Archive for December 4, 2011

Getting Bin Laden: What happened that night in Abbottabad.

Posted: December 4, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History

by August 8, 2011

No American was yet inside the residential part of the compound. The operatives had barely been on target for a minute, and the mission was already veering off course. Photoillustration by John Ritter.

No American was yet inside the residential part of the compound. The operatives had barely been on target for a minute, and the mission was already veering off course. Photoillustration by John Ritter.

Shortly after eleven o’clock on the night of May 1st, two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters lifted off from Jalalabad Air Field, in eastern Afghanistan, and embarked on a covert mission into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. Inside the aircraft were twenty-three Navy SEALs from Team Six, which is officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. A Pakistani-American translator, whom I will call Ahmed, and a dog named Cairo—a Belgian Malinois—were also aboard. It was a moonless evening, and the helicopters’ pilots, wearing night-vision goggles, flew without lights over mountains that straddle the border with Pakistan. Radio communications were kept to a minimum, and an eerie calm settled inside the aircraft.

Fifteen minutes later, the helicopters ducked into an alpine valley and slipped, undetected, into Pakistani airspace. For more than sixty years, Pakistan’s military has maintained a state of high alert against its eastern neighbor, India. Because of this obsession, Pakistan’s “principal air defenses are all pointing east,” Shuja Nawaz, an expert on the Pakistani Army and the author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within,” told me. Senior defense and Administration officials concur with this assessment, but a Pakistani senior military official, whom I reached at his office, in Rawalpindi, disagreed. “No one leaves their borders unattended,” he said. Though he declined to elaborate on the location or orientation of Pakistan’s radars—“It’s not where the radars are or aren’t”—he said that the American infiltration was the result of “technological gaps we have vis-à-vis the U.S.” The Black Hawks, each of which had two pilots and a crewman from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, or the Night Stalkers, had been modified to mask heat, noise, and movement; the copters’ exteriors had sharp, flat angles and were covered with radar-dampening “skin.”

The SEALs’ destination was a house in the small city of Abbottabad, which is about a hundred and twenty miles across the Pakistan border. Situated north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, Abbottabad is in the foothills of the Pir Panjal Range, and is popular in the summertime with families seeking relief from the blistering heat farther south. Founded in 1853 by a British major named James Abbott, the city became the home of a prestigious military academy after the creation of Pakistan, in 1947. According to information gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency, bin Laden was holed up on the third floor of a house in a one-acre compound just off Kakul Road in Bilal Town, a middle-class neighborhood less than a mile from the entrance to the academy. If all went according to plan, the SEALs would drop from the helicopters into the compound, overpower bin Laden’s guards, shoot and kill him at close range, and then take the corpse back to Afghanistan.

The helicopters traversed Mohmand, one of Pakistan’s seven tribal areas, skirted the north of Peshawar, and continued due east. The commander of DEVGRU’s Red Squadron, whom I will call James, sat on the floor, squeezed among ten other SEALs, Ahmed, and Cairo. (The names of all the covert operators mentioned in this story have been changed.) James, a broad-chested man in his late thirties, does not have the lithe swimmer’s frame that one might expect of a SEAL—he is built more like a discus thrower. That night, he wore a shirt and trousers in Desert Digital Camouflage, and carried a silenced Sig Sauer P226 pistol, along with extra ammunition; a CamelBak, for hydration; and gel shots, for endurance. He held a short-barrel, silenced M4 rifle. (Others SEALs had chosen the Heckler & Koch MP7.) A “blowout kit,” for treating field trauma, was tucked into the small of James’s back. Stuffed into one of his pockets was a laminated gridded map of the compound. In another pocket was a booklet with photographs and physical descriptions of the people suspected of being inside. He wore a noise-cancelling headset, which blocked out nearly everything besides his heartbeat.

During the ninety-minute helicopter flight, James and his teammates rehearsed the operation in their heads. Since the autumn of 2001, they had rotated through Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa, at a brutal pace. At least three of the SEALs had participated in the sniper operation off the coast of Somalia, in April, 2009, that freed Richard Phillips, the captain of the Maersk Alabama, and left three pirates dead. In October, 2010, a DEVGRU team attempted to rescue Linda Norgrove, a Scottish aid worker who had been kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan by the Taliban. During a raid of a Taliban hideout, a SEAL tossed a grenade at an insurgent, not realizing that Norgrove was nearby. She died from the blast. The mistake haunted the SEALs who had been involved; three of them were subsequently expelled from DEVGRU.

The Abbottabad raid was not DEVGRU’s maiden venture into Pakistan, either. The team had surreptitiously entered the country on ten to twelve previous occasions, according to a special-operations officer who is deeply familiar with the bin Laden raid. Most of those missions were forays into North and South Waziristan, where many military and intelligence analysts had thought that bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders were hiding. (Only one such operation—the September, 2008, raid of Angoor Ada, a village in South Waziristan—has been widely reported.) Abbottabad was, by far, the farthest that DEVGRU had ventured into Pakistani territory. It also represented the team’s first serious attempt since late 2001 at killing “Crankshaft”—the target name that the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, had given bin Laden. Since escaping that winter during a battle in the Tora Bora region of eastern Afghanistan, bin Laden had defied American efforts to trace him. Indeed, it remains unclear how he ended up living in Abbottabad.

Forty-five minutes after the Black Hawks departed, four MH-47 Chinooks launched from the same runway in Jalalabad. Two of them flew to the border, staying on the Afghan side; the other two proceeded into Pakistan. Deploying four Chinooks was a last-minute decision made after President Barack Obama said he wanted to feel assured that the Americans could “fight their way out of Pakistan.” Twenty-five additional SEALs from DEVGRU, pulled from a squadron stationed in Afghanistan, sat in the Chinooks that remained at the border; this “quick-reaction force” would be called into action only if the mission went seriously wrong. The third and fourth Chinooks were each outfitted with a pair of M134 Miniguns. They followed the Black Hawks’ initial flight path but landed at a predetermined point on a dry riverbed in a wide, unpopulated valley in northwest Pakistan. The nearest house was half a mile away. On the ground, the copters’ rotors were kept whirring while operatives monitored the surrounding hills for encroaching Pakistani helicopters or fighter jets. One of the Chinooks was carrying fuel bladders, in case the other aircraft needed to refill their tanks.

Meanwhile, the two Black Hawks were quickly approaching Abbottabad from the northwest, hiding behind the mountains on the northernmost edge of the city. Then the pilots banked right and went south along a ridge that marks Abbottabad’s eastern perimeter. When those hills tapered off, the pilots curled right again, toward the city center, and made their final approach.

During the next four minutes, the interior of the Black Hawks rustled alive with the metallic cough of rounds being chambered. Mark, a master chief petty officer and the ranking noncommissioned officer on the operation, crouched on one knee beside the open door of the lead helicopter. He and the eleven other SEALs on “helo one,” who were wearing gloves and had on night-vision goggles, were preparing to fast-rope into bin Laden’s yard. They waited for the crew chief to give the signal to throw the rope. But, as the pilot passed over the compound, pulled into a high hover, and began lowering the aircraft, he felt the Black Hawk getting away from him. He sensed that they were going to crash.

One month before the 2008 Presidential election, Obama, then a senator from Illinois, squared off in a debate against John McCain in an arena at Belmont University, in Nashville. A woman in the audience asked Obama if he would be willing to pursue Al Qaeda leaders inside Pakistan, even if that meant invading an ally nation. He replied, “If we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable, or unwilling, to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden. We will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national-security priority.” McCain, who often criticized Obama for his naïveté on foreign-policy matters, characterized the promise as foolish, saying, “I’m not going to telegraph my punches.”

Four months after Obama entered the White House, Leon Panetta, the director of the C.I.A., briefed the President on the agency’s latest programs and initiatives for tracking bin Laden. Obama was unimpressed. In June, 2009, he drafted a memo instructing Panetta to create a “detailed operation plan” for finding the Al Qaeda leader and to “ensure that we have expended every effort.” Most notably, the President intensified the C.I.A.’s classified drone program; there were more missile strikes inside Pakistan during Obama’s first year in office than in George W. Bush’s eight. The terrorists swiftly registered the impact: that July, CBS reported that a recent Al Qaeda communiqué had referred to “brave commanders” who had been “snatched away” and to “so many hidden homes [which] have been levelled.” The document blamed the “very grave” situation on spies who had “spread throughout the land like locusts.” Nevertheless, bin Laden’s trail remained cold.

In August, 2010, Panetta returned to the White House with better news. C.I.A. analysts believed that they had pinpointed bin Laden’s courier, a man in his early thirties named Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Kuwaiti drove a white S.U.V. whose spare-tire cover was emblazoned with an image of a white rhino. The C.I.A. began tracking the vehicle. One day, a satellite captured images of the S.U.V. pulling into a large concrete compound in Abbottabad. Agents, determining that Kuwaiti was living there, used aerial surveillance to keep watch on the compound, which consisted of a three-story main house, a guesthouse, and a few outbuildings. They observed that residents of the compound burned their trash, instead of putting it out for collection, and concluded that the compound lacked a phone or an Internet connection. Kuwaiti and his brother came and went, but another man, living on the third floor, never left. When this third individual did venture outside, he stayed behind the compound’s walls. Some analysts speculated that the third man was bin Laden, and the agency dubbed him the Pacer.

Obama, though excited, was not yet prepared to order military action. John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, told me that the President’s advisers began an “interrogation of the data, to see if, by that interrogation, you’re going to disprove the theory that bin Laden was there.” The C.I.A. intensified its intelligence-collection efforts, and, according to a recent report in the Guardian, a physician working for the agency conducted an immunization drive in Abbottabad, in the hope of acquiring DNA samples from bin Laden’s children. (No one in the compound ultimately received any immunizations.)

In late 2010, Obama ordered Panetta to begin exploring options for a military strike on the compound. Panetta contacted Vice-Admiral Bill McRaven, the SEAL in charge of JSOC. Traditionally, the Army has dominated the special-operations community, but in recent years the SEALs have become a more prominent presence; McRaven’s boss at the time of the raid, Eric Olson—the head of Special Operations Command, or SOCOM—is a Navy admiral who used to be a commander of DEVGRU. In January, 2011, McRaven asked a JSOC official named Brian, who had previously been a DEVGRU deputy commander, to present a raid plan. The next month, Brian, who has the all-American look of a high-school quarterback, moved into an unmarked office on the first floor of the C.I.A.’s printing plant, in Langley, Virginia. Brian covered the walls of the office with topographical maps and satellite images of the Abbottabad compound. He and half a dozen JSOC officers were formally attached to the Pakistan/Afghanistan department of the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center, but in practice they operated on their own. A senior counterterrorism official who visited the JSOC redoubt described it as an enclave of unusual secrecy and discretion. “Everything they were working on was closely held,” the official said.

The relationship between special-operations units and the C.I.A. dates back to the Vietnam War. But the line between the two communities has increasingly blurred as C.I.A. officers and military personnel have encountered one another on multiple tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. “These people grew up together,” a senior Defense Department official told me. “We are in each other’s systems, we speak each other’s languages.” (Exemplifying this trend, General David H. Petraeus, the former commanding general in Iraq and Afghanistan, is now the incoming head of the C.I.A., and Panetta has taken over the Department of Defense.) The bin Laden mission—plotted at C.I.A. headquarters and authorized under C.I.A. legal statutes but conducted by Navy DEVGRU operators—brought the coöperation between the agency and the Pentagon to an even higher level. John Radsan, a former assistant general counsel at the C.I.A., said that the Abbottabad raid amounted to “a complete incorporation of JSOC into a C.I.A. operation.”

On March 14th, Obama called his national-security advisers into the White House Situation Room and reviewed a spreadsheet listing possible courses of action against the Abbottabad compound. Most were variations of either a JSOC raid or an airstrike. Some versions included coöperating with the Pakistani military; some did not. Obama decided against informing or working with Pakistan. “There was a real lack of confidence that the Pakistanis could keep this secret for more than a nanosecond,” a senior adviser to the President told me. At the end of the meeting, Obama instructed McRaven to proceed with planning the raid.

Brian invited James, the commander of DEVGRU’s Red Squadron, and Mark, the master chief petty officer, to join him at C.I.A. headquarters. They spent the next two and a half weeks considering ways to get inside bin Laden’s house. One option entailed flying helicopters to a spot outside Abbottabad and letting the team sneak into the city on foot. The risk of detection was high, however, and the SEALs would be tired by a long run to the compound. The planners had contemplated tunnelling in—or, at least, the possibility that bin Laden might tunnel out. But images provided by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency showed that there was standing water in the vicinity, suggesting that the compound sat in a flood basin. The water table was probably just below the surface, making tunnels highly unlikely. Eventually, the planners agreed that it made the most sense to fly directly into the compound. “Special operations is about doing what’s not expected, and probably the least expected thing here was that a helicopter would come in, drop guys on the roof, and land in the yard,” the special-operations officer said.

On March 29th, McRaven brought the plan to Obama. The President’s military advisers were divided. Some supported a raid, some an airstrike, and others wanted to hold off until the intelligence improved. Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense, was one of the most outspoken opponents of a helicopter assault. Gates reminded his colleagues that he had been in the Situation Room of the Carter White House when military officials presented Eagle Claw—the 1980 Delta Force operation that aimed at rescuing American hostages in Tehran but resulted in a disastrous collision in the Iranian desert, killing eight American soldiers. “They said that was a pretty good idea, too,” Gates warned. He and General James Cartwright, the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs, favored an airstrike by B-2 Spirit bombers. That option would avoid the risk of having American boots on the ground in Pakistan. But the Air Force then calculated that a payload of thirty-two smart bombs, each weighing two thousand pounds, would be required to penetrate thirty feet below ground, insuring that any bunkers would collapse. “That much ordnance going off would be the equivalent of an earthquake,” Cartwright told me. The prospect of flattening a Pakistani city made Obama pause. He shelved the B-2 option and directed McRaven to start rehearsing the raid.

Brian, James, and Mark selected a team of two dozen SEALs from Red Squadron and told them to report to a densely forested site in North Carolina for a training exercise on April 10th. (Red Squadron is one of four squadrons in DEVGRU, which has about three hundred operators in all.) None of the SEALs, besides James and Mark, were aware of the C.I.A. intelligence on bin Laden’s compound until a lieutenant commander walked into an office at the site. He found a two-star Army general from JSOC headquarters seated at a conference table with Brian, James, Mark, and several analysts from the C.I.A. This obviously wasn’t a training exercise. The lieutenant commander was promptly “read in.” A replica of the compound had been built at the site, with walls and chain-link fencing marking the layout of the compound. The team spent the next five days practicing maneuvers.

On April 18th, the DEVGRU squad flew to Nevada for another week of rehearsals. The practice site was a large government-owned stretch of desert with an elevation equivalent to the area surrounding Abbottabad. An extant building served as bin Laden’s house. Aircrews plotted out a path that paralleled the flight from Jalalabad to Abbottabad. Each night after sundown, drills commenced. Twelve SEALs, including Mark, boarded helo one. Eleven SEALs, Ahmed, and Cairo boarded helo two. The pilots flew in the dark, arrived at the simulated compound, and settled into a hover while the SEALs fast-roped down. Not everyone on the team was accustomed to helicopter assaults. Ahmed had been pulled from a desk job for the mission and had never descended a fast rope. He quickly learned the technique.

The assault plan was now honed. Helo one was to hover over the yard, drop two fast ropes, and let all twelve SEALs slide down into the yard. Helo two would fly to the northeast corner of the compound and let out Ahmed, Cairo, and four SEALs, who would monitor the perimeter of the building. The copter would then hover over the house, and James and the remaining six SEALs would shimmy down to the roof. As long as everything was cordial, Ahmed would hold curious neighbors at bay. The SEALs and the dog could assist more aggressively, if needed. Then, if bin Laden was proving difficult to find, Cairo could be sent into the house to search for false walls or hidden doors. “This wasn’t a hard op,” the special-operations officer told me. “It would be like hitting a target in McLean”—the upscale Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.

A planeload of guests arrived on the night of April 21st. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, along with Olson and McRaven, sat with C.I.A. personnel in a hangar as Brian, James, Mark, and the pilots presented a brief on the raid, which had been named Operation Neptune’s Spear. Despite JSOC’s lead role in Neptune’s Spear, the mission officially remained a C.I.A. covert operation. The covert approach allowed the White House to hide its involvement, if necessary. As the counterterrorism official put it recently, “If you land and everybody is out on a milk run, then you get the hell out and no one knows.” After describing the operation, the briefers fielded questions: What if a mob surrounded the compound? Were the SEALs prepared to shoot civilians? Olson, who received the Silver Star for valor during the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” episode, in Mogadishu, Somalia, worried that it could be politically catastrophic if a U.S. helicopter were shot down inside Pakistani territory. After an hour or so of questioning, the senior officers and intelligence analysts returned to Washington. Two days later, the SEALs flew back to Dam Neck, their base in Virginia.

On the night of Tuesday, April 26th, the SEAL team boarded a Boeing C-17 Globemaster at Naval Air Station Oceana, a few miles from Dam Neck. After a refuelling stop at Ramstein Air Base, in Germany, the C-17 continued to Bagram Airfield, north of Kabul. The SEALs spent a night in Bagram and moved to Jalalabad on Wednesday.

That day in Washington, Panetta convened more than a dozen senior C.I.A. officials and analysts for a final preparatory meeting. Panetta asked the participants, one by one, to declare how confident they were that bin Laden was inside the Abbottabad compound. The counterterrorism official told me that the percentages “ranged from forty per cent to ninety or ninety-five per cent,” and added, “This was a circumstantial case.”

Panetta was mindful of the analysts’ doubts, but he believed that the intelligence was better than anything that the C.I.A. had gathered on bin Laden since his flight from Tora Bora. Late on Thursday afternoon, Panetta and the rest of the national-security team met with the President. For the next few nights, there would be virtually no moonlight over Abbottabad—the ideal condition for a raid. After that, it would be another month until the lunar cycle was in its darkest phase. Several analysts from the National Counterterrorism Center were invited to critique the C.I.A.’s analysis; their confidence in the intelligence ranged between forty and sixty per cent. The center’s director, Michael Leiter, said that it would be preferable to wait for stronger confirmation of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. Yet, as Ben Rhodes, a deputy national-security adviser, put it to me recently, the longer things dragged on, the greater the risk of a leak, “which would have upended the thing.” Obama adjourned the meeting just after 7 P.M. and said that he would sleep on it.

The next morning, the President met in the Map Room with Tom Donilon, his national-security adviser, Denis McDonough, a deputy adviser, and Brennan. Obama had decided to go with a DEVGRU assault, with McRaven choosing the night. It was too late for a Friday attack, and on Saturday there was excessive cloud cover. On Saturday afternoon, McRaven and Obama spoke on the phone, and McRaven said that the raid would occur on Sunday night. “Godspeed to you and your forces,” Obama told him. “Please pass on to them my personal thanks for their service and the message that I personally will be following this mission very closely.”

On the morning of Sunday, May 1st, White House officials cancelled scheduled visits, ordered sandwich platters from Costco, and transformed the Situation Room into a war room. At eleven o’clock, Obama’s top advisers began gathering around a large conference table. A video link connected them to Panetta, at C.I.A. headquarters, and McRaven, in Afghanistan. (There were at least two other command centers, one inside the Pentagon and one inside the American Embassy in Islamabad.)

Brigadier General Marshall Webb, an assistant commander of JSOC, took a seat at the end of a lacquered table in a small adjoining office and turned on his laptop. He opened multiple chat windows that kept him, and the White House, connected with the other command teams. The office where Webb sat had the only video feed in the White House showing real-time footage of the target, which was being shot by an unarmed RQ 170 drone flying more than fifteen thousand feet above Abbottabad. The JSOC planners, determined to keep the operation as secret as possible, had decided against using additional fighters or bombers. “It just wasn’t worth it,” the special-operations officer told me. The SEALs were on their own.

Obama returned to the White House at two o’clock, after playing nine holes of golf at Andrews Air Force Base. The Black Hawks departed from Jalalabad thirty minutes later. Just before four o’clock, Panetta announced to the group in the Situation Room that the helicopters were approaching Abbottabad. Obama stood up. “I need to watch this,” he said, stepping across the hall into the small office and taking a seat alongside Webb. Vice-President Joseph Biden, Secretary Gates, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed him, as did anyone else who could fit into the office. On the office’s modestly sized LCD screen, helo one—grainy and black-and-white—appeared above the compound, then promptly ran into trouble.

When the helicopter began getting away from the pilot, he pulled back on the cyclic, which controls the pitch of the rotor blades, only to find the aircraft unresponsive. The high walls of the compound and the warm temperatures had caused the Black Hawk to descend inside its own rotor wash—a hazardous aerodynamic situation known as “settling with power.” In North Carolina, this potential problem had not become apparent, because the chain-link fencing used in rehearsals had allowed air to flow freely. A former helicopter pilot with extensive special-operations experience said of the pilot’s situation, “It’s pretty spooky—I’ve been in it myself. The only way to get out of it is to push the cyclic forward and fly out of this vertical silo you’re dropping through. That solution requires altitude. If you’re settling with power at two thousand feet, you’ve got plenty of time to recover. If you’re settling with power at fifty feet, you’re going to hit the ground.”

The pilot scrapped the plan to fast-rope and focussed on getting the aircraft down. He aimed for an animal pen in the western section of the compound. The SEALs on board braced themselves as the tail rotor swung around, scraping the security wall. The pilot jammed the nose forward to drive it into the dirt and prevent his aircraft from rolling onto its side. Cows, chickens, and rabbits scurried. With the Black Hawk pitched at a forty-five-degree angle astride the wall, the crew sent a distress call to the idling Chinooks.

James and the SEALs in helo two watched all this while hovering over the compound’s northeast corner. The second pilot, unsure whether his colleagues were taking fire or experiencing mechanical problems, ditched his plan to hover over the roof. Instead, he landed in a grassy field across the street from the house.

No American was yet inside the residential part of the compound. Mark and his team were inside a downed helicopter at one corner, while James and his team were at the opposite end. The teams had barely been on target for a minute, and the mission was already veering off course.

“Eternity is defined as the time be tween when you see something go awry and that first voice report,” the special-operations officer said. The officials in Washington viewed the aerial footage and waited anxiously to hear a military communication. The senior adviser to the President compared the experience to watching “the climax of a movie.”

After a few minutes, the twelve SEALs inside helo one recovered their bearings and calmly relayed on the radio that they were proceeding with the raid. They had conducted so many operations over the past nine years that few things caught them off guard. In the months after the raid, the media have frequently suggested that the Abbottabad operation was as challenging as Operation Eagle Claw and the “Black Hawk Down” incident, but the senior Defense Department official told me that “this was not one of three missions. This was one of almost two thousand missions that have been conducted over the last couple of years, night after night.” He likened the routine of evening raids to “mowing the lawn.” On the night of May 1st alone, special-operations forces based in Afghanistan conducted twelve other missions; according to the official, those operations captured or killed between fifteen and twenty targets. “Most of the missions take off and go left,” he said. “This one took off and went right.”

Minutes after hitting the ground, Mark and the other team members began streaming out the side doors of helo one. Mud sucked at their boots as they ran alongside a ten-foot-high wall that enclosed the animal pen. A three-man demolition unit hustled ahead to the pen’s closed metal gate, reached into bags containing explosives, and placed C-4 charges on the hinges. After a loud bang, the door fell open. The nine other SEALs rushed forward, ending up in an alleylike driveway with their backs to the house’s main entrance. They moved down the alley, silenced rifles pressed against their shoulders. Mark hung toward the rear as he established radio communications with the other team. At the end of the driveway, the Americans blew through yet another locked gate and stepped into a courtyard facing the guesthouse, where Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, bin Laden’s courier, lived with his wife and four children.

Three SEALs in front broke off to clear the guesthouse as the remaining nine blasted through another gate and entered an inner courtyard, which faced the main house. When the smaller unit rounded the corner to face the doors of the guesthouse, they spotted Kuwaiti running inside to warn his wife and children. The Americans’ night-vision goggles cast the scene in pixellated shades of emerald green. Kuwaiti, wearing a white shalwar kameez, had grabbed a weapon and was coming back outside when the SEALs opened fire and killed him.

The nine other SEALs, including Mark, formed three-man units for clearing the inner courtyard. The Americans suspected that several more men were in the house: Kuwaiti’s thirty-three-year-old brother, Abrar; bin Laden’s sons Hamza and Khalid; and bin Laden himself. One SEAL unit had no sooner trod on the paved patio at the house’s front entrance when Abrar—a stocky, mustachioed man in a cream-colored shalwar kameez—appeared with an AK-47. He was shot in the chest and killed, as was his wife, Bushra, who was standing, unarmed, beside him.

Outside the compound’s walls, Ahmed, the translator, patrolled the dirt road in front of bin Laden’s house, as if he were a plainclothes Pakistani police officer. He looked the part, wearing a shalwar kameez atop a flak jacket. He, the dog Cairo, and four SEALs were responsible for closing off the perimeter of the house while James and six other SEALs—the contingent that was supposed to have dropped onto the roof—moved inside. For the team patrolling the perimeter, the first fifteen minutes passed without incident. Neighbors undoubtedly heard the low-flying helicopters, the sound of one crashing, and the sporadic explosions and gunfire that ensued, but nobody came outside. One local took note of the tumult in a Twitter post: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1 AM (is a rare event).”

Eventually, a few curious Pakistanis approached to inquire about the commotion on the other side of the wall. “Go back to your houses,” Ahmed said, in Pashto, as Cairo stood watch. “There is a security operation under way.” The locals went home, none of them suspecting that they had talked to an American. When journalists descended on Bilal Town in the coming days, one resident told a reporter, “I saw soldiers emerging from the helicopters and advancing toward the house. Some of them instructed us in chaste Pashto to turn off the lights and stay inside.”

Meanwhile, James, the squadron commander, had breached one wall, crossed a section of the yard covered with trellises, breached a second wall, and joined up with the SEALs from helo one, who were entering the ground floor of the house. What happened next is not precisely clear. “I can tell you that there was a time period of almost twenty to twenty-five minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on,” Panetta said later, on “PBS NewsHour.”

Until this moment, the operation had been monitored by dozens of defense, intelligence, and Administration officials watching the drone’s video feed. The SEALs were not wearing helmet cams, contrary to a widely cited report by CBS. None of them had any previous knowledge of the house’s floor plan, and they were further jostled by the awareness that they were possibly minutes away from ending the costliest manhunt in American history; as a result, some of their recollections—on which this account is based—may be imprecise and, thus, subject to dispute.

As Abrar’s children ran for cover, the SEALs began clearing the first floor of the main house, room by room. Though the Americans had thought that the house might be booby-trapped, the presence of kids at the compound suggested otherwise. “You can only be hyper-vigilant for so long,” the special-operations officer said. “Did bin Laden go to sleep every night thinking, The next night they’re coming? Of course not. Maybe for the first year or two. But not now.” Nevertheless, security precautions were in place. A locked metal gate blocked the base of the staircase leading to the second floor, making the downstairs room feel like a cage.

After blasting through the gate with C-4 charges, three SEALs marched up the stairs. Midway up, they saw bin Laden’s twenty-three-year-old son, Khalid, craning his neck around the corner. He then appeared at the top of the staircase with an AK-47. Khalid, who wore a white T-shirt with an overstretched neckline and had short hair and a clipped beard, fired down at the Americans. (The counterterrorism official claims that Khalid was unarmed, though still a threat worth taking seriously. “You have an adult male, late at night, in the dark, coming down the stairs at you in an Al Qaeda house—your assumption is that you’re encountering a hostile.”) At least two of the SEALs shot back and killed Khalid. According to the booklets that the SEALs carried, up to five adult males were living inside the compound. Three of them were now dead; the fourth, bin Laden’s son Hamza, was not on the premises. The final person was bin Laden.

Before the mission commenced, the SEALs had created a checklist of code words that had a Native American theme. Each code word represented a different stage of the mission: leaving Jalalabad, entering Pakistan, approaching the compound, and so on. “Geronimo” was to signify that bin Laden had been found.

Three SEALs shuttled past Khalid’s body and blew open another metal cage, which obstructed the staircase leading to the third floor. Bounding up the unlit stairs, they scanned the railed landing. On the top stair, the lead SEAL swivelled right; with his night-vision goggles, he discerned that a tall, rangy man with a fist-length beard was peeking out from behind a bedroom door, ten feet away. The SEAL instantly sensed that it was Crankshaft. (The counterterrorism official asserts that the SEAL first saw bin Laden on the landing, and fired but missed.)

The Americans hurried toward the bedroom door. The first SEAL pushed it open. Two of bin Laden’s wives had placed themselves in front of him. Amal al-Fatah, bin Laden’s fifth wife, was screaming in Arabic. She motioned as if she were going to charge; the SEAL lowered his sights and shot her once, in the calf. Fearing that one or both women were wearing suicide jackets, he stepped forward, wrapped them in a bear hug, and drove them aside. He would almost certainly have been killed had they blown themselves up, but by blanketing them he would have absorbed some of the blast and potentially saved the two SEALs behind him. In the end, neither woman was wearing an explosive vest.

A second SEAL stepped into the room and trained the infrared laser of his M4 on bin Laden’s chest. The Al Qaeda chief, who was wearing a tan shalwar kameez and a prayer cap on his head, froze; he was unarmed. “There was never any question of detaining or capturing him—it wasn’t a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees,” the special-operations officer told me. (The Administration maintains that had bin Laden immediately surrendered he could have been taken alive.) Nine years, seven months, and twenty days after September 11th, an American was a trigger pull from ending bin Laden’s life. The first round, a 5.56-mm. bullet, struck bin Laden in the chest. As he fell backward, the SEAL fired a second round into his head, just above his left eye. On his radio, he reported, “For God and country—Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo.” After a pause, he added, “Geronimo E.K.I.A.”—“enemy killed in action.”

Hearing this at the White House, Obama pursed his lips, and said solemnly, to no one in particular, “We got him.”

Relaxing his hold on bin Laden’s two wives, the first SEAL placed the women in flex cuffs and led them downstairs. Two of his colleagues, meanwhile, ran upstairs with a nylon body bag. They unfurled it, knelt down on either side of bin Laden, and placed the body inside the bag. Eighteen minutes had elapsed since the DEVGRU team landed. For the next twenty minutes, the mission shifted to an intelligence-gathering operation.

Four men scoured the second floor, plastic bags in hand, collecting flash drives, CDs, DVDs, and computer hardware from the room, which had served, in part, as bin Laden’s makeshift media studio. In the coming weeks, a C.I.A.-led task force examined the files and determined that bin Laden had remained far more involved in the operational activities of Al Qaeda than many American officials had thought. He had been developing plans to assassinate Obama and Petraeus, to pull off an extravagant September 11th anniversary attack, and to attack American trains. The SEALs also found an archive of digital pornography. “We find it on all these guys, whether they’re in Somalia, Iraq, or Afghanistan,” the special-operations officer said. Bin Laden’s gold-threaded robes, worn during his video addresses, hung behind a curtain in the media room.

Outside, the Americans corralled the women and children—each of them bound in flex cuffs—and had them sit against an exterior wall that faced the second, undamaged Black Hawk. The lone fluent Arabic speaker on the assault team questioned them. Nearly all the children were under the age of ten. They seemed to have no idea about the tenant upstairs, other than that he was “an old guy.” None of the women confirmed that the man was bin Laden, though one of them kept referring to him as “the sheikh.” When the rescue Chinook eventually arrived, a medic stepped out and knelt over the corpse. He injected a needle into bin Laden’s body and extracted two bone-marrow samples. More DNA was taken with swabs. One of the bone-marrow samples went into the Black Hawk. The other went into the Chinook, along with bin Laden’s body.

Next, the SEALs needed to destroy the damaged Black Hawk. The pilot, armed with a hammer that he kept for such situations, smashed the instrument panel, the radio, and the other classified fixtures inside the cockpit. Then the demolition unit took over. They placed explosives near the avionics system, the communications gear, the engine, and the rotor head. “You’re not going to hide the fact that it’s a helicopter,” the special-operations officer said. “But you want to make it unusable.” The SEALs placed extra C-4 charges under the carriage, rolled thermite grenades inside the copter’s body, and then backed up. Helo one burst into flames while the demolition team boarded the Chinook. The women and children, who were being left behind for the Pakistani authorities, looked puzzled, scared, and shocked as they watched the SEALs board the helicopters. Amal, bin Laden’s wife, continued her harangue. Then, as a giant fire burned inside the compound walls, the Americans flew away.

In the Situation Room, Obama said, “I’m not going to be happy until those guys get out safe.” After thirty-eight minutes inside the compound, the two SEAL teams had to make the long flight back to Afghanistan. The Black Hawk was low on gas, and needed to rendezvous with the Chinook at the refuelling point that was near the Afghan border—but still inside Pakistan. Filling the gas tank took twenty-five minutes. At one point, Biden, who had been fingering a rosary, turned to Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman. “We should all go to Mass tonight,” he said.

The helicopters landed back in Jalalabad around 3 A.M.; McRaven and the C.I.A. station chief met the team on the tarmac. A pair of SEALs unloaded the body bag and unzipped it so that McRaven and the C.I.A. officer could see bin Laden’s corpse with their own eyes. Photographs were taken of bin Laden’s face and then of his outstretched body. Bin Laden was believed to be about six feet four, but no one had a tape measure to confirm the body’s length. So one SEAL, who was six feet tall, lay beside the corpse: it measured roughly four inches longer than the American. Minutes later, McRaven appeared on the teleconference screen in the Situation Room and confirmed that bin Laden’s body was in the bag. The corpse was sent to Bagram.

All along, the SEALs had planned to dump bin Laden’s corpse into the sea—a blunt way of ending the bin Laden myth. They had successfully pulled off a similar scheme before. During a DEVGRU helicopter raid inside Somalia in September, 2009, SEALs had killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, one of East Africa’s top Al Qaeda leaders; Nabhan’s corpse was then flown to a ship in the Indian Ocean, given proper Muslim rites, and thrown overboard. Before taking that step for bin Laden, however, John Brennan made a call. Brennan, who had been a C.I.A. station chief in Riyadh, phoned a former counterpart in Saudi intelligence. Brennan told the man what had occurred in Abbottabad and informed him of the plan to deposit bin Laden’s remains at sea. As Brennan knew, bin Laden’s relatives were still a prominent family in the Kingdom, and Osama had once been a Saudi citizen. Did the Saudi government have any interest in taking the body? “Your plan sounds like a good one,” the Saudi replied.

At dawn, bin Laden was loaded into the belly of a flip-wing V-22 Osprey, accompanied by a JSOC liaison officer and a security detail of military police. The Osprey flew south, destined for the deck of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson—a thousand-foot-long nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sailing in the Arabian Sea, off the Pakistani coast. The Americans, yet again, were about to traverse Pakistani airspace without permission. Some officials worried that the Pakistanis, stung by the humiliation of the unilateral raid in Abbottabad, might restrict the Osprey’s access. The airplane ultimately landed on the Vinson without incident.

Bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white burial shroud, weighted, and then slipped inside a bag. The process was done “in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices,” Brennan later told reporters. The JSOC liaison, the military-police contingent, and several sailors placed the shrouded body on an open-air elevator, and rode down with it to the lower level, which functions as a hangar for airplanes. From a height of between twenty and twenty-five feet above the waves, they heaved the corpse into the water.

Back in Abbottabad, residents of Bilal Town and dozens of journalists converged on bin Laden’s compound, and the morning light clarified some of the confusion from the previous night. Black soot from the detonated Black Hawk charred the wall of the animal pen. Part of the tail hung over the wall. It was clear that a military raid had taken place there. “I’m glad no one was hurt in the crash, but, on the other hand, I’m sort of glad we left the helicopter there,” the special-operations officer said. “It quiets the conspiracy mongers out there and instantly lends credibility. You believe everything else instantly, because there’s a helicopter sitting there.”

After the raid, Pakistan’s political leadership engaged in frantic damage control. In the Washington Post, President Asif Ali Zardari wrote that bin Laden “was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be, but now he is gone,” adding that “a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Osama bin Laden.”

Pakistani military officials reacted more cynically. They arrested at least five Pakistanis for helping the C.I.A., including the physician who ran the immunization drive in Abbottabad. And several Pakistani media outlets, including the Nation—a jingoistic English-language newspaper that is considered a mouthpiece for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or I.S.I.—published what they claimed was the name of the C.I.A.’s station chief in Islamabad. (Shireen Mazari, a former editor of the Nation, once told me, “Our interests and the Americans’ interests don’t coincide.”) The published name was incorrect, and the C.I.A. officer opted to stay.

The proximity of bin Laden’s house to the Pakistan Military Academy raised the possibility that the military, or the I.S.I., had helped protect bin Laden. How could Al Qaeda’s chief live so close to the academy without at least some officers knowing about it? Suspicion grew after the Times reported that at least one cell phone recovered from bin Laden’s house contained contacts for senior militants belonging to Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, a jihadi group that has had close ties to the I.S.I. Although American officials have stated that Pakistani officials must have helped bin Laden hide in Abbottabad, definitive evidence has not yet been presented.

Bin Laden’s death provided the White House with the symbolic victory it needed to begin phasing troops out of Afghanistan. Seven weeks later, Obama announced a timetable for withdrawal. Even so, U.S. counterterrorism activities inside Pakistan—that is, covert operations conducted by the C.I.A. and JSOC—are not expected to diminish anytime soon. Since May 2nd, there have been more than twenty drone strikes in North and South Waziristan, including one that allegedly killed Ilyas Kashmiri, a top Al Qaeda leader, while he was sipping tea in an apple orchard.

The success of the bin Laden raid has sparked a conversation inside military and intelligence circles: Are there other terrorists worth the risk of another helicopter assault in a Pakistani city? “There are people out there that, if we could find them, we would go after them,” Cartwright told me. He mentioned Ayman al-Zawahiri, the new leader of Al Qaeda, who is believed to be in Pakistan, and Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric in Yemen. Cartwright emphasized that “going after them” didn’t necessarily mean another DEVGRU raid. The special-operations officer spoke more boldly. He believes that a precedent has been set for more unilateral raids in the future. “Folks now realize we can weather it,” he said. The senior adviser to the President said that “penetrating other countries’ sovereign airspace covertly is something that’s always available for the right mission and the right gain.” Brennan told me, “The confidence we have in the capabilities of the U.S. military is, without a doubt, even stronger after this operation.”

On May 6th, Al Qaeda confirmed bin Laden’s death and released a statement congratulating “the Islamic nation” on “the martyrdom of its good son Osama.” The authors promised Americans that “their joy will turn to sorrow and their tears will mix with blood.” That day, President Obama travelled to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where the 160th is based, to meet the DEVGRU unit and the pilots who pulled off the raid. The SEALs, who had returned home from Afghanistan earlier in the week, flew in from Virginia. Biden, Tom Donilon, and a dozen other national-security advisers came along.

McRaven greeted Obama on the tarmac. (They had met at the White House a few days earlier—the President had presented McRaven with a tape measure.) McRaven led the President and his team into a one-story building on the other side of the base. They walked into a windowless room with shabby carpets, fluorescent lights, and three rows of metal folding chairs. McRaven, Brian, the pilots from the 160th, and James took turns briefing the President. They had set up a three-dimensional model of bin Laden’s compound on the floor and, waving a red laser pointer, traced their maneuvers inside. A satellite image of the compound was displayed on a wall, along with a map showing the flight routes into and out of Pakistan. The briefing lasted about thirty-five minutes. Obama wanted to know how Ahmed had kept locals at bay; he also inquired about the fallen Black Hawk and whether above-average temperatures in Abbottabad had contributed to the crash. (The Pentagon is conducting a formal investigation of the accident.)

When James, the squadron commander, spoke, he started by citing all the forward operating bases in eastern Afghanistan that had been named for SEALs killed in combat. “Everything we have done for the last ten years prepared us for this,” he told Obama. The President was “in awe of these guys,” Ben Rhodes, the deputy national-security adviser, who travelled with Obama, said. “It was an extraordinary base visit,” he added. “They knew he had staked his Presidency on this. He knew they staked their lives on it.”

As James talked about the raid, he mentioned Cairo’s role. “There was a dog?” Obama interrupted. James nodded and said that Cairo was in an adjoining room, muzzled, at the request of the Secret Service.

“I want to meet that dog,” Obama said.

“If you want to meet the dog, Mr. President, I advise you to bring treats,” James joked. Obama went over to pet Cairo, but the dog’s muzzle was left on.

Afterward, Obama and his advisers went into a second room, down the hall, where others involved in the raid—including logisticians, crew chiefs, and SEAL alternates—had assembled. Obama presented the team with a Presidential Unit Citation and said, “Our intelligence professionals did some amazing work. I had fifty-fifty confidence that bin Laden was there, but I had one-hundred-per-cent confidence in you guys. You are, literally, the finest small-fighting force that has ever existed in the world.” The raiding team then presented the President with an American flag that had been on board the rescue Chinook. Measuring three feet by five, the flag had been stretched, ironed, and framed. The SEALs and the pilots had signed it on the back; an inscription on the front read, “From the Joint Task Force Operation Neptune’s Spear, 01 May 2011: ‘For God and country. Geronimo.’ ” Obama promised to put the gift “somewhere private and meaningful to me.” Before the President returned to Washington, he posed for photographs with each team member and spoke with many of them, but he left one thing unsaid. He never asked who fired the kill shot, and the SEALs never volunteered to tell him. ♦
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/08/110808fa_fact_schmidle#ixzz1fcc1ns9H

Speech delivered by Hon Dr Marial during the KCA University graduation

Posted: December 4, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Speeches

SPEECH BY KEYNOTE SPEAKER: H.E. DR BARNABA MARIAL BENJAMIN (M.P), MINISTER FOR INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING (MOIB), REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN (RSS)

OCASSION: THE 3RD GRADUATION CEREMONY OF KCA UNIVERSITY

DATE: THURSDAY, 1ST DECEMBER 2011

VENUE: KCA UNIVERSITY GROUNDS – NAIROBI.

  • Chancellor, KCA University  – Prof. Arthur Eshiwani
  • Chief Guest Dr. Bitange Ndemo – Ministry of Information and Communication, Government of Kenya
  • Chairman and Members of the Board of Trustees present
  • Chairman and members of the KCA University Governing Council present
  • Representatives from the Commission for Higher Education
  • Vice Chancellor, KCA University –  Prof. Noah O. Midamba, PhD
  • Members of academic and non-academic staff, KCA University
  • Distinguished guests, Parents and Students
  • Our Student Graduating today,
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning,

On behalf of my President General Salva Kiir Mayardit, the Government and People of the Republic of South Sudan, I extend and bring to you all, distinguished guests including the whole wonderful family of KCA University, their sincere greetings and congratulations for this great day of joy and celebration for this important occasion of KCA University’s 3rd Graduation Ceremony.

With your permission, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am greatly honoured, with appreciation, humility and equally extremely delighted to be given this opportunity to participate as a keynote speaker on such an important and historical Graduation ceremony. Indeed, I would like to thank the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of KCA for the generous gesture.

Incidentally, we are all aware that this day is the peak and culmination of decades sacrifice and struggles made by the parents, guardians and students and for that we say to you in all sincerity, a thousand congratulations for a job well done. It is therefore fitting and without any hesitation that we pay tribute to all who made it possible for these grandaunts to now find their place not only in Kenya but also among the rest of the nations of the world. I also commend the university fraternity in its pivotal role that they have played in successfully shaping the graduates future.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thought it was of great importance to briefly mention about my association with KCA University. KCA University was the first educational institution that ventured in South Sudan long before we attained our independence. Over the years,

Our partnership has tremendously grown and I consider this place like home for me. Over the last two years we (Government Ministers and Senior Civil Servants) have participated in the KCA University Annual Ethics conferences held in Nairobi. I must say, that we have indeed benefitted professionally and academically from these conferences.

At this juncture, I am happy to mention that plans are underway for KCA University to come to South Sudan and train our on ethical practices as we start our journey towards a better South Sudan. We genuinely expect to have a country that people value proper ethical and moral standards, thus becoming a corrupt free nation. To put it in President Salva Kiir Maryardit famous phrase of “zero tolerance to corruption”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for any nation to survive and thrive, it is absolutely important that its activities are conducted in a transparent and accountable manner. No one thrives without friends and allies, and we are not an exception.  Six years ago in January 9th 2005, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed here in Nairobi between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan. This was the beginning of the birth of our new nation, the Republic of South Sudan (RSS).

The peace agreement necessitated South Sudan to conduct an internationally supervised referendum on its future.  As a result on January 9th 2011 our people voted in a free, fair and transparent referendum by an over whelming vote of 98.85% for independence, which was a true reflection of the people’s voice and will. Therefore, on behalf of all South Sudanese and the leadership of the Republic of South Sudan, please allow me to seize this opportunity to thank you and the people of Kenya for the continued support and cooperation that made this possible.

Ladies and gentlemen, our experience in South Sudan following the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), although “starting from scratch”, we have been able to as an interim government to succeeding developing ministries and basic infrastructure of government.

The needs of South Sudan are still enormous, and there is much still to be done.  The challenges of freedom and independence ahead are daunting and a great deal of work remains to be done.

I would like to share with you some verses from the Holy Bible particularly in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus had this to say to the multitudes of His Followers, “Blessed are the Peace-Makers; for they shall be called the Children of God” Matt 5:9 Indeed, peace is a gift of life in the human family of our present world.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to make some brief remarks about the opportunities and challenges facing my country, the world’s newest nation the Republic of South Sudan.

The Republic of South Sudan is a vast country of 644,000 sq. km bigger than the size of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi put together. It is surrounded by Kenya, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), Uganda and Sudan. The combined population of this region is 268 million people and their combined economic output stands at 300 billion dollars and their combined economic growth is 7%.

The links of South Sudan to these countries are crucial for them and us not forgetting the River Nile link is both symbolic and strategically important for all of us.

The war in old Sudan was fought to a large extend in the territory of South Sudan  resulting into complete destruction of infrastructure and nearly two and a half million people killed through war, disease and famine. Another 3 million internally displaced persons (IDPS); while another million were refugees in the neighbouring countries and internationally. Today, South Sudan streets are thronged with people from the diaspora. With these new arrivals they bring innovations and ideas. There is a measure of confidence that things heading in the right direction.

South Sudan also has potential to provide food security for both local and regional markets. Our Late Leader Dr. John Garang described the rich agricultural land as “the largest organic farm on earth”.

There is also a large herd of livestock of nearly 14 million heads of cattle and 11 million sheep and goat.

Beneath the soils are untapped reserves of natural resources.

There are enough water resources of river water, rainfall and underground water. We have 8 months of rainfall except during natural disasters of drought or floods. You can grow crops twice a year.

South Sudan has the biggest wildlife migration in the world today. This is a resource for successful tourism and challenge to the Maasai Mara of Kenya and Serengeti of Tanzania.

The White Nile and lakes in South Sudan can provide over 300,000 metric tons of fish especially tilapia and Nile perch. Our brothers and sisters the luos, are quite knowledgeable in this area.

In addition to accessing these resources and building diversified non-oil dependent economy is crucial as we emerge from years of conflict and face the challenge of building a land fit for the next generations, the majority of whom are young people of our population both in South Sudan and the East African Region including Kenya.

Other challenges include; roads which have to be constructed and rehabilitated to connect our countries in the region including railways and air transport. Navigable waterways of 1500km in South Sudan require ports and docks to be built. There is need to build hydro-power stations, dams, water supply and treatment plants and cities to be renovated and built.

There is need to deliver services to the people by building schools, universities, hospitals, health centers including building infrastructure for the 10 states.

All these need skills and well trained individuals for example, capacity building in teachers, engineers, doctors including small scale.

Above all, the private sector needs to be developed out of all these resources in order to create jobs for thousands of young people who are now not getting enough vacancies within the government. The agricultural sector is most appropriate since 90% of population is rural in South Sudan.

As spokesperson and mouthpiece of this young government, we need to communicate to domestic, regional and international audiences effectively and coherently. This is no mean feat in a place of so many ethnic groups and languages spoken and high illiteracy. People must be well informed in order to get their answers to their high expectations.

Private businesses and proper investment policies need to be in place. Private companies like telecommunications should expand their operations to cover all over the country. A lot of new businesses have now taken off in the new Republic. Five airports are being extended and rehabilitated and Juba receives many flights in a day, five of which are daily flights from Nairobi.

Any government must speak with one voice and communicate to its citizens for their needs and concerns. This is necessary for stability to sustain peace and avoid having ground fertile for the propagation of false rumors a good example is what happened in Pakistan recently over the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

This is a confusing scenario that we would like to avoid in South Sudan. Our people are fueled with post-independence expectations and can be left disheartened and disillusioned wondering if things have really changed at all.

Upto, now ladies and gentlemen, independence presents new opportunities for the people of South Sudan to build a new nation that embodies their values and aspirations. It also presents an opportunity for the people of South Sudan to redefine their relationship with the international community and pursue a more prosperous future. South Sudan is number 193 member of the United Nations and number 54 state of the African Union.

As the new nation gets built amidst the background of war, there are many governance institutions, structures, systems, policies, strategies and positions that will need to be developed. Few existing ones will need to be improved in various ways. Within the protocol of East African Community (EAC), today’s grandaunts can be part of helping to assist in building this new nation. Those aggressive enough can set up business ventures in South Sudan. I welcome you to join us in developing our new country.

The need for advisory, supportive, technical assistance, mentoring and coaching positions as part of capacity building and enhancement in South Sudan should be foreseen by enterprising minds such as the ones I see here today. For institutions such as this university and individual graduates who are willing and able to tap such opportunities. It is important to act at an appropriate time.

In Juba for example, entrepreneurship opportunities including hospitality, ICT, Infrastructure among others are dominated by entrepreneurs from Kenya and other neighboring countries like Uganda.

Banks from Kenya such as Kenya Commercial Bank and Equity Bank have already been on the ground in Juba long before independence of South Sudan. Services like insurance, microfinance, consultancies and many others are still short of supply in relation to demand for the same.

Indeed, it is only through courage and aggressiveness, boldness, perseverance and confidence to resolve the challenges and benefit from the unfolding.

On our part, I would like to assure you that we will create an enabling environment for you to pursue economic development activities that will benefit both nations.

In conclusion;

Ladies and gentlemen, I can say at this podium with all the confidence both countries, South Sudan and Kenya will continue to enhance the engagement of both public and private sector in peace building and post-conflict reconstruction. We also welcome the contribution of Kenyan troops to be a part of 7,000 United Nations Peace Keeping and Peace enforcement contingents (UNMISS) under chapter VII that are being deployed in the Republic of South Sudan.

I am aware as we all are that challenges remain immense as we seek to change the mind-set of the people from being in a constant state of conflict to one of peaceful co-existence with neighbors. Therefore it is important that we professionalize our army from being guerrilla fighters to a normal defense force together with a friendly police force that contributes to rule of law. As we establish embassies as well as find the teachers, health workers, accountants, road builders and farmers who are all prepared to work together and forge a path of the future.

Yes, the public’s expectations are high, our donors and supporters expectations are equally high- but all our will and determination is strong and with further support and encouragement from beyond our shore, I am sure we will and can win.

May I once again quote , Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) EX Africa Semper a liquid novi “There is always something new out of Africa” Historian Naturalist

Ladies and gentlemen, “South Sudan is something new out of Africa”

Finally, allow me to wish you a Merry Christmas 2011 and a prosperous New Year 2012.

I thank you and God Bless You All.

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Hon Dr Marial’s speech delivered in Tokyo, Japan

Guest Speaker    :-  Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin (MP)

Minister of Information and Broadcasting (MOIB)

Republic of South Sudan (RSS)

Juba.

Subject :-         JICA Symposium on Peace Building and Reconstruction

Venue :-         Tokyo – Japan

(Conference Hall, United Nations University Headquarters).

v Your Excellency, Ms Sadako Ogata, President, of JICA.

v Invited Guests,

v Our Partners in this symposium, moderator and the panelists.

v I recognize the presence of leading Journalists as well as the Representatives of NGOs, JICA, Govt of Japan etc.

v Fellow Japanese citizens attending this great symposium.

v Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good Evening !

v On behalf of my President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, the Government and People of the Republic of South Sudan; I extend  my sincere gratitude and thanks to H.E Sadako Ogata and the whole family of JICA for inviting me as the “Guest Speaker” at this august JICA Symposium on Peace Building and Reconstruction.

1

v In Jesus Sermon on the mount, He had this to say to teach the multitudes, saying,

Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the

          Children of God” Matt: 5 v 9.  Indeed, Peace is a gift of live in the

Human family of our world.

v Your Excellency, I am greatly honored and with appreciation and humility, extremely delighted to be given this opportunity to participate in the debate on deliberations at this symposium about Peace and Reconstruction in a post-conflict situation.

v Indeed, we are all aware that since the revision of the Japanese Official Development Assistance Charter (the ODA Charter) constituted in 2003, it became abundantly clear that, the contribution to “Peace and development of the international community” has become one of the priority objectives of Japan’s ODA”.

v Our experience in South Sudan following the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), JICA as an autonomous public agency has been implementing Japanese ODA by realigning its aid strategy to South Sudan in line with the revised ODA Charter.    From that time up to now 2011, JICA has allocated an increasing amount of its resources for the “reconstruction” of our post-conflict war devastated South Sudan.

2

We have also come to notice the presence of Japanese NGOs representing civil society working side by side with our endogenous NGOs and many other International Organizations like the UN agencies.  JICA has also been playing significant role in the Peace building process, addressing vital needs of humanitarian and relief assistance.

v Ladies and Gentlemen, with your permission, I would like to express our sympathies and condolences to the Government and People of Japan for the recent devastating earth quake resulting into a terrible Tsunami followed by a nuclear meltdown and with all the severe consequences of both material and human life destruction.

v The Leadership, government and people of the Republic of South Sudan do express their condolences to the people of Japan at this time of the unfortunate disaster.  I am sure, Japan with the disasters of 2nd World war reflected in Horishima and Nagasaki, have managed with their great reselience to overcome the destruction of the atomic bomb.  We wish them well in their recovery and for us in South Sudan; we thank them for continuing with their aid in reconstruction, peace-building process and full commitment in addressing some of the vital needs of humanitarian and relief assistance.

3

v Your Excellencies, I am rather assuming that most people present here this evening will never have been to my country, the Republic of south Sudan, and I thought it might be of interest if we reflect by informing ourselves about the potential and challenges we face in the world’s youngest country.

v The Republic of South Sudan is a huge piece of land, a vast country of 644,000 sq. Km- roughly the same size as France or Texas but with a population of only 12 million people.  It is surrounded by six countries of Kenya, Uganda Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the south, and Central Africa Republic (CAR) to the west, Ethiopia to the east and the Republic of the Sudan to the North.

v Infact, we are at the very heart of Africa, the world’s second fastest growing region and surrounded by six of the largest and strongest economies on the continent – Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic.  Their combined population amounts to some 268 million, their combined economic output stands at some 300 billion, and their combined economic growth of 7%.

v Our links to these countries are crucial – for them and for us – and the Nile Bridge that is planned to be build by Japan across the Nile is both symbolic and strategically important.

We are indebted to the government and people of Japan for the

work they have agreed to undertake on upgrading this essential

piece of our economic social and political infrastructure.

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v Incidentally, both Sudan and South Sudan have been at war for over 39 years out of 49 years of independence, and this when Sudan was one country, North Sudan and South Sudan. This war was fought solely in South Sudan, resulting in complete destruction of infrastructure and nearly 2.5 million killed by war, disease and famine.  Another 3 million people were displaced internally as IDPs and another million as refugees in the neighbouring countries and internationally.

v Your Excellencies, South Sudan has suffered an enormous post-conflict destruction and a huge humanitarian disaster.  It is a severely war affected country that calls for international assistance in terms of Peace-building and Reconstruction Process.   There is need to address vital needs of humanitarian and relief assistance.  The Republic of South Sudan needs to be rehabilitated in order to become a member in the family of the civilized nations of the world.

v In fact, commentators frequently refer to the Republic of South Sudan as “starting from scratch” or sometimes beginning from “ground zero”, since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on 9th January 2005.  Strictly speaking, under the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with the government of Khartoum in 2005, a government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) under a degree of autonomy was conferred on Southern Sudan then and which allowed us to start to develop Ministries and the basic infrastructure of government.

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v As a young country, South Sudan has been blessed with the endowment of oil, an estimated 4 billion barrels of it. But this is not a resource to be squandered or for those out for corruption, but rather an essential means of supporting the work we are planning to do to develop the roads, schools, health clinics, shelter, clean drinking water, food security, democratic institutions, most of which are badly needed after decades of warfare and neglect.

v The people of South Sudan are vulnerable to extremes of weather i.e. drought or flooding, this combined with our woefully inadequate infrastructure, means they are also vulnerable to the ravages of disease, famine and poor health.  Too many mothers die during child birth, the rate of infant mortality are simply far too high, life expectancy is low.  We need to work with our international partners to introduce measures that will support the old, the weak and the young.

v All these issues we are seeking to tackle and we are very grateful to our friends and supporters from Japan and abroad internationally in helping us do so.

v Indeed, we need to be reminded of our geography, history and passage of time, of how we are part of wider community of nations that has shared and utilized this resource, this life-force, over time.  The river Nile that connects us in South Sudan with the very heart of Africa and the shores of the Mediterranean ocean – and to think of this and the possibilities, is humbling. For examples:- an hydro-power of about 2000 Megawatts on the

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           falls along river Nile at Nimule a few km from the capital city of

Juba. (Baden, Lucky, Shukola Falls)

v South Sudan has a vast and rich landscape of fertile Agricultural land, green and lush at most time of the year of eight months of adequate rainfall, quite rich with promise.  There are enough water resources i.e. rivers, underground water and rainfall.  The fertile lands of the Republic of South Sudan have been described as the “largest organic farm in the world”, especially by our Late Chairman of our Liberation Struggle, SPLM/SPLA, Dr. John Garang de Mabior.    These  fertile lands of the black soils, green and lush described, as the “Garden of Eden” have potential to provide staple foods for local and regional markets: grains and pulses, oil seeds, sugar; high value crops for export: fruits and vegetables, coffee, tea and tobacco, gum acacia, sesame, spices, nuts, livestock, animal products for emerging local market:  Livestock, dairy, poultry and eggs, commercial fisheries for local and global markets, forestry plantations, seeds and fertilizer production – all in a clean non-polluted environment.  All these mentioned are resources to be developed and available for both local and foreign investment.      South Sudan is endowed with a huge wildlife migration ready for investment in tourism.  My Government is inviting Japanese companies and Business Community to come and invest in South Sudan.  We have very attractive investment laws and ready for Public Private Partnership (PPP) including committed entrepreneurs.

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v The fertile agricultural land is the future backbone resource of economic development for the Republic.  These are lands which have never been cultivated with heavy machinery or despoiled with chemical fertilizers, lands which are currently farmed – where it happens at all – by subsistence farmers.

v Infact, beneath the rich soil of South Sudan are the prospect of untapped reserves of gold, iron uranium, copper, chromium, zinc limestone, marble and gemstones.

v Therefore, accessing these resources and building a diversified non-oil-dependent economy is crucial as we emerge from years of conflict and face the challenges of building a country fit for the next generation, the young people who form 50% of our population.

v But this we are striving to do with the help of our International friends and partners.  Already more than 5000 km of roads have been constructed or rehabilitated, with another 3500 km targeted for completion in the near future.

v Five regional airports currently being rehabilitated.  Two ports along the Nile are under construction, giving access to 1500 km off Navigable water.  Five International telecommunication companies have established operations, bringing mobile coverage to 70% of the country.

v There is evidence of change and the difference we are making with our International partners is apparent – new businesses have risen and Juba International airport receives over 60 flights a day, majority being foreign airlines.

8

v Your Excellencies, so far I have shared with you the potentialities and the resources for the Republic of South Sudan.

v At this juncture, on deliberating on the role of Japan’s ODA and civil society in Peace building and Reconstruction process in the Republic of South Sudan; one must admit that the path to sustainable peace and reconstruction is full of challenges, as well as opportunities.

v Indeed, peace building and reconstruction in a post-conflict environment is a process that invariably involves military and political engagement from both the nation and international stakeholders.  There is no doubt that development assistant is crucial, important and strategic in such situations.

v Infact, JICA; has been very successful in its development assistance in the Republic of South Sudan.

v For example, in the following areas of both multilateral and bilateral basis, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has successfully implemented Japanese Official Development Assistance in the Republic of South Sudan.

v Infact, JICA as an official agency of the Japanese Government has carried out its mandate to implement Development Assistance within the context of JICA programme of the framework of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) 2005 and South Sudan Development Programme (SSDP) 2011 – 2013.

v This effort has helped the RSS to consolidate peace and promote socio-economic development.

v With full agreement between the Japanese Government and the Republic of South Sudan and on bilateral basis to be in partnership and working together so that JICA programme enhances long-term social and economic development.  This falls in line with our government policy for immediate delivery of services as a dividend of peace.  This development aid is mostly grant assistance.            

9

v This falls in with our President’s 100 Days Initiatives which is a national vision that focuses on Public Interest and the delivery of services in education, health, physical infrastructure rule of law and security, zero tolerance to corruption and transparency.  This sends a message to our people that the presidency and Government are listening and responding to public concerns and expectations.

 

v  We as a government has benefited through technical cooperation

in the area of capacity development.  For example:-

v  Capacity building for government personnel.

v Institutions capacity as in technical cooperation projects.

v Assignment of advisors and skills training.

v Training and exposure of South Sudanese personnel in Japan and third countries.

 

v An on-going eight technical cooperation projects in social, economic and governance sectors.  The grant assistance in 2011 amount to USD 20 million.

 

v Your Excellencies, as we speak, there are both on line and on-going including pipeline programmes by JICA and with full concurrence from the government of the Republic of South Sudan.  These current and pipeline projects fall into the priorities identified in South Sudan Development projects that is supported by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan.

v These projects are categorized as advised by the Government of the RSS.  To enumerate these programmes are as follows:-

v Economic Development Programmes:

This is in fact the infrastructure sector.  It includes basic

               services for the people.  Peace means the delivery time.

v JICA is supporting to build and rehabilitate strategic infrastructure in many areas of developing a permanent jetty (35m in width) at Juba River port (JRP).  This improves our river transport system.  This will be extended further:

v Capacity building for Juba River Port Authority (JRPA);

v Preparation of city master plan and feasibility study on urban road Network in Juba, including rehabilitation of bridges and culverts in Juba.

v Improvement of water system in Juba after the feasibility study conducted on the expansion of water supply system.  There is also capacity building support to South Sudan Urban Water Corporation.

v However, with regards to pipeline   projects, these will include:

  • Expansion of Juba River Port (205m wide).
  • Construction of a new bridge on the River Nile i.e. (560m long).

v Construction of new water treatment and supply system for Juba.

v Capacity for roads maintenance departments.

v Capacity for solid waste management authority in the capital city of Juba.

v JICA will do similar assistance in Malakal town of Upper Nile State.

v A lot is also being done in the economic sector.

v Up grading and strengthening of Multiple Training Centre (MTC) – in Juba, Wau and Malakal towns.  This will provide relevant skill for economic development and helps in creating jobs for Youth who are unemployed in most of our urban areas.  In fact, 50% of South Sudan population is of youth age.  This programme has enhanced skilled development to thousands of youth, returnees and ex-combatants.  They have been trained in different trades and physically rehabilitated and adequately re-integrated into their communities.

v Japan supports Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programme (SSDDR) for South Sudan i.e. 160,000 soldiers to be demobilized, rehabilitated and reintegrated for the  next few years.

v To rationalize customs collection thus improving  revenue sources for the country.  This has reduced the prices of goods and commodities and cut down transport cost.  This has helped the consumers in terms of affordable prices for the imported goods and items which are the basic needs for the general public.

v JICA has helped trained South Sudan Customs (SSC) Officers

in collaboration with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).  This has

improved customs collection in the RSS.

v  Incidentally, in my Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, we have worked together with JICA to increase access to public media by improving its broadcasting quality.   Excellencies, one of the most important tasks of a government is the provision of clear, truthful and factual information – information about government policies, activities and services and especially in a post-conflict situation that involves peace process and delivery of services to the public and credible Reconstruction.

v  Already, leading Japanese Journalists and government officials have visited us in Juba and have observed how both our TV and Radio prorammes can be produced and programme, this as a result of exchanged views between the RSS and Japanese Journalists.  The importance of media operating as a “Watch-dog” of the government authority.

v We have already agreed for JICA to enhance capacity development of the mass media which is crucial in the period of the new Republic’s democratic nation – building.  This requires support for T.V , Radio and print media both government and independent media i.e.(Freedom of the press

v However, upon JICA HQs approval for this project design, then the process can successfully be launched.

v We must get it right for the government to speak in one voice and communicate to its citizens for their needs and concerns.

v  This is necessary for stability.  Without proactive communications the ground is fertile for the propagation of false rumours.

v Your Excellencies, do you remember what happened on television when it was reported Usama Bin Laden had been killed :-

v  The first Pakistani Minister proudly proclaimed that his country’s security services had been working with the Americans on this operation;

v The next minister declared that America had been working on its own and Pakistan had nothing to do with it;

v The third minister didn’t know what had happened.

v It is this kind of confusing scenario is the one we want to avoid in South Sudan, as is the one where our people fueled with post-independence expectations can be left disheartened and disillusioned wondering if things have rally changed at all since 9th July 2011.

They must hear of all these good things which are happening and about the positive contribution by JICA and the government of Japan.   We must also be able to tell them why things may b e bad or difficult.

v The Minister of Information is mandated as the “Mouth Piece” of government and as such has specific government – wide responsibilities.

v The other important JICA’s role is in the area of Natural Resources sector.

v  In order to diversify South Sudan’s dependent on oil-dependent economy; JICA is supporting the RSS in its Agricultural sector.

v The new Republic needs an alternative source of revenue in order to have a robust economy which is diversified and robust.  JICA is now to focus around rice production and land and water resource development.

v In the area of social and Human development; the Japanese government through the UN-system organizations including World Food Programme; there is already a substantial amount of humanitarian assistance provided by Japanese Government.

v On the 27th Oct. 2011 in Rome, Japan through World Food Programme has provided food assistance to the value of 2.2 million dollars for the people of South Sudan.

v JICA is now focusing on capacity development of public service providers which will gradually replace NGO –engaged private sector service providers.  Emphasis and priority has been given to science, maths education, nursing, teacher and midwifery training.

v In education sector, already there is strengthening of science and math teacher training.

v With  health sector; JICA is helping in the following :-

  • Improvement of equipment maintenance capacity at Juba University Teaching Hospital.
  • Rehabilitation and construction of college of Nursing and Midwifery school in Juba Teaching Hospital (JTH).
  • Capacity building support to health sector human resource development planning.
  • Capacity building support to community development services in Juba County.

Conclusion:-

 

Your Excellencies, so far I have shared with you on issues in all

areas where our partnership with government of Japan through

JICA has been amicably symbiotic and harmonious.

v Earlier this month, the Secretary General of the United Nations

welcomed the decision of the Government of Japan to

 

    contribute an engineering company to the United Nation

    Mission (UNMISS) in South Sudan.  The government of South

Sudan is greatly pleased and appreciative for the government of

Japan to deploy engineering troops in our newly born country

of 4 months and 19 days.   These engineering troops are due to

begin deploying in January 2012 and will provide a crucial

capacity for  the missions mandate to assist the government of

South Sudan to build its basic infrastructure and extend state

authority.

v     These troops will be  part of 7000 United Nations Peace Keeping and peace-enforcement contingents (UNMISS) under chapter VII  that are being deployed in South Sudan.  My government has already agreed with the UN-system on this important issue.

On behalf of my government we express our sincere gratitude for the strong commitment shown by Japan to peacekeeping and particularly acknowledge this contribution at a time when Japan is still recovering from the aftermath of the earthquake in March 2011.  I can assure this audience this evening that the Republic of South Sudan in terms of security is not like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia or the countries of spring uprising of North Africa.  We as a new nation are appalled by such ugly and brutal scenes of violence.

So far, we have seen the great contribution through the role of Japan’s ODA and civil society in Peace building and Reconstruction Process in my country, the Republic of South Sudan.  I have also elaborated on lessons learnt and way forward for further Japan’s engagement in the post-conflict context with the Republic of south Sudan as a success story to be emulated in other areas with similar post-conflict situations.

Incidentally, we have seen the achievements made and challenges encountered and adequately resolved with a major of success – a winwin position for both Japan and the Republic of South Sudan (RSS).  We have avenues for future improvement and reform.

Ladies and gentlemen, I can say at this podium with all the confidence and equally appeal to the Japanese general public of the necessity of continuous and enhanced engagement of Japanese public and private sector in peace building and post-conflict situations particularly in the Republic of South Sudan and across the world.

I am aware as we all are, that challenges remain immense as we seek to change the mind-set of a people from being in a constant state of conflict to one of peaceful co-existence with their neighbors, as we professionalize our army from being bush-fighters to a national defense force, as we change our network of overseas offices to fully fledge and functioning embassies.    To us, it is amazing and exciting as a team player.

As we find the teachers, health workers, road-builders and farmers who are all prepared to work-together and forge a path for the future.

The public’s expectations are high, our donors and supporters expectation are high – but our will and determination is strong and with further support and encouragement from beyond our shores, I am sure we will and can win.                17

On behalf of the young people of South Sudan, the generations blessed to be born free, we thank you for constant support – at this time when your own national need is so great.

We thank you and urge you to come and visit the Republic of South Sudan, the world’s newest and proudest country.

I am sure that the Japanese government through ODA and JICA involvement in post-conflict situations has learnt a lot from their decades of past experiences.  They are aware of successes and lessons learnt and will always be able to make suggestions to the International community of improved approaches to any challenges.  This knowledge will be of great use to the International donors and in the best interest of those seeking peace and reconstruction in post-conflict circumstances.

(No doubt you find Toyota four-wheeled vehicles cruising along the rough and difficult challenging roads of the Republic of South Sudan.

This great symposium is in fact, an opportunity to review and deliberate on the roles and future ways of a successful engagement of international donors in the post-conflict environment, like the case of my country, the Republic of South Sudan (RSS).  The Japanese experience in the Republic of South Sudan of supporting such processes can be emulated in any other post-conflict scenario.

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Finally, ladies and gentlemen, by associating my President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, Government and People of South Sudan, in offering our enormous thanks and appreciation to the people of Japan for all

their work in South Sudan over many years now, not least during the past nine months following the devastating Tsunami of March of this year, 2011.

Madam Ogata, your wonderful country has set a courageous and generous example to the whole world of reaching out to others in the face of adversity, and for that we are extremely grateful.

I thank you also for the generous invitation to speak to you today at this symposium on “Peace – building and Reconstruction”.

Your Excellencies, may I once again quote, Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – 79); Ex-Africa semper aliquid novi.   “There is always something new out of Africa”.  (i.e. Historia Naturalist).

Your Excellencies, “South Sudan is something new out of Africa”.

I thank you and God bless you all.

H.E Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin (MP)

Minister of Information and Broadcasting (MOIB)

Republic of South Sudan (RSS)

Juba.

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EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF SUDAN

University Feasibility Study Report

“Tomorrow Begins Today”


The Report was written in 2011 for the Archbishop of Sudan by Dr Ruth Eade, Dr Eeva John
in consultation with
Professor Peter Haycock and Professor Joanna Kozubska

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
“TOMORROW BEGINS TODAY”
Establishing an ECS University:
Report of a Feasibility Study for the Episcopal Church of the Sudan
April 2011

By Dr Ruth Eade and Dr Eeva John
In consultation with
Professor Peter Haycock and Professor Joanna Kozubska
i
FOREWORD
Undertaking the university Feasibility Study and writing the subsequent report in fulfilment of Archbishop Daniel’s commission, has been a pleasure and we thank his Grace for entrusting to us this sacred task. Testing-out the ECS’s God-given vision has been to tread on holy ground. Meeting with so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout South Sudan was a joyful experience: their hope and optimism for the future continues to be an inspiration.
In undertaking the research and producing this report, we thank God for the innumerable people who prayed for us, welcomed and assisted us – including the 160 who so willingly shared their enthusiasm and vision for an ECS University in the guided conversations which form the evidence base for this report; the Archbishop; Bishops; Clergy; Provincial officers; Diocesan Synod members; Government of South Sudan officials; University Vice Chancellors, academics and administrators; College Principals; the groups of intellectuals brought together by diocesan bishops; students and others from wide ranging backgrounds and institutions; and NGOs. We also thank those who offered us most generous hospitality and, particularly the school children of Kajo Keji who warmly welcomed us in song on our arrival at the airstrip.
We are indebted to the Reverend Canon Trevor Stubbs for arranging the highly robust itinerary and to Rebecca Coleman for her help with this. Undertaking the university Feasibility Study would have been physically impossible without Mission Aviation Fellowship and World Food Programme pilots who flew us to otherwise inaccessible places; and to the Reverend John Vero from SUDRA who so professionally negotiated virtually impossible terrain to get us safely to appointments – on time! Accordingly, we thank God for his faithfulness and safe-keeping throughout our visit.
We also wish to thank those UK professional colleagues who formed an ad hoc advisory panel; and also the Salisbury/Sudan Diocesan Link Committee for contributing towards the costs of undertaking the university Feasibility Study. We also thank our families and friends for their generous financial and other support of us, and this project.
We now prayerfully submit the Episcopal Church of Sudan University Feasibility Study Report to Archbishop Daniel and the Sudan Provincial Synod for consideration. We do so with a deep sense of gratitude to God for His enablement and for the opportunity of undertaking this study. We pray He will lead and guide those responsible for determining whether to establish an ECS University.
The work of the ECS will continue to be in our hearts and prayers. It has been a privilege to be of service to the ECS. Thank you.
Yours in Christ,
Ruth Eade and Eeva John
Dr R M Eade and Dr E-M John
The ECS University Feasibility Study Researchers

Click Link below Description
ECS University Feasibility Final Report.pdf The full report (3 Mbyte)
Executive Summary.pdf The first six pages of the report
Challenges of Establishing a Quality ECS University An additional paper
University Governance An additional paper
Alternative University Models – Distance and Virtual An additional paper
The Christian Ethos of an ECS University An additional paper
The Foundation of an ECS University An additional paper
Leadership An extra additional paper
Purpose and Rationale of an ECS University An additional paper
Business and Marketing Plans An additional paper
Education in South Sudan An extra additional paper
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South Sudan Democratic Forum-Mainstream    
Declaration Statement:

Withdrawal of Confidence from South Sudan
Democratic Forum Leader.
2nd December 2011
JUBA – South Sudan
________________________________________________
 
South Sudan Democratic Forum was founded in September 2001 in the City of London, United Kingdom, by concerned Southern Sudan political parties, civic organizations and movements. The founding members included: South Sudan Civic Forum, United Democratic Salvation Front (UDSF), Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – United (SPLM/A), South Sudan Referendum Party, Sudan People’s Democratic Front (SPDF), Southern Sudan Consensus Building, South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A), Peace Action for Sudan and Africa (PAFSA), Diaspora, South Sudan women group in UK, and national figures.
The Forum’s main objective was to work diligently to bring peace and unity among the people of South Sudan by embracing forgiveness and reconciliation through South-South dialogue for the realization of Self-Determination as the sole objective of our people. The South Sudan Consultative Political Conference, held in the historic city of Oxford, the United Kingdom, in the period 19th-23rd August 2003, sums up the South Sudan Democratic Forum mission on the issue of unity of Sudan or separation of the South. No doubt, our opponents in the South and the North, called us “the Forum” separatists.
Today, the people of South Sudan have successfully concluded their decades of long struggle with independence after the exercise of their right to Self-Determination in an internationally monitored referendum; hence, a new sovereign state with its geopolitical boundaries, the Republic of South Sudan, has been established and recognized internationally. With this historic development, there is a need to reappraise the political agenda and the mission of the Democratic Forum, in order to cope with the unfolding political realities on the ground. This requires from us to raise questions and scrutinize the way the party leadership run their responsibilities, duties and the party’s affairs in order to address the process of nation-building.
It is unfortunate to note that our Chairman Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro and his Deputy Mr. Mayom Kuoc Malek have, in a rare display of opportunism, advanced self-interest above anything else, used the party’s name to position themselves in the government without contributing to its programme and policies, and subdued the democratic process that was at the centre of our core values as a Forum. The Leader of the Forum and his deputy arrogated to themselves the right to make pronouncements and take actions not sanctioned by the party structures as demanded by our constitution. Not only that, but they also have been running the party in a devious, deceptive, self-centred manner which drove away most of the founding leaders. This dubious behavior renders the party’s well articulated principles and slogans meaningless bringing it to disrepute and becoming a subject of mockery.
At this critical juncture in our history, we, the members of the South Sudan Democratic Forum, do hereby issue this Declaration Statement to announce and inform the public at large that for the above mentioned reasons we have withdrawn our confidence from our Chairman Dr Martin Elia Lomuro and his Deputy Mr Mayom Kuoc Malek.  Consequently, it gives us great pleasure, to declare the inauguration as of today, 2nd December 2011 in our capital city, Juba, of the political and public activities of The South Sudan Democratic Forum – Mainstream.
 The South Sudan Democratic Forum-Mainstream is formed by concerned leaders and cadres of the then Democratic Forum after long and thorough consultations with members all over the entire country. As a result, the Democratic Forum-Mainstream is emerging very much united and more able to articulate the desires and aspirations of the people of South Sudan without hesitation or dilution dictated by self-interest. The South Sudanese people crave for development and prosperity, where the rule of law and equality should be the order of the day. People must be honest and transparent about how they run public affairs. These qualities should be the ethics that govern the activities of political parties that would like to operate in the new political dispensation in the Republic of South Sudan.
The South Sudan Democratic Forum-Mainstream as a viable political party with the principles and objectives of the Forum as articulated in September 2001, emerges as a result of the dismal failures of the then Democratic Forum leader who deviated from the vision and mission of the founding members especially to articulate our togetherness as the country is transitioning to a new phase of nation-building through consensus. The South Sudan Democratic Forum-Mainstream in its principles will be engaged in pursuing policies that would address and tackle the challenges facing our new nation and put forth visions and solutions for nation-building through developmental projects, enhancement of  democracy and the rule of law that advocate freedom and equality for all and uphold human rights.
The leadership of the then Democratic Forum, under Martin Elia Lomuro and his Deputy Mayom Kuoc Malek, has violated the agreed formula of representation because
of greed and selfishness. The Forum had criteria of representing all the three greater regions of Bahr El Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile in government in case of participation with the ruling party.
In spite of that, Martin Elia and Mayom Kuoc have both taken up positions in the National Assembly as well as in the Council of Ministers; Martin as Minister of Animal Resources and Mayom Kuoc as Deputy Minister of Transport. It is out of greed and the devilish lust of abusing the collective responsibility entrusted to them by the people to selfishly place themselves first since the involvement of the party in the government of National Unity and GOSS in 2005.
This is not the first time they oddly behave in such a way. After the last elections in April, 2010, in which they all proved unsuccessful, Mayom Kuoc Malek and Andrea Kuong Ruay- the Secretary General of the party-  put their names forward in the nomination list of ministers handed over to the National Congress Party (NCP, Khartoum) by the South Sudan Political Parties Alliance, the Kenana Group. Having failed to get these positions in the National Cabinet they started to deny association with the Kenana group while accusing others of the same in order to win the favor of the ruling party in the South. However, if the discussions with the NCP had been successful, Mayom Kuoc would have been a Minister on the ticket of the Kenana Group to which he belonged since its inception as an instrumental organizer and contributor. If there was anything suspicion about the Kenana group, then Mr. Mayom Kuoc must be put under scrutiny, otherwise he might be hiding his true colour.
There is something astonishing that we must be careful about; the way these people handle the party affairs is like that they have a double agenda, the one that is known to any ordinary member, and the hidden agenda that is known to Martin Elia and Mayom Kuoc alone. Martin Elia one time when asked in a party meeting about the stagnant political activities in Greater Equatoria, he replied that he was working undercover and in a low profile until he made sure that things are in control, then he would surface. Everyone was taken aback and dismayed about such a talk, implying that he had some hidden agenda that is not known to people!  We did not understand whether he was going to make a coup d’ etat or what?  Nobody knows until now. This double agenda has never been clear until recently when a dispute surfaced between them and their agent and client in Khartoum.
 The source of dispute was that there has been some secret dealing between the two, in which they sold out all the party assets including vehicles without knowledge of most of the Executive Committee members. The client felt cheated and complained of being deceived by Martin Elia through Hamza Ahmed Hamad, the agent, who threatened to open a case to reclaim back his money.
It is also a well-known fact that Dr. Martin Elia pocketed the millions of pounds that were given to the Southern Political Parties by the Government of Southern Sudan during the 2010 elections, thus shaming our party which did not benefit from that money. Moreover, our leader continued the feat of shame when he again pocketed the referendum money of the party in broad day light leaving most of the senior members murmuring until this day without facing him and his friend the Deputy who is the Secretary of  Finance as there has been no financial reports and accountability since 2005. The most astonishing thing in this is that with all these huge amounts of money handled by the two don’t get surprised that the South Sudan Democratic Forum has no Head Office in Juba – the capital city of our nation. This has made the party a corrupt and unethical social club of few individuals who ascribe to such lifestyle as it is being run in the hotel rooms.
 During all this time the behavior of these people brought the party to disrepute even dismissing senior members on mere rumors without consultations with the Leadership Authority of the party and their respective regions, not even following rudimentary party procedures. So, it is our collective conviction as members of The South Sudan Democratic Forum-Mainstream to dissociate ourselves from this unprincipled group, and would like to make ourselves clear to the public at large and to put forth our principles and objectives that will regulate our daily activities in conformity with the transitional constitutions and laws that govern our nation.
Dr. Martin Lomuro needs to be reminded that the South Sudan Democratic Forum, which a tiny group of people including him attempted to own as their private organization or property, was formed as an umbrella comprising concerned Southern Sudan political parties, civic organizations and movements as mentioned at the beginning of this statement. Once again, Dr. Martin Lomuro needs to be reminded that he came to the South Sudan Democratic Forum on the Equatoria Civic Forum’s ticket. Therefore, we would like to advise him strongly to head back to them because he has lost the track of the founding members.
In conclusion, it must be made abundantly clear that any attempt to disturb the balance of the founding constituent parts of the Forum is a recipe for disaster. Here, we call upon all our members to stand firm behind their party which a few misguided persons tried to hi-jack for selfish ends. South Sudan will be built on solid principles not on opportunism and self-seeking tricks of selfish individuals.
 
God Bless South Sudan!
 
Signed:
 
Hon. Dr. Wal Duany
Chairman,
South Sudan Democratic Forum-Mainstream.

South Sudan asks US to impose no fly zone over air raids

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S. Sudan opposition party sacks 2 ministers from top leadership
Middle East North Africa Financial Network
JUBA, Dec 04, 2011 (Sudan Tribune – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) — An opposition party in South Sudan has sacked two of its leaders who are serving as ministers in the current government accusing them of corruption and acting in

South Sudan appeals to EAC on graft
East African Business Week
BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI- Deputy Speaker of South Sudan Legislative Assembly Daniel Awet Akot has appealed to the member states of the East African Community (EAC) to help the country in controlling crime. “South Sudan appeals for support from the partner

Sudan captures strategic rebel border camps: army
AFP
In addition to the fighting in South Kordofan, there has been evidence of cross-border attacks in recent weeks. Witnesses said the army bombed a refugee camp last month in South Sudan’s neighbouring Unity state, just south of lake Jau, badly fraying

South Sudan appeals to EAC on graft
East African Business Week
BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI- Deputy Speaker of South Sudan Legislative Assembly Daniel Awet Akot has appealed to the member states of the East African Community (EAC) to help the country in controlling crime. “South Sudan appeals for support from the partner

Chief jailed for speaking out against corrurption in N. Bahr el Ghazal
Sudan Tribune
The Aweil court also sentenced Aweer Makou, who sided with the chief, to one month in prison for writing material against Kom Kom Geng, a member of South Sudan’s National Assembly in Juba and Paul Malong Awan Anei, the governor of state.

 South Sudan: ‘Know Your HIV Status’, Urges President
AllAfrica.com
Juba — The President of the Republic of South Sudan HE Salva Kiir Mayardit has urged all the citizens to take the lead in fighting the epidemic in Africa’s newest nation by knowing their HIV status. Speaking at the end of the day-long World AIDS

South Sudan: Ministry of Information and UNICEF Host Media Workshop
AllAfrica.com
Mr. Majak applauded the UNICEF in building the capacity of journalists in South Sudan and added that women and children make up the majority of the population in the Republic of South Sudan and ethical reporting on issues pertaining to them is very

Sudan ‘takes rebel border camp’
BBC News
A spokesman said soldiers had taken a camp belonging to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army North (SPLA-N) – a claim denied by a rebel spokesman. The SPLA-N fought for the creation of South Sudan during the country’s civil war and was left in the north