Archive for October, 2011

Fresh Scars on the Body Politic

Posted: October 31, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right, greets his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir on Oct. 8, 2011 upon the latter's first official arrival in Khartoum.Ebrahim Hamid/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesSudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right, greets his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir on Oct. 8, 2011 upon the latter’s first official arrival in Khartoum.


Oh, to have been in that room in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, on Oct. 16. That’s when the leadership of the world’s newest country met with Xanana Gusmão, the prime minister of East Timor, the first new country of the 21st century [1]. Surely, Mr. Gusmão must have lectured on the nitty gritty of starting up a brand new country. And undoubtedly, talk must have turned to borders: how to demarcate, secure and police them. (Yes, such are the daydreams of borderspotters like myself.)

Not that these borders are necessarily the stuff that daydreams are made of. New borders are to geopolitics what fresh scars are to medicine — painful, and potentially inflammatory, but, for both countries involved, also inevitable.

East Timor has a few advantages over South Sudan. As one half of a relatively small island, its total land border with Indonesia is only about 150 miles long. And even though it possesses a quirky coastal exclave in western Timor [2], there are no major outstanding territorial disputes to speak of [3].

South Sudan, on the other hand, is not an island — except metaphorically, in a sea of troubles. In the months leading up to its independence, it became fashionable to label the oil-rich but dirt-poor country a “pre-failed state” — a France-sized nation with less than 100 miles of paved roads.

When it declared its independence on July 9, it not only inherited long borders with five neighboring countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic), it was also endowed with about 1,300 miles of new international border with its former antagonist and parent state, Sudan [4].

Joe Burgess/The New York Times

Both countries agreed to demilitarize a six-mile zone on either side of the new border, but such goodwill (or mere public show) can’t hide the fact that this gigantic horizontal gash across Sudan, snaking its way from the Central African Republic to Ethiopia, is still very much a throbbing cicatrix. Even though the breakup concluded decades of armed conflict between north and south, the secession of a quarter of the country must have been traumatic for the central government in Khartoum. Formerly Africa’s largest country, Sudan is now relegated to third place, after Algeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo [5].

”Rump Sudan” still looks unfamiliar on the map, incomplete, like a broken elephant tusk. Maybe it was a reluctance to officiate the passing of “Old Sudan,” a familiar cartographic Gestalt for its size if nothing else, that explains why Google Maps dilly-dallied for over two months after South Sudan won independence before finally putting the new country on the map, in mid-September. Old borders, after all, die harder in the mind than on the ground.

This new frontier, for all the blood that has been shed in its establishment, has proved to be far from a capstone on decades of violence. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which led to the referendum which led to independence, has transformed the rebels of the Southern People’s Liberation Army into a legitimate government. But in a depressing replay of what came before, it is now in turn fighting its own internal rebellions: as recently as last week, heavy fighting in Unity, a border state and the source of 98 percent of the new country’s oil wealth, claimed the lives of a large number of rebels — former and present.

And despite the “demilitarization,” tension between north and south remains, in no small part because of outstanding border issues. The peace agreement created the international border by dusting off the internal borders as they existed in 1956, when Sudan gained its independence from Britain. While that may have been the least-worst option — sidestepping both the border changes imposed by the north and those claimed by the south — it still is a bit like trying to fit into an old suit worn by a younger, thinner self. Expect discomfort, and be prepared for some ripping. In Sudan’s case, the likely conflicts center on two disputed areas, Kafia Kingi and Abyei.

Though historically a part of the south, Kafia Kingi, on the border with the Central African Republic, was transferred from the region of Bahr el Ghazal, now in South Sudan, to the region of Darfur, which remains in Sudan. But the South Sudanese would like it back, thank you very much. The (North) Sudanese can play pass-the-parcel with the issue, and claim — rightfully — that it wasn’t them what done it: the British colonial administration transferred the area in the 1930s.

Similarly, the British transferred Abyei from south to north in order to get to grips with a pastoralist conflict between tribes of Dinka (from the south) and Messiria (from the north). That ethnic conflict is still at the center of the local tug of war. Officially, the Abyei area has been declared a condominium: its inhabitants have dual citizenship of both the states of South Kordofan (in the north) and North Bahr el Ghazal (in the south), pending a referendum on which side of the fence they want to land on. But in fact, the (North) Sudanese army has taken over the area by force, clearing out officials and citizens whose loyalty lies with the South.

If, on a map, Abyei looks like the buckle on the belt of the intra-Sudanese border, the analogy is an apt one. The ongoing tension is a miniature version of the recently resolved conflict between the two states: the north has used its superior firepower to gain the upper hand and create “facts on the ground,” but South Sudan, now independent, can feed the resentment of its ethnically cleansed partisans with petrodollars. Abyei has the potential to become the flashpoint of the South’s irredentist frustrations.

If only that were the end to South Sudan’s border troubles. The world’s youngest state is also one of its poorest, and its government thus is relatively powerless to impose its will on its borders — which, even setting aside the tensions with its northern neighbor, are hardly settled. Recent months have seen the South Sudanese accuse the Ugandans of encroachment on their territory, for example. The underlying conflict is older, and involves cattle-rustling between the Madi and Kuku tribes, on the Ugandan and South Sudanese sides of the border, respectively. The South Sudanese feel, perhaps justifiably so, that the weakness of their state is compelling some within Uganda to force the issue.

The main area of contention is the unresolved demarcation in the Logoba/Moyo district. A recent meeting between presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Salva Kiir of South Sudan did not resolve the issue, let alone relieve the tension. “At every opportunity, the Ugandans take the advantage,” laments a South Sudanese blogger. “Now that the country shares borders with six countries, South Sudanese must think of guarding and maintaining” their “territorial integrity, no matter what cost. That is what it means and takes to be an independent nation.”

Indeed, inherent in the modern concept of a nation are its endowments with a capital; a government, with state regalia like a flag and an anthem; and not least fixed borders — plus the will and power to enforce them. Clearly, South Sudan still has a long way to go [6].

It will be interesting to see if South Sudan aims to honor this lofty ambition with regards to the Ilemi Triangle, a disputed area on the border with Ethiopia and Kenya. Ethiopia has always conceded that Sudan was the rightful claimant to this area, its uncertain status caused by vague wording in a colonial treaty.

As the current claimant, South Sudan could ask Kenya, the current occupant, to vacate the area. But some suggest that the Southern People’s Liberation Army tacitly granted possession of Ilemi to Kenya in exchange for support during the struggle. With more pressing matters on South Sudan’s table, my guess is that President Kiir will not be in a rush to ask the Kenyans to leave.

Ironically, in the way that enemies often tend to resemble each other, South Sudan’s border problems mirror those of its northern neighbor. Even after jettisoning the South, the Khartoum government has had to deal with a major internal rebellion — this time in Darfur, the enormous midwestern area of the country. Is a second Sudanese secession looming? Not likely — the desert region has been “pacified” by a combination of army firepower and local pro-government militia.

On top of that, Sudan is also subject to festering, if less-well-known border disputes with Egypt. The Egyptian-Sudanese border deviates from the otherwise straight line along the 22º north latitude in three areas, all of which are potential flashpoints. The first is the Wadi Halfa Salient, where Sudan juts north along the Nile for about 16 miles. This was intended by the British colonial authorities to facilitate the administration of several local villages, which were easier to reach from Sudan than Egypt. From the 1960s onward, Egypt flooded most of this area when finishing the Aswan Dam, displacing the inhabitants of around 50 villages — eliminating the salient in practice, if not on paper. Yet Sudan is not willing to concede the territory in either sense.

Two areas further east are the Bir Tawil Trapezoid and the Hala’ib Triangle. Bizarrely, both Egypt and Sudan claim the latter, but neither claims the former — making it the world’s only remaining terra nullius [7] outside of Antarctica.

In an otherwise harsh and unforgiving climate, both Sudans appear to have the right ecosystem where borders — and border disputes — flourish. It will be a region that borderspotters will keep their eyes on for decades to come.

Frank Jacobs is a London-based author and blogger. He writes about cartography, but only the interesting bits.

Mind-reading: The terrible truth

Posted: October 31, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Technology

This is an interesting article from The Economist Magazine. I got the audio edition from my subscription and then feel like I should post the printed version on the blog because, scary and eerily as it seems, the government would, sooner than later, be browsing our minds, just as we browse the net! Mind-Googling, Mind-Reading, Mind-browsing!

The CIA will be having a field day, not that it hasn’t been already! I guess the constitution should legalize lying since, as the article argues, it seems as one of our indispensable evolutionary traits.

Should this technology materialize, Emanuel Kant, whose theory of justice espouses telling the truth under all circumstances and all the time, would be celebrating in his grave!

Enjoy your lies before they last!!

PaanLuel Wel

Technology can now see what people are thinking. Be afraid

Oct 29th 2011 | from the print edition

DOUGLAS ADAMS, the late lamented author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, dreamed up many comic creations. One of his greatest was the Babel fish. This interstellar ichthyoid neatly disposed of a problem all science-fiction authors have: how to let alien species talk to one another. It did so by acting as a mind-reader that translated thoughts between different races and cultures. Universal communication did not, unfortunately, lead to universal harmony. As Adams put it, “The poor Babel fish has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”

For the moment, mind-reading is still science fiction. But that may not be true for much longer. Several lines of inquiry (see article) are converging on the idea that the neurological activity of the brain can be decoded directly, and people’s thoughts revealed without being spoken.

Just imagine the potential benefits. Such a development would allow both the fit and the disabled to operate machines merely by choosing what they want those machines to do. It would permit the profoundly handicapped—those paralysed by conditions such as motor-neuron disease and cerebral palsy—to communicate more easily than is now possible even with the text-based speech engines used by the likes of Stephen Hawking. It might unlock the mental prisons of people apparently in comas, who nevertheless show some signs of neural activity. For the able-bodied, it could allow workers to dictate documents silently to computers simply by thinking about what they want to say. The most profound implication, however, is that it would abolish the ability to lie.

Who could object to that? Thou shalt not bear false witness. Tell the truth, and shame the Devil. Transparency, management-speak for honesty, is put forward as the answer to most of today’s ills. But the truth of the matter—honestly—is that this would lead to disaster, for lying is at the heart of civilisation.

People are not the only creatures who lie. Species from squids to chimpanzees have been caught doing it from time to time. But only Homo sapiens has turned lying into an art. Call it diplomacy, public relations or simple good manners: lying is one of the things that makes the world go round.

Minds matter

The occasional untruth makes domestic life possible (“Of course your bum doesn’t look big in that”), is essential in the office (“Don’t worry, everybody’s behind you on this one”), and forms a crucial part of parenting (“It didn’t matter that you forgot your words and your costume fell off. You were wonderful”). Politics might be more entertaining without lies—“The prime minister has my full support” would be translated as, “If that half-wit persists in this insane course we’ll all be out on our ears”—but a party system would be hard to sustain without the semblance of loyalty that dishonesty permits.

The truly scary prospect, however, is the effect mind-reading would have on relations between the state and the individual. In a world in which the authorities could divine people’s thoughts, speaking truth to power would no longer be brave: it would be unavoidable.

Information technology already means that physical privacy has become a scarce commodity. Websites track your interests and purchases. Mobile phones give away your location. Video cameras record what you are up to. Lose mental privacy as well, and there really will be nowhere to hide.

The Elusive Search for Peace in Darfur

By Brian Adeba
October 31, 2011

In mid July, a fringe Darfur rebel movement called the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed a peace agreement with the government of Sudan in Doha, Qatar. The Doha Agreement stipulates that the LJM will head an interim governing body called the Darfur Transitional Authority (DTA). In October, LJM leader Tijani El-Sissi returned to Khartoum to head the DTA. But analysts say the peace deal cannot solve the conflict in Darfur as long as Darfur’s main rebel groups, the Justice and Liberation Movement (JEM) of Khalil Ibrahim and the Sudan Liberation Movement factions of Abdel Wahid and Minni Minnawi, have not signed on to it.

In the meantime, JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim, who was living in Libya and prevented from returning to Darfur by the former Libyan government, is now back in the region following the demise of the Gadhafi regime.

Brian Adeba spoke to Eric Reeves, a well-known Darfur researcher and author of the book A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide about the Doha peace deal, the impact of Khalil Ibrahim’s return and future prospects for a comprehensive peace in Darfur.

Regarding recent developments in Darfur, what should we make of the LJM agreement with the government of Sudan and the return of the LJM to Khartoum?

Eric Reeves: There are a number of complicated and interlocked issues here. The peace negotiated in Doha and signed by the Liberation and Justice Movement is an agreement that has very little popularity in Darfur. It is not a basis for peace and indeed the regime in Khartoum will use this to say ‘We have made a peace agreement. We are not going to make any further agreements.’ That will make it very difficult to bring the other main rebel factions and the other ethnic groups into the peace process. There is already, in the displaced camps, great tension between LJM supporters and the vast majority [who oppose
the agreement].

The LJM is going to head the Darfur Transitional Authority. What is the significance of this move given the fact that there is, as you say, minimal support for the LJM in Darfur?

Eric Reeves: Tijani El-Sissi is a former governor of Darfur but he is not highly regarded by most of his fellow Fur tribesmen and particularly by the educated elite, particularly in the diaspora and in various professions. He does not command a lot of popular support. I am not sure whether anyone in the present circumstances in Darfur could, but he certainly does not and for him to try and exert control at the present time is quite possible going to be a trigger for increased violence within the camps for displaced persons.

On a related note, a referendum was supposed to have been held in Darfur in July, but that’s been postponed to next year. With the LJM in the mix now, what are the prospects of this referendum?

Eric Reeves: There is really no prospect of a meaningful referendum anywhere in Darfur. The registration process, voter security, tabulation, and integrity are just impossible. As long as the National Congress Party [ruling party] remains in control as it does, its security services will dictate the outcome of any referendum.

On another note, we have learned that the leader of the JEM, Khalil Ibrahim, has returned to Darfur. What is the significance of this return to Darfur?

He brings a commanding leadership back. On the other hand, many, including myself are very troubled by his past, by his stridency, by his connection to Hassan Al Turabi and the Islamists in Khartoum. He comes back and at the same time there are also a great many, particularly Zaghawa [one of the main ethnic groups from which the JEM draws support] mercenaries, who were working in Libya for Gadhafi. They have now, in many cases, returned with their weapons to Darfur. Probably, and in most cases, backed by Chad. This poses many problems because these guys are mercenaries. They are not rebels. They are men who are used to using weapons for pay. And in Darfur, opportunistic banditry, violence, extortion, kidnapping are all too common. And we may be seeing an uptake in that. I think we have to be concerned about the return of Darfuris who were serving as mercenaries for Gadhafi, and particularly well-armed Zaghawa. As far as an attack on Khartoum, which Khalil Ibrahim has attempted once and promised he will do again, he’s counting on a popular uprising to support this. The first time around [May 2008], there was no popular support—it was a suicide mission. Now it is a very different political situation. The northern economy is in shambles, there have been repeated protests, which have been immediately repressed, but they keep occurring. There is very high inflation, particularly since the government removed subsidies on sugar and petrol. Inflation is over 20 percent, unemployment is very high, and the government has no realistic budget, and is unable to begin to deal with its external debt of US$ 38 to 39 billion dollars. This is an economy deeply, deeply depressed. With much popular unrest there is going to be an effort by various rebel groups across the country, in Blue Nile, South Kordofan, Darfur [to try
to topple the regime] and that’s why the really brutal counter-insurgency efforts in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states are underway. This is likely to create a situation in which rebels do ally with one another and that makes an attack on Khartoum conceivable.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, which is active in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, has in the past talked of an alliance with other rebel groups in Darfur. How far has this move progressed?

Eric Reeves: It seemed to have stalled. I must say that Khalil Ibrahim is a big part of the problem here. He of course had a nasty role fighting southerners during the civil war. His agenda is very different from the other Dafuri rebels. He’s got much broader national ambitions whereas the Sudan Liberation Movements of Abdel Wahid and Minni Minnawi are much more focused on Darfur. So as far as I have been able to learn, there is no agreement even on principle, on how a united rebel front would develop. But if it does, and if there are effectively combined operations, then it would be a very potent force especially given how widely and thinly stretched the Sudan armed forces are.

Looking at the battle fronts in Darfur, everything seems so quite now. It looks like the rebel groups no longer have the clout to engage the Sudanese government in military activities. What is the future of the armed struggle in Darfur and how should the protagonists move forward?

Eric Reeves: Well, in the last year or two or perhaps a little longer, it was clear we were headed for a stalemate in which Khartoum controls urban areas and some of the countryside around the urban areas. But I think they [government] have given up trying to take Jebel Mara [a mountain range believed to be the base of the Sudan
Liberation Movement] or they are going to let humanitarian conditions deteriorate to a point where the people will be so weakened that will include a broader weakening of the rebel groups. [But] In war, men with guns are the last to starve. The situation in Darfur has gone on for so long now and it’s been so debilitating that I think we may see a drift into stalemate, especially since it’s clear that Khartoum had to divert substantial military resources to fighting in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. I track very carefully the number of bombing attacks Khartoum carries out and they are still occurring but they are less frequent in Darfur now even as they have picked up tremendously in Blue Nile and South Kordofan where they have seriously disrupted the agricultural season, right from the beginning of the rainy season [April] and right now the rains are ending and harvests begin and yet the Nuba people were unable to plant and tend crops. In Blue Nile, people will be unable to harvest crops [because of fighting that
flared up in September]. There’s a tremendous need for food aid and Khartoum is imposing an embargo and people are going to die very quickly. I think Khartoum’s goal is to crush the rebellions in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, retain Abyei and allow the status quo to remain in Darfur.

If the peace agenda was to move forward in Darfur, what would be required of the government and the rebel groups?

Eric Reeves: The rebel groups, of course this has been true for years, need to find a way to find a common platform. Right now they are absurdly fractured and the trouble began of course with the fact that the Darfur Peace Agreement negotiated in Abuja [in 2006] badly split the rebels, especially Abdel Wahid from Minnawi. But I think the real issue is the fact that in Khartoum, I believe we have seen over the last few months, a creeping military coup. Calling the shots now, are the most ruthless and most brutal men within the regime. The generals are those who are going to make decisions about how to deal with Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and Darfur. The evidence is that these generals are willing to renege on agreements. Nafie Ali Nafie [presidential advisor] signed an agreement with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North on June 28 and three days later, Omar El Bashir, clearly at the behest of the generals, renounced the agreement and talked about cleansing all of South Kordofan. Language like that is indicative of how militarily brutal this regime is at the moment and how dangerous, but also how vulnerable.

31 October 2011-(Juba) -At least 3 percent of the total population of South Sudan is living with the deadly HIV/Aids virus.

That’s according to the non-governmental organization, Family Health International or FHI.

The Senior Program Officer of F-H-I 360, John Bosco Alege said that a survey carried out by the Ministry of Health and its partners came up with 3 percent of the population living with the virus.

Mister Allege said the prevalence rates vary from town to town with the highest rates recorded in Western Equatoria state.

Alege]: “In South Sudan there are huge disparities in terms of prevalence. If you go to major towns like Juba, you go to Yambio, you go to Yei, Wau, Upper Nile and so on there are a lot of disparities in the prevalence. You will realize that currently, Western Equatoria state has the highest prevalence rate, I cannot quote it now because I cannot remember it off head, but it stands far beyond three percent, which means it is higher than the national prevalence that the ministry is working with”.

Alege said that intensive research needs to be conducted in order to establish the exact national prevalence rate.

Sudan Radio Service, a Project of Education Development Center

The AIDS Pandemic in South Sudan: Death from the bedroom

by Brian Adeba (written in 2001)

In the past, death in southern Sudan used either to come through war or famine. But now another avenue has been opened through an AIDS pandemic that is sweeping unnoticed in one of Africa’s unstable regions.

As the AIDS scourge continues to have a devastating toll on Africa, in southern Sudan rampant ignorance about the disease is set to make the situation even worse, so argue AIDS experts.

Largely, thanks to the 18-year-old civil war, the 45 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working in the war-torn area have mainly concentrated their efforts on relief work and combating other primary health problems, leaving the HIV-AIDS issue literally untouched. The most dominant rebel group in the area, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) has not done better.

Even after establishing a civil authority and administrative structure in the territory it controls, it has taken the group’s leadership six years to throw its political will behind efforts to fight the scourge. It was only in April this year that the SPLA and the NGOS sat down to formulate a policy guideline to combat the AIDS pandemic. To date, southern Sudan is one of those areas in Africa where no comprehensive statistics on HIV-AIDS prevalence exist.

“We don’t have correct information about the standards of AIDS prevalence in Southern Sudan”, admits Dr. Bellario Ahoi N’gog, Chief Health Officer of the SPLA Health Secretariat. Dr N’gog then cites perhaps the only AIDS survey ever conducted in southern Sudan in 1998 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“What was got was that there was AIDS,” he said. The survey found out that the prevalence rates on the virus ranged from one to three percent of the population. The SPLA estimates that there are 12 million people in the territory it controls in the south. Critics have termed the UNDP survey as being not comprehensive. Some areas, especially those where there was fighting, were not accessible to researchers when the survey was being conducted.

The inaccurate and not so comprehensive statistics aside, the situation has been made grimmer by the fact that the rebel authorities lack the means to conduct their own studies on prevalence rates. “We have not had the means to make comprehensive surveys in all the counties of the New Sudan (a term the SPLA uses for the areas it controls in the South) and we think that the problem is bigger than that”, says Dr. N’gog. Dr. I.S. Sindani, a physician who has worked for the relief agency, Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA), confirms his fears.

For the past three years Dr. Sindani has carried out small-scale studies in two hospitals in southern Sudan. The situation in the main in Yei, which is the main headquarters of the SPLA paints an alarming picture “We collected data from patients dating January 2000 to June 2001 and 24.6 per cent of the patients were positive,” said Dr. Sindani.

For a single hospital to register such an alarming high percentage there is every reason to worry. Dr. Sindani also said samples taken from blood donors within the same period registered a 6.8. percent positivity rate. “These are people living in the community and everybody looks at them as normal people but they are giving it (HIV) to others. So it is quite a high rate,” he says.

Two years ago at the same hospital, Dr. Sindani’s surveys found out that only 18.6 percent of the patients were HIV positive. But Dr. Sindani is quick to emphasise that these are small studies, which are not community based and comprehensive. He believes the prevalence rate could be much higher.

Dr. Sindani is not alone in his fears. Dr. Margaret Itto the Health Co-ordinator of the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC), says a hospital the Council operates in the town of Nzara in Western Equatoria Province, has in the last two years been recording an increase in TB cases and resistance to treatment. She says in most cases this is an indication that HIV-AIDS is increasing among the people.

Ms. Judith Roba, a nurse with the NSCC who has worked in many hospitals throughout Southern Sudan, says the situation is getting worse. “In all these hospitals I have worked, I see the signs and symptoms of HIV everywhere”, she said. The main mode of transmission of the virus is through heterosexual sex but of late increased cases of pre-natal transmission are being recorded. This year alone 6.2 percent of HIV patients in Yei Hospital were said to be children below the age of five.

Currently it appears that the number of males living with the virus is more than that of females. But researchers like Dr. Sindani argue that this is because most of the women in Southern Sudan are in refuge in neighbouring countries. According to Dr. Itto, this is a main cause of worry.

“All the five countries neighbouring South Sudan have high peaks of HIV AIDS. With people moving in and out, we expect it (HIV) to be high”, she said. The area under SPLA control is a large swathe of land, perhaps larger than Kenya and Uganda combined. Four years ago, the SPLA forced out government forces from most of Equatoria and Bahr-el-Ghazel Provinces.

From the Ugandan town of Koboko, the road is now open up to northern Bahr-el-Ghazel and a whole market for Ugandan goods was created. And with it, an increase in the movement of people across the two borders ensuring the spread of the scourge from Uganda, a country that a few years ago had the highest prevalence rates in Africa. Counties near the border areas are suspected to be having high peaks of the virus. Other factors like wife inheritance, initiation rites, use of unsterilised needles and the movement of soldiers from one front to another encourage the spread of the virus, so says Dr. N’gog.

Perhaps the major obstacle in the fight against the virus is the rampant ignorance about it in Southern Sudan. The NSCC, which was among the first NGOs under the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) umbrella to initiate awareness campaigns, estimates that only 58 percent of the population is aware about the disease. Awareness exists only around the border areas but deep in the interior, it is non-existent.

Even so, in places where one expects some knowledge about HIV-AIDS, it is mainly attributed to witchcraft. In some areas, people feel there are more pressing needs than awareness. An SPLA officer posed this question to this writer: “Which one kills faster- an assault on enemy trenches or AIDS?”

Awareness campaigns started in 1998, but not much has been done in this front. The situation is made worse by the lack of a wide reaching medium like radio, to disseminate awareness messages. Protective measures like the use of condoms is literally unheard of in most areas and in any case, the Catholic church which commands the largest following among churches in the South, is vehemently opposed to the idea.

Dr. Pius Subek, the Executive Director of the Sudan Health Association (SUHA), an indigenous NGO involved in AIDS awareness said his organisation brought condoms to a county called Kajokeji near the Ugandan border but not a single person came to ask for one. It is the same story in towns like Yei, Maridi and Yambio. Condoms are available in the shops and pharmacies, but there are no customers. Anyone seen with a condom is labelled promiscuous.

The fight against the scourge is also hampered by the fact that there is practically little or no co-ordination among the 45 NGOs in the health domain. As a result, individual NGOs carry out ill-planned and isolated campaigns in the areas they operate. No modalities are created to keep sustained awareness campaigns and soon these fizzle out.

However, AIDS campaigners are hailing as a milestone a meeting in April this year between the SPLA and the NGOS to formulate an AIDS policy guideline. During the meeting held in Natinga in Eastern Equatoria Province, SPLA leader, John Garang declared AIDS as the second enemy of the SPLA: the first one being the government of Sudan.

Garang also announced that the disease should be talked about in parades, churches, schools and courts of the “New Sudan”, whenever leaders find the opportunity. It is hoped that with this political backing of the SPLA, the fight against one of the world’s deadliest diseases may have just begun in one of Africa’s unstable regions. But for it to attain any tangible results a Marshall Plan might be required in the form of funds to kick start and sustain awareness campaigns since as Dr N’gog says the war on AIDS begun a bit late.

From AFRICANEWS – Koinonia Media Centre, P.O. Box 21255, Nairobi, Kenya
tel: +254.2.576175 (voice) Fax:- +254.2.577892 (fax-modem)
AFRICANEWS on line is by Koinonia Media Centre

Can we STAND TALL to face the Epidemic?

By Regina Akok

Warning! I’m not acting here as an HIV/AIDS expert, I don’t even belong to medical community, but I belong to human community, which allowed me to be inquisitive, not only that but passionate about health issues, and medical mysterious like many of you on this medium. In fact some of my favourite readings or shows have been about the medical field and health issues. I thought it’s important to access information, learning about prevention or cure for any epidemic like other diseases, and are considered essential part of human rights. I will share with you and some already know the basics about HIV/AIDS in terms of its history, what is it? And what are its social impacts on the victims and those surrounded the victims. What are some misconceptions that need to be changed? And how we need to change the way we look at HIV/AIDS as only an stigma attached to moral or ethical questions only, which hinders both prevention and cure, but as a disease that’s debilitating to all of us, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, culturally, and economically. In fact, its negative impacts extends to the next generations if we are not careful enough as government, professional healthcare givers, educators, communicators, communities, youth, women, men, chiefs, religious leaders, the victims of the endemic and everybody else. What has been done to prevent it globally? What lessons can we learn from those experiences? I acknowledge it’s not an easy challenge that could be dealt with easy and ready made resolutions. So let’s start exploring because how could we deal with unknown? This is just an attempt to understand the issue.

To start off, what is HIV and AIDS?

HIV is a virus that destroys human immune cells. It weakens the immune system, and without appropriate medical care, it leads most infected people to develop AIDS. The term ‘AIDS’ stands for ‘Acquired humane deficiency Syndrome’. AIDS is a medical condition, and a person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is too weak to fight off viruses. The history of AIDS is a short one; it goes back to 1970s, sadly, no one was aware of this deadly disease. In fact it was first identified or recognized in the early 1980s, in which an unprecedented number of people have been affected by the global AIDS epidemic. Since then the global AIDS epidemic has become one of the greatest fear and threats to human health and development. Simultaneously, much has been learnt about the science of AIDS as well as how to prevent and treat the diseases. Sorry to say, through the process our continent, sub-Saharan region of Africa has shared most of the pain and generations of souls have been lost because of HIV/AIDS. It is not a one person disease, when one is affected the whole family or community is hurt, starting with physical illness, psychological trauma, , deterioration of economic, reproducing parentless children as we saw in Uganda, orphanage, plus new sets of problems that are attached to that. In addition to stigmatisation that can extend to the next generation, placing an emotional burden on those left behind. I cannot even go there, that’s needs a whole book.

According to UNAIDS (2010) on the global AIDS epidemic, it is reported that for the end of 2009 about 33.3 million people are living with HIV, and roughly 2.6 million more people become infected every year with HIV, whereas 1.8 million die of AIDS. It is a staggering figure and scary as well, isn’t it?

We have learned that AIDS is passed from person to person through sexual fluids, blood and breast milk (in case of infected mothers). However, it has been reported that the common HIV infections are handed on through sex between men and women, sex workers, injecting drug users, and men who have sex with men.

Yet again, in many people’s psyche or mentality, HIV and AIDS are very much connected with particular group of peoples, which can lead to even a greater stigma and bias against people already thought of as outsiders. Stigma or shame is one of the reasons that delay fighting HIV or accessing the right treatment all over the world and could be the case in our beloved country, if the authorities are not sensible about it. It’s mainly problematic, thinking mistakenly that, well I’m immune to AIDS because I’m not that promiscuous or not a drug addict or not a gay and simply don’t belong to certain group of people or “the other”, its hookers’ problems not mine or it’s certain nationalities not South Sudanese, please give it a break already it has proven not to be true. The disease does not discriminate against anybody; it practises its fairness very well. Trust me; it’s not that far from your backyard. It affects adolescents, Adults men and women, religious people non religious people, wealthy, poor, those with high moral and those considered with low morals, well educated people and non educated, street people and those who live in mansions, blue, grey people as well as green people, young and old, including babies, those who live in rural areas as well as urban centres, those who reside in Juba a s well as those who live in Akouc (my own village in Twic county), South Sudan as well as America.

What is AIDS related stigma and discrimination? It means to prejudice, negative attitude, abuse and maltreatment directed at people with HIV and AIDS. Consequences range from being rejected by family, peers, and the wider community, by being offered poor treatment in healthcare and education settings, being avoided to socialize with. It is an erosion of rights, causing psychological damage, and as adding negative outcomes on the success of HIV testing and treatment. We can fight stigma through informative and helpful laws and setting policies which begins with openness. It takes courage to speak in public, in schools and empower those affected to use their experience as power of educating others. I know it’s not easy, especially in our communities.

That’s being said no policies or laws that will wipe out HIV/AIDS related discrimination. Stigma and discrimination will continue to exist so long as societies as a whole have a poor understanding of HIV/AIDS and the pain and suffering caused by negative attitudes and discrimination practices. Those fear and stigma need to be dealt with at government levels and community levels through simple tools like billboards like the one that I saw in Juba, translated in local languages, using visual aids, through schools, churches, mosques, villages, health centres, by including the already affected with the disease to be part of the solution. I’m sure I have not included every aspect that might help.

Let’s talk about what others have been doing to prevent the disease and what needs to be done in our situation before we regret it. Earlier responses to HIV prevention, which acknowledged that HIV can be passed to another person through sexual intercourse, even before the term ‘ABC’ approach for prevention was considered. It was obvious in the resources provided by the World health organization (WHO), the global program on AIDS, later succeeded by UNAIDS, governments and organizations around the world, that much attention was paid to abstinence principle (which could be discriminatory itself because not everybody knows how to self-discipline), fidelity and condemn use, which could prevent the sexual transmission of HIV, but was that enough, I mean did that control the spread of the disease? Before we reflect on that we may need to understand what is ABC strategy after all?

What is ABC approach of preventing HIV/AIDS spread?

•          Abstinence for youth, including the delay of sexual debut and abstinence until marriage

•          Being tested for HIV and being faithful in marriage and monogamous relationships

•          Correct and consistent use of condoms for those who practice high-risk behaviours

All the above points sound great but neglect other aspects such as cultures, social economic conditions, gender inequality, level of literacy, strength and willingness of the governments involved, stability of the nations and wars, lack of sex education and taboos and sets of problems surrounded the issue of sexuality, multiple partners and more. As early as 2004, UNAIDS called for a move towards a more comprehensive approach to HIV prevention because it appeared ABC approach was not enough, many people were still dying of AIDS. They thought of reviewing and assessing earlier approaches such as the above mentioned ABC approach and in fact to include realities of the inequality between men and women in many of the countries with a high HIV primacy, which explains, more women being infected with the disease.  Some organisations have recommended increasing on the ‘ABC‘ slogan to include social and economic aspects, particularly women’s rights. At one point, it was suggested that ‘DEF‘ were also added; representing ‘defending against gender-based violence’, ‘education: improving girls education’ and fix property and inheritance laws please see more on the (Global AIDS Alliance ‘Comprehensive HIV Prevention) and World Council of Churches (January 2005) “Working with People living with HIV/AIDS Organizations”

However, there are those who believe instead of that ‘one size fit all’, which means applying one model to all infected with the disease without looking at other circumstances that are specific to certain people, communities, or nations or regions. Those alternatives have meant shifting the focus from completely relying on ABC measures alone to considering other models that are more inclusive and culturally specific. Some of the debates believe it is important to discard ABC approaches altogether. Some argue, prevention plans must be tailored to the local context; which means to understand key drivers of the local endemic. It also means adopting more of a holistic approach (social economic, culture, beliefs, myths, gender equality, class and others). Each country has its own circumstances. For certain countries it might be that people are not open enough to discuss issues related with sex even among married people. Or because women are taught not to say no to their partners even if it was evident her partner is not committed to her alone. In other circumstances, the drivers might be inadequate and poor medical equipment, or lack of education about the disease or just government is being reluctant to address the issue or just being in denial.  That is why there is now general agreement that where the ABC approach is used, it should be balanced and that it should also been seen as part of a wider prevention strategy that, if appropriate, includes circumcision for men, harm reduction for injecting drug users in other countries, and preventing mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) for pregnant women. In the west they talk even about protecting the sex workers. For more information please see (Cates, Willard (2003) “The ABC to Z approach” Network 22(4))

It’s a responsibility of the government, health care system, professionals, nurses, education system, religious institutions, local communities, media and press, discussion forums like this platform, chiefs, women, youth, local NGOs, humanitarian bodies, individuals and mainly the victims of HIV/AIDS themselves. Who knows better and what else can be more effective and powerful than the living testimony. Personal narratives can be empowering and educating as long as they are not exploited; it has to come from them when they are prepared and feel save to talk about their own journeys on their own terms. The point here is not to be voyeuristic about their pain, but to allow them to reclaim their voices and turn the pain and suffering to a powerful tool. It’s healing process and has been used in different communities to give voice and face to their fear and by doing that they help the whole society. This is might not work in some societies or with some individuals.

In addition to that HIV/AIDS in South Sudan should be treated as an emergency situation. Our government needs to be proactive and not that only but aggressive about it. special funds needs to be allocated for epidemic diseases. It’s unfortunate, malaria killed many which is preventable, which makes the case for HIV/AIDS even more challenging. If we can’t face curable diseases as a country how would we deal with the most complex, It’s another issue.

In the end let’s benefit from the theme for World AIDS’ Day 2010 ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’. We know global leaders have pledged to work towards universal access to HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention and care, recognizing these as fundamental human rights. Though valuable progress has been made globally in increasing access to HIV/AIDS services, yet greater commitment is needed around the globe and specifically in our own nation, Good luck with that.

Please check the following references for more information

UNAIDS (2010) UNAIDS report on the Global AIDS epidemic

WHO, UNAIDS & UNICEF (2010), Towards universal access: scaling up priority HIV/AIDS interventions in the health sector

Mutembei MK (2001) ‘Poetry and AIDS in Tanzania: changing metaphors and metonymies in Haya oral traditions: 144 cited in ‘The African AIDS epidemic: A History’ James Currey Oxford: 82

Costa, M in Nolen, S (2007) 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa, Portobello Books: 131

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 2005, (Vol. 17


Sudan: Women Where Are You? the World Is Calling

Posted: October 31, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Dalia Haj Ali

30 October 2011

Almost a year after a disturbing video surfaced on the web of a Sudanese woman being flogged at a Khartoum police station, Nobel Laureate, Toni Morrison wrote a letter directly addressing the woman in the video and indirectly all Sudanese women. She writes, not with pity nor advice but with encouragement for resisting a vicious regime and showing dignity under the most undignified and inhumane situations, saying, "You did not crouch or kneel or assume a fetal position. You shouted. You fell. But you kept rising…It also moved me to see your reactions; I interpreted them as glimmers of hope, of principled defiance." Morrison ends her letter with optimism, trusting that Sudanese women are fighting for their rights the best they can, she says, "Each cut tearing your back hurts women all over the world. Each scar you bear is ours as well".

This, to me, is a direct call of solidarity with the strife of Sudanese women. A reminder that we are not alone, and that the very little that is shared with the world–especially through visual online content and Satellite TV–is causing ripples of shock and creating sisterly bonds.

However, these bonds remain weak, and will not become stronger before women in Sudan and Sudan’s women’s rights movement start to communicate better within themselves and link with a wider following inside Sudan and with the outside world intentionally, frequently and directly.

The Sudanese women’s rights movement is one of the most vibrant in the country, and its struggle for women’s rights spans decades and has seen many successes. However, lately they tend to get too busy and forget to reach out to the rest of the world. Even within Sudan their reach, and their ability to change hearts and minds and to mobilize Sudanese women and men around pivotal issues that affect women’s lives, is lacking.

This is the not the first time that we have seen hands extending and calls of solidarity from the global community. We saw that in 2009 when the case of Lubna Hussien (dubbed the "trousers journalist") captured the imagination of the world. And again in early 2011 with the case of Safia Ishag, the young activist who was brutally subjected to multiple rape by state security agents in Khartoum, and was the first Sudanese woman to ever speak publicly of being raped.

Both these women where courageous and selfless by speaking up against injustices that were not only inflicted on them, but that are a daily reality for countless Sudanese women around the country. Rape (used most systematically in Darfur) and harassment by public order police for "indecent dress" (a problem all over the country) are the state’s "weapons of mass destruction" directed at the dignity and pride of women in Sudan. Lubna and Safia, gave these two forms of state abuse a face and a voice that talked to all Sudanese citizens and to citizens of the world.

Using Satellite TV channels and the Internet (mainly through the technical support of the Sudanese Diaspora community) these two women took tremendous risks and social pressures to tell their stories. They challenged a regime that capitalizes on a conservative society’s silence and shame when it comes to violence against women. Their personal stories were more compelling than any statistics and abstract reports from the human rights movement and international NGOs.

Their voices were hard for the regime in Khartoum to ignore, prompting the government to start its own propaganda to justify these acts by spreading despicable lies and rumors about these women–a usual tactic aimed at distracting attention from the real issues and that, unfortunately, Sudanese citizens fall for each time. The regime’s security agency went as far as filing a case against several journalists who wrote about the rape of Safia Ishag in national daily newspapers.

The women’s rights community was also quick to react, organizing protests, press conferences as well as initiating an ongoing campaign called, "No to the Oppression of Women". They demanded a transparent investigation by the state into the case of the woman in the video as well as Safia’s case; and that Article 152 of the penal code that justifies the flogging of women and men is eliminated.

Today article 152 is still in place and neither of the two cases were transparently investigated. In Darfur the incidents of the rape of women and girls are on the rise and in Khartoum the regime heralded its "second republic", and openly shared its intention to annul all rights under the Interim National Constitution (Sudan’s first constitution with a Bill of Rights) and return us to the dark ages and an extreme interpretation of Shari’a law that fits its needs.

Wondering why the human rights and women’s rights community in Sudan are not able to keep the momentum and visibility on issues related to violence against women and specifically the public order law and the targeted rape of women in Darfur and elsewhere, I directed my questions at some prominent women rights activists.

Niemat Koko, an old time activist and one of the founders of the Gender Center said, "we are constantly reacting and never following through an issue for a long time, because we are stretched thin with limited resources, and the problems and challenges are plenty". She added that, "the problem with the campaigns for Lubna and Safia is that we rallied around two personalities, that at the time gave us an opportunity, but the personalities eventually overshadowed the issues and that was a tactical mistake". A poster from a demonstration organized by Sudanese women residing in Kenya in support of the elimination of the Public Order Law, September 15, 2009, Nairobi. Nahid Mohamed Al Hassan, a young writer and activist and one of the founders of the, "No to the Oppression of Women" campaign, gave me a more nuanced critique of the campaign and the women’s rights movement in general. According to her the women’s rights movement lacks strategic direction and is not able to have in-depth discussions and to agree on the intellectual and legal framework linked to women’s rights. She agrees with Koko on the reactionary character of the movement and the lack of long-term strategic plans. And points to internal personal conflicts among the older generation of women in the movement, which tends to hinder constructive debate.

Al Hassan adds that, "although there is a lot of potential and talent, the organizational, human resource and funding challenges are stifling progress". She explains that most activities by the movement are funded through personal donations and that organizations that are funded are avoiding the real issues because they don’t want a clash with the government. For example, she says that, "no one is dedicated to working on CEDAW, because it is a delicate topic with the regime".

Al Hassan also adds that the women’s rights movement lacks a grassroots reach and is not able to mobilize the street. "When we organize protests there are about 50 women who are usually ready to hit the street on women’s rights or political issues". She clarifies that most of these activists belong to political parties and are not fully dedicated to women’s rights issues, because of the demands of their parties, which do not prioritize women’s rights. "In all honesty, the political parties are not committed to women’s issues. To them this is a distraction from the more important goal of regime change", says Al Hassan.

The author is a Sudanese human right activist. She posts weekly articles on her blog Thoughts, Hopes and Speculations.

South Sudan Grows Populations, And Face New Problems

Posted: October 31, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Socio-Cultural

by Frank Langfitt

Lujiazui, Shanghai’s financial district, includes the world’s third- and sixth-tallest buildings. The city’s population is 23 million.

Lujiazui, Shanghai's financial district, includes the world's third- and sixth-tallest buildings. The city's population is 23 million.
Frank Langfitt/NPR

Lujiazui, Shanghai’s financial district, includes the world’s third- and sixth-tallest buildings. The city’s population is 23 million.

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October 31, 2011

NPR’s Frank Langfitt has spent the past year reporting in two countries where the populations and the problems could not be more different: South Sudan and China.

The best way to travel in South Sudan is by plane. That’s because, in a nation nearly the size of Texas, there are hardly any paved roads.

Small planes are a common way to move around South Sudan, which has few paved roads. Many roads are impassable during rain.

Enlarge Frank Langfitt/NPR

Small planes are a common way to move around South Sudan, which has few paved roads. Many roads are impassable during rain.

Small planes are a common way to move around South Sudan, which has few paved roads. Many roads are impassable during rain.
Frank Langfitt/NPR

Small planes are a common way to move around South Sudan, which has few paved roads. Many roads are impassable during rain.

Earlier this year, I flew to Akobo County, near the Ethiopian border. On the hour-plus flight, I saw cattle herders and acacia trees, but mostly empty landscape. There was little sign of the 21st century — or the 20th.

I touched down on a dirt runway in a town of mud and thatched huts. Goi Jooyul Yol, the county commissioner, explained how the lack of infrastructure is holding his people back.

“Akobo is a county that is cut off from the rest of Southern Sudan,” he said. “The only way we reach other counties through the state is through the river. We have a seasonal road right now. As soon it starts raining, everything stops.”

South Sudan is the world’s newest nation and one of its poorest. Its success depends in part on whether it can build enough roads where few exist.

Without tarmac roads, the people of Akobo can’t sell their corn and sorghum to outside markets. So, most of its residents remain subsistence farmers or cattle herders, leaving the government with little way to raise revenue and pay for anything.

Children in South Sudan, one of the world's poorest nations, sit in front of traditional homes made of mud and thatch.

Enlarge Frank Langfitt/NPR

Children in South Sudan, one of the world’s poorest nations, sit in front of traditional homes made of mud and thatch.

Children in South Sudan, one of the world's poorest nations, sit in front of traditional homes made of mud and thatch.
Frank Langfitt/NPR

Children in South Sudan, one of the world’s poorest nations, sit in front of traditional homes made of mud and thatch.

“The operating cost in the county, we cannot make it,” Yol says, “but we do have a lot of potential.”

The population of sub-Saharan Africa is growing faster than any other region on Earth.

South Sudan has more than 8 million people, and it’s been growing in recent years for reasons beyond its fertility rate: Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Sudan’s civil war have returned home.

Akobo’s schools can’t handle the students they already have. The current class size is 200 to 300.

“Some of them don’t fit in the classroom,” Yol says. “They sit under the tree. When I heard it first, I didn’t believe it. But when I went and saw it, it is something mind-boggling.”


China is mind-boggling in a completely different way. While South Sudan has very little infrastructure, China has built more infrastructure in recent years than any other country. Some Chinese, though, fear the expansion has been too expensive and too fast.

China is the world’s most populous country with 1.3 billion people. Most of them are crammed along the country’s East Coast.

Despite its ultra-modern skyscrapers and paved streets, some Shanghai residents still transport items on carts.

Enlarge Frank Langfitt/NPR

Despite its ultra-modern skyscrapers and paved streets, some Shanghai residents still transport items on carts.

Despite its ultra-modern skyscrapers and paved streets, some Shanghai residents still transport items on carts.
Frank Langfitt/NPR

Despite its ultra-modern skyscrapers and paved streets, some Shanghai residents still transport items on carts.

You could walk for miles through the Sudanese bush and never see another soul. But in Shanghai, you sometimes have to walk on the street because there’s no room on the sidewalks.

China has slowed population growth by limiting urban families to one child.

Its challenge is moving the mass of people it already has quickly and efficiently.

China came up with one answer nearly a decade ago: a magnetic levitation train to one of Shanghai’s international airports.

The train glides along a rail and covers about 19 miles in around eight minutes.

But few people actually use the train. One passenger, a businessman surnamed Pan from East China’s Shandong Province, explained why.

“The train ticket is expensive, $6,” he said. “You have the subway, it’s cheaper. For less than a dollar, you can get to your destination.”

The Chinese government spent more than $1 billion building Mag-Lev, as it’s known, in 2002. Last year, the train ran at just 20 percent of capacity.

Unlike South Sudan, China has huge financial resources, but the lesson of Mag-Lev is this: You don’t just need money to handle a large population. You need to be careful where you spend it.

China is now focused on building a huge network of high-speed trains.

Chinese rail travel has often been a slow, crowded ordeal, but the bullet trains are changing that. Zheng Zhongyu, an acting student in Shanghai, says trips to Beijing are so much better these days.

“Before the train took 13 hours, now it’s five hours,” says Zheng, waiting outside the Shanghai Railway Station. “When I would take the train home, I couldn’t buy tickets. I’d have to stand the whole night. Now, buying tickets is very convenient.”

But last summer, two bullet trains collided, killing 40 people. The government blamed a lightning strike, but delayed releasing a report.

The crash left many Chinese uneasy. Some feel their government is building too much infrastructure too fast, because it can.

Back in South Sudan’s Akobo County, a problem like that is unimaginable and the needs of the population more basic. What Akobo requires — and is in the process of getting — is just a road people can drive on in the rain.

Seven billionth person on earth born today

FamilyGPFamilyGP – Fri, Oct 28, 2011 15:00 BST
Seven billionth person on earth born today
Today, the world’s seven billionth person has been born. It is impossible to say exactly where the seven billionth person on the planet has been born or who they are.
So the United Nations have chosen several newborn babies across the world to symbolically represent the global population milestone, including two baby girls Nargis and Danica who were born in India and the Philippines, respectively.
However, the stark reality is that if a baby girl is born in the developing world, her future is set to be far from rosy.
According to a recent report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) there is a widening gap between boys and girls in these regions of the world.
While they receive the same care and opportunities during early childhood, as they reach adolescence the anomalies in terms of health or education become marked.
“While there is little difference between boys and girls in early childhood with respect to nutrition, health, education and other basic indicators, differences by gender appear increasingly more pronounced during adolescence and young adulthood,” said UNICEF deputy executive director Geeta Rao Gupta.
If the seven billionth child born was a girl in the developed world, for instance in Europe, Japan or the United States, once she becomes a teenager she is likely to receive many of the same opportunities as her male peers.
Her education, health and career prospects may even exceed those of her male counterparts.
But if she is born in a region defined as ‘developing’ she is significantly more likely to be married as a child, less likely to be literate than young men in her country and, shockingly, should she be born in sub-Saharan Africa, is as many as four times more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than boys her age.
A World Bank working paper examined the real economic impact of excluding girls from learning or work opportunities.
For instance, just one teenage mother in India can lose $100,000 (£62,052) in potential income over her lifetime, while a single girl in Ethiopia who has dropped out of school can expect to lose the equivalent of two months’ average pay per year.
The financial impacts on the national economies is bigger still: the cost to India of the 3.8 million girls having children at the ages of 15 to 19 is $7.6 billion a year (£4.7 billion) – enough to fill every single car in the US with a full tank of petrol 100 times.
The denial of education to 4.5 million girls in Ethiopia costs the country $582 million (£361 million) a year.
So beyond the headlines about the seven billionth birth – which will come 12 years after the six billionth, a baby boy in Sarajevo – UNICEF chiefs are urging developing countries to improve the education prospects of their female citizens.
Increasing the availability of good and long-term schooling for girls will have a ‘ripple effect’ and help to break the cycle of poverty in those regions.
“Closing gender gaps in all stages of childhood and eliminating gender discrimination – whether against girls or boys – are fundamental to inclusive and sustained progress for countries around the world,” said Rao Gupta.
“In addition to the harmful and often tragic effects of gender inequalities on children themselves, the kinds of persistent inequalities that we continue to see… are major barriers to the efforts of many nations to move out of long-term poverty and achieve their development aspirations.”

Why Did South Sudan Offer Buying Abyei?

Posted: October 31, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

We can excuse the SPLM in South Sudan for the shameful offer to buy the disputed area of Abyei. The dispute over Abyei was supposed to be resolved through the referendum the SPLM has rejected its conduct without any persuasive reasons.

We excuse the SPLM because the culture of selling and buying is deeply embedded in its mind. Immediately, after the declaration of South Sudan secession, the SPLM embarked on signing contracts to sell fertile and resource-rich Southern land to American, European and Israeli companies.
The SPLM has sold so far about 9% of the total size of South Sudan lands for some few thousands of dollars a matter which makes the whole thing looks like payment of a deferred political bill.

Based on this market culture, the SPLM thought it could do the same thing with the government of Sudan, and offered to buy Abyei area. Since the issue is about payment of international bills, it is not ruled out that the buying will be in favor of other parties with ambitions to seize Abyei lands.
However, the offer itself can be read in another context that does not serve the interests of South Sudan. Firstly, it is obvious that the offer briefly illustrates the legal and political SPLM stance toward the property of the land because it does not sound logic to claim ownership of a land while you offer buying it from another party. The owner of any property or whoever claims ownership of a land or anything else does not avoid legal means for solving the dispute over the ownership of that property.

Secondly, the SPLM wants a quick solution after things went so complicated with no signs of solutions loom ahead. If the SPLM accepted the referendum over Abyei, the situation would have resolved. Thirdly, the SPLM seems to be under pressure of sons of Abyei in the SPLM such as Deng Alor and Luka Biong.

Therefore, the referendum is sole and best solution for this crisis.

By SS, 3 hours 31 minutes ago

Sudan rules out Abyei swap deal with south

October 30, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese ruling party brushed aside an offer made yesterday by the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS) to fully resolve the issue of the disputed border region of Abyei, saying that it belongs to the north.

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FILE – A aerial view of looted items scattered on the ground in front of a deserted homestead on the outskirts of Abyei town (Reuters)

Pagan Amum, secretary general of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in RoSS, told Reuters in an interview that they are prepared to offer oil at a discounted price, an unspecified amount of cash, and forgiveness of all arrears from oil sharing claimed by the South from the time before it gained independence last July.

"This is a package that in return the government of Sudan will ensure the territorial integrity of South Sudan by agreeing to transfer Abyei to the South and also ceasing any claims on areas on the border of Southern Sudan that they are claiming," Amum said.

The financial aspect of the deal appears made to lure the north which is struggling economically ever since the oil-rich south seceded.

But the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan quickly rejected the idea.

The NCP spokesperson Ibrahim Ghandour, while addressing a rally at Sennar state in central Sudan said that Abyei belongs to the north and that it is not up for sale or compromise. He added that there is no room for retreat from the fact that it is part of Sudan.

"We will not compromise on Abyei and we will not allow the existence of two armies in the country,” Ghandour said.

The borders of Abyei were redrawn by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in 2009 after the NCP & SPLM agreed to refer the matter to it in a bid to resolve the long standing dispute.

However, the technical commission mandated with demarcating the borders on the ground failed to start the process because of threats leveled by the Arab Misseriya tribe who objected to the PCA ruling.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the NCP and SPLM stipulates that two simultaneous self-determination referendums should be held in South Sudan and Abyei so that its residents can decide their fate.

The SPLM has interpreted the ruling as meaning that the cattle-herding Misseriya tribe have no right to vote in areas assigned by the PCA to the Dinka Ngok. However, the Misseriya vow not to allow the vote to take place even if they have to resort to force unless they are allowed to participate.

The situation in the oil-rich region escalated dramatically last May when Sudan’s armed forces (SAF) invaded the area in response to an attack allegedly carried out by southern forces, two months before South Sudan gained independence from Khartoum.

Following mediation by the African Union (AU), both sides agreed to withdraw their forces and have them replaced by an Ethiopian peacekeeping force that was later named United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

But signs of renewed tensions emerged again after Khartoum said that it will not pull its forces unless the AU-brokered Abyei accord is fully implemented.


Sudan, rebels say fighting in southern oil state

Posted: October 31, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

* Both sides claim gains in Monday’s fighting

* Sudan says South Sudan has backed rebels, south denies

* Volatile border region home to thousands who fought with south

(Adds South Sudan’s says Khartoum is backing Unity state rebels, Khartoum’s response)

KHARTOUM/JUBA, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Sudanese rebels and government forces clashed in an oil-producing border state on Monday, Sudan’s government and the insurgent group said, a sign of escalating fighting that has raised tensions with the newly-independent south.

Fighting broke out between Sudan’s army and rebels in the South Kordofan state in June, just weeks before the south split off into a separate country. Both sides have blamed the other for starting the clashes.

Both Sudan’s army and the rebels claimed gains over the other during Monday’s fighting in the town of Taludi.

Ahmed Haroun, South Kordofan’s governor, said Sudan’s military repulsed the attack, and accused South Sudan of backing the rebels.

“Hundreds of soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (in South Kordofan) were killed during an attack on the city of Taludi this morning,” he told reporters at a news conference by telephone.

A spokesman for the SPLA in South Kordofan, Qamar Dalman, said the fighting was not over and disputed the government’s figures, saying just five SPLA fighters had been killed.

He claimed rebels controlled up to half of Taludi and had killed 273 government soldiers.

Neither of the reports could be independently verified.

Many of the rebels fought against Khartoum as part of the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) during a decades-long civil war, but were left in the north when South Sudan became independent in July.

South Kordofan and Blue Nile — both states on Sudan’s side of the border — and the disputed Abyei area saw heavy fighting during the civil war, and fresh clashes have broken out in all three this year.

Sudan has accused groups in those territories of trying to spread chaos along the border, while rights groups have accused Khartoum of trying to stamp out remaining opposition on its side of the border.


Fighting along the border has exacerbated tensions between Khartoum and its former civil war foes in South Sudan, who are still negotiating over how to manage the formerly integrated oil industry and other sensitive issues.

Each side has accused the other of backing rebels in its territory.

A spokesman for Sudan’s army repeated claims that the South Kordofan rebels received training in South Sudan, an accusation South Sudan has previously denied.

On the other side, South Sudan’s army spokesman Philip Aguer said he had evidence linking authorities in Khartoum to the rebel South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), which attacked the oil-producing Unity state’s Mayom town on Saturday.

Sudan’s information ministry official Rabie Abdelaty dismissed the charges. “I don’t think this accusation has any degree of correctness,” he said.

The rebel assault in Unity state killed 11 civilians and 13 government soldiers, Aguer said, adding the South’s army killed 32 insurgents and captured three.

The SSLA has advised the United Nations and aid agencies to evacuate both Unity and Warrup state in the next few days, raising fears of further violence.

South Sudan seceded in July after voting to separate in a January referendum promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended what was one of Africa’s longest-running civil wars.

(Reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Matthew Jones)

South Kordofan unrest: Sudan ‘kills hundreds’ of rebels

Recruits for the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) train in a secret camp in the Nuba mountains of South Kordofan 11 July 2011. The opposition party fighting the Sudanese government is calling for a no-fly zone over two states.

Hundreds of rebels have been killed in Sudan’s South Kordofan state following clashes with the army, governor Ahmed Haroun has said.

He said the SPLM-North rebels were killed when the army repelled an assault on the city of Teludi.

The rebels have not commented on the claims but previously accused the army of “ethnic cleansing” in the oil-rich area.

The state borders South Sudan, which became independent in July.

“Hundreds of soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-North) were killed during an attack on the city of Teludi this morning,” Mr Haroun said.

Mr Haroun is indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur, where he was once the governor.

‘Three fronts’

Sudanese army spokesman, Sawarmi Khaled Saad, said more than 700 rebels attacked Teludi, east of the state capital Kadugli, the AFP news agency reports.

“The armed forces waited for the invaders to arrive on three fronts with equipment and on several vehicles, but in an hour the armed forces and popular defence forces beat back the attack, causing heavy losses,” he is quoted by AFP as saying.

South Kordofan is one of three border areas – along with Abyei and Blue Nile – to have been affected by conflict since South Sudan became independent.


Sudan lodged a complaint with the UN Security Council in August, accusing South Sudan of backing the rebels.

The SPLM, in power in South Sudan, denies Khartoum’s claims, even though it fought alongside the northern rebels during Sudan’s decades-long civil war.

Sudan agreed to give the south independence in July, but held on to South Kordofan, Abyei and Blue Nile states.

Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes because of fighting in the three states.

From Sudan, a Glimpse of a New Conflict

With shouts of “Freedom!” the people of South Sudancelebrated their newly won independence on July 9. After a decades-long civil war, the rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army  who had battled the government of Omar Hassan al-Bashir could savor their success.Many of the brutal tactics they faced in this civil war were also used in Darfur by Mr. Bashir’s government. He now faces genocide charges in the International Criminal Court for the Darfur massacres.

But even though the south has now split off, the war is hardly over in Sudan. A new conflict has erupted in the Nuba Mountains and in Blue Nile State, where tens of thousands of southern-aligned rebels are now battling the Arab-dominated government of Khartoum, Sudan’s capital.

Soldiers from these two areas fought alongside southern rebels for years, but the areas are just north of the border and therefore geographically part of Sudan, not South Sudan. The people there have many of the same grievances that drove the south to fight for independence, like being discriminated against because they are not ethnically Arab. People in the Nuba Mountains and in Blue Nile complain that their areas have been neglected and marginalized for years, with few schools, roads or infrastructure – complaints the Darfur rebels have made as well.

Over the past several months, the Sudanese government has been relentlessly bombing the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State and demanding that the rebels in these areas disarm. In the Nuba Mountains, thousands of civilians have been hiding out in rocky caves to save themselves from the bombings.

Despite the Sudanese government’s attempts to close the area to humanitarian relief workers and journalists, the photographer Pete Muller was able to visit Blue Nile two weeks ago after a period of heavy bombing. He has provided a rare glimpse of the rebels who are now fighting to overthrow the government in Khartoum.

DESCRIPTIONPete Muller for The New York Times Rebels collected munitions destined for the front line.

“It can be an explosive situation when new borders are carved and minority groups find themselves on the side of the border that’s not comfortable for them,” said Mr. Muller, who has been covering South Sudan for two years. “This has a lot of destabilizing potential for both north and South Sudan.”

Mr. Muller, 29, found that the civilian population had almost entirely fled the Blue Nile area in face of attacks from the forces of the Bashir government. Many fled into Ethiopia and others crossed the border into South Sudan.

“There was a lot of concern over food shortages and the continuing bombing campaigns,” Mr. Muller said. “The hospitals are running out of supplies and they can’t replenish those stocks.”

The rebels in the Nuba Mountains and in Blue Nile have now formed their own political party, called the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North. Many Sudan experts believe that South Sudan is helping arm and support these rebels and that this conflict could proliferate into a full-fledged war between the two Sudans, which both have a number of pressing internal problems.

While the rebel forces in the south and those in Blue Nile and Nuba were united before the July 9 separation of Sudan, they now have distinct and separate military and political groups. Mr. Muller said it was clear that there were still strong connections between the two.

Mr. Muller wrote about witnessing the government’s bombing of the experienced rebel soldiers.

For no apparent reason, the rebels begin to scatter. With reckless abandon, they crash their Hilux pickups into elephant grass along the side of the road. Young fighters rush to camouflage the trucks with branches before taking cover in the bush. “There will be bombing,” yells Stephen Ahmed, a rebel commander, as he moves toward the relative safety of a low-lying riverbed. As a persistent droning fills the air, Stephen’s eyes, and the eyes of his men, remain fixed on the sky, hoping to spot the government’s high-altitude bombers. Soon, the roar of their payload rings out from the adjacent fields. My hands tremble with surges of adrenaline. Next to me, calloused and unfazed, a young rebel removes his sandals and washes his feet in the low waters of the river.

South Sudan dismisses rebel warning of looming advance

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


JUBA, South Sudan — South Sudan on Sunday dismissed a rebel group’s warning it was poised for a fresh assault in oil-rich Unity state and neighbouring Warap, a day after an attack left more than 80 people dead.

The South Sudan Liberation Army late on Saturday gave the UN and aid agencies three days to evacuate Warap state, saying it was about to launch an offensive. It followed a similar warning for Unity state on Friday.

“SSLA forces, under the command of Major General Bepean Machar, are now going towards Warap state to liberate it from corrupt government in Juba,” the group warned in its statement.

“Within few days, the people of Warap will be liberated from abject poverty, corruption and abuse of human rights,” the group said, adding that its fighters were also advancing on the Unity state capital Bentiu.

“The SSLA advises all NGOs and UN personnel to leave Warap state within three days for their own safety. We would also advise the civilians to evacuate all towns and move to villages in order to be safe.”

The government dismissed the rebels’ claim that they had captured the Unity town of Mayom in Saturday’s fighting, giving them a spingboard for the threatened advances on Bentiu to the east and Warap state to the south.

The authorities said that the clashes killed 15 civilians, 60 militiamen and nine members of the security forces.

“The SSLA have been contained and thrown out of Mayom, so there is no way they are advancing towards Warap,” Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said.

Military spokesman Philip Aguer too insisted that the southern army remained in control of Mayom and surrounding areas.

“I don’t think there is a threat to Warap. The only threat that we know from time to time in Warap is cattle-rustling,” Aguer said.

The southern government said it had deployed extra troops to both Unity and Warap to protect civilians and to guard the border with Sudan, which it accused of training the SSLA.

“They have only been targeting civilians. They have been avoiding army bases in their attacks,” Benjamin said.

“They have been trained by the Sudan government. We know because we have captured some of them and they have admitted it”, Benjamin said.

The minister said that South Sudan intended to appeal to the UN Security Council over its allegations of involvement by Khartoum in violence against civilians.

The SSLA is made up of renegade rebel fighters who refused to accept their commander Peter Gadet’s decision in August to accept a government offer of amnesty.

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What has Luck Got to Do With Success?

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Philosophy

Marc Phares/Epic Studios

MICROSOFT: A TURN OF THE PC TIDE In 1980, Digital Research developed the leading non-Apple operating system for personal computers. Luckily for Bill Gates, it failed to impress I.B.M., so Big Blue turned to Microsoft. At the time, Microsoft didn’t have an operating system — and Mr. Gates had no plans to create one. But he recognized the moment and committed his young company to a brutal schedule to develop the system for the I.B.M. PC.

And maybe that’s true — if you just want to be merely good, not much better than average. But what if you want to build or do something great? And what if you want to do so in today’s unstable and unpredictable world?

Recently, we completed a nine-year research study of some of the most extreme business successes of modern times. We examined entrepreneurs who built small enterprises into companies that outperformed their industries by a factor of 10 in highly turbulent environments. We call them 10Xers, for “10 times success.”

The very nature of this study — how some people thrive in uncertainty, lead in chaos, deal with a world full of big, disruptive forces that we cannot predict or control — led us to smack into the question, “Just what is the role of luck?”

Could it be that leaders’ skills account for the difference between just meeting their industry’s average performance (1X success) and doubling it (2X)? But that luck accounts for all the difference between 2X and 10X?

Maybe, or maybe not.

But how on Earth could we go about quantifying something as elusive as “luck”? The breakthrough came in seeing luck as an event, not as some indefinable aura. We defined a “luck event” as one that meets three tests. First, some significant aspect of the event occurs largely or entirely independent of the actions of the enterprise’s main actors. Second, the event has a potentially significant consequence — good or bad. And, third, it has some element of unpredictability.

We systematically found 230 significant luck events across the history of our study’s subjects. We considered good luck, bad luck, the timing of luck and the size of “luck spikes.” Adding up the evidence, we found that the 10X cases weren’t generally “luckier” than the comparison cases. (We compared the 10X companies with a control group of companies that failed to become great in the same extreme environments.)

The 10X cases and the control group both had luck, good and bad, in comparable amounts, so the evidence leads us to conclude that luck doesn’t cause 10X success. The crucial question is not, “Are you lucky?” but “Do you get a high return on luck?”

Return on luck: We call it ROL.

SO why did Bill Gates become a 10Xer, building a great software company in the personal computer revolution? Through one lens, you might see Mr. Gates as incredibly lucky. He just happened to have been born into an upper-middle-class American family that had the resources to send him to a private school. His family happened to enroll him at Lakeside School in Seattle, which had a Teletype connection to a computer upon which he could learn to program — something that was unusual for schools in the late 1960s and early ’70s.

He also just happened to have been born at the right time, coming of age as the advancement of microelectronics made the PC inevitable. Had he been born 10 years later, or even just five years later, he would have missed the moment.

Mr. Gates’s friend Paul Allen just happened to see a cover article in the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics, titled “World’s First Microcomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models.” It was about the Altair, designed by a small company in Albuquerque. Mr. Gates and Mr. Allen had the idea to convert the programming language Basic into a product that could be used on the Altair, which would put them in position to be the first to sell such a product for a personal computer. Mr. Gates went to college at Harvard, which just happened to have a PDP-10 computer upon which he could develop and test his ideas.

Wow, Bill Gates was really lucky, right?

Yes, he was. But luck is not why Bill Gates became a 10Xer. Consider these questions:

• Was Bill Gates the only person of his era who grew up in an upper middle-class American family?

• Was he the only person born in the mid-1950s who attended a secondary school with access to computing?

• Was he the only person who went to a college with computer resources in the mid-’70s? The only one who read the Popular Electronics article? The only one who knew how to program in Basic?

INTEL: GOODBYE AND HELLO Japanese companies unleashed a price war in DRAM computer chips in the mid-’80s, driving down prices 80 percent in two years. The business offered nothing but misery — bad luck for Intel, as DRAM chips were its main business.

Gordon E. Moore, right, and Andrew S. Grove (shown in 2001) asked themselves what new managers would do. The answer: Get out of DRAMs. So Mr. Grove suggested that he and Mr. Moore leave the company, metaphorically speaking, and return as those new managers. They exited memory chips and committed Intel to the new market for microprocessors, for which it’s known today.

No, no, no, no and no.

Lakeside may have been one of the first schools to have a computer that students could use during those years, but it wasn’t the only such school.

Mr. Gates may have been a math and computer whiz kid at a top college that had computers in 1975, but he wasn’t the only math and computer whiz kid at Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, M.I.T., Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, U.C.L.A., the University of Chicago, Georgia Tech, Cornell, Dartmouth, Southern Cal, Columbia, Northwestern, Penn, Michigan or any number of other top colleges with comparable or even better computer resources.

Mr. Gates wasn’t the only person who knew how to program in Basic; the language was developed a decade earlier by Dartmouth professors, and it was widely known by 1975, used in academics and industry. And what about all the master’s and Ph.D. students in electrical engineering and computer science who had even more computer expertise than Mr. Gates on the day the Popular Electronics article appeared? Any could have decided to abandon their studies and start a personal computer software company. And computer experts already working in industry and academia could have done the same.

But how many of them changed their life plans — and cut their sleep to near zero, essentially inhaling food so as not to let eating interfere with work — to throw themselves into writing Basic for the Altair? How many defied their parents, dropped out of college and moved to Albuquerque to work with the Altair? How many had Basic for the Altair written, debugged and ready to ship before anyone else?

Thousands of people could have done the same thing that Mr. Gates did, at the same time. But they didn’t.

The difference between Mr. Gates and similarly advantaged people is not luck. Mr. Gates went further, taking a confluence of lucky circumstances and creating a huge return on his luck. And this is the important difference.

Luck, good and bad, happens to everyone, whether we like it or not. But when we look at the 10Xers, we see people like Mr. Gates who recognize luck and seize it, leaders who grab luck events and make much more of them.

This ability to achieve a high ROL at pivotal moments has a huge multiplicative effect for 10Xers. They zoom out to recognize when a luck event has happened and to consider whether they should let it disrupt their plans. Imagine if Mr. Gates had said to Paul Allen after seeing the Popular Electronics article: “Well, Paul, I’m kind of focused on my studies here at Harvard right now. Let’s wait a few years, and then I’ll be ready to start.”

When we examined less successful companies, we saw a generally poor overall return on luck. Some of the comparison cases had extraordinary sequences of good luck yet showed a spectacular ability to fritter that luck away. When the time came to execute on their good fortune, they stumbled. They didn’t fail for lack of good luck. They failed for lack of superb execution.

WHILE getting a high return on good luck is an essential skill for 10Xers, getting a high return on bad luck can be a truly defining moment. Consider the 10X case of Progressive Insurance.

On Nov. 8, 1988, Peter Lewis, the chief executive, received news that shocked the insurance industry. California voters had passed Proposition 103, a punitive attack on car insurance companies. Prop 103 required 20 percent price reductions and refunds to customers, plunging a huge auto insurance market into chaos. Progressive had significant exposure, with nearly a quarter of its entire business from that one state — bang! — severely damaged by a 51 percent vote on a single day.

Mr. Lewis zoomed out to ask, “What the heck is going on?” He placed a call to a former Princeton classmate, Ralph Nader. Mr. Nader had long been a consumer rights activist, at one point leading a sort of special forces unit nicknamed Nader’s Raiders, and he had championed Proposition 103. The message that Mr. Lewis heard: People hate you. Or, in other words, people simply hated dealing with insurance companies, so they revolted, screaming with their votes.

“People were saying, ‘We hate your guts. We’re going to kill you. And we don’t give a damn,’ ” Mr. Lewis said.

Chastened by what he had heard, he called his staff together and told everyone, “Our customers actually hate us.” He challenged his team to create a better company.

Mr. Lewis came to see Proposition 103 as a gift, and he used it to deepen the company’s core purpose and to reduce the economic cost and trauma caused by auto accidents. The company would create its “immediate response” claims service: No matter when you had an accident, Progressive would be available — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Claims adjusters would work from a fleet of vans and S.U.V.’s dispatched to policy holders’ homes or even directly to an accident scene.

AMGEN: HELP WANTED, AND FOUND In 1981, Fu-Kuen Lin, a Taiwanese scientist, happened to see a classified job ad from Amgen, then a small start-up company. Mr. Lin happened to be looking for a job — and that lucky break became a defining moment for the company. George B. Rathmann, its founding C.E.O. (below left, with Mr. Lin), recognized the scientist’s talent and drive and built an environment where he could thrive. Mr. Lin logged 16-hour days to isolate and clone what is known as the EPO gene, which led to one of the biggest biotechnology products of all time.

By 1995, Progressive could note this achievement: in 80 percent of cases, its adjusters would have visited the customer, ready to issue a check within 24 hours of an accident.

In 1987, the year before Proposition 103, Progressive ranked No. 13 in the American private-passenger auto insurance market. By 2002, it had reached No. 4. Years later, Mr. Lewis called Proposition 103 “the best thing that ever happened to this company.”

Progressive and Mr. Lewis illustrate how 10Xers shine when clobbered by setbacks and misfortune, turning bad luck into good results. They use difficulty as a catalyst to deepen purpose, recommit to values, increase discipline, respond with creativity and heighten productive paranoia — translating fear into extensive preparation and calm, clearheaded action. Resilience, not luck, is the signature of greatness.

Nietzsche wrote, “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” We all get bad luck. The question is how to use it to turn it into “one of the best things that ever happened,” to not let it become a psychological prison.

WE came across a remarkable moment at the very start of the history of Southwest Airlines, described by its first chief executive, Lamar Muse, in his book, “Southwest Passage.”

“The very first Sunday morning of Southwest’s life, we narrowly escaped a disaster,” Mr. Muse wrote. “During the takeoff run, the right thrust-reverser deployed. Only the captain’s instantaneous reaction allowed him to recover control and make a tight turn for an emergency landing on one engine.”

What if the jet had smashed into the ground in the first week of building the company? Would there even be a Southwest Airlines today? If we all have some combination of both heads (lucky flips) and tails (unlucky flips), and if the ratio of heads to tails tends to even out over time, we need to be skilled, strong, prepared and resilient to endure the bad luck long enough to eventually get good luck. The Southwest pilot had to be skilled and prepared before the thrust-reverser deployed.

There’s an interesting asymmetry between good and bad luck. A single stroke of good luck, no matter how big, cannot by itself make a great company. But a single stroke of extremely bad luck, or an extended sequence of bad-luck events that creates a catastrophic outcome, can terminate the quest.

The 10Xers exercise productive paranoia, combined with empirical creativity and fanatic discipline, to create huge margins of safety. If you stay in the game long enough, good luck tends to return, but if you get knocked out, you’ll never have the chance to be lucky again. Luck favors the persistent, but you can persist only if you survive.

After finishing our luck analysis for “Great by Choice,” we realized that getting a high ROL required a new mental muscle. There are smart decisions and wise decisions. And one form of wisdom is the ability to judge when to let luck disrupt our plans. Not all time in life is equal. The question is, when the unequal moment comes, do we recognize it, or just let it slip? But, just as important, do we have the fanatic, obsessive discipline to keep marching, to push the opportunity to the extreme, to make the most of the chances we’re given?

Getting a high ROL requires throwing yourself at the luck event with ferocious intensity, disrupting your life and not letting up. Bill Gates didn’t just get a lucky break and cash in his chips. He kept pushing, driving, working — and sustained that effort for more than two decades. That’s not luck — that’s return on luck.

Jim Collins is the author of the worldwide best seller “Good to Great.” This article was adapted from “Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All,” which was written with Morten T. Hansen and published this month.

South Sudan: Compounding Instability in Unity State

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


Juba/Nairobi/Brussels, 17 October 2011: Unity State, a territory of unique importance and complexity in the fragile new country of South Sudan, faces a perfect storm of political, social, economic, and security dilemmas.

South Sudan: Compounding Instability in Unity State, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines a series of inter-related pressures and a governance crisis – with a national subtext – which together threaten continued destabilisation in the state. Some challenges are specific to Unity, but others exemplify concerns across the republic that gained its independence from Sudan in July.

“Instability must be considered in light of the complicated history of this frontline state within the “old” Sudan, the strategic interests of national powers, and the complex web of relationships and shifting alliances among the state’s political and military actors”, says Zach Vertin, Crisis Group Senior Analyst. “Some troubles have festered for years, while more recent developments – prompted by the partition of Sudan – have exacerbated instability and intensified resource pressure”.

Since 2005, the lion’s share of attention was focused on national issues such as the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the Sudan’s long civil war, volatile North-South politics, the referendum that brought about Southern independence and negotiations toward a constructive relationship with Khartoum beyond partition. Now this focus is shifting to the latent stabilisation agenda at home, and the challenges deferred are nowhere more evident than in Unity.

Recent rebel militia activity has drawn attention to the state, highlighting internal fractures, a familiar dilemma of army integration, and the need for reforms in both the political and military arenas. But the fault lines in Unity run deeper than the rebellions. Polarised politics, territorial disputes, cross-border migratory tensions, economic isolation and a still tenuous North-South relationship also fuel instability, each one compounding the next. The influx of tens of thousands of Southern returnees from the North and war across the new international border in neighbouring Southern Kordofan likewise complicate a rapidly evolving post-independence environment.

As new political realities emerge, many state constituents have high hopes for more stable, more accountable and more democratic administration of government. “Now that independence has been achieved, long-suppressed grievances will increasingly surface in an already tenuous political environment”, says EJ Hogendoorn, Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director. “Untangling Unity’s web of intersecting challenges will prove no easy task”.

Executive Summary | Full PDF report


Message of the Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference (SCBC)

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Socio-Cultural

The Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum Based in Calgary, Alberta – Canada




You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (John 8:32)

We, the bishops of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, covering the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, met in Plenary Assembly at the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, South Sudan, from 19th – 28th October 2011 to pray and reflect about the new situation in our two nations, and to discern “the Church God wants us to be”.

We remain one bishops’ conference covering the two countries. As we wrote during our meeting in April 2011: “We are all children of God, regardless of geographical boundaries, ethnicity, religion, culture, or political affiliation, and we insist on respect for diversity”. The Church in the two nations will continue to be in solidarity due to our shared history and the very real practical and human links between us. We have set up two secretariats, one in Juba and one in Khartoum, to implement the pastoral policies of the bishops in each nation.

During nearly five decades of war, the infrastructure of the Church stayed with the people through its bishops, clergy, religious, catechists and other personnel, alongside our brothers and sisters from other churches. The Church is the people of God; wherever there were people, the Church was there. For much of that time it was the only institution which remained intact on the ground. As well as its pastoral and evangelical role proclaiming the Good News, the Church delivered basic social and humanitarian services and provided leadership and security in the absence of government or in the face of a hostile government. The Church mediated local and national conflicts, and played a decisive role in giving the voiceless a voice in the international arena. The Church will continue to play a public role in both nations. Our role is not political in any partisan sense. Rather we hold our two nations, both governments and citizens, accountable to Gospel values. We confront them with Truth.

To the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan, we repeat what the bishops of South Sudan wrote in September 2011: “we recognise that ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and that the development of a new nation is a process which will take time. While constantly holding the government to account and always expecting progress, we nevertheless caution citizens to be patient in their demands, to be fair to the government and to allow them time to move forward carefully and in good order.” We emphasise that not only the government, but also all political leaders and citizens, have a responsibility to build the new nation.

To the citizens of the Republic of Sudan, we assure you of our continued presence. The Church is with you and will continue with its programmes which bring hope. We will pray and work for the rule of law, and particularly for a just solution to the question of citizenship.

We remain united in our concern for human dignity, the sanctity of human life, the common good, solidarity and basic human rights. Truth is indivisible. We reject talk of “protection of minorities” and instead insist on the rights of all citizens. We call for respect of human diversity, created by God, whether ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious. Human beings are created with God-given dignity and rights, which are spelled out in Catholic Social Teaching, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Union Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Our people have displayed great strength, courage and fortitude in the face of war and hardship, but they have been traumatised and cycles of resentment and revenge have been created. Trauma healing is an immediate priority. The Church, by its nature and mission, is a sign of reconciliation, and South Sudanese have demonstrated a remarkable ability to reconcile, both through traditional mechanisms and in the Church-led “People to People Peace Process”. Reconciliation within South Sudan will be essential in building a new nation, addressing the grievances and pain of many individuals and ethnic groups who feel they have been mistreated even by the state or those who misuse the powers entrusted to them. However a number of necessary conditions must be in place for this to happen successfully. These include education, security, and a degree of stability and political maturity. Eventually, when the time is ripe, a truth and reconciliation process should be developed. It is to be hoped that, with time, reconciliation (as opposed to mere absence of conflict) will also be possible between the two Republics. The Church will continue to do whatever it can to bring people together in Truth, Justice, Peace, Mercy, Love and Forgiveness.

We are deeply troubled by the ongoing violence in our two nations. Civil war has broken out in the Nuba Mountains / South Kordofan State and in Blue Nile State, alongside the ongoing war in Darfur. We have consistently warned of the danger of a return to hostilities if the legitimate aspirations of the people of these areas were not met. Civilians are being terrorised by indiscriminate aerial bombardment. There is an urgent need to open humanitarian corridors to allow food and medicines to reach those in need. The dispute over the status of Abyei has been militarised. We urge the international community, and particularly our brothers and sisters in the African Union, to ensure that these conflicts are resolved peacefully through the full implementation of the remaining protocols of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for these three areas, and to assist with outstanding issues between the two nations including citizenship and demarcation of boundaries.

In various parts of South Sudan, ethnic groups and individual leaders resort to violence to resolve their real or perceived disputes. Even as we meet, we hear of fresh conflict in Eastern Equatoria amongst some Madi and Acholi communities. We call for restraint from all concerned to allow their problems to be resolved peacefully. We are aware of tensions over land and boundaries in many parts of South Sudan, and we call on government, traditional leaders, youth and all stakeholders to acknowledge that there is a problem and to use peaceful and legal means to resolve these issues.

The people of Western Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal and neighbouring countries continue to suffer due to the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army. We reject further militarisation of any of these conflicts, and call upon governments and the international community to work for negotiated settlements. We call for increased protection and humanitarian assistance for the affected populations.

We call for open, transparent and democratic governance in both nations. The two nations must learn to live in peace with each other, but also with their own citizens. We reject all policies which oppress, marginalise and dehumanise any citizens. Both countries are poor, and all their energy should be devoted to development and peace. Government, like Church, is called to exercise responsible stewardship. Leadership should be viewed as service to the community, not personal power or profit, and corruption is unacceptable. Delivery of basic services to the citizens must be prioritised, and the Church will continue to play a major role, particularly in health and education. We recognise new problems of urbanisation, economic hardship, land grabbing and more, and we call upon all stakeholders to address these issues honestly and transparently.

“The Church God wants us to be” is at peace with people of good will in all Christian denominations and all faiths. We thus reaffirm our commitment to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. As a founder member of the Sudan Council of Churches and Sudan Ecumenical Forum, we look forward to playing a leading role in the restructuring of ecumenical bodies to reflect the new situation.

At the root of everything are the values of Catholic Social Teaching: human dignity, the common good, a recognition of both rights and duties, option for the poor, care for creation, solidarity, subsidiarity and participation, good governance, and the promotion of peace. Without these Gospel values to inform our consciences, we will not succeed.

We want to give a special word of encouragement to our pastoral agents. We recognise the selfless witness of our priests, religious men and women, catechists, teachers, health workers and other Church personnel, both local and missionary, who are the pillars of the Church. We are aware of the toll it has taken upon them. There is still much work to do: The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37). Go forward with our gratitude, our admiration and our blessing, with renewed commitment for evangelisation.

We call upon the faithful to pray continually, building on our 101 days of prayer for a peaceful referendum and our season of prayer for the Independence of South Sudan. Prayer is at the heart of “the Church that God wants us to be”.

May God bless you, through the intercession of St Josephine Bakhita and St Daniel Comboni.

Given in Wau, Republic of South Sudan, this 28thday of October 2011

Qatar National Bank Group opens its first branch in Juba, South Sudan

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

Qatar National Bank (QNB) Group, the financial institution in Qatar, announced the inauguration of its first branch in Juba, the largest city and the Capital of the Republic of South Sudan. The country which came into existence in July 2011, is the newest independent nation in the world.

QNB Group obtained the necessary license and approval form the Central Bank of South Sudan to commence business from its first branch in the capital, Juba.

QNB is the first GCC and foreign Bank to open a branch in Juba, after its official independence.

The branch will offer a full range of banking services and products to corporate entities, and government, such as advisory services including corporate, project and trade finance. In addition, it will provide various services for individuals, including fixed deposits and current accounts and wealth management.

QNB’s new branch will contribute to the development of the Economic sector of the Country focusing on the business and banking relationship between South Sudan and the international banking and Business communities.

QNB’s corporate finance, asset management and investment banking services are accompanied by advanced advisory capabilities and a long track record of success in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where the Bank has advised and participated in numerous high profile transactions. The Bank has extensive experience in research, economics and analytics in the region.

Since newly independent, Juba has become an even more important city. South Sudan holds strong economic potential and is expected to develop rapidly. Key factors among these areas are infrastructure development projects and the overall elevation of GDP per capita through the promotion of international trade and commerce by the government.

QNB’s long term expansion plans in the region involves providing corporate banking and project financing facilities to leading organizations and governments.

QNB is one of the highest rated banks in the Middle East and North Africa Region based on leading credit rating agencies including Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch, and Capital Intelligence. The Bank has also been the recipient of many awards from leading international specialized financial publications for its innovative products, services and remarkable performance.

Statement on Yasir Arman Visit to Germany

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

Press Release:

Upon his Visit to Germany, the Secretary General of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement-North  calls that any move by the International Community to provide Economic Aid and Debt Relief be linked to Improvements to the Khartoum Regime’s Human Rights Record, ending the War, and the Resolution of the Governance Crisis in North Sudan.

On a two-day visit to Berlin, the Secretary General of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement held a series of important meetings with senior officials in the German Government, Parliamentarians, heads of research centres and church leaders.

On Thursday 27th October 2011, the General Secretary met Mr. Gunter Nooke, Representative of the German Chancellor on African issues at the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. He also met with Johannes Selle, the  Christian Democrat Bundestag MP and a member of the Committee for Economic Cooperation and Foreign Aid, who focusses on Sudan. These were followed by a meeting with Christoph Strasser, an SPD Bundestag MP and the party’s spokesperson on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid. On the same day, he also met with Mr. Michael Flugger, Deputy Director General for Foreign Affairs, Security and Policy on Global issues, at the Federal Chancellory. He concluded his Thursday schedule with a working dinner with Karsten D. Voigt, a former Government Coordinator of German-American relations, who also worked under the internationally renowned Chancellor Willy Brandt, as one of leaders of  SPD Youth. He also had an input in designing the SPD’s foreign policy.

On Friday 28th October, the Secretary General met with Dr. H.E. Volker Faigle, Commissioner of the EKD Council on Sudan. As a result, the Council will soon issue a clear statement in support of the Sudanese Peoples’ quest for democracy and respect of human rights and religious freedom, outlining their position on the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur, and calling for the linking of any economic assistance to the NCP government’s respect for human rights and providing immediate humanitarian relief to the needy in those areas.

The Secretary General was next received by Mr. Jan Bittner, senior Foreign  Policy Advisor and Policy Planning Staff CDU/CSU Planning Group, in the office of the chairman of the ruling parties’ caucuses. He also met with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of the Horn, East Africa and Sudan. He further met with Associates of the Middle East and African Division SWP/ Foundation of Science and Policies Division, and Prof. Volker Perthes, Director of Middle East and Africa Division. He concluded his second day of appointments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a meeting with Amb. Dr. Heinrich Kraft, the German Government’s Special Representative for Dialogue between Civilisations, in the presence of the head of the Sudan Desk at the Ministry. The Secretary General gave a detailed briefing on the political situation in Sudan, and urged those he met to side with the Sudanese people in their search to end the war, stop human rights violations and atrocities, and resolve the country’s chronic crises of governance, which can only be ended by restructuring Khartoum as the centre of power.

The Secretary General called upon the German officials and legislators to support the demand of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement in opening  corridors of humanitarian assistance in order to bring food to the needy. He urged that an International Committee of Inquiry into human rights violations be set up.

He further argued that the regime currently commits more than 70% of its budget to security and on its war effort. Therefore, any economic assistance whilst the country is in the grip of dictatorship, corruption and war is unpardonable. He encouraged the adoption of a holistic approach to the Sudanese crisis: that improvements of the regime’s human rights record, the ending of the conflict in the ‘New South’ in North Sudan should be preconditions of any economic support and debt relief from the international community.  Any such economic support from the International Community would be collusion with an unjust war and war crimes. Therefore, holding an economic conference on Sudan in Turkey, without such preconditions, sharply contradicts the position of the international community on war crimes and the indictment of the Sudanese President and other officials. They should rather support the Sudanese people, whose efforts have now turned to ending dictatorship, the war, and achieving democratic transformation as a precondition to sustainable economic development and thus the end of their suffering.

At the end of his visit, the Secretary General highly commended the efforts of the Sudanese Diaspora, SPLM-N chapters and friends of the Sudanese peoples in the United States and Europe for their unwavering support of the aim to refocus international attention on the grave atrocities, human rights violations and war crimes committed by the NCP and its leaders and urging an end to the war and the resolution of the governance crises. He finally called for speeding up the efforts to unite the forces of change in Sudan.

The Office of Secretary General
Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement- North
29th October 2011

South Sudan must be a Safe Haven for Northern Sudanese Refugees

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

Steve Paterno
The recent escalation of conflicts orchestrated by the regime in Khartoum against the people of bordering states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, have yet added a catastrophic humanitarian crisis to an already perilous atmosphere. By comparison, Sudan was already leading the world, with the highest population of internally displaced persons. Unfortunately, the country seems to be taking pride in breaking its own record so that it remains featuring number one in the world as it continuous displacing its own citizens through the act of unnecessary wars.
With the eight year old war still raging in Darfur, which already resulted into displacement of millions, the recent conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, show stream flows of refugees fleeing their home areas; crossing into South Sudan and even as far as in Ethiopia, with many more people are trapped behind in a war zone under intense bombardments, where they are left without access to any humanitarian assistance.
Experts as well as humanitarian agencies are sounding alarms of more calamities to follow in the near future, especially in the upcoming dry season, which will likely witness increase on ground offensive, supplemented by massive air bombardments against targets in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. In such an event, many people in these regions will be affected and forced to seek safety, shelter, food and basic social services outside their current harsh environment. South Sudan as a sovereign neighboring country presents fertile ground for a place to be for those negatively impacted by this onslaught.
Therefore, South Sudanese authorities along with humanitarian agencies must urgently devise strategies so as not only to welcome and settle refugees within South Sudan territorial integrity, but to also encourage free flow of refugees into the neutral South Sudanese zones for their safe upkeeping. By allowing settlement of refugees within South Sudan, all the parties involved that include the South Sudanese, humanitarian agencies and the refugees are stand to mutually benefit.
First, as a newly established state, South Sudan will boost its national status and prestige among the nations of the world by joining the club of refugees hosting countries. This gesture will go along way in fulfilling South Sudan’s moral and international obligations as the world’s member state that contribute positively to the advancement of humanity. Another added advantages is that, as a result of hosting refugees within its boundaries, qualify South Sudanese will gain employment opportunities and skills with humanitarian agencies that will be delivering services to these refugees. South Sudan as a whole will also benefit from the infrastructures such as roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals, constructed to cater for the refugees. The advantages are pretty great, including the fact that South Sudan government will have leverage and influence over Khartoum’s affairs, since the country will be hosting significant population of Northern Sudanese who are in essence oppose to the regime in Khartoum and are natural allies of South Sudan. This will eventually lead into peaceful settlement of these conflict as well as ease hostilities between South and North of Sudans, unless the regime in Khartoum desires to continue with aggressive posturing.
Second, the humanitarian agencies will end up operating under much more hospitable conditions within South Sudan. These agencies will encounter limited restrictions on their movements and be able to cover more ground in their operations to reach those in need of assistance. By operating within South Sudan, humanitarian personnel will be less susceptible to intimidation, kidnapping or getting killed while on duty. In short, the humanitarian agencies will be in better positions to deliver optimum services to their capacities.
Third, by fleeing and settling in South Sudan, the refugees from these marginalized sections of North Sudan will finally breathe a sigh of relief. They will not have to constantly worry dodging bullets and taking covers from falling bombs. They will be able to gain access to food, shelter and basic services. These marginalized people will once again acquire back their human worth and dignity. They will have hopes for the future and plans for leading normal life of freedom, peace and prosperity.

In conclusions, the South Sudanese authorities, the humanitarian agencies, and the potential refugees must make this a practical reality. The South Sudanese authorities must work in creating conducive atmosphere for hosting those who are in need. Humanitarian agencies must develop contingency plans for possibly servicing large scale refugees; settlement in South Sudan. And for those affected by Khartoum’s orchestrated crisis, they must make a run for it by literally escape across into South Sudan for safety.

Why the Minister of Labour and Public Service resigned from South Sudan cabinet

Written by Mading Ngor, The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
Monday, 31 October 2011 16:07
awutdengMinister of Labour and Public Service, Mrs. Awut Deng Acuil, resigned over the weekend upon rejection of her civil service reform agenda by the cabinet..

(Juba South Sudan NSV) – The issues surrounding the unexpected resignation of Awut Deng Acuil, the former Minister of Labour and Public Service from the first cabinet of South Sudan have been scanty.

Although hasn’t read Mrs. Awut’s reasons for quitting, accounts from two cabinet ministers, some MPs, and others familiar with the story, are offering us a rare glimpse into why she opted to submit her resignation.

An acrimonious debate ensued at last Friday’s Council of Ministers concerning Minister Awut’s proposal for retrenchment in civil service, one of the sources told The New Sudan Vision Monday on condition of anonymity.

Mrs. Awut was campaigning for far-reaching reforms in the civil service to scale down the bloated workforce. She proposed to replace those serving in the civil service without certificates, diplomas, degrees, or PHDs, with workers with credentials. This process was to affect those employees who served in the SPLM/SPLA during the liberation struggle, under the banner of Civil Authority for New Sudan (CANS).

In 2005, an exemption was passed to exclude this group of “liberators” from any future reform.

Read the full report from New Sudan Vision website below

Breaking: South Sudan’s Minister of Labour and Public Service resigns

Written by The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
Sunday, 30 October 2011 11:36
awutAwut Deng Acuil, the outgoing Minister of Labour and Public Service has reportedly tendered in her resignation on Thursday, allegedly due to crisis in public service reform. (Juba South Sudan NSV) – It has come to the attention of The New Sudan Vision that the Minister of Labour and Public Service in the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, Awut Deng Acuil, has tendered in her resignation on Thursday.

Read the whole story at NEW SUDAN VISION WEBSITE

Confusion over resignation of South Sudan’s public services minister

October 31, 2011 (JUBA) – Awut Deng Acuil, South Sudan’s minister for labour, public service and human resource development, was relieved from her position over the weekend with no clear reason being given by her or the government.

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South Sudan’s minister for labour, public service and human resource development (ST)

Acuil is reported to have resigned from the cabinet days before the state television (SSTV) announced President Salva Kiir’s decree, which relieved the minister from her powerful portfolio, just weeks after she was re-appointed in the Kiir’s post-independence reshuffle.

The presidential decree does not, however, explain why she resigned or when Kiir will appoint her successor.

An official from the public service ministry, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the minister’s woes mainly stemmed from her recent decision to form a committee that would be tasked with nationwide screening of all civil service employees both at the state and national level.

Acuil’s screening committee, which was to be headed by the minister herself, he added, was reportedly endorsed by president Kiir as was scheduled to begin immediately.

“We all knew that the decision to form such a committee would rub many people the wrong way. There are scores of people in public service who lack qualifications and removing them will not be an easy task,” said the official.

A similar project in Unity state established by governor Taban Deng Gai, was met with considerable resistance.

Acuil’s committee, consisting of three people, was to be headed by the ministers for labour, public service and human resource development.

“The whole concept of public service reforms was bound to face challenges once the implementation process got underway. Not many people have properly comprehended the policy,” the official further noted.

The outgoing minister, recently came to prominence when a former governor of Warrap state alleged that Acuil had threatened his life during a political power struggle.

Lewis Anei Madut, now an advisor in the country’s ministry of culture and heritage alleges that there is “deliberate attempt” by the former labour and public service minister to politically destroy him. Acuil, however, denies the accusation and instead says Madut, whom she defeated in last year’s election simply had a grudge against her.

A renowned gender activist, Acuil, an MP for Warrap’s Tonj county, holds a BA in international relations from the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya. She was also a co-founding member of the Kenya-based Sudanese Women Association.

In 2002, she was awarded the prestigious Inter Action’s 2002 Humanitarian Award; an accolade annually given to an individual who has demonstrated “extraordinary” leadership in support of non-governmental organizations and the people they serve in the developing world.

Five years later, Acuil and Margaret Alva, an Indian national both received the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award for their humanitarian work.


Dr. Riek Machar’s Attitude is an Indictment of South Sudanese News Media

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in PaanLuel Wël

Are our Politicians Paying Close Attention to the News Media in the Country?

I have no “beef” with the VP [Machar] for not remembering me. But what I have a “beef” with, clearly, has to do with why is it that our politicians do not give a damn about what writers stay up all night long writing in order to draw their attention and to connect them with their constituents? So, the compelling question is: where does the VP get his news from since it’s self-evidence that he cares less about the media?—By Luk Kuoth Dak, a former anchorman at Juba Radio.

By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA.

In the articleBetween Riek Macher, Daniel Abushery Daniel and me!,” Luk Dak, the author, wonders why it is, it appears, the case that “our politicians do not give a damn about what writers stay up all night long writing in order to draw their attention to and connect them with their constituents.” As someone among the said writers diligently burning the midnight oil to draw our leaders’ and politicians’ attention to the most pressing issues of the day in our country, as well as to connect them with the urgent problems, needs and aspirations of their respective constituents, I have been thinking too about Mr. Dak’s poignant question, trying to decipher, if any, the reason why it is apparently the case!

The revelation that some of our leading politicians might not be paying deserving attention to the news media came from a midnight conversation between the author, Mr. Dak and Dr. Machar, the Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan. According to the aforementioned article, Mr. Dak, upon obtaining the VP’s cell phone number from Daniel Abushery—his cousin, rang up the Big Man, Dr. Machar, who happened to have been in town on a private jaunt. Although Mr. Dak haven’t made us privy to the reason (s) he was calling the VP, it is safe for me to surmise here that it might have been on national matters, the VP being a public servant, and hence, owe it unto the citizenry what and how things are churning up in Juba city.

But the conversation never took up, at least as per the gist of the article. The VP, either because he was too sleepy—which could be a plausible reason—or totally ignorant of the caller identity—as the author seems to have concluded—never recognized nor recalled Mr. Dak’s names or identity. Mr. Dak’s attempts to remind the Big Man that he is a well-read South Sudanese columnist, a former anchorman at Juba radio and a former press secretary to Daniel Koat Mathews ( D.K.) or even about a visit the author had paid him at his hotel room some years back, all did not bore any fruit. The VP was categorically honest: “Sorry sir, I don’t remember you! Please leave me alone to enjoy my sweet sleep” to paraphrase what might have been going on in the Big Man’s sleepy mind.

That the VP could not recall him was both bamboozling as well as being outrageous to and for Mr. Dak! This was for two main reasons. Professionally, Mr. Dak is a public figure in his own right, having been a radio anchorman in Juba and being currently an ardent observer and weekly columnist on South Sudan important subject. On personal level, Mr. Dak is someone who has met Dr. Machar before, possibly on more than one occasion, and even gave him a book as a gift. Mr. Dak, as he explains in the article, had come to “his defense when [the VP] was subjected to a barrage of some vicious attacks by some journalists from the Bor area over his (admitted) responsibility on the tragic massacre in Bor in 1990” and even “most recently lauded the VP for coming out clean, and by publicly taking responsibility for his actions against innocent civilians in Bor.”

If the VP could not know nor recalled such kind of a close friend and a supporter, Mr. Dak reasons, who could he possibly knows and remembers? Secondly, here is the No. 2 most powerful individual in the entire country, if he could not have read about the articles written and posted on all the major media outlets in the republic of South Sudan: “so, the compelling question is: where does the VP get his news from since it’s self-evidence that he cares less about the media?” From that illuminating question, it is crystal clear that Mr. Dak conclusion is that Dr. Machar is either not remotely interested in reading news on South Sudan media or is either too busy or lazy to find time to read them.

But Mr. Gordon Buay, in his “Dear Nuer” message on the SPLM-Diaspora Forum, takes a different view. In his opinion, it is not that the VP does not care to read the news; it is rather that “Riek Machar is not a good reader and he is intellectually behind the rest of the world for 10 years.” Mr. Buay goes on to declare that:

“In the entire SPLM/A High Command, the good readers are John Garang and Lam Akol who used to travel with books even in frontlines. Any good reader who talks to Riek Machar will find him very boring and a waste of time. But when you talk to John Garang or Lam Akol, you will discover that their brains are full of knowledge. You cannot be a good writer without reading and you cannot know things without reading many books in every field.”

While Mr. Buay’s claim would be hard to corroborate—someone need to [have] call up Dr. John Garang and/or Dr. Lam in the middle of the night to verify if they could remember the caller and recall some of the articles written about them on South Sudan’s media—it, nevertheless, once more reinforces Mr. Dak’s earlier analysis of and conclusion on Dr. Machar’s tepid relationship to the written/printed words.

But for the sake of the argument, let me first grant that Dr. John Garang was a crafty politician who was capable of making a big deal out of nothing—and everything—to gain a political mileage over his real and perceived political opponents. And secondly, that Dr. Lam—the calculative-in-chief—could have just pretended to remember or know Mr. Dak to avoid appearing “not in the know.” After all, Dr. Lam is a learned man: who said that a learned man must not know the exact location of a needle in a haystack? Evidently, it appears that the VP honesty (if you are his supporter) or naivety (if you are his critic) generated the wrath he incurred from Mr. Dak and Mr. Buay.

But is it really accurate and warranting to judge and condemn the man—Dr. Machar—on just one incidence? Does failure to read or recall anything from South Sudan media necessarily translate into not being an avid observer of South Sudanese affairs? Does the VP failure to recognize Mr. Dak and his articles automatically mean that he may not be reading other South Sudanese commentators, online newsletters, printed newspapers in Juba, or even international news which might be worth his taste, considering the pathetic state of our news media in general? In essence, is our news media safe enough for our decision makers to consume without poisoning their minds, rendering them national bigots and serial tribalists like most commentators are on Sudan Tribune, South Sudan News Agency, South Sudan Nation, Gurtong, Borglobe, New Sudan Vision etc?

Whatever the case and the circumstances in question might be, there is no doubt that our politicians need the media to reach the public and to receive informative and correctional feedbacks from their constituents. Although the ruling class and the media do have an antagonistic relationship sometimes, I still wholeheartedly concur with Mr. Dak’s observation that “the news media can be a very important tool for direction and guidance for anyone in a public office” because “the news media provide [them] with a mirror that reflects what [their] administrations has done right, [and] of where it fell short of” the public expectations. Indeed, in this age of modern technology, our politicians have no lame excuse, whatsoever, not to access the news media.

While that might be the case, the kind and the extent of the news media in question do still matter to both the politicians and the public. It is arguable to note that most South Sudanese news media contain nothing but mere divisive personal opinions from unreliable writers. Do we expect the honorable VP to faithfully keep track of such stupendously personalized and tribalized vendettas? Of course not, unless we wanna poison his mind and spoil his decision-making ability on pertinent national matters. In other words, it is comfortingly safe and reassuringly better for the VP to be entirely oblivion to and ignorant of the bad news media for the sake of the nation and the welfare of its people.

Moreover, it is hard to make the case that our news media do actually and accurately reflect public expressions from the rural constituents on most issues. Much of the written, opinionated commentaries and reporting do originate from the Diaspora community who have no access to much of the reality on the ground other than rumors and “bush telephoning.” For the politicians to rely on such limited facts in their decision makings and personal deliberations would be a national tragedy because there is a great mismatch between what our infant news media carries and the actual reality on the ground. Therefore, our VP tentative avoidance of the news media might be a premeditated move, taken in the best interest of the nation itself.

Thirdly, the VP is a learned man, with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bradford, UK. Even if it is granted that he has not been reading news from South Sudanese media, it may not inescapably be the case that he has not been reading at all. For one, Kuormedit could still be more interested in his Engineering books, which are, of course, of more urgent utility to our underdeveloped and war-ravaged young nation. Won’t it be a great honor to have the VP as the chief engineer for the new national city of Ramciel (say Rhamchieel)? Secondly, Kuormedit could be reading international news and reports about South Sudan to gauge the opinions of the citizens and make appropriate decisions. Why international news? Simply because he might not have any faith in the local news media.

But most importantly, do we really want those leaders who have been reading, often selectively, from South Sudan news media? To illustrate that point further, consider the remarks President Kiir made in Washington DC in his 2009 visit to the USA in which he ended up threatening people critical of his government on the internet. If I could recalled, his threat was to the effect that whoever pens those critical articles must remember that he/she will one day be in South Sudan and the government would call him/her to account for his writings. With Dr. James Okuk still languishing in prison for his political writings, I guess we the writers might be better off with more Dr. Machars who are not interested in the news media and less President Kiirs who are too inquisitively investigative!

My conclusion, though, is that, instead of reading too much ignorance in the VP’s failure to recognize Mr. Dak and his writings, we should rather consider it as a strong indictment of the quality of the news media in South Sudan. It should be a wake-up call for journalists and political commentators to double their efforts and produce better news coverage that would be palatable enough to entice our ‘choosy’ VP!

You can reach PaanLuel Wël at, PaanLuel Wel (Facebook page), PaanLuelWel2011 (Twitter account) or through his blog account at:

Dr Riek Machar�s Attitude is an Indictment of South Sudanese News Media.pdf

South Sudan moves to improve value of currency

Posted: October 29, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

The new South Sudan legal tender.

Photo/FILE The new South Sudan legal tender.

By MACHEL AMOS Nation Correspondent
Posted  Saturday, October 29  2011 at  18:43

Juba, Saturday

South Sudan Central Bank has raised the value of its currency, the pound, from the recent low of 3.2 at commercial banks and foreign exchange bureaus and 4 on the black market to 2.96 against the dollar.

The Central Bank, in collaboration with security agencies, has moved to get rid of the black market, commonly referred to as mobile foreign exchange bureaus, where the pound was selling at 4.2 against the dollar.

“The dollar should be selling at 2.96 and if it goes to 3, we have no problem, but if it goes to 3.8, we won’t accept that,” Central Bank governor Korenellio Koryom told a press conference.

“We have also made some agreement with security personnel to clear mobile foreign exchange bureaus,” Mr Koryom said.

Weeks ago, the Central Bank doubled the amount of US dollars it injects into the market monthly to counter the purported scarcity.

The amount it injected was $200 million. The measures are part of a wider strategy to curb the hiking food prices and stabilise a fledgling economy that mainly revolves around oil revenues and depends on imports largely from East Africa.

Last month, the Interior ministry disbanded all illegal checkpoints across the country, where security personnel have been accused of extorting cash from traders through double

As South Sudan joins UNESCO, major challenges in education lie ahead

Posted: October 29, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Education

29 October 2011 –

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today welcomed the recently independent country of South Sudan — which has some of the worst indicators for education levels in the world — as its newest Member State.At a ceremony today in Paris, where UNESCO is holding its general conference at the agency”s headquarters, the flag of South Sudan was raised alongside those of UNESCO”s other 193 Member States. The ceremony took place two days after South Sudan completed the procedures for ratifying the agency”s constitution.In her welcome message UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova noted that the country of eight million people faces “immense challenges,” but pledged that the agency would support the nation to strengthen its education system and train teachers and other education professionals.UNESCO, through its International Institute for Educational Planning, will work with the UN Children”s Fund (UNICEF) to draw up a plan to help South Sudanese authorities tackle their major education needs.

The latest global monitoring report on education from UNESCO, released in June, found that South Sudan is last in the world league table for enrolment in secondary education and second-last for net enrolment in primary-level education. Textbooks are in short supply, usable classrooms are unavailable and there are not nearly enough trained teachers.

Women and girls are particularly badly affected. Just eight per cent of women in South Sudan know how to read and write and there are estimated to be only 400 girls in the last grade of secondary school across the impoverished country.

South Sudan: UNESCO tasks South Sudan on educational development

New York, US – The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Saturday urged South Sudan to dedicate resources to address shortfalls in its educational sector. UNESCO, which welcomed South Sudan as its newest member state, said the country had some of the worst indicators for education levels in the world. PANA learnt that at a ceremony in Paris, France, where UNESCO is holding its general conference, the South Sudanese flag was raised alongside those of UNESCO’s other 193 member states. The ceremony took place two days after South Sudan completed the procedures for ratifying the agency’s constitution.

In her welcome message, UNESCO Director-General, Ms. Irina Bokova, noted that the country of eight million people faces ‘immense challenges’, but pledged that the agency would support the nation to strengthen its education system and train teachers and other education professionals.

‘UNESCO, through its International Institute for Educational Planning, will work with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to draw up a plan to help South Sudanese authorities tackle their major education needs,’ she stated.

She said: ‘The latest global monitoring report on education from UNESCO, released in June, found that South Sudan is last in the world league table for enrolment in secondary education and second from last for net enrolment in primary-level education’.

Bokova also said that, ‘textbooks are in short supply, usable classrooms unavailable and there are not nearly enough trained teachers’.

‘Women and girls are particularly badly affected. Just eight per cent of women in South Sudan know how to read and write and there are estimated to be only 400 girls in the last grade of secondary school across the impoverished country,’ the UNESCO chief added.

Pana 30/10/2011 Sudan to join African football body

JUBA, 29 October 2011 (NASS) – The Republic of South Sudan will join the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the association governing football on the continent, permanently by February 2012, Captain Duop Pouch Joak, the deputy chairperson of the South Sudan Football Association has announced.
Captain Joak made this announcement when he met Hon Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the minister for Information and Broadcasting and Official Government Spokesman late last week. He urged the government to take sports seriously as a possible source of revenue.
“The government should not only consider petroleum as a source of income but also consider football as well because it can generate immense income besides uniting the nation in the fight against tribalism and negative ethnicity”, he said.
He also urged the government to develop sporting facilities such as stadia to enable the country to participate in international sporting events organized by international bodies such as FIFA. He expressed confidence that the Republic of South Sudan has the potential and experience to participate effectively in regional and international football. He also called on the government officers to support the development of sports in the country.
On his part, Dr Marial underscored the role of sports in promoting the image of nations worldwide. He cited the case of Kenya whose image has been enhanced by its athletes. He also expressed confidence that South Sudan has what it takes to curve a niche for itself in sports, including football.
“I know that in Europe the budget for sports is bigger than it is in Africa but I want to assure you that the government will support sports and the youth unreservedly”, he said.
Reported by Martin Jada, News Agency of South Sudan (NASS)

breaking_newsSouth Sudan rebels capture Mayom town – Gen. Bapiny

visit Sudan Tribune

South Sudan rebels warn U.N., residents to leave border state before attacks

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 30, 2011 — Updated 0744 GMT (1544 HKT)
  • The warning comes after the militias kill 39 in a neighboring state
  • The government says the attackers were part of the South Sudan Liberation Army
  • The rebels say they are fighting corruption and domination
  • South Sudan became a nation in July, separating from Sudan

(CNN) — A South Sudan rebel group warned the United Nations and residents to leave a remote border state within three days or risk coming under fire as it launches an attack on the local government.

The South Sudan Liberation Army said Saturday it was headed to Warrap state after an earlier attack on Mayom town in neighboring Unity state.

Both states are in South Sudan, near the border with Sudan.

The goal is to “liberate” the state from the government in Juba, the group said in a statement.

“Within few days, the people of Warrap will be liberated from abject poverty, corruption and abuse of human rights,” the militia said. “We would also advise the civilians to evacuate all towns and move to villages in order to be safe,” it said.

The warning follows an attack in oil-rich Unity state that killed 39 people, a South Sudan government spokesman said Saturday.

Liberation army militias carried out the attacks against civilians, spokesman Yein Matthew said.

South Sudanese government forces were pursuing the attackers through nearby woods, according to Matthew. One militia leader has been captured and is being questioned.

Liberation army members have clashed with the military of South Sudan, which separated from Sudan and became independent in July. Led by former officers of the southern army that fought neighboring Sudan in a 22-year civil war, the militias have taken up arms against their former comrades and become a challenge for the world’s newest nation.

The South Sudan Liberation Army has said it is fighting corruption and domination of Dinkas, the new nation’s main ethnic group.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has offered amnesty deals to the rebels. Several truces have not been honored, according to the Enough Project, which seeks to end genocide and crimes against humanity.

CNN’s Brian Walker contributed to this report.

Death toll of Mayom clashes put at 75 amid mutual claims of victory

October 29, 2011 (JUBA) – Saturday’s fighting between South Sudan army and rebel forces around Unity State’s western town of Mayom has resulted in the death of over 70 people, according to state officials who also denied rebels’ claim of capturing the town.

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A photo of the aftermath of previous clashes in Mayom (

Meanwhile, rebel forces asserted claims of controlling Mayom, and warned that their forces were now moving to attack the neighboring state of Warrap.

The attack on Mayom, which lies 93 km from Bentiu, the provincial capital of the oil-rich Unity State, was first reported on Saturday morning by the rebels, South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A) which claimed it captured the town after four hours of fierce clashes with South Sudan’s forces known as Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

However, state official denied the fall of Mayom, claiming that the official army had repulsed the attack and inflicted heavy losses of lives among the rebels.

Gideon Gatpan, the official spokesman of Unity State’s government, told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that the attack of SSLA forces led by James Gai Yoach had occurred at around 6 am and the ensuing clashes lasted for one hour before rebel forces were “repulsed.”

According to Gatpan, SPLA forces had killed more than 60 rebel fighters, including a high-profile colonel known a Ruathdeal Gatwei Thong, and captured one soldier.

Gatpan also claimed that SPLA forces on Friday chased away “a group of renegades” who were planting landmines around Mayom.

The spokesman also said that 15 civilians were killed and 18 others sustained injuries in the attack. He however gave no figure of causalities among SPLA forces.

He further said that one of the wives of the SPLA’s Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Paulino Matip Nhial, was killed in the attack.

“The situation is under control … The rebels are still being chased away,” Gatpan said in an aside with AFP.

He also suspected that the attack was motivated by the rebels’ desire to disrupt the disarmament process in unity which, according to him, has collected 1,000 guns, over half of them in Mayom.

Mayom County has been the epicenter of rebel groups’ activities in Unity. Predominantly populated by the Nuer Bul community, Mayom is the subject of a disarmament campaign that started in 2010.

South Sudan alleges rebels supported by Khartoum

Meanwhile, SPLA’s spokesman Philip Aguer told AFP that six SPLA soldiers and three police were killed. He also said SPLA forces captured three more fighters in the east of Mayom County.

According to the military spokesman, the rebels were organized and trained in South Kordofan, a north Sudanese state bordering South Sudan, saying that they were “supported by Khartoum.”

“In Heglig (a small town in South Kordofan), they were given a lot of land mines on the 26th of this month, and then they started moving immediately” to the south, Aguer was quoted by AFP. “it’s obvious it’s from there (South Kordofan). They have a camp in Nyala [a town in Sudan’s western region of Darfur]”

Aguer also said rebels led by Commander Matthew Pul Jang had come from Sudan to support other militia leaders in South Sudan, and had clashed with SPLA forces Friday in Tor Abith and Tumur.

South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in July this year, has repeatedly accused Khartoum of supporting rebel groups within its territories.

Similarly, Sudan accuses Juba of supporting its erstwhile allies who are fighting Khartoum’s army in Sudan’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Rebels claims advance towards Warrap, warns NGOs to leave

A statement released by the SSLA on Friday reiterated claim that the group wrestled control of Mayom and its forces were advancing to “liberate” the neighboring state of Warrap.

The rebels also said they captured Tomor town and were now advancing towards the state capital Bentiu.

According to the SSLA, its forces had killed “700 SPLA soldiers, captured 23” and destroyed a great amount of SPLA weaponry.

The group also warned UN and NGOs’ staff to vacate their offices in Warrap State “within three days” and urged civilians “to evacuate all towns and move to villages in order to be safe.”

“SSLA forces, under the command of Maj. Gen. Bepean Machar, are now going towards Warrap State to liberate it from corrupt government in Juba. Within few days, the people of Warrap will be liberated from abject poverty, corruption and abuse of human rights,” the rebels said.

The group issued a similar warning on Friday, advising NGOs and UN to leave Unity State within a week for their own safety.”

The rebel group accused Juba of having no intention to seek a negotiated settlement to the crisis, saying that Salva Kiir’s government “believes in military solution to end the war in South Sudan.”

Juba has reportedly rejected an offer by the U.S. government to mediate between it and rebel groups.

“The people of South Sudan should know that the government in Juba rejected the U.S. State Department’s proposal to mediate peace in South Sudan at the end of September,” the rebels said.

The SSLA asserted that it will only accept to sit for talks with Juba under the mediation of either the European Union or the U.S. government.


SSLM/A Forces Are Advancing Towards Bentiu Town And Warrap State

Soldiers of the South Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SSLA/M). Photo:
For Immediate Release
South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A)
Mayom, South Sudan
October, 29, 2011

October 29, 2011 (SSNA) — The gallant forces of South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), under the command of Maj. Gen. Mathew Pul Jang and Maj. Gen. Kolchara Nyang, captured Mayom town at dawn on October, 29, 2011. Within four hours, SSLA forces also managed to capture Tomor town and they are now advancing towards Bentiu town.

The SSLA forces captured 23 SPLA soldiers, burned down five T-55 tanks, three RPGs, five PKMs, three 14.5 and two 12.5 machine guns. Two SPLA Brig. Generals were seriously wounded and seven hundred SPLA soldiers killed. The Commissioner of Mayom Town is on the run and is believed to be heading towards Bentiu town in a pickup truck.

On the other hand, SSLA forces, under the command of Maj. Gen. Bepean Machar, are now going towards Warrap State to liberate it from corrupt government in Juba. Within few days, the people of Warrap will be liberated from abject poverty, corruption and abuse of human rights.

The SSLA advises all NGOs and UN personnel to leave Warrap State within three days for their own safety. We would also advise the civilians to evacuate all towns and move to villages in order to be safe.

The people of South Sudan should know that the government in Juba rejected the U.S. State Department’s proposal to mediate peace in South Sudan at the end of September because Gen. Salva Kiir believes in military solution to end the war in South Sudan. As the SSLM/A made it clear to U.S. government, any peaceful mediation between the rebels and the government in Juba is acceptable provided that it is mediated by either the European Union or the U.S. government. Unfortunately, the government in Juba rejected third party mediation under the assumption that it would defeat the rebels militarily.

We want to bring to the attention of the international community that the government in Juba wants South Sudan to become another Somalia so that the corrupt SPLM officials would resume looting the resources of the poor people of South Sudan. Gen. Salva Kiir does not want to listen to UN Representative Hilde Johnson who advised him to return $2 billion dollars looted by sixteen SPLM officials. The people of South Sudan want development, economic prosperity and democracy. Unfortunately, the poor people of South Sudan have been subjected to abject poverty while a small clique of the SPLM officials are getting rich by looting oil money.

The SSLM/A, SSDM/A under the command of George Athor and SSDF of Maj. Gen. Gordon Koang have taken a unified position that peaceful mediation of the conflict is the only way to save South Sudan from becoming a failed state. However, the SPLM’s regime in Juba is not interested in peace and wants to pursue military option.

Therefore, the SSLA will defend the people of South Sudan from Gen. Salva Kiir the same way the Libyan freedom fighters liberated their country from Muamar Gaddafi. The people of South Sudan want clean drinking water, schools, economic development and democracy.

For contact:

Information Department
SSLM/A Headquarters
Mayom, South Sudan


80 killed in South Sudan rebel attack

Southern Sudan

Driven out: Women line up for food distribution in a makeshift camp for the internally displaced in the village of Mayen Abun, southern Sudan. AP

ABOUT 80 people, including 60 rebels, were killed on Saturday when government forces in the oil-rich South Sudanese Unity state repelled an attack by rebel militia, officials said.

“There was a militia attack at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning in Mayom county,” said Unity Information Minister Gideon Gatpan Thoar.

Thoar said rebels, most of them fighting under the banner of the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), attacked Mayom town and that the majority of the civilian casualties were residents gunned down while “running for shelter.”

“We are counting the bodies now but over 60 militias were killed and many more wounded,” said Thoar, adding that 15 civilians were killed in the attack.

Among the dead was the notorious rebel fighter Colonel Ruadheal Gatwech, he said, adding that SPLA government forces also captured one soldier in Mayom town and three more in the east of the county.

“The situation is under control … The rebels are still being chased away,” Thoar told AFP seven hours after the attacks.

Officials could not give a precise figure on how many rebels attacked Mayom, but said that they were in the “hundreds” and had come from South Kordofan, a state on Sudan’s new border where conflict between government forces and rebels has flared since June.

“They were organised in South Kordofan. They are South Sudanese supported by Khartoum and trained there”, said Philip Aguer, spokesman for South Sudan’s military.

South Sudan seceded peacefully from the north in July following a referendum called for in a 2005 peace deal that ended a 22-year civil war, and both sides accuse the other of funding rebel groups.

Aguer said 11 civilians were killed and 16 wounded in the fight.

He said another six soldiers and three police were killed.

Thoar said the rebels had not given any motive for the attack but suspected they had come from South Kordofan to help local militias “disrupt the disarmament” in Unity that has collected 1,000 guns, over half of them in Mayom.

Rebel Captured Mayom Town.

October 29, 2011 (JUBA) — The rebel South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A) announced on Saturday morning the capture of Mayom town after fierce clashes with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in Unity state.

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SPLA soldiers stand in line during the Independence Day ceremony in Juba July 9, 2011. (Reuters)

The seizure of the town came twenty-four hours after the release of a statement by the rebel group urging United Nations and aid groups to evacuate the Unity state. The SSLM accused the governor Taban Deng of human rights abuses against civilians in two counties of the Unity state: Mayom and Nhial Diew.

“Our troops now control Mayom town after a four-hour battle,” Maj. Gen. Bapiny Monytuil, Deputy Head of SSLM/A Military High Command, told Sudan Tribune. He further asserted that their troops will move to other states once the Unity state is fully controlled.

“We will move to Warrap and other regions because we intend to liberate the whole South Sudan,” Bapiny said.

The rebel group said yesterday that Governor Taban ordered to divorce the wives of SSLA commanders and to confiscate the cattle they paid in dowries from their in-laws in three counties in Unity state: Nhial Diew, Mankien and Mayom.

Asked if their attack was motivated by this decision, the rebel official said this attack is directed against South Sudan’s ruling party, and its government in Juba. He stressed they are coordinating with rebel groups in other regions like George Athur whose group operates in Jonglei.

The US State Department last September offered to mediate between the Juba government and the different South Sudanese rebel groups in a bid to find a negotiated settlement to the conflict. The rebels, including Geoge Athur accepted the American initiative, but Juba showed some reluctance.

Asked about the American mediation, Bapiny claimed that Juba said it prefers direct talks with the rebel groups but they declined the offer. He further said the SPLM believes it can militarily crush any rebellions in South Sudan.

A few weeks after the start of the George Athur rebellion in Jonglei state; the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) sought to convince Juba to accept a mediation between the two parties but Juba refused the offer.

The SSLA deputy head of military command emphasized they are peace lovers but they want an agreement addressing the root-causes of the conflict.

“We are not against peace but we refuse a deal like what Salva sealed with Peter Gatdet,” Bapiny said, alluding to the money that the former rebel leader had allegedly received before signing a peace agreement with Juba in August 2011.,40566

South Sudan rebel attack ‘kills 75’

(AFP) – 5 hours ago

JUBA — Seventy-five people were killed on Saturday when government forces in the oil-rich South Sudanese Unity state repelled an attack by rebel militia, in which 15 civilians also died, the state’s information minister said.

“There was a militia attack at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning (0200-0300 GMT) in Mayom county,” said Gideon Gatpan Thoar, adding that another 18 were wounded.

Thoar said rebels, most of them fighting under the banner of the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), attacked Mayom town and that the majority of the civilian casualties were residents gunned down while “running for shelter.”

“We are counting the bodies now but over 60 militias were killed and many more wounded,” said Thoar, adding that 15 civilians were killed in the attack.

Among the dead was the notorious rebel fighter Colonel Ruadheal Gatwech, he said, adding that SPLA government forces also captured one soldier in Mayom town and three more in the east of the county.

“The situation is under control by the SPLA. The rebels are still being chased away,” Thoar told AFP seven hours after the attack.

Thoar said the last serious attack in Unity was early October, when the rebel group was suspected to have laid an anti-tank mine that killed 20 people in a passenger bus, and before that another mine incident in September.

On Friday, the SSLA gave the UN and aid agencies one week to evacuate Unity state, promising to “violently resist the regime of Governor Deng Taban,” who the rebels accuse of human rights abuses.

“SSLA is calling upon all NGOs and UN personnel to leave Unity State within a week for their own safety,” the group said in a statement from their Mayom headquarters.

The rebels claimed Governor Taban ordered SPLA troops to confiscate 600 cattle from SSLA Commanders family members, who were allegedly detained in unknown locations and beaten.

Cattle are vital for a dowry under local tribal customs of the Nuer people.

Thoar denied the groups claims. “All these allegations have no basis at all.”

“They do with the intention of interrupting the peaceful programme of disarmament and to recapture the civilian guns.”

Thoar said the voluntary disarmament programme had collected 1000 guns, over half of which came from Mayom county.

The rebel group is made up of forces formerly loyal to Peter Gadet, who accepted South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s offer of amnesty in August, a month after the country gained independence from the north after a 22-year civil war.

While Gadet was reintegrated into the SPLA, an unknown number of men rejected the ceasefire, accusing their former leader and renegade SPLA general of accepting government bribes.

The UN Mine Action Coordination Centre has said it will ramp up efforts in Unity state due to the increase in incidents and the approach of the dry season, when rebel groups are more active.

Insecurity is one of the fledgling nation’s biggest challenges.

Rebel militias in Unity state threaten not only the country’s economic lifeblood but also aid access and the livelihood of many civilians in the largely pastoral state plagued by fear of mines and violence.

Dozens of aid agencies like Care International, The International Rescue Committee, Medecin Sans Frontieres, The International Committee of the Red Cross are working in Unity state alongside a large UN presence.

Related articles

Over 70 dead in a deadly rebel attack in Unity State

(BENTIU – UNT) A rebel attack in Mayom county in Unity State this morning claimed the life of 75 people in what seemed to have been the deadliest attack ever in Unity State since the independence on July 9 this year.

The attack carried out by the South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A) took place at 5 a.m in the morning after the rebels warned aid agencies earlier on Friday that they will attack the town.

According to the State minister of information, Hon Gideon Gatpan Thoar, about 60 people killed in the attack were rebel fighters who tried to retreat back after the national army offensive. He reported that 15 others dead were members of the local civilian population who tried to escape the deadly violence but caught in a cross-fire.Gatpan also said that about 18 people suffers serious wounds. It is however unclear how many were either killed or wounded in the government side. but according to one eye witness who spoke to the Upper Nile Times, the army (better known as the SPLA) also reported minor casualties.
Minister Thoar also indicated that an high ranking rebel fighter, Colonel Ruadhdeal Gatwech was among the rebels killed by the national army.Ruadhdeal and his group led by Maj. Gen. Bapiny Monytuil among others refused to joint their former leader Peter Gatdet Yaka who earlier accepted an amnesty offered by the president of the republic, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit. The group accused Gatdet of being bribed by the government before joining the Juba based Government. the group rebelled about 3 months ago citing what they called as the Government’s domination by Dinka ethnic group.On the attack today, the group claimed that Governor Taban Deng Gai committed what they called as a “Grave human right violation” in Unity State, alleging that the Governor detained and beaten families of SSLA commanders and confiscated their belongings.South Sudan suffered from a traumatising civil war, that spans over a quarter of century. There are arms that fall on the hands of wrong civilian populations who later used them for revolts such as that orchestrated by Bapiny and his group in Unity State and George Athor in Jonglei State.The government too has made disarmament a priority since independence but there seemed to have no answer to guns flowing to the hands of the rebels from the rogue regime in Khartoum.www.untimes.orgwww.untimes.netSouth Sudan rebels threaten Warrap state, call for evacuation

JUBA | Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:32pm EDT

JUBA (Reuters) – A rebel group in South Sudan threatened on Saturday to attack Warrap state to bring down the local government and called on the United Nations and residents to leave within three days.

The South Sudan Liberation Army, one of several rebel groups in South Sudan, said it would turn its attention to the state after earlier attacking Mayom town in neighboring oil-producing Unity state, also on the border on Sudan.

“Within few days, the people of Warrap will be liberated from abject poverty, corruption and abuse of human rights,” it said in a statement.

“We would also advise the civilians to evacuate all towns and move to villages in order to be safe,” it said.

The United Nations mainly runs humanitarian operations for food deliveries and aid to local people and Southern Sudanese coming from the north.

South Sudan became independent in July after a 2005 peace deal with Khartoum that ended decades of civil war, but the new nation has been struggling to end tribal and rebel violence that has killed around 3,000 people this year.

Rebel and tribal violence undermine stability in South Sudan struggling to build up state institutions. Several rebel militias are fighting government forces in remote parts of the country, which is roughly the size of France.

Officials in South Sudan said earlier on Saturday the SSLA had killed 15 people, including nine soldiers, and wounded 18 when attacking Mayom in the morning.

“We got attacked in Mayom town today by the militias from 6 to 7 a.m. The militia attacked the town, killed 15 and wounded 18,” Unity state Information Minister Gideon Gatpan Thoar said. “More than 60 militiamen were killed.”

Army spokesman Philip Aguer said: “It was indiscriminate, they didn’t differentiate between civilians and the army. The killing included a doctor.”

Aguer said Mayom was now under army control but the SSLA rejected that, adding in its statement: “Within four hours, SSLA forces also managed to capture Tomor town and they are now advancing toward Bentiu town.”

(Reporting by Hereward Holland; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by)

South Sudan rebel group attacks town in oil-rich state

Locator map

Rebels from the South Sudan Liberation Army have attacked a town in the oil-rich Unity State and at least 75 people have died, the national army has said.

Among the dead, nine were soldiers, 15 were civilians and at least 50 were rebels, an army spokesman told the BBC.

South Sudan became independent in July after a peace deal with Khartoum that ended decades of civil war.

Afterwards, some of the region’s rebel movements struck deals with the government but several remain defiant.


Both sides produced widely differing accounts of the number of casualties after the attack in Unity State, which happened in the early hours of the morning.

The SSLA say that they killed more than 700 soldiers in the attack. Rebels’ claims that they are now in control of town of Mayom have been dismissed by locals and officials.

On Friday, rebels from the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) warned United Nations staff and aid workers to leave the state. This warning has now been extended to the nearby Warrup state.

The rebels say they are fighting against corruption, underdevelopment and the domination of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the former rebels who now run South Sudan.

The BBC’s James Copnall, in Khartoum, says that the SSLA’s rebellion is particularly sensitive because of its location as most of South Sudan’s oilfields – which account for 98% of the new country’s revenue – are in Unity State.