Archive for December 30, 2011

South Sudan: At What Point Does Conflict Become a War?

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

Hannah McNeish / Getty Images

People wait outside a medical clinic on December 5, 2011, at the Doro refugee camp, near the town of Bunj, about 40 kilometres (26 miles) from the border in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, where on average 1,000 people arrive every day.

Assassinations. Pitched battles. Cross-border bombing raids. Hundreds of thousands of refugees. At what point will the rising conflict between Sudan and South Sudan be recognized as a new war?

South Sudan achieved independence from the north in July after a half century of grinding conflict in which more than 2 million people died. Separation has not led to peace, however, most importantly because neither side is happy with their new border. One point of conflict is a band of southern states in the new north Sudan — Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile — which remain on the upper side of the divide despite being home to armies of rebel secessionists. Many of these fought for independence alongside the south and continue to do so today, with enduring southern support.

A second reason for continuing conflict is claims by the northern regime in Khartoum over much of the territory now designated as South Sudan – not least those parts that are rich in oil – which seems to be behind repeated northern bombing raids into the south.

The latest indication this situation of mutual, interlocking and spiraling enmity might once again escalate to a fully-fledged war came Thursday when South Sudan reported that northern Sudanese bombers had once again bombed the south, killing 17 cattle herders in the southern state of West Bahr al-Ghazal, just south of the westernmost stretch of the new border. “This [attack in West Bahr al-Ghazal] is a hostile aggression that Khartoum has been conducting against the civilian population,” South Sudan’s military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer told the BBC. He added northern bombers had also struck areas in Unity state, another southern border province to the east where in November northern bombers hit a refugee camp.

Khartoum has denied carrying out any raids and claims it is the south that is guilty of aggression. Southern troops are massing in Unity state in preparation for an attack on the north, says the north’s military spokesman. Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman, Al-Obeid Meruh, adds 350 members of the Darfur-based rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (J.E.M.) — whose leader Khalil Ibrahim was killed in fighting with northern forces a few days ago — crossed into South Sudan on Wednesday. Al-Obeid called on the international community to pressure the south “to stop supporting these troops and disarm them.”

The situation in South Sudan is further complicated by more fighting between the new government, which is dominated by the Dinka ethnic group and has already garnered an impressive reputation for ineptness and corruption, and a number of breakaway militias from different ethnic groups. (The leader of the most prominent of these, George Athor, was assassinated on Dec. 21). To a country that, as well as being the newest, is one of the poorest on earth, all this fighting has bequeathed the additional burden of a refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands displaced and hundreds more arriving from the north every day. Meanwhile the U.N. is warning poor rains means 2.7 million southern Sudanese — out of a total population of 8 million — will need food aid to avoid malnutrition and famine in 2012. Maybe war isn’t the right word to describe what’s happening in South Sudan after all. How about catastrophe?

Read more:

South Sudan cattle clashes: UN moves troops to Pibor

A herdsman from the Nuer tribe stands among his cattle at a cattle-camp, near Nyal, in south Sudan on November 11, 2011Cattle are a central part of the lives of many communities in South Sudan

The United Nations is sending troop reinforcements to the South Sudanese town of Pibor to prevent an attack by members of the Lou Nuer ethnic group.

Tens of thousands of people from the rival Murle group fled the town on Friday morning, fearing violence.

Inter-ethnic clashes in Jonglei state, initially triggered by cattle raids, have cost the lives of about 1,000 people in recent months.

The UN already has a battalion of troops in Pibor.

Most victims of the clashes have been women and children. Both communities have abducted children during the violence.

“What can I do – we can’t work miracles” Kuol Manyang Juuk, Jonglei governor

Correspondents say these attacks are one of the biggest challenges to the stability of South Sudan, the world’s newest country. It only became an independent nation in July.

It is one of the world’s poorest regions, inhabited by about 200 ethnic groups, each with its own language and traditional beliefs.

About 6,000 armed men from the Lou Nuer community are marching through Jonglei state burning homes and seizing cattle along the way, says BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross.

Earlier this week the entire town of Lukangol was burnt to the ground by Lou Nuer fighters. About 20,000 civilians managed to flee the town before the attack, but dozens were killed on both sides.

‘Poorly equipped’

The United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator in South Sudan, Lise Grande, told the BBC that the UN was reinforcing its troops in Pibor to assist the South Sudanese army in defending civilians.

“We are very concerned by the scale of this,” she said.


“The UN is facing enormous logistical challenges – we still have no military aircraft, only civilian helicopters,” she added.

Jonglei governor Kuol Manyang Juuk told the BBC that the UN would not be able to contain the violence because the Lou Nuer were moving around in the bush, rather than staying in towns.

He also said South Sudan’s army was badly equipped and most of its soldiers had been deployed to the border with Sudan following recent unrest there.

“We can’t work miracles,” he said.

South Sudan Vice-President Riek Machar has been shuttling between the rival communities in a push for peace. On Thursday night it seemed he had persuaded the Lou Nuer not to attack Pibor – but they then left in their thousands overnight heading towards that town.

Cattle plays a central role in the life of many South Sudanese communities. In the absence of banks, they are used to store wealth and to pay bride prices.

The violence between the two communities has been going on for years, but with modern weapons its scale is increasing.

Our correspondent says the clashes may have begun as cattle raids, but they have spiralled out of control into retaliatory attacks.

South Sudan: At What Point Does Conflict Become a War?TIME (blog)
By Alex Perry | @PerryAlexJ | December 30, 2011 | + People wait outside a medical clinic on December 5, 2011, at the Doro refugee camp, near the town of Bunj, about 40 kilometres (26 miles) from the border in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, 

South Sudan: VP Attempts to Stop Jonglei Violence
Juba — South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, attempted to stop further conflict in Jonglei state by visiting the affected areas on Wednesday. It is unclear whether the reconciliation efforts have worked with reports that Lou Nuer youth have 

Sudan Bombs South Sudan Killing 17 – SPLA
Juba — At least 17 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal State, following an aerial attack allegedly carried out by north Sudan, authorities told Sudan Tribune on Thursday. Several others are also said to 

From Sudan to America and back once again for Covinton man
Kent Reporter
Oywak just returned from the Republic of South Sudan. He is a manager for the Sudan Microfinance Institution (SUMI) stationed in South Sudan and he works there for six months every year. “Sudan Microfinance Institution’s objective is to offer financial 

South Sudan: Students Urge Citizens to Support Government
Juba — South Sudanese Students Union in Uganda has called on all citizens to support the government of South Sudan in the process of state building effort that needs all to contribute immensely. Addressing the press conference here in Juba on Thursday .

South Sudan: Abyei Women Demand Representation in the Govt
Juba — A delegation from Abyei yesterday demanded that women of Abyei should also benefit from the 25% women representation in the South Sudan Government despite that Abyei remains a contested region between the Sudan and South Sudan

South Sudan: Is the Ministry of Water and Irrigation the Source of Deaths
As we all know, any accidents caused by a water carrier in Juba town leads to the loss of South Sudanese life! Who should shoulder the blame? We believe that the blame should be shouldered by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation,that has been silent 

South Sudan clashes: UN moves troops to Pibor
BBC News
The United Nations has moved a battalion of combat troops to the South Sudanesetown of Pibor to prevent an attack by the Lou Nuer ethnic group. Tens of thousands of people from the rival Murle group have fled the town in the last few hours, 
Six dead in Sudan chopper crash, fire: army
Sudan’s armed forces since June have been battling rebels further south in adjacent South Kordofan state, as well as in Blue Nile state. On Thursday South Sudan’smilitary spokesman said Sudanese air raids killed 17 people in the border state of 

Six dead in Sudan chopper crash, fire: army

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

KHARTOUM — All six crewmen aboard a Sudanese military helicopter were killed when it crash-landed and burned in North Kordofan state on Friday, the army said.

Fire broke out because of a “technical problem” aboard the Russian-made aircraft three minutes after takeoff from a base at El Obeid, the state capital, army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad told AFP.

The pilot crash-landed in a yard “but the fire destroyed the plane completely and all six crew were killed,” he said.

Saad said the chopper was carrying “military equipment” on a logistical mission.

The official SUNA news agency reported that the aircraft was a helicopter gunship.

El Obeid is a base for the Sudanese military but there is no known rebel activity in that immediate area.

Sudan’s armed forces since June have been battling rebels further south in adjacent South Kordofan state, as well as in Blue Nile state.

On Thursday South Sudan’s military spokesman said Sudanese air raids killed 17 people in the border state of Western Bahr al-Ghazal, the second day of stepped-up bombing along the northern frontier.

The spokesman also said bombing had resumed over the previous two days around Jau, a disputed area along the South Kordofan-Unity state border.

Khartoum dismissed the allegations of bombing in Western Bahr al-Ghazal as “incorrect”, and accused South Sudan of building up its troops in the Jau area to attack inside Sudan.

South Sudan separated from Sudan in July after an overwhelming vote for independence that followed more than two decades of civil war.

Each side has accused the other of supporting rebels inside its borders.


December 29, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Government of Sudan has lodged a complaint to the UN Security Council (UNSC) among other world organizations alleging the arrival of Darfur rebel forces to the Republic South Sudan, and warning the latter to refrain from supporting them.

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FILE – JEM fighters

A statement issued on Thursday by Sudan’s foreign ministry said that the country’s government had filed a complaint to the UN Security Council (UNSC) and later extended it to the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) among other international organization against the arrival South Sudan of a military force belonging to the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a rebel group from Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

The complaint, according to Sudan’s official news agency SUNA, states that a JEM force with an estimated strength of 350 combatants and 79 armored vehicles managed on Wednesday to traverse the borders between Darfur and South Sudan, and settled in an area called Tumsaha south of the 1956 border between the recently separated countries.

JEM was involved in fighting this week against government forces in the west of North Kordofan State, where official reports spoke of havoc wreaked by the rebels and the group lost its leader Khalil Ibrahim who was killed in an airstrike conducted by a fighter jet.

The Sudanese government claimed that Khalil was shepherding his forces towards South Sudan when he was killed.

Khartoum’s complaint mentioned that JEM forces had crossed the borders between South Darfur State and northern Bahr al-Ghazal state in South Sudan through “Al-Sarag and Sakara” crossing point south of Ed Daein.

The complaint further claimed that JEM’s injured soldiers had been taken to Gog Mashar hospital in Tumsaha area, and reported that the rebels had also setup a camp close to Raja area in Western Bahr Al-Ghazal state in order to train their fighters.

The Sudanese government asked the UNSC to help it to pressure South Sudan’s government to withhold any form of assistance to JEM forces, disarm them and extradite those among them who are wanted by the Sudanese government.

“The way in which the Republic of South Sudan will handle this matter will reflect on the progress of normalization between the two countries and their future relationship, therefore Sudan asks the state of South Sudan to deal with this matter in a manner that demonstrates its seriousness in pursuing good neighborhood and in line with its international obligations”

This is the third time Sudan complains to the UN against South Sudan since the latter seceded to form an independent state in July. The two previous complaints accused South Sudan of supporting the rebels Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N,) which is fighting the Sudanese government in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states on the borders with the South, as well as Darfur rebel groups.

Juba, which also accuses Khartoum of supporting rebel groups in its territories, denied the charges and asked Khartoum to seek a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The SPLM-N and JEM along with two other rebel factions from Darfur forged an alliance in November and pledged to hold joint military operations in order to topple the government of Khartoum.

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said in its latest Sudan Weekly Humanitarian bulletin that state and UN security sources had observed the occurrence of a military buildup on both sides of the border between South Darfur and South Sudan’s Northern Bahr Al-Ghazal state near the Bahr el Arab/Kiir River.


South Sudan VP attempts to stop Jonglei violence

Posted: December 30, 2011 by nyanyung in Junub Sudan

December 29, 2011 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, attempted to stop further conflict in Jonglei state by visiting the affected areas on Wednesday.

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Lou Nuer youth leader speakingin Linkuangole, Jonglei state. 28 Dec. 2011

It is unclear whether the reconciliation efforts have worked with reports that Lou Nuer youth have raided Pibor county, despite Machar’s call for an end to hostilities.

Machar addressed Lou Nuer youth in Linkuangole Payam [district] on Wednesday as part of effort to end a week of clashes that has killed over scores of people.

In a video recorded in Linkuangole on Wednesday extended to Sudan Tribune, a huge number of armed youths are seen shouting as their leader addresses them in presence of a high level delegation led by Machar on Wednesday.

Lou Nuer youth launched a retaliatory attack on villages in Linkuangole in Pibor county, home to the Murle tribe on December 23. Officials from Pibor put the death toll at twenty-four with five people wounded.

A person in the team that visited Linkuangole with Vice President on Wednesday told the Sudan Tribune that there are several dead bodies lying in the street of the deserted district headquarters.

The source said that the Lou Nuer has lost over 40 people in the fight but the group had taken control of the area and many buildings had been set on fire.

In the video, the Vice President is seen introducing, South Sudan’s justice minister, John Luk. Luk failed to win the parliamentary seat for the area in the 2010 elections, losing to independent candidate Timothy Taban.

Machar told the thousands of Luo Nuer youth gathered in the area to cease hostilities and return to their villages.

The group responded by criticising the South Sudan government’s response to previous attacks allegedly carried out by Murle on their land, adding that no top government official even paid a visit.

Lou Nuer attacked Murle villages in June in response to what they said repeated cattle raids and child abduction. In August, Murle raided Lou Nuer villages in retaliation. The clashes have killed over 1,000 people in Jonglei state this year alone, according to the United Nations.

On Wednesday, the executive director of Pibor county, Allan Kirera, said at least 20 people have died on Murle side in the recent fighting.

Machar’s intervention was an attempt to stop the Lou-Nuer youth from advancing to capture the Pibor county headquarters of Murle community.

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South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar (Centre) addressing the youth as Justice minister John Luk (Left) looks on in Linkuangole, Jonglei state. 28 Dec. 2011

According to youth leaders, more than nine thousand heavily armed Lou-Nuer youth this week mobilised themselves and moved towards Murle land with the intention to carry out revenge attacks and capture all payams and county headquarters of Murle land and to disarm the Murle community by force.

On Monday they captured the strategic Likwangale payam which is only 25 kilometers from the Pibor county headquarters. They also destroyed a number of villages and planned to attack Pibor county headquarters itself on Wednesday in addition to other payams including Buma and Gumruk payams.

The Vice President, Riek Machar, accompanied by the Minister of Justice, John Luk Jok, and a number of members of the national parliament from Lou-Nuer and Murle on Wednesday left Juba for Jonglei to try and prevent further violence.

Flown into the captured town of Linkwangale by a United Nations helicopter, with only ten bodyguards was engulfed by thousands of armed and angry youth as soon as he landed. Some of them asked him to go back immediately, saying they would not accept to meet with him if he came to stop the fighting.

The scene, witnessed by Sudan Tribune, was chaotic as the Vice President insisted that he must meet with them and tell them the message he carried as he began to move from the airstrip to the middle of the burnt town where their top leaders were. As he reached the center the visibly angry youth reluctantly accepted to listen to him.

“Don’t even clap for him even if he says good things,” shouted one of the youth organisers.

The youth leaders criticised the government, saying it overprotected the Murle community at the expense of the Lou-Nuer community. They said they were taking revenge for the attack against their community by Murle in August in a village called Pieri in which more than 700 people mostly women and children are reported to have been killed.

The August incident was the first major intercommunity attack after South Sudan gained independence in July this year.

The youth also claimed that the government had failed to disarm the Murle so they had been forced to take the law into their own hands to capture the Murle towns and villages and disarm the community by force on behalf of the government.

“We are at war [with the Murle], why do you come now,” one of the youth leaders asked the Vice President.

“Don’t accept that we meet with him [Vice President]. If we let him speak to us he will try to neutralise the fighting mood we have,” shouted another.

The leader and commander of the Lou-Nuer youth, Bor Doang, in the meeting told the Vice President that his youth had come to stay for few months in Murle land until all their areas were liberated and disarmed.

Doang said 63 of his people were wounded during the fighting but was reluctant to reveal how many of his men had died.


The Vice President urged the Lou-Nuer youth to withdraw from the town they captured and go back to Lou-Nuer land. He also warned them not to attempt to attack any of the other Murle towns including the Pibor county headquarters, saying what they were doing was a big crime. The youth wanted their wounded to be evacuated first before they could begin to withdraw, which was done on Thursday.

The Vice President said he will spend the night with them on Thursday to make sure that they move out from the area. He also said he would track their movement and follow them until they cross back into Lou-Nuer territory.

In Pibor county headquarters, the Vice President met with the Murle community leaders and asked them to call back their youth who went to the Lou-Nuer land to come back so that he can meet with them inside Pibor town on Sunday.

The population of Pibor has reduced significantly because people have evacuated for fear of imminent attack by the Lou-Nuer youth, according to the acting county commissioner, Allan.

The Acting Commissioner said he could not determine the total number of his people killed because many are still missing.

During the Thursday meeting in Pibor town, the Murle youth leaders said that the Jonglei state administration did not care about the conflict between the Lou-Nuer, Dinka Bor and Murle communities. The Vice President however refuted this, saying it was the Lou-Nuer and Murle who were responsible for the violence.

Situated in Jonglei state, Lou-Nuer community is one of the ten major sections of the Nuer tribe and the single biggest community in the state.


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Governor Kuol Manyang and his ministers and commissioners posed for a group photo after swearing—in ceremony in Bor on Thursday December 29, 2011 (ST)

Eleven county commissioners, including five new faces, took oath of office in Bor on Thursday after being appointed by Governor Kuol Manyang who witnessed the swearing ceremony.

In his address to the local leaders, governor said that division of state in counties is not separation of people into tribal clauses.

“Our system of governance, according to our constitutions, divides the country into counties (…) in line with the policy of taking town to our people,” he said.

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Jonglei county commissioners take oath of office in Bor on December 29, 2011 (ST)

Governor Kuol maintained the commissioner of Bor, Twic East, Pigi, Fangak, Nyirol and Akobo but replaced Pibor, Pochala, Uror, Duk and Ayod.

The local leaders pledged their allegiance to pursue of peace and reconciliation in the state.