Archive for October 25, 2011

South Sudan allows visits to detained members of opposition party

Posted: October 25, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Dr James Okuk, the detained SPLM-DC’s member

By Ngor Arol Garang

October 25, 2011 (JUBA) – The government of South Sudan on Tuesday gave full access to family members of the opposition member who was arrested last week, allegedly for writing against President Salva Kiir on the internet.

On Sunday, Onyoti Adigo, the leader of South Sudan’s largest opposition party told Sudan Tribune that three diplomats aligned to his party were picked up by security elements while leaving the ministry of foreign affairs on Friday last week.

Two members were immediately released but one remains under detention prompting his party the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) to claim they were targeted. He named James Okuk as their member who remains under detention in an undisclosed location on Monday.

However, Adigo on Tuesday said in a follow up interview with Sudan Tribune that the government agents had handed over the detainee to the police service where a statement was taken from him.

He was also allowed to talk to some relative members and friends at police station.

“At least it is okay today. James Okuk has been handed to the police where he can now be visited. A statement was also taken from him by one of the senior judges in the town and is accessible to family members and friends. He is at Juba main prison,” Adigo told Sudan Tribune. The senior member of the opposition explained that the case will now be filled by an attorney general to the minister of justice because it is a political issue.,40534

South Sudan, darling of the West, faces charges of political repression

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement dominates South Sudan’s political arena, and its reticence to allow political opposition to develop could hurt its image among Western donors.

By Alex Thurston, Guest blogger / October 25, 2011

After the referendum vote in January 2011 that gave South Sudan its independence, International Crisis Group’s Zack Vertin pointed to some of the challenges that lay ahead for the new country. One of the most important was the issue of internal political pluralism:

The rebel movement turned governing party – the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – dominates the political arena. Since the end of the war, opposition voices have suppressed grievances and taken a back seat to the SPLM so as to preserve the goal shared by all southerners – self-determination. But now that the vote has been cast, that common denominator is gone. When the jubilation of last week’s vote subsides, the political environment will slowly begin to transform. The current leadership must respond accordingly, recognizing that a genuine opening of political space is both necessary and in their long-term interest. They must find a way to equitably manage the South’s own diversity, lest they simply duplicate the sort of autocratic regime they’ve finally managed to escape.

Nine months later, the issue remains. Over the weekend, the South Sudanese opposition spoke out, alleging that the ruling party was harassing its members:

A major South Sudanese opposition party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) on Sunday protested against the “targeted” arrest of its members.

Onyoti Adigo, who leads the largest opposition party in the National Legislative Assembly, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday said that three diplomats aligned to his party were picked up at gunpoint on Friday while leaving the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation.

He named James Okuk as one of the members being held in undisclosed location by South Sudan’s security services for allegedly for writing against president on the internet. Some other SPLM-DC members including Sabino Tom who were arrested with James have been freed.

As the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan said in September, the world will be watching to see how the new country performs on pluralism and other issues. I doubt that autocratic behavior by the ruling party would jeopardize funding from donors immediately, but in the long run outside observers may grow increasingly frustrated if the ruling party proves unwilling to open the political space to a greater degree. Internally, moreover, unmet political demands may give rise to violence; the country is already dealing with several rebel movements.

The region surrounding South Sudan is flush with former rebels, revolutionaries, and military leaders who are still in power – President Idriss Deby of Chad, President Omar al Bashir of (North) Sudan, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, to name a few – but there is a lot of pressure on the SPLM in South Sudan to take a different path.

– Alex Thurston is a PhD student studying Islam in Africa at Northwestern University and blogs at Sahel Blog.

South Sudan opposition member remains in detention
Middle East North Africa Financial Network
The leader of the South Sudan opposition at the Legislative Assembly, Onyoti Adigo, announced on Sunday that three of its members were arrested on Friday by the security services. Two were released immediately but one remains under detention prompting

Sudan pumps 117,900 bpd oil since southern independence

Posted: October 25, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

KHARTOUM Oct 25 (Reuters) – Sudan has been producing on average 117,900 barrels a day of oil since its former civil war foe South Sudan became independent in July, official data showed on Tuesday.

South Sudan took most of the country’s oil reserves when it gained independence after a referendum in January agreed under a 2005 peace deal. The loss of oil — the main source of state income — has thrown the northern economy into turmoil,

Sudan’s total oil production from north and south in the first half was 459,900 bpd, acting northern oil minister Ali Ahmed Osman said in a presentation to parliament obtained by Reuters.

North Sudan wants to increase oil production and exploration next year, he said, without giving details. The government had also boosted security measures at oil facilities, he added.

Sudan’s main Khartoum refinery, a joint-venture of the government and China National Petroleum Corp, will be producing 30.4 million barrels in 2011, according to the presentation. The refinery has a capacity of 100,000 bpd.

South Sudan, which produces around 300,000 bpd, needs to use northern refineries and export facilities as the country’s only pipeline goes from southern fields to the Red Sea port of Port Sudan.

The South will have to pay Khartoum a transit fee to use northern facilities but the two sides have failed to reach an agreement. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Anthony Barker)

China Donates 200 Million Yuan (31.5 million dollars) to South Sudan

Posted: October 25, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Martina Jada and Taghrid George, News Agency of South Sudan

24 October 2011

press release

Juba — The government of the Peoples’ Republic of China today donated 200 million Renminbi (the official Chinese currency abbreviated as RMB) to support agriculture, education, health and water supply projects in the Republic of South Sudan.

The donation was announced this morning by the Chinese ambassador in Juba Hon Li Zhiguo during a meeting he held with the minister for Information and Broadcasting Hon Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin. The ambassador said that China will continue to support development in the new country now and into the future.

The ambassador also announced that the Chinese government will soon send Chinese international radio stations to South Sudan to help develop the sector and share experiences and skills with the South Sudanese media fraternity. He also announced that the Chinese peacekeepers in South Sudan will remain in the country until the nascent peace is stabilized.

He expressed hope that the bilateral relations between the two countries will be strengthened for the mutual benefit of their peoples. He explained that his government is in constant touch with their South Sudanese counterparts so as to identify the areas and frameworks of partnership. He said Chinese companies will come to South Sudan as soon as these modalities are worked out.

On his part, Dr Marial expressed South Sudan’s gratitude for the support of China and explained that the government is keen to strengthen its bilateral links with the Asian country. "We want you to look comprehensively in the areas of investment as well as education, especially university education, which is constantly facing infrastructural and personnel challenges", he said.

Meanwhile in another event Dr Marial also hosted the former Prime Minister of Angola Mr. Lopo do Nascimento. Mr Nascimento announced that SONANGO, the Angolan national oil company will soon invest in South Sudan.

Dr Marial welcomed the announcement and said that South Sudan stands to benefit greatly from the experience of such renowned companies.

China grants South Sudan $31.5 mln for development projects
Sudan Tribune
October 24, 2011 (JUBA) – Chinese government today extended a grant of 200 million Yuan (about 31.5 million US dollars) to South Sudan for development projects in the newly independent state. The grant was announced Monday in Juba after a meeting

Protecting Cattle Saves People

Posted: October 25, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy, Socio-Cultural

By Jared Ferrie

A member of the Mundari tribe stands amongst cattle in Terekeka, South Sudan. / Credit:Jared Ferrie/IPS
A member of the Mundari tribe stands amongst cattle in Terekeka, South Sudan.

TEREKEKA, South Sudan, Oct 25, 2011 (IPS) – With his bright orange hair, Angelo Waranyang cuts a striking figure as he strides amongst his cattle. His hair colour – dyed with a mixture of cow urine and ash from burnt dung – is symbolic of the close connection that he and the majority of South Sudanese have with their revered animals.

In fact, there are more cattle than people in South Sudan. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) puts the number of cattle at about 11 million, and it estimates that 80 percent of the country’s approximately eight million people depend on the animals for their survival.

With the FAO warning that South Sudan will likely produce only enough food to feed half its people next year, a push to vaccinate cattle against deadly diseases has taken on added urgency.

Preventing outbreaks of disease could stave off hunger, as well as mitigate violence that arises when herders attempt to steal cattle from neighbouring tribes after suffering losses to their own herds.

Waranyang, who hails from the Mundari ethnic group, welcomed the vaccination campaign, noting that he had already lost 25 cows to disease this year.

The FAO and South Sudan’s Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry would like to vaccinate 70 percent of South Sudan’s livestock (including 19 million sheep and goats), according to Edward Ogolla, a communications officer with FAO.

But he admitted that the figure could be achieved only “in a perfect situation.”

The situation in South Sudan is far from perfect. When the country became the world’s newest nation after seceding from the north on Jul. 9, it also became one of the poorest. While rich in oil, revenues from resources in the south had been diverted to the north for decades by Khartoum leaving the region one of the least developed in the world.

The vaccination campaign is hampered by lack of funding and trained personnel, insecurity and poor infrastructure, to name just a few challenges, Ogolla said.

The recent vaccination exercise in Terekeka underscores the point. The community is only about 80 kilometres from the capital Juba, and is considered quite accessible, but it took almost three hours to arrive after driving down rough, rutted, dirt roads littered with water-filled potholes the size of small ponds.

Of a total of 21 million animals, the FAO is targeting five million for vaccination this year. Officials say the campaign is becoming more important as South Sudan faces rising food insecurity due to weather patterns, insecurity and a large influx of southerners who are returning from the north to take up residence in their newly independent homeland.

“These diseases, especially east coast fever, can (result in) up to a 100 percent of the animals getting sick, and you can get up to 90 to a 100 percent mortality, which means it can wipe out the whole herd,” said George Okech, head of the FAO in South Sudan.

The team was also vaccinating against black quarter fever and haemorrhagic septicemia.

“If a disease were to come by and wipe (out) these (herds, people) would easily be tempted to go to the neighbouring county and try and get the animals from there,” said Okech. “And that definitely would be a cause of conflict.”

Cattle rustling attacks are common in South Sudan and were one of the main causes of death in the first half of this year, which was the most violent six months since the civil war ended in 2005. The U.N. said 2,368 civilians had died as of July, compared with 940 last year.

Cattle raiding is also holding back economic development, according to a 2010 study by the Netherlands Development Agency (SNV), which pointed to a large unmet local demand despite South Sudan’s vast herds.

“Despite the potential of home grown Sudanese livestock sources, large volumes of livestock and livestock products are imported from neighbouring Uganda to meet the demand in Juba,” said the report, which put the blame partly on cattle rustling.

“That’s a stumbling block for attempts to improve livestock sales at community level, because the animals can be easily stolen when they are being taken to market,” SNV noted.

FAO officials say a cow or bull can fetch anywhere between 300 and 800 dollars. With 11 million head of cattle in South Sudan, these herds represent vast potential for economic growth – provided they can be kept safe from disease. (END)

SDF unit to get South Sudan dispatch orders on Friday

Posted: October 25, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan


The government has started making arrangements for Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa to order a Ground Self-Defense Force engineering unit to prepare to head to South Sudan as early as Friday, government sources said

Ichikawa will issue the order to Self-Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Ryoichi Oriki and other defense officials once the plan is confirmed at a Cabinet meeting on Friday. The government will notify the United Nations of the plan, they said.

The SDF will start organizing the unit and compiling an operational plan for the mission between early next year and February, the sources said.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda recently said he intends to send an SDF unit to South Sudan early next year to join U.N. peacekeeping operations.

The government is considering sending a unit comprising between 300 and 350 engineers to South Sudan by February at the request of the United Nations, before the African country’s rainy season starts up in April, which will make road work difficult, the sources said.

The government has concluded that local security does not pose a problem for the engineering unit, based on reports from an advance survey team that visited the country in late September, they said.

The United Nations and the Japanese government have already agreed on basing the unit in the capital city of Juba for road and bridge construction.

The Cabinet could approve the size of the unit, the length of the mission and its equipment as early as November.

Panetta gives assurances

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta vowed Monday that the United States will maintain and strengthen the presence of its military in the Pacific region despite calls for defense spending cuts.

"The Pacific remains a priority of the United States . . . we will continue to not only maintain but to strengthen our presence in this part of the world," Panetta said during a speech at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, home to the headquarters of the U.S. military in Japan.

Panetta also told the gathering upon his arrival in Japan that the United States will maintain a strong presence in the Pacific "for a long time" and is "not anticipating any cutbacks in this region." About 230 personnel from the U.S. military and the Self-Defense Forces took part.

Panetta, on his first visit to Japan through Wednesday since assuming his post in July, underlined the vital role of the Japan-U.S. alliance as the "cornerstone of peace and stability in the Pacific" now and in the next 50 years as well.

The U.S. defense chief lauded efforts made by U.S. service personnel in helping the SDF in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and noted that the challenges they continue to face in and out of the region, such as nuclear proliferation in North Korea and terrorism.

Panetta will meet with his local counterpart, Yasuo Ichikawa, on Tuesday at a time when the Japanese government has been trying to break a stalemate over the controversial relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture.

The central government recently told the Okinawa Prefectural Government that it intends to submit an environmental impact assessment report by yearend, a key step to pushing the relocation despite strong opposition in Okinawa, which already hosts the bulk of U.S. forces in Japan.