Archive for December 21, 2011

South Sudanese ‘press-ganged’ by rebels in Khartoum

Posted: December 21, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By James Copnall BBC News, Khartoum

SSLA rebels The SSLA, which operates in South Sudan’s Unity state, denies forcing people to fight

Young South Sudanese men living in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, are being forcibly conscripted by militia groups, numerous sources have told the BBC.

It is alleged they are forced to fight for rebels in South Sudan, which split from the north in July.

South Sudan’s information minister believes Khartoum is directing the rebel groups and the kidnappings.

A senior official in Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s party told the BBC the accusation was “nonsense”.

It is feared the alleged abductions will worsen the already fragile relationship between the two countries.

‘Training camps’

According to South Sudanese community leaders, church workers in Khartoum and politicians in South Sudan, men have been snatched from universities, the streets and even their homes by armed gangs.

“The attitude of recruiting South Sudanese university students into the military by the Khartoum regime is an irresponsible exercise,” South Sudan’s Minister of Information Barnaba Marial Benjamin has said.

We have heard that there is a possibility of paying a ransom, so that those who pay a ransom are released.”

Philippa Candler UNHCR

Rabbie Abdelattie, a senior official in Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party, denied the charges.

He told the BBC that the Sudanese government was providing lots of humanitarian assistance to South Sudanese.

But numerous South Sudanese living in Khartoum told me they believed the authorities in the city are at the very least condoning forced conscription.

One man said his uncle had been snatched: “He is not a soldier, and he has no military experience, so I am worried he won’t know how to fight or protect himself.”

He assumes his uncle has been sent to a training camp, before he is sent into battle, perhaps never to be seen again.

Like almost everyone else, he was too scared to allow his name to be used.

Others spoke of a priest, his assistant and a driver who had gone missing. Some men are now too scared to seek the casual work they need to pay their bills.


A South Sudanese 19-year-old soldier, Tuter Chiok, sits on his hospital bed at a hospital in the town of Bentiu on 14 November 2011 as he recovers from a land mine accident in South Sudan's oil-rich Unity state in September Rebels active in some part of the south have laid land mines

The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has good contacts with the South Sudanese communities in Sudan and believes there are 700,000 South Sudanese still living in the north, nearly six months after the southern region seceded.

It has no independent confirmation of the abductions, but is worried by what its sources are reporting.

“They describe that there have been house-to-house searches in some areas,” says Philippa Candler, UNHCR Sudan’s head of protection.

“We have heard that there is a possibility of paying a ransom, so that those who pay a ransom are released.”

UNHCR says it has raised the matter with the Sudanese government.

All the South Sudanese sources – official and unofficial – accuse rebel groups of carrying out the kidnappings.

The name that comes up most often is the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), which mainly operates in oil-rich Unity state.

Why would we forcibly recruit the citizens? Everyone supports me”

General Bapiny Monytuil A SSLA commander

General Bapiny Monytuil, the SSLA’s deputy commander, called the accusations “lies”.

He says bus loads of South Sudanese men going to the border are his fighters returning from Khartoum where they had been for rest or to have injuries treated.

“We have wounded men who come for treatment in Khartoum, then we send a mission to come to send them back to the border,” he told the BBC.

“Why would we forcibly recruit the citizens? Everyone supports me.”

Other South Sudanese rebel groups fight in Upper Nile and Jonglei states. Anger in Upper Nile against the rebels runs deep.

“Their objective is survival, and self-interest. They are fighting for nothing, and they are killing innocent civilians,” Simon Kun Pouch, the governor of Upper Nile state told the BBC.

“They go and collect people by force, and send them to the front line by force. I don’t know what God will do for these people.”

In Khartoum, fear has gripped many South Sudanese.

But one old woman was determined to talk – though she, too, did not want her name to be used.

“We heard that some of the people who were taken have already been killed in the war there,” she said, in a soft voice.

“We got a message from other people. The names of the dead have already reached here. So we are warning all the South Sudanese people here in Khartoum.”

South Sudanese ‘press-ganged’ by rebels in Khartoum
BBC News
By James Copnall BBC News, Khartoum Young South Sudanese men living in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, are being forcibly conscripted by militia groups, numerous sources have told the BBC. It is alleged they are forced to fight for rebels in South Sudan,

Best of The Post: Jahi Chikwendiu
Washington Post
On the day before South Sudan’s historic independence referendum, Sudanese Christians pray during their 40th and final National Day of Prayer and Fasting at the ECS All Saints Cathedral in Juba, the capital. Noah Digomu, 24, irons his clothes in the

Sudan Border Violence Must End
Voice of America
Fighting broke out in June between Sudan’s army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-Northern Sector in Southern Kordofan, which borders newly-independent South Sudan. In September, the violence spread into neighboring Blue Nile state.

Job Vacancy In South Sudan:

Posted: December 21, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

COSV – Italian NGO operating in South Sudan – is looking for an Administrator expat to be in charge of the financial management of the INGO programs in South Sudan.

Suitable candidates are invited to apply, according to the attached vacancy.


Exclusive: North Korea’s military to share power with Kim’s heir

Posted: December 21, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

ReutersBy Benjamin Kang Lim

BEIJING (Reuters) – North Korea will shift to collective rule from a strongman dictatorship after last week’s death of Kim Jong-il, although his untested young son will be at the head of the ruling coterie, a source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing said.

The source added that the military, which is trying to develop a nuclear arsenal, has pledged allegiance to the untested Kim Jong-un, who takes over the family dynasty that has ruled North Korea since it was founded after World War Two.

The source declined to be identified but has correctly predicted events in the past, telling Reuters about the North’s first nuclear test in 2006 before it took place.

The comments are the first signal that North Korea is following a course that many analysts have anticipated — it will be governed by a group of people for the first time since it was founded in 1948.

Both Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung were all-powerful, authoritarian rulers of the isolated state.

The situation in North Korea appeared stable after the military gave its backing to Kim Jong-un, the source said.

“It’s very unlikely,” the source said when asked about the possibility of a military coup. “The military has pledged allegiance to Kim Jong-un.”

North Korea’s collective leadership will include Kim Jong-un, his uncle and the military, the source said.

Jang Song-thaek, 65, brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il and the younger Kim’s uncle, is seen as the power behind the throne along with his wife Kim Kyong-hui, Kim Jong-il’s sister. So too is Ri Yong-ho, the rising star of the North’s military and currently its most senior general.

The younger Kim, who is in his late 20s, has his own supporters but is not strong enough to consolidate power, analysts said.

“I know that he’s been able to build a group of supporters around himself who are of his generation,” said Koh Yu-hwan, president of the Korean Association of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

“So it is not entirely elders in their 70s, plus some like Jang in their 60s, who are backing him. These young backers will be emerging fairly soon.”

Koh said the coterie was put in place by Kim Jong-il before he died. “The relative calm seen these few days shows it’s been effective. If things were not running smoothly, then we’d have seen a longer period of ‘rule by mummy’, with Kim Jong-il being faked as still being alive.”

He said the younger Kim would accept the set-up, for now. “Considering the tradition of strongarm rule by his father and grandfather, things can’t be easy for him,” he said.


Ralph Cossa, an authority on North Korea and president of the U.S. think tank Pacific Forum CSIS, said it made sense that the ruling group would stick together.

“All have a vested interest in regime survival,” he said. “Their own personal safety and survival is inextricably tied to regime survival and Kim Jong-un is the manifestation of this. I think the regime will remain stable, at least in the near-term.”

He added in a commentary that the new group may be inclined to reform, but stressed this was far from confirmed.

“Over the long term, there appears to be some hope, primarily emanating from Beijing, that Kim Jong-un will take North Korea down the path of Chinese-style reform, apparently based on the belief that Jang is or will be a ‘reformer’.”

“Who knows, this may be true. While this could relieve the suffering of the North Korean people over time, it will do little to promote the cause of denuclearization, however.”

The high-level source also said North Korea test-fired a missile on Monday to warn the United States not to make any moves against it. Pyongyang however had no immediate plans for further tests, barring an escalation of tensions.

“With the missile test, (North) Korea wanted to deliver the message that they have the ability to protect themselves,” the source said.

“But (North) Korea is unlikely to conduct a nuclear test in the near future unless provoked” by the United States and South Korea, the source said.

The unpredictable North’s nuclear program has been a nagging source of tension for the international community.

Pyongyang carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, and has quit six-party talks with South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia on abandoning its nuclear program and returning to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The high-level source also said Beijing was only notified of Kim’s death earlier on Monday, the same day North Korean state television broadcast the news. Kim died on Saturday.

A leading South Korean newspaper reported on Wednesday China learned of Kim’s death soon after it occurred.

China has given no official comment or even hints suggesting it was told of Kim’s death before the public announcement.

Beijing, the North’s closest ally and biggest provider of aid, has pulled out the stops to support the younger Kim.

The government has invited him to visit and, in an unusual gesture, President Hu Jintao and Vice-President Xi Jinping also visited the hermit state’s embassy in Beijing to express their condolences. Roads leading to the embassy were blocked.

Mainly, the prospect of instability on its northeastern border worries China and it sees the younger Kim and his coterie as the best prospect for keeping North Korea on an even keel.

North Korea has been pressed by China to denuclearize and is willing to do so on condition that North and South Korea, the United States and China sign an armistice replacing a 1953 ceasefire agreement, the source said.

The two Koreas have been divided for decades and remain technically at war since their 1950-53 conflict ended with an armistice but no peace agreement. The United States backed the South, while China supported the North in that conflict.

Pyongyang is also convinced there are U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea and demands Washington pull them out, the source said.

(Additional reporting by Jack Kim in Seoul; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Jonathan Thatcher)

jubalicious Open positions with CRS South Sudan based in Jonglei State

Posted: December 21, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Reec Akuak

Vice President

The South Sudanese Community, USA

Growth — Development — Community

202.656.TSSC (8772)

Direct/Cell: 202.596.6009

Fax: 202.280.1007

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Field Finance and administration officers advert.doc
Field Grant Accountant advert.doc
Field Grant Accountant partners advert.doc
Field Operation Accountant advert.doc

jubalicious HR and Staff care manager position based in Bor

Posted: December 21, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Reec Akuak

Vice President

The South Sudanese Community, USA

Growth — Development — Community

202.656.TSSC (8772)

Direct/Cell: 202.596.6009

Fax: 202.280.1007

HR & staff care manger – Advert.doc

“It is hard for the people who have grown up in war, to leave war behind them because their mind is pschologically, mentally, and spiritually adicted” –Hillary Clinton
Steve Paterno
The leader of one of the major South Sudan rebel groups, Lieutenant General George Athor turned up dead, hundreds of miles away from his remote rebel base. In apparent shootout at the border county of Morobo in Central Equatoria State, the rebel leader is gunned down by the South Sudanese armed forces.

SSDM/A Rebel leader, George Athor Deng Dut

Gen. Athor has been a decorated fighter with the SPLM/A during the last South-North Sudanese civil war. With the 2005 peace agreement, he rose into the rank of a lieutenant general and subsequently promoted to the position of deputy chief of staff. However, in 2010 Sudanese general elections, Gen. Athor resigned from his military post and decided to contest for gubernatorial position in Jonglei State.
After the announcement of the elections results, Gen. Athor disputed the outcome, having been declared the loser. He then went on launching a rebel movement, vowing to fight against and topple a “tribal corrupt government in Juba.” Among his demands for peaceful resolution is immediate dissolution of the government of Jonglei state, which he believes is illegal. None of the efforts in trying to pursue peace with him panned out, including a repeated amnesty extended to him by the South Sudan government.
Being the highest ranking military personnel to have ever rebelled and with his military experience, Gen. Athor has been trying so hard to assert himself as the defacto leader of the several rebel groups, operating in South Sudan. Unfortunately, Gen. Athor’s efforts of trying to consolidate all the rebel groups have been in vain, as there are many factors working against him.
First, all the rebel groups in South Sudan came about as a result of local disputes and conflicts. Even though all of them claim to be fighting the government of South Sudan, they have little in common with one another, due to their origins being very much local.
Second, since these rebellions have local origins, local and ethnic loyalties become their driving forces for support. Therefore, Gen. Athor who is from an ethnic Dinka, has thus far failed to gain any support beyond his home county of Pigi in Jonglei State. He was not even able to connect with the well equipped and well armed Nuer group from Unity State.
Third, the regime in Khartoum, which is the sponsor of all these rebel groups sees that it is in its best interest to keep these rebels apart, so as the regime can exert greater influence over them, individually. Although the regime in Khartoum offers assistance to Gen. Athor, it does not in anyway willing to support his ambition of consolidating all the rebel groups under his command.
Fourth, Gen. Athor rebel headquarters is located in strategically bad place. He is basically surrounded by his enemies. Access from and to his stronghold is virtually impassable. This does not just denied him access for potential recruits, but also blocked him supply and escape routes.
Fifth, the South Sudanese rebels in general lack popular political support. This is largely in part due to strong local affinity of the rebel groups. Important political figures also refuse to support the rebellions. Peter Abdulrahman Sule, a leader of United Democratic Front (UDF) recently made a futile attempt in trying to add credence into the momentum of the rebellion by launching his rebel group in Central Equatoria State. Sule’s addition into rebel ranks would have casted a different face into the rebel movement, given his political experience and ethnic background. However, the militarily inexperience, rebel wannabe was roughed up by the authorities in Juba just right before his plans could materialize. Now he is languishing in jail for his crime. The possibilities for the rebels to gain political popularity within South Sudan is very slim at the moment.
It is therefore no any wonder that Gen. Athor would have to travel far from his base in search for support, given all these factors working against him. With Gen. Athor ultimate demise, the hope for rebels unity is dealt a great blow as there is no one with his stature and ambition to follow up in his failed attempts. Even though the rebel activities will continue, they will remain scattered and localized groups.
Those in Unity state will likely continue to dominate the rebel fields, because they have strategic access for support from North and will maintain their loyalties among themselves to forge on. Nonetheless, Gen. Athor’s forces must come to an end as the government of South Sudan needs to take advantage of the situation by mounting both political and military pressure against the group.
Huge Political and Military Vacuum in Rebel’s leadership in the Wake of George Athor’s Unexpected Demise.
By Brian Adeba

If there is anything we can learn from the death of George Athor, it is our leaders’ penchant to consolidate leadership around one personality at the expense of grooming would-be leaders. Athor was the sole visible leader in his movement. And this was a deliberate design that arises, most likely, out of a dictatorial, egoistic stance. Athor’s death is almost akin to John Garang’s demise. With the latter, there was no grooming of a visible leadership alternative. This is the fate that afflicts Athor’s rebels now.

If there is a morsel of learning to take from his death, it is delegation of duties to other leaders within a a political outfit. This is a lesson that people like Lam Akol can also learn from. Currently, there is a deliberate deification of the SPLM-DC leader as the “savior.” The SPLM-DC does not have another visible, strong leader, apart from Lam Akol himself. 

And this is deliberate, if the mini ceremony accorded to Lam Akol upon his return to Juba is anything to go by. His lackeys have been driving the point home on the internet, with such superfluous adjectives such as “most intelligent political leader, most brilliant professor of chemical engineering etc.” 

This mini-god moulding phenomenon only serves to reinforce inflated egos on the part of politicians and makes them think they are infallible and invincible. 

Let us hope that our politicians learn a thing or two from the unfortunate demise of George Athor.


AFP: South Sudan rebels of George Athor to fight on after chief’s death

Posted: December 21, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

JUBA — South Sudanese rebels will continue their fight against the newly independent government in Juba despite the killing of their leader George Athor, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

“To me, the mission is alive,” James Puot told AFP. “Only one man has died.”

South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar announced on Tuesday that Athor was killed when a border patrol clashed with “elements” accompanying him in Morobo County on Monday.

Athor had sneaked back in to South Sudan through neighbouring countries and was on a recruiting drive in Central Equatoria state, Machar said.

South Sudan had accused Athor of acting on behalf of Sudan in a bid to destabilise the country, which won independence in July, five years after the end of a two-decade civil war with Khartoum.

Athor, who fought for the southern rebels and reached the rank of general in their army before turning renegade last year, denied being backed by Khartoum.

South Sudanese citizens rejoiced at Athor’s killing and said it should herald a more peaceful environment for the impoverished nation.

But Puot said someone will be found to take Athor’s place.

“Very soon we will nominate a new leader”, he said.

Athor rebelled in April 2010 after claiming electoral fraud cheated him out of the governor’s post in Jonglei state.

His body was expected to arrive in the capital Juba on Wednesday, South Sudanese military spokesman Philip Aguer said.

South Sudan rebels to fight on after chief’s death
JUBA — South Sudanese rebels will continue their fight against the newly independent government in Juba despite the killing of their leader George Athor, his spokesman said on Wednesday. “To me, the mission is alive,” James Puot told AFP.

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South Sudan – Renegade Gen Athor is dead

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South Sudan: Key Rebel Leader Killed, Highlighting Militia Challenge
Juba, South Sudan — George Athor, a former senior officer in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA, was killed Monday night in a two-hour firefight with the government forces in Marobo County in Central Equatoria state.

Amnesty says UN peacekeepers did ‘nothing’ to protect civilians in Sudan’s Abyei
Link TV
Amnesty International accused the UN peacekeeping troops in South Sudan of deliberately neglecting to protect civilians in Abyei, a disputed city between Sudan and South Sudan. The organization said in a report that the Sudanese army committed

Sudan trying to recover from Gaddafi’s influence
Al Jazeera
Sudan is trying to repair from the effects of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi’s involvement in the country, including the arming of the South Sudanese rebels during the civil war. Gaddafi’s ties with the country date back to the early years

Top of the Morning: Syria Bloodshed; DRC Election Mess; Fearless Egyptian
UN Dispatch
(AP South Sudan is the world’s newest country. It faces threats not only from its foe to the north, but also from internal rebellion. That’s why this is a potentially significant development. “George Athor, who left the south’s


Posted: December 21, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Reec Akuak

Vice President

The South Sudanese Community, USA

Growth — Development — Community

202.656.TSSC (8772)

Direct/Cell: 202.596.6009

Fax: 202.280.1007


NGO forum Advert for Logistics Officer – Procurement REF: MC/19/12/2011

Posted: December 21, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Reec Akuak

Vice President

The South Sudanese Community, USA

Growth — Development — Community

202.656.TSSC (8772)

Direct/Cell: 202.596.6009

Fax: 202.280.1007

Advert for Logistics Officer – Procurement.pdf

“I am very moved to be in Israel and to walk on the soil of the Promised Land, and with me are all South Sudanese people. Israel has always supported the South Sudanese people. Without you, we would not have arisen”—said President Kiir to President Shimon Peres of Israel.

kiir visit to Israel.pdf kiir visit to Israel.pdf
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By PaanLuel Wel, Washington DC, USA

The Jewish state of Israel “recognized South Sudan a day after it declared independence in July, with Netanyahu calling Kiir and offering Jerusalem’s expertise in developing the fledgling country’s infrastructure, communications network and agriculture.” As President Salva Kiir landed in Israel on Tuesday, Reuters reports that:

 “Israel hosted the leader of its newest ally in Africa, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, which was recognized by the Jewish state hours after it declared independence in July” (Reuters).

On his first official and historic visit to the Jewish state of Israel, Salva Kiir Mayaardit, the South Sudanese president, whose entourage included Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nhial Deng Nhial, Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Gen. John Kong Nyuon, and Minister at the Office of the President Emmanuel Lowilla, exudes both emotion and gratitude to the Jewish state:

“I am very excited to be here, to set foot in the Promised Land. Israel has always supported the South Sudanese people – we wouldn’t exist without you. You fought beside us to allow for the inception of South Sudan and we would like to learn from you…We have shared values. Throughout history we have overcome similar struggles. We will work with Israel in the future to bolster the strategic ties between our countries…South Sudan is interested in pursuing joint ventures with Israel in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture, water conservation and advanced technologies” (Y-net News)

Though Jerusalem Post described the trip as “the low-key, one-day, an under-the-radar visit”, President Kiir was nevertheless formally received by all the top leaders of the Israeli government. Reuters informs us that:

“Kiir met Israeli President Shimon Peres and toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem ahead of talks later in the day with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak” (Reuters).

In what the Israeli’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised as “this is an historic; first visit by the president of this new country, the 193rd state recognized by the United Nations half a year ago”, each of the leaders took turn to recognize the South Sudanese President and hailed his visit as an historic and important milestone in the long strategic relationship between the two countries.

As reported by the Israel National News, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who had earlier this year visited Juba, South Sudan, and the one who officially welcomed President Kiir at the airport on Tuesday, told the visiting South Sudanese leader that:

“Your choice of Israel for one of your first visits as president reflects the deep friendship and natural partnership between South Sudan and Israel. Ties between our two countries will continue to strengthen. There is great potential for cooperation between us, and your visit is very important in the establishment of cooperation in many fields, including economic relations, agriculture, water, energy, and more” (Israel National News).

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, President Kiir counterpart, President Shimon Peres of Israel, while receiving him, told President Kiir that:

 “This is an exciting and historical moment for me and for the State of Israel. Israel has supported, and will continue to support, your country in all areas in order to strengthen and develop it. We know that you courageously and wisely struggled against all odds to establish your country and for us, the birth of South Sudan is a milestone in the history of the Middle East and in advancing the values of equality, freedom and striving for peace and good neighborly relations”(Jewish telegraphic Agency.)

To that, President Kiir responded by saying:

“As a nation that rose from dust, and as the few who fought the many, you have established a flourishing country that offers a future and economic prosperity to its children. I have come to see your success” (AFP).

On his part, the Israeli Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, as noted by the Jewish Space, later posted to his Facebook wall that:

 “I met today with South Sudan President Salva Kiir and agreed that an Israeli delegation would leave for South Sudan soon. The delegation will examine means of assisting the South Sudan people who have suffered greatly in recent years, in developing their new country” (

Although the main goal of the one-day official visit was not explicit, the two leaders, President Kiir and PM Bibi Netanyahu, are believed to have discussed, among other things, the issue of illegal immigrants from Africa in Israel and the possibility of repatriating South Sudanese and Darfuri migrants to the new country. The tiny state of Israel has been struggling to cope with refugees from (old) Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Jerusalem Post and Sudan Tribune recorded that the meeting between the two leaders:

“Plans to discuss solutions for illegal immigrants from Africa [and]…focus on repatriating illegal Sudanese refugees who flowed into the Jewish state over the last few years. [Moreover] The Jewish state promised to assist South Sudan in areas of infrastructure, communications and agriculture.”

The peaceful divorce and independence of the Republic of South Sudan provided a great inspiration to the Israeli leaders. As reported by AFP, Israeli’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, pointed out that:

“The story of your independence ought to set a very good example for anyone interested in achieving a lasting peace in the Middle East. A country cannot emerge virtually” (Agence France-Presse).

That the independence of South Sudan could be touted as the “proper model” for the ultimate resolution of the perennial Middle East’s conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs would strike some observers as ironic. Just in October of this year, The National, a United Arab Emirate Newspaper found that:

“The majority (77%) of UAE residents polled in a survey suspected that the birth of the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, was orchestrated by the US and Israel to weaken Arab countries” (The National).

For the most part since African countries threw off the yoke of European colonization, Israeli’s diplomacy has been a disaster in Africa. This was mainly for two key reasons:  Israel former close association with apartheid regime of South Africa that alienated almost all Sub-Saharan African countries and the Palestinians’ plight that angered North African—and other Islamic countries in Africa.

As of late, the Jewish state appears to be on the diplomatic offensive. Jerusalem Post again:

“Kiir’s visit comes two months after the leaders of two other countries, Uganda and Kenya, visited Jerusalem. It also comes as Netanyahu is planning a visit to sub-Saharan Africa in February. He is expected to visit Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya; although the final schedule has not yet been finalized…It comes at a time when Israel, amid sweeping changes in the region, is looking to strengthen its ties with sub-Saharan Africa” (Jerusalem Post).

However, Israel’s ties with the South Sudanese rebels—and people—goes way back to the 1960s during the time of Anyanya One till the emergence of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army—the SPLM/A. Israel was the backbone of the Anyanya One Movement—the military wing of the South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM) headed by General Joseph Lagu Yanga.

According to Arop Madut’s Sudan’s Painful Road to Peace, between 1967 and 1968, two batches of the Anyanya One soldiers, comprising about forty officers and under the leadership of Colonel Joseph Lagu, were selected and sent to Israel for effective military training:

“The first batch included: Joseph Lagu Yanga, Frederick Brian Maggot, Paul Awel, Emmanuel Abuur Nhial, Alison Manani Magaya, William Yanga, Mathew Pagan, Stephen Ogut, John Okwak, Edward Peter, Escopas Juma, and Edward Lumodi, among others…the second batch were: John Okech, Peter Cyrillo, Dominic Diim Deng, Isaiah Paul, Ambrose Monyteeng, Kenneth Simone, Bona Baang, Gordon Muortat Mabei, Francis Ngor Makiec, Abraham Hilel and others” (Arop Madut).

Furthermore, in 1970, the Anyanya One Movement selected and sent the third batch of officers to Israel:

“The third batch that was sent in 1970 included John Garang de Mabior (the only university graduate), Stephen Baak Madut, Salva Mathok, Caesar Ayok Deng Kuol, Simone Ayom, Francis Malek, Simone Makuach, Samuel Jeiel and Amos Agook” (Arop Madut).

Sometimes, in the midst of South Sudanese leaders endless wrangling over power, the Israelis were compelled to take side and to impose—for the sake of the South Sudanese struggle—some unilateral decisions and favored leaders on the Anyanya One Movement. One such incident happened during a bitter power struggle between Chairman Gordon Muortat of the Nile Provisional government (NPG) and his estranged chief of staff Colonel Joseph Lagu. Arop Madut again:

“…Lagu made it known to the Anyanya factions all over South Sudan that consignment of military hardware and relief supplies would not reach them unless they pledge their allegiance to his leadership…the Israeli experts who have been training the Anyanya freedom fighters flew to Kampala, Uganda [and]…they sent a letter to Teet-Adol, the Anyanya secret command post in Bahr el-Ghazal….the letter contained an order to the local commander to sent his representative to them in Kampala. Colonel Emmanuel Abuur and his adjutant Stephen Madut Baak immediately left for Kampala to meet the Israelis. The Israeli envoys told Colonel Abuur, in no uncertain terms, that the decision had been reached that all the Anyanya forces all over the Southern Provinces should pledge their allegiance to Joseph Lagu, now Major General….Colonel Abuur was convinced that any military and non-military aid was conditional upon loyalty to Major General Joseph Lagu….A military delegation was sent to Chairman Gordon Muortat to brief him about the sour turn of events. The delegation pleaded [with] him to stand down and leave for exile….Muortat lowered the NPG’s flag, dissolved his government and stepped down peacefully. He was then escorted to the Congo border where he was to live in exile” (Arop Madut).

But as the Agence France-Presse (AFP) described below, those ties between the state of Israel and the South Sudanese people and rebels were later perfected and cemented during the South Sudan war of independence under the stewardship of the SPLM/A of Dr. John Garang:

“Israel’s ties with the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which is now the south’s ruling party, have long been close, with the Jewish state allegedly providing arms during the war, although neither side has publicly acknowledged any weapons transfers” (AFP).

The fruitions of those long years of South Sudanese protracted struggle and partnership with the Jewish state were finally realized this year, 2011. As South Sudan official declared her independence from (north) Sudan on July 9, 2011, IsraAID, the humanitarian arm of the Israeli government—akin to the American USAID—sent aid to South Sudan in July 2011. Here is how Shachar Zahavi, the founding director of IsraAID, rationalizes it:

“As a small and relatively newborn country Israel has gained experience in various specialties, such as water, agriculture, post traumatic stress syndrome, education, migration and others that would be valuable to the people of South Sudan who are now building their country. It is our mission, consistent with Jewish values, to reach out to our new friends in any way we can” (Y-Net News).

True to the wonderful observations of President Salva Kiir Mayardit:

 “As a nation that rose from dust, and as the few who fought the many, you have established a flourishing country that offers a future and economic prosperity to its children. I have come to see your success” (AFP).

Both South Sudanese government and the patriotic people of South Sudanese have lots to learn from the state of Israel. After all, our immense suffering, though paltry relative to that of the Jews, parallels theirs. We share common spiritual homeland in the Holy Land and our mutual military ties is as old as our own long road to freedom.

Though they have long been displaced from their ancestral and Biblical homeland—and hence suffered immeasurably throughout millennia at the hand of Christians and Muslims—the Jews still count among themselves such great and world-renowned names as Jesus of Nazareth, St. Peter, St. Paul, Albert Einstein, Baruch Spinoza, Karl Marx, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and most importantly, Robert Oppenheimer (the father of Atomic bomb) and Edward Teller (father of Hydrogen Bomb). And so are the founders of Google and Facebook—the list is endless!

The most essential lesson here is that suffering is not an excuse, nor an insurmountable obstacle to overcome, not to succeed and prosper. Out of the ashes of the holocaust, Israel was born; out of the rubble of the long Sudanese war, South Sudan is borne.

By choosing to pay a visit to the state of Israel—a vibrant democracy, technologically advanced and militarily superior country, President Kiir is nudging this young underprivileged nation to embark on the hard lengthy path to long lasting peace, true political freedom, sustainable economic development and social prosperity. Are we ready, able and willing?

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You can reach PaanLuel Wël at, PaanLuel Wel (Facebook page), PaanLuelWel2011 (Twitter account).

Diplomacy: An appreciative partner in Africa
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, wearing his signature black cowboy hat, rode into Israel this week as head of the world’s newest country for a visit clearly signaling a growing Jerusalem-Juba alliance.Though blessed with massive oil deposits and largely untapped natural wealth, South Sudan is a dirt-poor nation of eight million people in eastern Africa entangled with its stronger neighbor to the north in a border dispute that seems on the brink of spilling over into an all-out war.

On the surface, this would not necessarily seem to be the most valuable country for Israel to befriend. South Sudan, which is predominantly Christian, seceded from its Muslim neighbor to the north in July after decades of civil war that began in 1955. Israel recognized South Sudan within hours of its independence declaration.

In an indication of just how important Israel views its relationship with the fledgling country, Kiir – who was accompanied on his first trip here as president by his defense and foreign ministers – met and was greeted warmly by Israel’s top leaders: President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Peres alluded to the help Israel gave south Sudanese rebels in the late 1960s, reminding Kiir that as deputydefense minister he had met in Paris, alongside then-prime minister Levi Eshkol, with local leaders from southern Sudan.

“We provided them with extensive assistance in agriculture and infrastructures,” Peres said. That was an understatement.

According to Jimmy Mulla, an advocate for South Sudan living in Washington, Israel at the time also provided invaluable training to the rebels. “Israel helped the [rebel] movement, giving them instruction,” he said in a telephone interview.

PaanLuel Wel, a prolific South Sudanese blogger also based in Washington, wrote in July that the friendship of the South Sudanese to Israel, besides being based in the country’s deep Christian religious roots, can be traced back to the beginning of the south’s rebellion.

“For many years during that first south Sudanese struggle of 1955- 1972, the Jewish state of Israel was the main moral supporter of the Southern rebels and the chief supplier of physical materials such as arms and international maneuvering,” he wrote.

Consequently, it didn’t come as a big surprise when the head of the rebel movement, General Joseph Lagu, was among the first world leaders to send a letter of congratulations to Eshkol after the Six Day War.

To the Southern rebels led by Lagu, Wel wrote, Israel was fighting the very enemy that was discriminating against and oppressing them.

Wel’s words help to explain what Peres meant when he told Kiir during their meeting that this was a “moving and historic moment” for him and for Israel.

“Israel has supported and will continue to support your country in all areas in order to strengthen and develop it,” he said. “We know that you courageously and wisely struggled against all odds to establish your country and for us, the birth of South Sudan is a milestone in the history of the Middle East.” According to a statement put out by Peres’s office about the meeting between the two men, Kiir said he was moved to be in Israel and “walk on the soil of the Promised Land, and with me are all South Sudanese people.”

“Israel has always supported the South Sudanese people,” he said.

“Without you, we would not have arisen. You struggled alongside us in order to allow the establishment of South Sudan and we are interested in learning from your experience. As a nation that rose from dust, and as the few who fought the many, you have established a flourishing country that offers a future and economic prosperity to its children. I have come to see your success.”

Despite those very warm words, diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said that this week’s Israeli bear hug, or at least the fact that the hug was made public, somewhat embarrassed Kiir, who was hoping for a more low-profile, under-the-radar visit. This desire for a low-key visit was not because he or his people are not extremely pro-Israel. Indeed, one of the more memorable images of 2011, at least from an Israeli perspective, was the publication of pictures in July of South Sudanese celebrating their independence by waving Israeli flags.

Rather, Kiir – who does want a strong relationship with Jerusalem – preferred to keep the visit low-key because he realizes that with his country taking its first baby steps, it must be concerned about how visible ties with Israel will be interpreted by his powerful neighbors to the north: Sudan and Egypt.

And he does indeed have something to be worried about.

Two days after his visit, The Sudan Tribune – a news website dealing with Sudanese and African affairs – reported that Sudan was alarmed by Kiir’s trip to Israel. According to the website, which ran a photo of Kiir laying a wreath at Yad Vashem, the official spokesman of Sudan’s foreign ministry, Al-Obaid Marawih, told reporters in Khartoum that the government was concerned and was studying the visit to “ascertain its possible ramifications.”

Regarding Egypt, one diplomatic official in Jerusalem said that Israel’s ties with South Sudan “drive the Egyptians nuts,” because of an almost conspiratorial fear they have that Israel will gain leverage over Cairo by somehow diverting the flow of the White Nile tributary, which flows through South Sudan.

This same concern about the Nile was also voiced by the Egyptians when Israel and Ethiopia forged ties in the 1990s. In an indication of how real this fear of nefarious Israeli designs on the Nile is in the Arab world, the topic was a component of a news program piece on Al Jazeera in English this week about the burgeoning Israeli-South Sudanese ties.

Ask Israeli diplomatic officials what interests Israel has in South Sudan and they will say – if they are willing to talk at all – that Jerusalem is keen on helping the fledgling nation develop and can offer all kinds of assistance in the spheres of technology, infrastructure development, construction and agricultural and water management.

Indeed, the only thing the Prime Minister’s Office was willing to say about Kiir’s visit was that a team of experts will be dispatched to South Sudan shortly to determine that country’s needs and how Israel can help.

Israeli officials don’t talk, and nobody will talk, about security cooperation, which is obviously something that the South Sudanese – already involved in skirmishes with Sudan – have in mind.

For Israel, South Sudan is extremely important geographically.

It is a friendly country in the heart of a region that Iran is trying to penetrate. Israel is concerned about a flow of arms going from Iran, through Sudan, into Egypt, Sinai and then Gaza.

Indeed, foreign reports said that Israel was behind a couple of mysterious raids on arms convoys in Sudan over the past three years.

In addition, South Sudan is part of a cluster of countries in eastern Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, that Israel is trying to cultivate in a manner not seen for years. Each of these countries is facing threats from Islamic radicals, giving them an interest in closer cooperation with Israel.

The leaders of Uganda and Kenya were both in Israel last month and Netanyahu is planning the first extended visit by an Israeli prime minister to sub-Saharan Africa since 1966 with a trip to Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia tentatively planned for February.

(Yitzhak Rabin made a stopover of a few hours in Kenya in 1993 on the way back from a Far East trip, but that was anything but the full blown state visit Netanyahu has in mind.) South Sudan, for its part, is obviously interested in military relationship, as attested by the visit of the country’s defense minister along with Kiir, but also for Israeli civilian technology and know-how.

As blogger Wel puts it, South Sudan stands to reap many benefits from a close relationship with Israel. “Israel is among the most economically advanced OECD member states,” he writes. “With our own naturally endowed abundance of resources, befriending such a country will open many doors of opportunities for the mining and exploitation of our own resources.”

Wel contrasts Israel to China and the West, saying it has no history of neo-colonialism in Africa.

Furthermore, Israel, he writes, can help develop the country’s education systems that, due to oppressive polices from successive governments in Khartoum and the long civil war, is in “a pathetic condition crying out for refurbishment.”

“What is needed is a technologically based system of education, one that befits the 21st century we are in,” he writes. “The state of Israel has it and, as our long-time friend, it is willing to help us get on our own feet, after decades of painfully crawling on the rough edges of illiteracy, poverty, desolation, and disillusionment.”

South Sudan: Peace dividends paying off

Posted: December 21, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

A special investigative journalism assignment fully supported by the Taco Kuiper Grant for Investigative Journalism

A new nation has emerged defined by its bustling 10 states Warrap, Lakes, Jonglei, Upper Nile, Western Equatoria, Northern Bah el Ghazal, Unity, Western Bah el Ghazal, Eastern Equatoria and Central Equatoria out to host the world.

A few years ago it wouldn’t have been easy to imagine such a boon amidst the sweltering heat of Southern Sudan and especially its heart in Juba.

Thanks for the vast reserves of oil.

The pull of Juba or is it the Southern Sudanese Pound is exerting a pull on all to the banks of the Nile to get the promise of a better life. It is here in Juba that economic dreams of a better life from home are being nurtured and realized. When South Sudan took its place in the global community of nations, it did so with much aplomb economically. Currently, South Sudan’s Pound (SSP) is the strongest currency in the continent and this explains why all kinds of investors are streaming into this new nation.

The allure of the South Sudanese Pound (currently exchanging at US$1 = 3.50SSP) is hard to resist despite the fact that the new nation lacks basic amenities.

“In the next 20 years, South Sudan will be a booming economy. This is the right time to be here.” Paul Gitahi, Equity Bank South Sudan Executive Director says.

Long before the river port city of Juba, attracted all and sundry, it resembled a typical hinterland Payam (village) with thatched houses all around. “There were only six vehicles in all of Juba.” George Conway, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says.

Today Juba which is the latest capital in the world, brimming with immense bounties is far from the six vehicles on gravel road of six years ago. Like most cities in the world Juba is no exception, it experiences traffic jams at peak hours too on its 67km tarmacked roads out of 350kilometres.

The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya, the eventual peaceful secession referendum and the coming of independence thatched houses are fast disappearing and mansions, maisonettes, villas, flats and multi storeyed buildings are springing up. From one telecommunications tower in the country, there are over 500 today making mobile phone coverage possible to much of the country.

Geographically South Sudan may appear disadvantaged as it is landlocked but this may only be for a time as the new country has much to offer. Daily flights from major world capitals further buttress this belief of a land full of bounties as are the daily long interstate bus rides from the neighbouring countries with skills or wares for sale.

In 2009 SAB Miller became the first multinational manufacturer to venture into South Sudan with the establishment of its subsidiary the $37 million South Sudan Beverages Limited in Juba.

With the coming of independence SAB Miller invested a further $15 million in the Juba facility so as to boost production capacity and meet increasing local demands. In simple parlance business is good to warrant more capital injection.

“Our investment in South Sudan continues to bear fruit due to the country’s improving economic outlook and a continued positive consumer response to our brand portfolio.” Ian Alsworth-Elvey SSBL Managing Director says. “Increasing our brewing capacity takes the business to the next level. Supporting growth in our key mainstream segments and helps us to build market share.”

Demand for White Bull and the locally brewed Nile Special Brand have been the main motivators for the increase in SSBL production. By November this year the Juba facility is expected to increase production to 500,000 hectolitres. SSBL not only produces beer but has also ventured into non-alcoholic beverages such as soft drinks and bottled water brands.

The fact that South Sudan is still in infancy and is a net importer has proved to be a major challenge to investors. According to data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, South Sudan is a net importing country and its largest trading partners are Uganda, Northern Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia in that order. Uganda’s main export market at present is South Sudan. In 2009 Uganda exported goods worth $184 million.

“The cost of doing business in South Sudan is significantly higher than in other places and part of that is the fact that we have exceptionally higher transport costs from Mombasa port in Kenya. To bring a container from Europe to Mombasa by ship costs about $2000. It then costs you close to $8000 to move it from Mombasa to Juba.” Alsworth-Elvey says.

Providing direct employment to over 300 South Sudan nationals SSBL has endeared itself to the psyche of the new nation. Alsworth-Elvey however sees the cost of doing business in South Sudan changing and the future offering brighter prospects.

“The return of our investment has been successful and we expect to grow. I think the economy of South Sudan has grown and will continue to do so in the next decade. The parliament has passed what I think is the best Investment Promotion Acts in Africa if not the world. It has boosted this with a ministry solely dedicated to investments. This demonstrates the commitment in attracting more investments.” Alsworth-Elvey says.

According to South Sudan’s Vice President Riak Machar, in the next five years, the SPLM government intends to mobilise $500 billion from the private sector to bolster infrastructure development.

In every corner and all buildings in Juba there is a generator not only showcasing the need for urgent investments in electricity generation, transmission and supply but also revealing how Khartoum underdeveloped Juba. The South Sudan Electricity Corporation (SSEC) produces 10mega watts daily against a demand of 50MW. Most businesses, government ministries, NGOs generate their own power through acquisition of generators. As it stands now SSEC uses 48,000litres of diesel daily to generate for its customers as the government paves the way for heavier investments in the power sector to bring energy costs to manageable levels. High demand for power in Juba is currently being pushed by the hospitality industry which is placing a huge demand on the national grid. Independent estimates show that South Sudan can harness close to 1400MW along the River Nile.

But as South Sudan seeks to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of development a major set back has already reared its ugly head in the form of the seat of South Sudan’s government. It is now official that the capital Juba will perhaps get a world first as the “metropolis” which had the shortest history as a capital city. This move comes after the new South Sudan cabinet unveiled in late August decided to relocate its capital to Ramciel in the Lakes state after an unending dispute over Juba which apart from being the capital city of South Sudan also serves as the seat of Central Equatoria’s government.

A bitter dispute between the government and the indigenous Juba inhabitants, the Bari community over access to land is what has caused this costly move by the government.

“Juba is like a slum. You have nowhere to build roads. You have to quarrel to get land. Where do you put government institutions and investors? We need a large parcel of land to accommodate development projects.” Barnaba Marial Benjamin, information minister says. “The government has not succeeded to persuade and allay the fears of the local community and so the cabinet decided to relocate the capital to a better area.”

This move by the South Sudan government will no doubt have serious ramifications on the country’s oil dependent economy as it is bound to affect the current infrastructure estimates upwards. It is an open secret that the new nation is which controls 75% of all the oil in Sudan and is wholly dependent on oil which foots 98% of the Juba’s $2.8 billion annual budget.

Competing to get this oil from the ground are China National Oil Petroleum, Malaysian oil giant Petronas, Moldovian oil Company Ascom Group, India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Videsh and Sweden’s Lundin. All these business deals are courtesy of the peace dividends and business confidence pegged on Juba.



1. When did Ryce Southern Sudan venture into South Sudan?

SELVARAJAH: We have been doing business for the last 5 years in South Sudan from Nairobi, we are now based in Juba since May 2011. A part of our regional expansion to meet our hinterland customer needs.

2. What was the reason for this move?

SELVARAJAH: I attended the first ever South Sudan Business Development Conference in 2006 in Nairobi and realized the great business opportunities and started to make plans to set up base in Juba. Five years later and the plans have been realised.

3. How have the locals taken to your services considering they just got their independence?

SELVARAJAH: The locals are very happy that we have brought our services to their doorstep and are very welcoming.

4. What have been the challenges so far?

SEELVARAJAH: Sincerely we have no complaints, the only challenge we face is lack of skilled and educated local labour, but we understand why, we have employed five Sudanese already and hope to increase to 50 within one year when we start the After Sales Services. As the country stabilizes it will only grow as the leaders are determined to see it growing.

5. How is the private sector coming up in this new nation?

SELVARAJAH: There are not many Corporate Investors due to the wait and see attitude. However lately this has changed and interest in this country has grown very fast.

6. Have your clients grown with time?

SELVARAJAH: Yes our clientele base is steadily growing, we are happy with the progress being made here in South Sudan and the operational environment. In our case we have both corporate and individual customers. Representatives from a number of Corporates have visited even our showroom exploring the opportunities since independence came to Juba. We look forward to brighter prospects in future.

7. What products do you seek to roll out in future?

SELVARAJAH: Agricultural machinery and implements, Construction machinery, Construction and Water supply projects. Service, repairs and spare parts.

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