanese unity during referendum. On the surface, it is easy to conclude that an overwhelming vote for separation was a signature of national unity. Dig underneath enough, however, and you would discover that that “full 98 percent vote in favor of separation, rejecting a unified Sudan” was not about unity of purpose and intents as much as it was about scoring points against one another and political face-saving by others.

That is, the SPLM/A, having lost the New Sudan Vision on the plane that killed Dr. John Garang, had no alternative but to settled for separation while the non-SPLM/A members—especially the militia groups who fought alongside the north—voted for separation, in spite of their marriage to the north, to score points against the SPLM/A. Contrary to the report, it is arguable to say that South Sudanese were never united in the past, not during the war, and of course, not now in the new nation.

In spite of these criticisms, the report is special in the sense that it was produced by a South Sudanese rather than from another know-it-all, preachy foreigner telling South Sudanese how to put their house in order while she/he has never been inside that house. Much still, Dr. Jok was, till recently, part of the government of South Sudan where he was serving as undersecretary in the government of South Sudan’s Ministry of Culture and Heritage. His research and findings are therefore well informed, timely and relevant to the urgency of negative ethnicity in South Sudan.

But most importantly, the report gives us—South Sudanese—a new insight into and a feasible way out of our national quandary. We did try South-South Dialogue and Presidential Amnesty as a mechanism to bring about long lasting peace and unity among various South Sudanese socio-political players. But it was abused when it became an incentive for rebellions and political prostitutions. In other words, violence and political rebellions were unwittingly subsidized and incentivized, hence more violence—and less peace, unity and order—was reaped, contrary to the initial good intention of the process.

Dr. Jok’s special report, therefore, is the latest take on this protracted pursuit of bringing about genuine peace and unity—molding the new nation from the ashes of war and negative ethnicity by turning South Sudanese cultural diversity into a national asset. I would therefore recommend this report to anyone interested in the welfare of South Sudan as a new nation.

Ultimately, what is needed to achieve peace and unity amidst our diverse ethnicities is a grand vision that would act as a rallying point to mold and create national identity. The kind of unity we yearn for could be glimpsed from the euphoric celebration of South Sudanese on two main occasions: the signing of the CPA and the announcement of the referendum’s results.

Only when we arrived there shall we talk—and be assured—of having achieved a sense of nationhood and oneness. It will definitely take lot of time, effort and/or luck for South Sudanese to relish the “expected dividends of independence” and the fruit of nationhood.

You can reach PaanLuel Wël at paanluel2011 (email address), PaanLuel Wel (Facebook page), PaanLuelWel2011 (Twitter account) or through his blog account at: https://paanluelwel2011.wordpress.com//

Diversity, Unity, and Nation Building in South Sudan (Jok).pdf

A comment on �Diversity, Unity, and Nation Building in South Sudan� by Dr. Jok Madut.docx

SUDAN-SOUTH SUDAN: Southern Kordofan refugees still vulnerable

Posted: September 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

201106141358570167.jpg
Photo: Paul Banks/UNMIS

Refugees from Southern Kordofan are still vulnerable, says the UN (file photo)

NAIROBI, 30 September 2011 (IRIN) – Thousands of people who fled insecurity in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan State to neighbouring South Sudan’s Unity State remain vulnerable, amid humanitarian access and security concerns, says the UN.

"People entering the area are reported to be highly vulnerable, some having walked with children for two weeks," said Siddartha Shrestha, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) South Sudan chief of communication.

"Increased levels of malnutrition are noted among new arrivals which require enhanced nutrition interventions."

UNICEF has supplied about 3,000kg of emergency nutrition supplies such as Plumpy’Nut, a paste used in the treatment of severe acute malnutrition.

At present, about 9,200 people have been registered, states a recent report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

While a majority of the arrivals are refugees, there are also a number of returnees.

The affected began arriving in Unity in July following heavy fighting and air strikes in South Kordofan and are the first refugees to reach post-independence South Sudan, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Unity State, which borders Sudan’s regions of Abyei and Southern Kordofan, is already grappling with the largest number of returnees – 83,851 – between 30 October 2010 and 13 September 2011, according to OCHA.

Amid safety and access concerns, discussions are ongoing about the possible relocation of the new arrivals.

"The big challenge remains access to the area. Current access is by flight to an air strip north of Bentiu Town and then by quad bike for some distance," said UNICEF’s Shrestha.

However, the bikes can only carry a limited number of staff and goods.

Shrestha said UNICEF was also assisting the vulnerable populations still in South Kordofan and had so far provided humanitarian assistance in 13 out of 19 localities in coordination with the government, and international and national NGOs.

"There are still large humanitarian needs in both government and non-government controlled areas," he noted, adding that UNICEF-Sudan continued negotiating for access to non-governmental areas with partial success.

http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93857

Is the world suffering from Sudanese genocide fatigue?

Posted: September 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Austin Bay

Remember Darfur, site of the genocide in Western Sudan? Two years ago, in August 2009, the then-United Nations peacekeeping force commander claimed the war in Darfur had “effectively ended.” He argued that major attacks had declined to the point that he thought the war would soon be over.

This month, the U.N. issued a press statement that said attacks had declined 70 percent since late 2008.

Which, given the continued bloodletting, is an awkward way of saying that the war really isn’t over. And it isn’t. The Sudanese government — meaning the Islamist Sudanese government seated in Khartoum, for there is now a separate South Sudan — still occasionally employs heavily armed militias as proxy forces to attack, kill and disperse Darfuri civilians. Sudan’s air force still launches air raids on rebel forces in Darfur.

There are two reasons attacks have declined. The first is that the northern Sudanese government has driven several hundred thousand pro-rebel Darfuris from their land. They are now dead or in refugee camps.

The second reason: The northern government is now engaged in several other wars against Sudanese civilians or former Sudanese civilians. In May, about six weeks before South Sudan became independent, Sudan attacked and occupied the Abyei area, a disputed border zone between the two nations. Over 100,000 people fled south to escape the northern attack. After U.N.-sponsored negotiations, both sides agreed to let Ethiopia deploy a peacekeeping force in Abyei. Ethiopia does not want to see the north-south confrontation expand.

The Abyei dispute involves complex land issues between the Dinka Ngok tribal group and a tribe of Muslim pastoralists, the Misseriya. The big story for the two Sudans is oil, however. Independence left South Sudan with the bulk of the nations’ proven oil reserves. The northerners resent that.

The southerners have their own resentments. The north is charging the south extremely high per-barrel oil pipeline transportation fees. At the moment, the only way South Sudan can export its oil is through Sudan’s pipeline system and its seaport, Port Sudan.

Thanks to oil, the Abyei fracas rated a few headlines. Sudan’s dirty wars in the Nuba Mountains and in Blue Nile state, however, bleed out of sight and out of mind.

The Nuba Mountains are located in South Kordofan state. Under Sudan’s 2005 peace agreement with South Sudan, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states were to have plebiscites to determine their “governance relationship” with Khartoum. The plebiscites have not occurred.

Instead, in June Sudan decided to determine the governance relationship using bullets — and attacked South Kordofan. The Nuba peoples were a particular target. Many Nuba had fought with the south’s guerrilla army. The Nuba fear total domination by the north. Some fear genocidal elimination.

This month, Sudan pulled the same trick in Blue Nile. Khartoum’s first target was the state’s democratically elected governor, who is an opposition party politician.

The Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile state could become new Darfurs. Where is the international outrage? Perhaps the world suffers from Sudanese genocide attention fatigue.

The case can be made that the so-called international community’s passion is only activated when a Republican inhabits the White House and the American left can then accuse said Republican of neglect and racism. 2011’s comparative silence, versus the vocal indignation of 2005, suggests the case has an ugly sort of merit.

www.austinbay.net

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/article/Is-the-world-suffering-from-Sudanese-genocide-2195451.php#ixzz1ZS6ryU8q

U.N.: South Sudan needs to stand tall

Posted: September 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

JUBA, South Sudan, Sept. 29 (UPI) — South Sudan needs to show the international community it can stand tall as the world’s newest member, a U.N. special envoy said from Juba.

South Sudan became the world’s latest independent nation in July. Independence was gained as a result of an agreement reached in 2005 that ended Sudan’s bloody civil war. Border skirmishes and economic disputes, however, threaten the peace deal.

Hilde Johnson, U.N. special envoy to Sudan and head of the U.N. mission there, told delegates at a press briefing in Juba she welcomed South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s message of peace and resilience at the U.N. General Assembly recently.

Kiir, in his address, said he was determined to build a strong and vibrant South Sudan that would live in peace and harmony with its neighbors.

"The management of these critical processes and the political milestones will be important for South Sudan’s standing internationally," said Johnson.

Johnson added that, with ethnic clashes erupting in parts of the country, a comprehensive effort was needed to maintain stability. U.N. peacekeepers had deployed to Jonglei state to defuse the tensions.

"What we are doing now is stop-gap measures and trying to get processes in place that can help resolve the issues over time," said Johnson. "But it is only through a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy that stability and peace in Jonglei can really happen."

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2011/09/29/UN-South-Sudan-needs-to-stand-tall/UPI-66031317317694/#ixzz1ZS6euqVN

Bashir rules out negotiations with Blue Nile rebels

Posted: September 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

KHARTOUM: President Omar al-Bashir said Sudanese government forces were poised to attack a stronghold of armed rebels in Blue Nile state, and vowed not to negotiate with what he called mutineers, the state news agency SUNA reported Wednesday.

Tensions between Sudan’s army and groups allied to the ruling party in the newly established South Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, in the Blue Nile area turned into armed clashes earlier this month, with each side accusing the other of starting the fighting.

“President Bashir declared that the armed forces will pray in Al-Kurmuk soon,” SUNA said, meaning that his military intended to take the town near the Ethiopian border that is seen as an SPLM-North stronghold.

It said the president told a gathering in Al-Qadarif state in eastern Sudan during a visit that the mutiny would be brought to an end and “those who committed crimes against citizens will be brought to account through the application of the law.”

“The government will not negotiate with outlaws living outside the country,” SUNA quoted Bashir as saying, adding that those who wanted peace should return home and seek change through normal channels.

The Washington-based Satellite Sentinel Project, which monitors imagery gathered from space-based sources, said last week that Sudan has deployed at least 3,000 government troops on a road leading to Kurmuk.

Analysts say the fighting with the rebels in Blue Nile, along with separate clashes in South Kordofan state, risk drawing the newly independent South Sudan into a proxy war.

The Sudanese government has accused the south’s dominant Sudan People’s Liberation Movement of being behind the violence. The SPLM-North, the movement’s branch in Sudan, has blamed Khartoum.

Sudan and South Sudan signed a border security agreement Sunday, taking a step toward improving ties after tensions over border violence and sharing oil revenues.

The SPLM’s Northern wing, the SPLM-N, fought with the South before a 2005 peace deal that led to South Sudan’s independence in July. It has supporters in the North, particularly the border areas.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 30, 2011, on page 10.
KHARTOUM: President Omar al-Bashir said Sudanese government forces were poised to attack a stronghold of armed rebels in Blue Nile state, and vowed not to negotiate with what he called mutineers, the state news agency SUNA reported Wednesday.

Tensions between Sudan’s army and groups allied to the ruling party in the newly established South Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, in the Blue Nile area turned into armed clashes earlier this month, with each side accusing the other of starting the fighting.

“President Bashir declared that the armed forces will pray in Al-Kurmuk soon,” SUNA said, meaning that his military intended to take the town near the Ethiopian border that is seen as an SPLM-North stronghold.

It said the president told a gathering in Al-Qadarif state in eastern Sudan during a visit that the mutiny would be brought to an end and “those who committed crimes against citizens will be brought to account through the application of the law.”

“The government will not negotiate with outlaws living outside the country,” SUNA quoted Bashir as saying, adding that those who wanted peace should return home and seek change through normal channels.

The Washington-based Satellite Sentinel Project, which monitors imagery gathered from space-based sources, said last week that Sudan has deployed at least 3,000 government troops on a road leading to Kurmuk.

Analysts say the fighting with the rebels in Blue Nile, along with separate clashes in South Kordofan state, risk drawing the newly independent South Sudan into a proxy war.

The Sudanese government has accused the south’s dominant Sudan People’s Liberation Movement of being behind the violence. The SPLM-North, the movement’s branch in Sudan, has blamed Khartoum.

Sudan and South Sudan signed a border security agreement Sunday, taking a step toward improving ties after tensions over border violence and sharing oil revenues.

The SPLM’s Northern wing, the SPLM-N, fought with the South before a 2005 peace deal that led to South Sudan’s independence in July. It has supporters in the North, particularly the border areas.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 30, 2011, on page 10.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2011/Sep-30/150102-bashir-rules-out-negotiations-with-blue-nile-rebels.ashx#ixzz1ZS6La1Ti
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

South Sudan’s Most Vulnerable – Inside the Leper Colony

Posted: September 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Danielle Batist *

After a lifetime of struggle, Laurence Modi hopes to improve his home and one day start a family. / Credit:Simon Murphy
After a lifetime of struggle, Laurence Modi hopes to improve his home and one day start a family.

Credit:Simon Murphy

JUBA, Sep 29, 2011 (IPS/Street News Service) – At first sight, the village of Rokwe on the outskirts of Juba looks like any other village in South Sudan. The sun shines bright on the grass roofs of the mud huts and sounds from a church choir practising can be heard in the distance. Only the scenery at the local health centre gives away that this is no ordinary place.

Dozens of patients seek shelter from the sun on the concrete veranda. Many have more than one disfigured limb. Some are able to move around, others struggle to walk. Rokwe is a colony for leprosy patients.

Erkolan Onyara was only 13 when he discovered a few sore spots on his legs. He did not know what they were, and when more painful spotting appeared all over his body, he showed his mother. Recognising the symptoms from her own illness, she got very upset. Erkolan – just like her – had leprosy.

Soon, he lost sensation in the affected skin areas and the wounds started to get infected. By the time his illness got worse, his mother had passed away.

Not knowing how they could care for Erkolan, the family heard of a village where people with leprosy were taken care of by a group of church brothers. Erkolan’s elder brother brought him to Rokwe in 1976 and the St Martin De Porres Brothers accepted him in the colony.

Erkolan remembers his first months in the village like it was yesterday. "I was all alone and I felt scared. I did not know anyone and I did not know what was happening to my body. It was a difficult time for me."

Like many leprosy sufferers, Erkolan was losing sensation in his hands and feet, leading him to often cut himself or injure his feet while walking. When he was 19 years old, disaster struck. "I was cooking dinner and tried to grab a pot that was on the fire. I did not feel the heat and both my hands burnt very badly. I lost my fingers and part of my hands."

Life as a young boy in the colony was a struggle for Erkolan. With the help of some of the Brothers he had built a small tukul (mud hut), but as a boy alone he had trouble feeding himself.

"I could not work because of my disfigurement. I went fishing in the Nile sometimes or tried to grow some crops to eat, but often I was hungry." One of the Sisters from a nearby parish used to visit Erkolan and help him with basics like cooking and laundry.

The small health centre the Brothers ran from within the colony was chronically under-resourced. The ongoing war made the supply of medicine unstable. Still, they were determined to treat the village’s patients and cure them of their leprosy. Erkolan was cured in 1986, but the disease had taken its toll on the young man’s body: his hands were badly disfigured and he missed several toes, causing him instability when walking.

The medical breakthrough in the battle against leprosy came in 1981, when a World Health Organization Study Group on Chemotherapy of Leprosy prescribed the use of a multidrug therapy (MDT) as the standard treatment for the disease.

Despite being cured of leprosy, most of the patients stayed on in the village. Their often severe disabilities made life in one of the poorest regions in the world even harder for them than for most other people. And in the middle of the brutal civil war, the colony to many felt like the safest place to stay.

Brother Bruno Dada has been working in the colony for the past 23 years. He says fighting did happen around the village over the years, especially since the army built military barracks very close to the colony.

However, the stigma against leprosy has in some way protected the 350-strong village from the violent raids many other places in the area endured. Soldiers used to ignore the village because they believed there was nothing there to plunder. They were also afraid to enter the colony as they believed they would catch the disease.

As Brother Bruno puts it: "There is a stigma. People think that they will get leprosy if they shake hands with a patient, whereas in fact, it is impossible to get infected that way. Even if patients’ leprosy has been cured years ago, many people are still afraid to go near them."

Despite the preconceptions, many leprosy patients in Rokwe lived in fear throughout the war. Erkolan expresses the anxiety that was felt by many villagers: "We were always afraid because we knew we were vulnerable. If any fighting did break out, we could not defend ourselves."

Erkolan married a woman from the village and they still live in the hut he built when he arrived as a young boy. He is the proud father of three boys and three girls, the oldest of whom is now married and has moved away.

If Erkolan could make one miracle happen, it would be for his oldest daughter to finish her education. "We struggled badly for money and had to take her out of school", he says. "She was a very good student but we just could not provide. We had to send her to get married so that her husband’s family could look after her. I still feel bad about that now."

A recent gift from an uncle has improved life slightly for Erdokan’s family. He was given an old bicycle, which he uses to go to the forest and collect firewood to sell. "Cycling for me is easier than walking. I can carry the wood on the bike to the roadside. I don’t sell a lot but sometimes I get a few (Sudanese) pounds."

Whilst most South Sudanese are hopeful about the future of their country, independent since July, Erkolan can’t help but be sceptical. "There has been no development here for so long. No government cares for us. I hope things will change but we will have to wait and see."

According to the WHO there has been a dramatic decrease in leprosy cases in the past decades – from 5.2 million cases worldwide in 1985 to 805,000 in 1995 and 213,036 cases at the end of 2008. However, more than 200,000 new cases are still reported each year, mostly in poverty-stricken places like Sudan.

In Rokwe, the lack of government support for the leprosy patients and their families has to some extent been compensated by the work of international aid organisations.

During the war, the World Food Programme and a charity group supplied meals in the colony. Although occasional new cases of leprosy still emerge, the disease is largely under control in the region, thanks to a widespread treatment campaign which cures patients fast and stops spread of the disease.

But for people like Erkolan and others in the leper colony, the treatment came too late. Their illness might be under control, but the damage to their limbs cannot be undone.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), with the assistance of Sudanaid, supports some of the poorest sufferers and their families. They provided them with non-food items including 481 mosquito nets, 400 cooking pans, 400 sleeping mats, 400 blankets and 400 jerry cans for fetching water.

SCIAF is currently working on a new project with the Brothers to provide income-generating opportunities for residents and to set up a vocational training centre. They also help improve the housing situation for villagers in most urgent need of a new tukul or repairs to stop leaking in the rainy season.

One of the beneficiaries of the house repair scheme is Laurence Modi, 24. His life story – like that of so many in southern Sudan – is intensely sad. He was brought to the colony in the late 1980s by relatives.

Just a toddler, his small body was full of painful wounds that were the starting point of a childhood full of suffering. Both his parents had passed away, and tiny Laurence was dropped in the colony together with his sister, who was barely a teenager. The children moved into an abandoned mud hut and were left to their own devices.

Laurence received treatment from the Brothers to stop his leprosy, but his hands and feet were so badly affected that the simplest tasks like making a fire or digging the ground to cultivate land became impossible. He relied on his sister, who played the role of a mother, despite being only a child herself.

When in 2004 she left the village to get married, Laurence’s small world fell apart. "She was all I had," he says, fighting back tears as he speaks. "I was really sad when she left."

Lonely in his tukul, he started worrying about his future. A neighbour had begun to cook him food every day and help him out with household tasks, but he knew this could not go on forever. The grass roof of his tukul was leaking and at night during the rainy season, he often woke up because of the water dripping down inside. He suffered bouts of depression and saw no way out of his problems.

Early this year, one of the Brothers informed Laurence that he had been put on a list for a new roof. "I thought I was dreaming. I worried so much about the house. I was afraid I would have to go and find shelter at other people’s huts. I built this hut with my sister in 2000, we did it all by ourselves. It means a lot to me to live here."

The prospect of an improved house has given Laurence reason to look towards the future again. When the sun sets over Rokwe each night, Laurence sits in front of his hut and takes a moment to himself. He often dreams of the day he will no longer be by himself. "I would love to find a girlfriend and marry and have children. That is natural. My dream is to improve the house and start a family here."

* Published under an agreement with Street News Service. (END)

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