Posts Tagged ‘sudanese citizens’


By John A. Akec

PROLOGUE
No one can dispute that South Sudan is one of the few nations on this planet that has offered enormous sacrifices in order to arrive at where it now stands: a sovereign state that has achieved its freedom through blood of its martyrs that culminated in the exercise of the right to self-determination. This right is assured by many UN conventions. For example, Article 1 (1) of International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights states: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”Self-determination, thus, comes loaded with huge responsibilities that are summed up by the innocent-looking but highly significant words of the last sentence of the clause: “By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”So often, as post-independence African history would attest to, it takes generations (and more struggle and further sacrifices) for the nations of post-liberation countries to fully realise this responsibility. That such responsibility is not being realised adequately can be manifested in many obvious cases as well as hidden and subtle ways.As part of this attached responsibility, all national governments (ancient or nascent) are expected to safeguard their citizens’ interests, rights, and lives at all time; not just at home front but also wherever the citizens of the concerned nation are to be found in the global village.SOUTH SUDNANESE IN SUDAN – DO THEY MATTER TO ANYONE?
Having more than a half-million South Sudanese citizens living in the Republic of Sudan (for well known historical reasons, most of which has to do with taking refuge during the long North-South war), one would HAVE thought all government organs in the Republic of South Sudan would do their very best to safeguard the rights and interests of these folk, especially at the time of transition and tensions with the successor state, Sudan.More could have been done to reduce the hardships currently experienced by many caused by transition to independence. Instead, it would seem those who packed and made the exit and are fortunate to hold positions of responsibility in the new Republic, are determined not to look back again at those who lingered behind, whatever the causes and reasons.

CASE IN POINT – NO MONEY TRANSFER MECHANISMS BETWEEN SOUTH SUDAN AND SUDAN, UNTIL NOW
A striking example is the absence of money transfer system between South Sudan and Sudan since South Sudan’s declaration of independence on 9th of July 2011. This was when the government of Sudan decided to stop money transfer from Sudan to South Sudan and vice versa, pending the setting up of international system for money transfer between the two countries. The Bank of South Sudan (BOSS), the South Sudan central bank, was caught by surprise; when its electronic banking system that was run on a server presumably housed and administered by Sudan’s central bank was disconnected, bringing down the electronic transaction system in BOSS for several weeks, before the Bank was able to offer the service again.

Today, nine months since declaration of the independence, South Sudan central bank is yet to set up an international money transfer system to and from Sudan, despite the negative impact the lack of such facility has had on large population of South Sudan nationals still stranded in Sudan.

SOME BASIC FACTS ABOUT COMPOSITION OF SOUTH SUDANESE IN SUDAN

This population is composed mainly of those retired from civil and organized forces in what was North Sudan who are still waiting to receive their retirement pay from Khartoum government; South Sudanese studying in Sudan universities; families split up with of couples working in South Sudan while the rest of family continues to live in Sudan to allow children to complete school or vice versa, that is, the wife and children resetling in the South while the husband stays behind to sell family home or complete other family business; medical students completing houseman ship in Sudanese hospitals; those who have headed to Sudan to Khartoum to seek medical treatment (because they could not afford going to Jordon, India, or Nairobi); self-employed people with vocational skills who are not yet sure if they will find work in their new country and who know how to survive in Sudan; and finally, the hundreds of thousands of poor IDPs who want to leave but have been stranded for months on end to have their turn to be transported by land or river. We are talking of between 500,000 to 700,000 of them, or about 7% of South Sudan population.

‘SUDDEN’ SUSPPENSION OF FLIGHT BETWEEN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN – NOT AGAIN!

As if the above hardship was not enough, the episode was spectacularly repeated last week when the Civil Aviation Authority in the Republic of Sudan notified South Sudan Ministry of Transport on 6th April that it was suspending flights between the two neighbouring countries from 9th April 2012 until the two countries agree on a system of flights that follows international code, implying among other things, passengers should follow proper immigration procedures including issue of visas and possession of valid travel documents. Not again! The news hit South Sudan Ministry of Transport like a thunder bolt- totally unprepared. But no, it is a thunder bolt to be borne solely by many South Sudanese who are still flocking out of Sudan in their hundreds and thousands, everyday, since 2010. And with the drawing close of 9th April 2012 and increasing tensions between two Sudans this announcement was the last straw that broke the back of the helpless South Sudanese still resident in the Republic of Sudan. With no means to receive money from homeland (even by errand as it used to be when there was air travel), most are not allowed to work, many still waiting for pension money, their awes are compounded and getting desperate by day.

Interestingly enough, Madame Agnes Poni Lukudu, the Minister of Transport in the Republic of South Sudan, explicitly placed the blame squarely at the door of Khartoum government “for any inconvenience caused as a result of unilateral decision by it to stop flights between South Sudan and Sudan.” Nowhere in her statement which she delivered at South Sudan Hotel in Dr. John Garang’s Hall last Saturday (7th April 2012) and published by the Citizen newspaper, did the Minister acknowledge the failure of her Ministry in not being proactive enough to take measures well ahead, before the axe of Khartoum could fall on the heads of South Sudanese air travelers, as happened last year when the Bank of South Sudan was caught with no money-transfer arrangement in place at the time Khartoum decided to pull the plug on the nascent nation and had our central bank electronic account frozen. The Khartoum un-decoded message to us in Juba was then, and is now:”Systems for public goods don’t come out of vacuum, somebody somewhere consciously made effort to create them. Now create your own systems. Good riddance!”

Reacting to the circular, all that Madame Lukudu could afford to offer in these circumstances was to advise South Sudan air travelers heading South:”to find alternative routes;” and that “Khartoum will be responsible for any inconvenience caused by this unilateral decision.”

Such a hands-off approach, I confess is not sufficient, and is hardly a reassuring for many South Sudanese who are currently stranded in Khartoum airport, most of whom lack travel documents, let alone having deep pockets enough to get them out of Sudan via other routes.

A week has passed and the Ministry has not made any visible efforts to resolve the problem with Sudan Civil Aviation Authority to allow air travel between two Sudans to resume while the international system is being setup, apart from announcing the bad news to the public.

Moreover, despite the later decision by Sudan Civil Aviation Authority(on the pressure by airline companies) to allow additional one-month grace period for airliners to put their houses in order while flights continue as normal (exceptfor showing an emergency travel form from South Sudan Embassy in Khartoum and vice versa in Juba), reliable sources from airliners say that the Ministry of Transport in South Sudan has paradoxically closed South Sudan airports in the face of commercial passenger planes travelling from Khartoum; ostensibly as an implementaion of the circular of Sudan Civil Aviation Authority! No further information has been released by the Ministry about the progress on negotiations with Sudan Civil Authority (if any). It would appear, therefore, that the Ministry of Transport is not treating flight suspension between Sudan and South Sudan with the urgency and seriousness it deserves.

CLOSING REMARKS
Admittedly and thankfully, the Ministries of Interior and that of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of South Sudan have sent teams to prepare emergency travelling documents as well as passports for those who are travelling by land, river, and air. However, their efforts can be useful only if South Sudan Ministry of Transport allows the flight to resume sooner than later, pending any agreement about new arrangement with Sudan. That is, no need to tread the same path of Bank of South Sudan.

Failing that, there is no moral equivalence to be relied upon by the Ministry of Transport in being too rigid in implementing Sudan’s government circular to the last letter. But instead, there could be a strong case to argued about the possible failure by the Ministry in the duty of care towards South Sudanese in the Republic of Sudan. Candid analysis will not fail to point out that, in this episode, the Ministry of Transport has been the weakest in link in the chain of events, leading to many South Sudanese air travelers being stranded in Khartoum Airport.

To close, it is worth reminding ourselves that all the Ministers in South Sudan make the following oath before assuming office:

“I [name], do hereby swear by the Almighty God /solemnly affirm/, that as a Minister, I shall be faithful and bear true faith and allegiance to South Sudan and shall diligently and honestly discharge my duties and responsibilities and strive to foster the development and welfare of its people; that I shall obey, preserve and defend the Constitution and abide by the law; and that I shall protect and promote the unity of the people of South Sudan and consolidate the democratic decentralized system of government and preserve the integrity and dignity of the people of South Sudan; so help me God/ God is my witness.” (Article 1 (2) of Interim Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011).

Watching from the margin, and seeing how some of our ministers are willfully failing to honour and internalize their pledges made before assuming office; namely to preserve the dignity of the people of South Sudan (everywhere, with Sudan being a case in point); many of us are bound to shake our heads and rub our chins, thinking: “Joshua, you are being led down. Shake the team up to perform, and get a back-eye!”

God bless South Sudan.

Where is Heglig?
International confusion and ignorance in answering this question about Sudanese geography has become one of the greatest threats to peace, and the negotiations required for peace to be sustained
 
Eric Reeves
April 14, 2012
The rapid escalation of military violence between Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and South Sudan’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is now sustained in large measure by widespread international confusion about where “Heglig” is. Hasty or disingenuous assignments of “Heglig” to (northern) Sudan have emboldened Khartoum to characterize SPLA military actions as “South Sudan’s blatant invasion of Heglig.”  Given Khartoum’s own military seizure of Abyei in May 2011, this seems remarkable (if unsurprising) hypocrisy; but so far it is working at the UN, with the U.S. State Department, with the AU, and among EU members.  This vastly increases the chances of all-out war.  Given the brutally indiscriminate ways in which Khartoum has previously chosen to wage war on the people of the South—as well as of Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan—we should expect huge civilian casualties, massive human displacement, and intolerable assaults on civilians in the North who are “ethnically Southern.”
The location of “Heglig” (which Southerners have long referred to as Panthou) has yet to be negotiated vis-à-vis the “1 January 1956 border,” the determining point of reference in establishing whether a wide range of locations lie in the South or the North.  Although the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) repeatedly and explicitly stipulates the “1 January 1956 border,” the precise location was to have been to be a matter that required extensive research and negotiation by the Technical Boundary Committee (TBC).
Indeed, some twenty percent of this border remains undelineated, and a much greater percentage remains undemarcated.  The reason is simple: Khartoum has consistently refused to negotiate these areas of the border either within the TBC or through high-level political engagement.  Over more than seven years, it has repeatedly refused to convene or participate in good faith in the TBC, to accept the findings of the Abyei Boundaries Commission stipulated by the Abyei Protocol of the CPA, or to accept the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (July 2009).
It is this last decision that appears to have caused the most confusion in shallow international minds.  The PCA (in The Hague) defined Abyei in a way that moved both the Heglig (and Bamboo) oil sites to the east of Abyei’s eastern boundary.  But with respect to Heglig, this is all it did.  It did not place Heglig in northern Sudan or South Sudan; it simply said that Heglig lies to the east of Abyei:
“The eastern boundary of the area of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan in 1905 runs in a straight line along longitude 29° 00′ 00” E, from latitude 10° 10′ 00” N south to the Kordofan – Upper Nile boundary as it was defined on 1 January 1956.”
This ruling did nothing to settle where the “1 January 1956 border” actually lies.  It had no mandate to make such a determination, and did not attempt to do so.  This elemental fact has escaped virtually all international actors, in large part because Heglig has been robustly controlled militarily by Khartoum for many years, especially since oil was discovered in the area in the 1970s.
In short, the location of Heglig remains to be negotiated, even as Khartoum refuses to negotiate—and the regime is distinctly less likely to do so now that its pre-emptive geographic claim of the region has been ratified by a series of statements by international actors of consequence.  Given Juba’s determination that Heglig will not be allowed to become a future staging ground for additional assaults on Southern territory, and the strong belief by many Southerners that Heglig is south of the “1 January 1956 boundary,” either the geographic status of Heglig is negotiated, or there will be no peace.
The same international actors who have explicitly or implicitly declared that Heglig lies in (northern) Sudan also profess to support the CPA and its implementation. But how does this square with the acquiescence before Khartoum’s seizure of Abyei, in violation of not only the Abyei Protocol of the CPA but the ruling by the PCA?  Nothing has changed in the eleven months since Abyei was seized, except for the deployment of an Ethiopian brigade that operates without a human rights mandate, no Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Khartoum.  Most significantly, it cannot provide the security necessary for the return of more than 100,000 Dinka Ngok displaced to the South during the seizure of Abyei, especially given Khartoum’s refusal to withdraw its SAF or militia forces, as it agreed to do on June 20, 2011.
And more to the immediate point, how do these international actors square their commitment to CPA implementation even as negotiation of the “1 January 1956 boundary” is a central feature of the Agreement.  The North/South boundary was to have been delineated and demarcated within six months of the signing of the CPA. And yet as the International Crisis Group reported in September 2010, these efforts “had been tied up for far too long in the Technical Border Committee,” where Khartoum was engaged in delaying tactics.  It was clear to ICG, and should have been clear to the international community, that this was not a matter that could be resolved without political commitment from Juba and Khartoum to address outstanding border issues.  Juba was willing; Khartoum was not.
Thus the repeated declaration in the CPA that “the January 1, 1956 line between north and south will be inviolate” became meaningless.  Without both delineation and demarcation, this was a motto not a principle—and more conspicuously so following the military seizure of Abyei, given the CPA declaration that, “The parties shall refrain from any form of unilateral revocation or abrogation of the Peace Agreement” (CPA, Machakos Protocol 2.4).  There could be no more conspicuous “abrogation” of the CPA than the May 20-21, 2011 seizure of Abyei.
But this has not prevented a chorus of condemnations of Juba’s “invasion” of (northern) Sudan:
•”The AU notes with alarm, the occupation of the Heglig by the forces of (South Sudan) ….”
•The U.S State Department “strongly condemns the military offensive, incursion to Southern Kordofan state, Sudan, by the SPLA today [April 12, 2012].”
•”The move by the South Sudanese armed forces to occupy Heglig in Sudan is completely unacceptable,” declared the UK’s Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham.
•The European Union, through EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton asserted that “the move by the South Sudanese armed forces to occupy Heglig is completely unacceptable.”
None of these statements acknowledges what becomes clearer by the day: Juba was responding to a second round of military aggression, launched by the SAF from Heglig.  This aggression is what prompted the SPLA to act.  But until wiser or more informed voices are heard from these important quarters, Khartoum will only grow more emboldened.  And South Sudan, feeling increasingly abandoned, is likely to accelerate military moves that it regards at once as defensive as well as preserving of historical claims to the lands around Heglig.
Notably, President Salva Kiir has promised that the SPLA is prepared to withdraw from Heglig if a UN force guarantees that it will not again become a launching point for military assaults deeper in Southern territory.  At precisely the moment in which such a UN commitment is most needed, ignorance and expediency seem most likely to prevent that commitment.  All-out war is increasingly inevitable.
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Hereward Holland/Reuters – Women who fled a war across the border in Sudan’s Blue Nile state sit outside a clinic in Doro refugee camp. Sudan is fighting a civil war on multiple fronts in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, with almost 100,000 fleeing across the border into the newly-independent South Sudan.

By Sudarsan Raghavan, Saturday, March 10

NAIROBI — Renewed cross-border clashes between Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan are raising fears of a worsening humanitarian crisis, with some officials warning that the violence is reminiscent of the conflict in Darfur.Hundreds of people have fled Sudan in recent days, heading to camps in South Sudan and western Ethi­o­pia where tens of thousands have sought refuge since the crisis began last year, U.N. officials say.

From July 9, 2011: South Sudan raised the flag of its new nation for the first time Saturday, as thousands of South Sudanese citizens and dozens of international dignitaries swarmed the new country capital of Juba to celebrate the country's birth.

From July 9, 2011: South Sudan raised the flag of its new nation for the first time Saturday, as thousands of South Sudanese citizens and dozens of international dignitaries swarmed the new country capital of Juba to celebrate the country’s birth.

“The refugees are crossing into South Sudanfrom Sudan’s troubled Blue Nile state,” Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters in Geneva. “They say they fled because of bombardments and the fear of more violence.”South Sudan, which celebrated independence in July, has been besieged bynumerous conflicts, including ethnic and tribal fights and a bitter dispute with its former rulers in Khartoum over oil fees.

In the South Kordofan region, once a major battleground during Sudan’s 22-year civil war, fighting broke out in June between Sudanese forces and rebels formerly allied with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. By September, the conflict had spread to Blue Nile state.

This past week, Mukesh Kapila, a former U.N. representative to Sudan and now a human rights activist, said the conditions in South Kordofan could become as violent as they had been in a separate conflict in Darfur, a vast region in western Sudan. That conflict pitted the Arab-ruled government in Khartoum against non-Arab rebels. According to the United Nations, more than 300,000 died and 2.7 million were displaced, prompting the United States to declare that a genocide had taken place.

Kapila, who had recently returned from a visit to the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, told reporters in Nairobi that Sudanese airplanes routinely bomb civilians, actions he deemed “tantamount to war crimes.”

“Inside the Nuba Mountains, I saw burnt villages, destroyed food stores and damaged schools and churches used by civilians to shelter from the fighting,” said Kapila, now with the Aegis Trust, a human rights group that campaigns against genocide.

“I heard an Antonov [airplane] myself and watched women and children running away, shrieking with fear, as well as fields on fire from dropped bombs destroying what little food crops were being planted,” Kapila said.

Sudan has denied the allegations, but it has also prevented foreign relief agencies from entering the Nuba Mountains, even as U.N. and other aid groups report food shortages and malnutrition.

The conflict appears to be intensifying. Sudanese airplanes allegedly bombed border areas in late February and again this month. In November, bombs hit the Yida refugee camp near the border, and U.N. officials are concerned it will be struck again.

“We are extremely concerned about the safety of people in the nearby Yida refugee settlement, which hosts 16,022 Sudanese,” Lejeune-Kaba said.

U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), who recently visited Yida, said in a statement this week: “In speaking with the refugees in the camp, I heard echoes of Darfur — accounts of ethnic cleansing, mass murder and rape of innocent civilians in the region. As any Sudan watcher knows, this is familiar ground for Sudanese President Omar Bashir — an internationally indicted war criminal.”

Wolf, along with two other members of Congress, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Michael E. Capuano (D-Mass.), this past week introduced the Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act, which calls for tough actions against Bashir and an end to human rights violations in the Nuba Mountains.

One recommendation said that “no American tax dollars should be going to countries that welcome Bashir.”

The U.N. Security Council also weighed in this past week, calling for a cease-fire “to put an end to the cycle of violence.” The Obama administration welcomed the council’s action.

“The United States remains deeply concerned about the grave humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, where hundreds of thousands endure the daily threat of violence and looming famine without an urgent infusion of life-saving assistance,” said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/violence-between-two-sudans-has-echoes-of-darfur/2012/03/09/gIQALukS3R_story.html

South Sudan and Khartoum have many unresolved issues

By FRED OLUOCH Posted  Saturday, March 10  2012

SINCE THE two Sudans separated on July 9 last year, they have never gotten down to relating like good neighbours should. Khartoum still treats the newly independent South Sudan as part of its territory, given that it carries out military incursions across their common border.

Khartoum on the other hand, accuses Juba of providing logistical support for rebels who support the newly independent South, especially the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLN-N), which is fighting the Sudanese government in Southern Kordofan.

The uneasy relations have hindered talks over post-referendum issues that were to see the full implementation of the 2005 comprehensive peace deal. They include the loosely demarcated north-south border, the issue of citizenship, oil-rich Abyei and wealth-sharing.

Earlier in the year, South Sudan stopped oil production and transportation of oil through the pipeline to Port Sudan, on the grounds that the north was siphoning oil through unofficial pipelines and charging exorbitant prices for oil transportation.

South Sudan’s armed forces last Wednesday said that two Sudanese planes dropped six bombs in oil wells in Pariang County, destroying at least one of them which lead to leakage that is polluting drinking water.

In the meantime, the issues of citizenship is a running concern. Prior to the referendum in January 2011, President Omar Al Bashir announced that there would be no need for cultural diversity in the North if the South voted to separate.

Since the South went its separate way, there have been great migration of southern Sudanese who have been living in the North, fearing for their lives.

The UN estimates that there are at least half a million people of Southern origin still residing in Sudan. The International Organisation of Migration stated that it is impossible to transport hundreds of thousands to the South in less than a month.

Recently,  South Sudan  started demanding to know the fate the children abducted from the South and taken to Sudan during the civil war, especially in the 1990s. It is estimated that the children number at least 35,000 children, but there are no accurate estimates.

Sudan has refused to discuss the issue of abductees. In recent years, rights groups accused Sudan of using the abducted women and children as slaves.

http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/-/2558/1363526/-/myh0v8z/-/

Intervene before the two Sudans erupt again

Posted  Saturday, March 10  2012

THE EAST African region must renew its focus on the uneasy relations between Sudan and South Sudan following reports that Khartoum has started bombing oil wells in the South.

This bombing combined with the ongoing war in the frontline northern states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, could easily lead to fresh wars that could destabilise the entire region.

It appears that the international community has abandoned the Sudans after the successful referendum in 2011 that led to the independence of the South.

Yet, the separation was the beginning of a new rivalry that has hindered talks over post-referendum issues that were to see the full implementation of the 2005 peace deal.

The issues include the loosely demarcated north-south border, citizenship, Abyei and wealth-sharing.

The current talks under the auspices of the African Union to bring the two to an amicable solution, needs to be complemented by diplomatic pressure from countries in the region.

Kenya has of late been engaged in shuttle diplomacy to bring the two countries to an understanding.

Uganda has also been engaged in some diplomacy to secure its interests.

For Kenya, the recently signed transport infrastructure joint venture with South Sudan and Ethiopia could be in jeorpady were the two Sudans to resort to war.

While Kenya would want to benefit from the resources in the South, it still maintains a strong bond with the North.

In that sense, Kenya is the best country to bring the two to some level of understanding that would ensure peace in the eastern Africa region.

http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/OpEd/editorial/Intervene+before+the+two+Sudans+erupt+again+/-/434752/1363332/-/y8tmvb/-/

Sudan’s hidden conflict: Rebels, raids and refugees

Women carry water bottles across their shoulders at a refugee camp in South Sudan

Largely hidden from the world’s media, a conflict is raging in the border area between Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan. The BBC’s Martin Plaut reports from the border on the plight of the thousands who have fled their homes and the rebels’ motives.

“I clutched my children to my bosom, when the Antonov bombers came,” says one grandmother, who crossed into South South with her 29 children and grandchildren.

We cannot name her, since she hopes one day to go home.

A scattering of refugee camps along the borders have been erected by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) to serve their needs.

Just one – Jammam refugee camp, in Maban county of Upper Nile state – is home to some 34,000 people.

Col Abdildem Dafalla Col Abdildem Dafalla said he had between 8,000 and 9,000 men fighting across the border in Blue Nile

It is estimated that around 100,000 people have fled their homes since the second half of 2011, when the Sudanese government launched an offensive against rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, in the south of Sudan.

Most set off with nothing but the clothes they wore.

Families we spoke to say many of their children and elderly were too weak to make the journey, and died along the way.

First estimates of the scale of the crisis by aid agencies proved inadequate, and the United Nations had to rapidly increase the scale of its operations.

Now a route has been opened through the port of Djibouti and on through Ethiopia and into South Sudan.

It is a journey of six to seven days, but the trucks towing trailers of basic supplies are now arriving to feed these huge camps.

map
Rebel alliance

The rebels who are taking on the government in Khartoum are the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North).

They see themselves as continuing in the footsteps of the movement from which they sprang, the SPLM of the late John Garang, which now runs the newly independent state of South Sudan.

When independence came in July last year, many SPLM forces in Blue Nile and South Kordofan were left stranded in Sudan.

“We have not even requested support or ammunition from any other country because we know we can win this fight” Abdildem DafallaSPLM-North colonel

These areas were supposed to have been allowed a vote to choose autonomy, but this was blocked by Khartoum.

Neroun Philip Aju, the SPLM-North’s humanitarian co-ordinator in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, says the aim is to change the government in Khartoum – not to form another new state.

Fighting is vicious, with refugee after refugee explaining how they have been bombed from the air, with markets being a particular target.

This is likely to intensify as the SPLM-North has concluded an agreement to link up with three rebel movements fighting in Darfur.

A conflict that brings together South Sudan and the west of Sudan could prove a real headache for the authorities in Khartoum.

Until now the SPLM-North has been a somewhat unknown quantity. There are few hard facts about its operations in Blue Nile state and no independent sources of information.

Boxes of ammunitionRebel ammunition in border area waiting to be walked up to front line positions

But visiting the border area in Maban County, South Sudan, we pieced together a picture of the movement.

We saw no training bases or rebel camps.

This is a military zone and there were plenty of men in uniform from the South Sudan government forces – the rebels we did meet were in civilian clothes.

Neroun Philip Aju

“If nothing is done we will have a humanitarian disaster” Neroun Philip Aju SPLM-North

In a border village, we ran into Col Abdildem Dafalla of the SPLM-North, who told us he has between 8,000 and 9,000 men fighting in Blue Nile.

“We are moving around. If a specific place is attacked, we move away and then return to it when the Sudan government forces have left.”

Asked whether his forces could win, he was confident: “100%, we’ll win.”

“We have not even requested support or ammunition from any other country because we know we can win this fight,” he said.

The SPLM-North routinely denies receiving support from South Sudan, and the government denies any connection with the rebels.

Juba signed an agreement with Khartoum not to support rebellions in each other’s states, but there are strong suggestions that both sides flout this pact.

Help from outside

Daily life for people in the Sudanese states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan is reported to be dire, with hundreds of thousands of displaced – many living in caves in the hills to avoid aerial bombing which happens day and night.

Aid arriving at a refugee camp on the border in South SudanSupplies are now arriving in South Sudan’s refugee camps, but not in conflict zones across the border

Former UN official, Mukesh Kapila, who has just visited the area, told the BBC it reminded him of the “terror tactics” he had seen in Darfur.

“We saw whole tracts of deserted countryside and smoke rising from fires where fields of seeds that had been planted had been burnt off, ” he said.

“We saw churches destroyed where people had run to take shelter. And we saw fear, hurt and anger in the eyes of the people we met.”

Mr Aju showed the BBC a document signed by the UN, the African Union and Arab League calling for international aid to be allowed to flow directly into these areas of conflict.

“We have accepted that proposal for the delivery of aid to the affected population and we are waiting for the Sudan government to do the same,” he says.

“March is a deadline. If nothing is done we will have a humanitarian disaster in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

“If the Sudan government does not accept the proposal, we would ask the international community to put the food in anyway.”

This might mean sending aid in without government approval – something the UN appears to be considering.

This could put the aid agencies in an extremely awkward position, caught between serving the needs of the people and the demands of the states in which they are operating.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17276865


The SPLM has sadly learned of the untimely death of Mohammed Wardi, the great Sudanese teacher, poet and musician. Today is a day for mourning and remembering the passing on of this revolutionary singer. Mohammed Wardi was a true Sudanese national figure who had made great influence on the lives of ordinary Sudanese citizens. He was an icon of African culture in a community that has been denied of its original heritage for ages by the ruthless Arab racist killers of African culture and traditions.
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President Salva Kiir Hugs Mohammed Wordi When He (Kiir) Was Launching His Elections Campaign in Juba on Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Photos by Comrade Larco Lomayat
Mohammed Wardi hails from Nubi tribe of Halfa. The Nubi is an African distinct community whose members are faithful Muslims. Although a Muslim, Mohammed Wardi did not mix his Islamic faith with his African background. He was not ashamed for being an African and as a gifted linguist and musician he used to compose his famous songs in both Arabic and Nubi.
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As early as late 1950s, Mohammed Wardi used to come to Southern Sudan and made great music performances. He did not have any stereotypes and as such he was the first musician from Northern Sudan who people from the South called their true son and brother from the north.
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Late Mohammed Wardi was a revolutionary thinker and a believer in New Sudan on new basis. In solidarity with marginalized people of Sudan, he welcomed the October uprising against the oppressive regime of Ibrahim Aboud in 1964. Although the October political Change was hi-jacked by the Sudan traditional political opportunists, he still remained faithful to the struggle for freedom of the marginalized Sudanese people. This great human rights and freedom fighter joined the SPLM in 1980s and provided a morale booster to the SPLA fighters during the liberation war.
This short account of the political and cultural contribution made by the late Mohammed Wardi to the lives of the Sudanese people has not covered his vast role as a teacher, freedom fighter and musician. Nevertheless, Mohammed Wardi’s legacy will continue among the South Sudanese people and one is also sure that the rationale Sudanese people will remember him too in that same capacity.
May God rest his soul in eternal peace.
Cde. Bol Makueng
SPLM Secretary for Information, Culture and Communication
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By Namaa Faisal AL Mahdi

January 31, 2012 (LONDON) – In an unexpected set of events, National Congress Party’s key members turn against their own political party in Gadaref, Nyala, Kosti, Tagali & Port Sudan, heralds a new phase of national rebellion and protest politics in Sudan

“To revolt is a natural tendency of life. Even a worm turns against the foot that crushes it. In general, the vitality and relative dignity of an animal can be measured by the intensity of its instinct to revolt.”

Mikhail Bakunin

News fresh from Tagali on the 31st of January 2012 -confirm assumptions, of a deep and escalating crisis hitting the ranks and the heart of the National Congress Party (NCP), the ruling party of the Sudan. The historic town of Tagali, in the State of Southern Kordofan, which saw the birth of the Mahdi’s led revolt at the turn of the 20th century, is seeing a different kind of crisis; its commissioner who has rebelled against International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted State Wali Ahmed Haroon, has been relieved of his duties, amidst news of wide arrests amongst his (NCP) colleagues and an ever more intensifying battle with the Kauda Alliance Forces.

News of frustrations, unrest and resignations amidst the National Congress Party ranks also dominate recent news from Port Sudan, Red Sea State.

Protests have become epidemic to Sudanese society, there were even news of protests on the 31st of January, by the government of Sudan’s oppression and torture machine, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), an organisation which seems primarily responsible for spying on Sudanese citizens as well as the abduction and detention and interrogation and torture of all Sudanese who openly and or secretly defy the national government.

Prior to the NISS protest as a result of government announced reductions in their bonuses, 700 prominent military officers from Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) presented president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and minister of defence Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein with a memo which was reported to include several demands including military and political reforms as well as a warning against any military engagement with Sudan’s newest neighbour South Sudan. Government of Sudan’s second vice president al Haj Adam Yousif as well s defence minister Abdul-Raheem Mohammed Hussein have repeatedly threatened to start a war with South Sudan over some unresolved issues which include the protested oil rich region of Abyei and the Sudan’s government accusations to South Sudan of harbouring and supporting the rebel Kauda Alliance Forces.

Last year unrest amidst the Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) led to relief from duty and forced retirement of 12 Armed Forces Commanders, the list which was published by the online news paper Hurriyat included major operations commanders who included el-Fasher Brigade Commander, el Tayeb Musbah, Nyala Brigage Commander Ahmed Abdoon, Manager of the Ministry of Defence Office al Naeen Kidir and Commander of the Army Intelligence Services Abbas Taje el Deen.

Earlier last week, commissioner of Kosti, White Nile State and vice chairman of the National Congress Party’s White Nile State branch rebelled against the National Congress Party and government and declared himself a self appointed Wali, a revolution which might have cost him his new anticipated role as commissioner of Rabak and a potential stretch in the Sudan’s notorious political prisons.

An escalating crisis in Gadaref State is also reaching boiling point, with The State’s Wali, 0Karam Allah Abbas openly criticizing the national governments superimposed governmental structure named the “Wide Based Government”. The wide based government is the current governmental structure involving the participation of 14 non elected political party members at all levels of the Sudan’s governance, which raises challenges of public sector’s expansion and raises questions of governance legitimacy. Also Fuelling the crisis in Gadaref is the national government’s imposed restrictions of governmental and State spending; National Congress Party led government earlier this year announced via the Central Bank of Sudan in Khartoum a set of restrictions on access to governmental bodies to loans from national banks and on governmental bodies spending.

Four days of protest initially ignited by National Congress Party leading member, ex National Minister of International Trade Dr. Abdul-Hameed Musa Kasha, brought the Sudanese army into the streets of Nyala to contain the people’s revolt. The incident which left at least four people dead, following Sudanese authorities use of live ammunition to disperse protesting crowds, also showed extreme restraint and wisdom from the Kauda Alliance Fighting forces who chose not to intervene in the town’s civil protests at the heart of Nyala city centre, an intervention which could have led to more life losses. The Kauda Alliance Forces were just on the periphery of the town at the time- engaged in numerous battles with the SAF.

Kasha who was unconstitutionally relived from elected post and replaced by an unelected central government appointed Wali, used his tribal influence, as well as the safety net of being a leading member of the National Congress Party to ignite the protests, the protest eventually burned most of the NCP’s buildings in Nyala town and has also led to mass arrests amidst the State’s student population and National Congress Party and other political party members.

Overshadowing the horizon is news of conflicting memos of reform presented to the heads of government by a phantom Islamic movement. The Islamic Movement or Islamic National Front and or the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan was an organisation of Islamic elites, which according to ex Islamic Movement leaderships statements, was dissolved in 1989 as part of a policy to remove 60% of the active membership, whilst leaving 40% to dissolve into the various National Congress Party government structures and leadership; within the remaining 40% in governance ( 20%) volunteered to lead deadly missions in the 22 year old civil war between the north and south, 10% left out of their own accord and 10% remained at the heart of governance.

The movement also saw further fractures with the overthrowing of its reforming leader Dr Hassan el Turabi at the turn of the century and the formation of an opposition movement under his leadership, the Popular Congress Party (PCP).

At the same time, the government is trying to remove attention from its ongoing political and dire economic crisis by fuelling religious conflicts and launching unfounded attacks on Sudanese opposition parties, government affiliated religious bodies have so far issued an official claim of apostasy against the leader of the opposition Umma Party, el Saddig el Mahdi and Imam of the Ansar sect and leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party Dr Hassan el Turabi.

Sudan is currently undergoing a deep economic crisis caused by the loss of over 75% of its oil revenue after the south became an independent country as well as poor management of governmental finances, a civil war in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile State as well as excessive governmental spending on the army police and national security services, estimated at nearly 30% of the forecasted 2012 annual budget , spending in presidential affairs estimated at nearly 5% , whilst spending in all basic necessary services such as education, health and support for business and agriculture estimated was forecasted at less than 1.2 % .

Short lived protests and demonstrations start quickly and just as quick are dispersed by national police forces’ use of heavy tear gas, heavy wooden sticks to beat protestors to a pulp and mass arrests. These sporadic bursts of protests have been ongoing since the coming to power of the National Salvation regime in 1989. On the 4th of January 2012, Chief of Police, State of Khartoum announced that his police force has successfully dispersed and successfully dealt with over 450 incidents of anti-government protests in Khartoum State alone.

Sudanese people cannot be ruled via a dictatorship or tyranny despite the general misconception and overriding assumption by the schooled Sudanese elites, who have deliberately and purposely participated in stealing the people’s will and democratically elected governments since the country’s independence in 1956. Schooled or mis-educated elites assume that a superimposed dictatorship or guardianship is the only feasible way to rule Sudan.

This misjudgement was inherited or taught to Sudanese schooled elites, who failed and continue to make their own sense and sound judgment about the state of their own country. The statement was made 127 years ago by General Charles Gordon’s on a nation he has failed to rule and to bring into submission:

“The Sudan is a useless possession, ever was and ever will be …..it can not be governed except by a dictator who may be good or bad!”

General Charles Gordon

Despite this being the overriding assumption of many Sudanese schooled, who have since Sudan’s independence formed part of the elite decision makers who ruled the country; evidence of continual revolution against tyranny proves the exact opposite.

The writer is a London-based Sudanese activist. She can be reached at namaa09@hotmail.com

http://www.sudantribune.com/Sudan-is-heading-towards-a-perfect,41480#tabs-1

South Sudan’s Leader Rejects AU Proposal for Oil Deal With Sudan
Bloomberg
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said he rejected an African Union proposal to end an oil dispute with Sudan because it required the south to pay the north billions of dollars and use its pipelines to export crude…

Help Arrives For The Survivors Of Violence In South Sudan
YouTube
A spate of violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei State has driven thousands of people from their homes and into the bush, where they survived on what they could find. WFP has reachd 80000 people in the region with emergency food rations and is working with 


JUBA, 23 January 2012 – The President of the Republic H.E. Gen Salva Kiir Mayrdit has appreciated the people of South Sudan – the youth, women civil society and religious leaders for supporting the decision made by the government to shut down the oil production.


President Kiir (centre) addressing the procession. He is accompanied by the Vice President Hon Dr Riek Machar Teny (left) and the speaker of the National Legislative Assembly Rt Hon James Wani Igga (right).
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]
H.E Kiir made these remarks when addressing a peaceful public procession at the National Legislative Assembly, organized today on Monday January 23rd, 2012 by the civil society organizations and South Sudan Students’ Union, to support the government’s decision of shutting down the oil production.
President Kiir assured the people of South Sudan that South Sudan will not allow Khartoum to loot its oil again. He also asserted that the pipeline to Khartoum is not the only lifeline and that there are other alternatives available. “We do not have problems with the people or citizens of Sudan but we have problems with the ruling government in Khartoum”, he clarified. He described the ruling class as Al-Asaba(gangs). President Kiir called on the South Sudanese citizens not to harm any citizen of Northern Sudan living in South Sudan explaining that they are innocent citizens.


South Sudanese hold a procession in support of the government’s decision.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]
On his part, the deputy governor of Central Equatoria state (CES) Hon Manasi Lomule read to the procession a memo from the people and government of his state that the CES is hundred percent supports the National Council of ministers decision of shutting down the oil production and look for other alternatives for exporting South Sudan Oil, and CES stands firm with the President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and will follow the developments keenly.
Reported by Thomas Kenneth

South Sudan instructs oil companies to stop operations

JUBA, 21 January 2012(NASS) – The Republic of South Sudan has instructed all foreign companies operating in its oil fields to prepare a shut down plan for halting the operation of its oil.
The order was announced by the minister for Information and Broadcasting and the Official Spokesperson of the government of South Sudan, Hon Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin to reporters yesterday in a press briefing at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting headquarters.
He said the Republic of South Sudan’s crude oil is now not safe in the Republic of Sudan saying that it is being stolen and prevented from reaching the international market by the government in Khartoum.
“In the last few days Khartoum has stolen approximately over $ 350million worth of oil from South Sudan using force while preventing over $ 400 million from being purchased and this is through restricting vessels from entering or leaving the port by using their security”, Dr Marial explained.


Hon Marial (right) and Hon Dhieu (left) addressing the media yesterday.
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]
He explained that the decision comes after series of violations from Khartoum. These include:

  1. On the 24th Dec. 2011, government of Sudan (GOS) prevented loading of 600,000 bbls of South Sudan-Nile blend;
  2. On the 30th, Dec. 2011, GOS detained 1000,000 bbls Dar blend sold to Vitol;
  3. On the 31st, Dec. 2011, GOS prevented ships from loading 600,000 bbls of RSS Nile blend;
  4. On the 3rd, Jan. 2012, GOS detained vessels loaded with 600,000 bbls of Dar blend of RSS which belongs to Petronile;
  5. On the 8th, Jan. 2012, GOS detained Sinopec vessels loaded with 900,000bbls Dar blend of RSS;
  6. On the 13th, Jan. 2012, GOS lifted 605,784 bbls Dar blend crude oil of RSS;
  7. On the 16th, Jan. 2012, GOS lifted by force 618712 bbls Dar blend crude oil of RSS;
  8. Also on the same date, GOS instructed PDOC to transfer 120,000 bbls of Dar blend crude oil of RSS to be delivered to Khartoum refinery directly from the illegal pipeline tie into KRC which was partly constructed and operated by GOS;
  9. On the 19th, Jan. 2012, GOS lifted by force 600,000 bbls of RSS’ Nile blend crude oil.

“Indeed, the option of shutting down the oil companies is not the best but the Republic of South Sudan is a sovereign nation and must protect its resources”, said the minister for Petroleum and Mining Hon Stephen Dhieu Dau.
He stated that the oil operations will remain shut until a fair deal is reached with Khartoum or else it will remain so till South Sudan develops its own oil infrastructure that will ensure the people reap the true benefits of their oil.
He also promised to return the oil stolen by Khartoum right from the 24th Dec. 2011 till the last day of the theft. He stressed that he will never give up until the stolen oil is brought back to its rightful owners, the people of the Republic of South Sudan.
He further warned the oil companies involved in buying the stolen that the government of South Sudan has already taken legal procedures to trace them and will take drastic legal action against them.
“I know challenges are there after shutting the oil fields but the government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has taken measures to address them; we will soon be building our own pipeline to transport oil through the Republic of Kenya”, he said.


Reported by Martin Jada Gabriel, News Agency of South Sudan (NASS)


We have no guarantee that oil flowing through the Republic of Sudan will reach its intended destination.  We cannot allow assets which clearly belong to the Republic of South Sudan to be subject to further diversion, says President Kiir

[Juba, South Sudan] – By Larco Lomayat      January 23, 2012

While addressing remembers of the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly as well as South Sudanese citizens in Juba on Monday on the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) decision to stop the oil flow through the pipelines on the territory of the Republic of Sudan, the Oresident of the Republic of South Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir says “During the second Council of Ministers of 2012 meeting on January 20, we unanimously decided that all oil operations in South Sudan should be halted with immediate effect and no crude oil belonging to South Sudan shall flow through the pipelines on the territory of the Republic of Sudan.  

 

The government stands ready to handle this situation; however, we are mindful that it cannot be done without the collective support of this august house.  We have reached this point only after exhausting all avenues including my sending envoys to Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia last week.  The presidents of those countries reached out to President Bashir to ask him to stop taking unilateral decisions regarding our oil.

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President Kiir Addressing Members of the
South Sudan Legislative Assembly
Photos by Larco Lomayat,
January 23, 2012
Below is the Full Message of President Kiir:
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Statement by H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan
to the National Legislature on the current oil crisis

January 23, 2012

 

Right Honorable Speaker and

Honorable Members of the National Legislature

I am here today to brief this august house about the current crisis in our oil industry. The crisis has reached a stage that is unacceptable. On the 6th of December  2011, the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Sudan informed our Minister of Petroleum that based on their Petroleum Transit and Service Fees Act of 2011, as from 25 December 2011, all shipments will be allowed to leave Port Sudan only after paying fees amounting to 32.2 dollars per barrel.

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Immediately following this warning, they proceeded to block four ships with 3.5 million barrels of Dar blend from sailing out of Port Sudan.  They have further prevented four other ships from docking at Port Sudan. These ships have purchased 2.8 million barrels of Nile and Dar blends but are unable to collect their purchases.  To date, these eight vessels remain under the control of the Government of Sudan with oil worth 630 million dollars.

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In addition to that, they have forcibly taken another 185 million dollars’ worth of oil.  In total, the revenue that the Government of Sudan has looted since December amounts to approximately 815 million dollars.  Furthermore, they have completed constructing a tie-in pipeline designed to permanently divert 120,000 barrels per day f South Sudan oil, which is almost 75 percent of our daily entitlements, to their refineries in Khartoum.

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Your Excellences

The diversion of South Sudan crude oil has disrupted revenues that are vital to the security and welfare of the people of South Sudan. At this time, we have no guarantee that oil flowing through the Republic of Sudan will reach its intended destination.  We cannot allow assets which clearly belong to the Republic of South Sudan to be subject to further diversion.

Therefore, during the second Council of Ministers of 2012 meeting on January 20, we unanimously decided that all oil operations in South Sudan should be halted with immediate effect and no crude oil belonging to South Sudan shall flow through the pipelines on the territory of the Republic of Sudan.

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The government stands ready to handle this situation; however, we are mindful that it cannot be done without the collective support of this august house.  We have reached this point only after exhausting all avenues including my sending envoys to Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia last week.  The presidents of those countries reached out to President Bashir to ask him to stop taking unilateral decisions regarding our oil.

The response from Bashir is that he will not stop taking oil until we pay the exorbitant amount of 32.2 dollars per barrel, something that is completely out of international norms and a precedence that we are unwilling to set.

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Insomuch as the duration of revenue disruption is unknown and to ensure the continued operation of our national government and to provide services for our people, we will need to find other sources of funding.

In doing so, I have already instructed the Ministry of Finance to initiate contingency plans for revenue collection and allocation. This will accelerate the increase in collections of non-oil revenues. It also will prioritize the allocation of existing revenue, allowing us to make the most of what we have.   The Ministry of Finance will also look into other options for replacing the lost revenue.  On existing cash reserves, rest assured that the government can operate for the immediate future, depending on which cuts are made.

Your Excellences

The safety, security and health of our citizens remain our priorities. Whatever austerity measures are required, we are confident that we can continue to meet critical obligations for national security and public welfare.

Meanwhile, we will continue to do everything possible to resolve the impasse with Sudan and to restore the flow of South Sudan crude oil. We remain in intensive discussions, in coordination with the African Union and our allies, to arrive at an agreement that is fair to both parties.

To date, however, the Sudanese government has refused to negotiate in good faith. Given our history with the administration of President Bashir, we realize that, unfortunately, we must prepare for a disruption of revenue that could last many months. However, I want to assure the people of South Sudan that all measures will be taken to ensure that any disruption is minimal.

 

Your Excellences

This crisis comes at a period that we have internal challenges, particular the recent tribal conflict in Jonglei State.    It is our collective responsibility to manage this situation with patience and perseverance. This is a time when we as South Sudanese need to speak with one collective voice and avoid inciting statements which will further fuel the situation.

For this reason, I call upon this august house to support the decision of the Council of Ministers to stop the flow of oil and search for alternative sources of funding to manage government projects.  I have no doubt that this august house will seriously and critically consider all available options and make the appropriate resolutions in the best interest of the Republic of South Sudan immediately.

Together, as South Sudanese, we will endure this hardship. We are a nation built on resilience, vigilance and pride.  Through discipline and focus, I am confident that our young nation will emerge stronger and more united.

Thank you and God bless you all. 

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Stop Dealing with Thieves, Say the People of South Sudan

[Juba, South Sudan] – By Larco Lomayat    Monday, January 23, 2012

During a Peaceful Procession on Monday from Juba University to the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly in Support of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) resolution to stop oil flow through the Republic of Sudan, the people of South Sudan chanted “Stop Dealing with Thieves.

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President Kiir Addressing the People of South Sudan in front of
the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly
Photos By Larco Lomayat
January 23, 2012

Here below are some of pictures taken during the Procession and while the President is addressing the people of South Sudan in Juba.

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January 8, 2012 (BOR) – Conflict between the Murle and Luo Nuer tribes in South Sudan’s Jonglei State continued on Sunday with the Murle accused of carrying out a revenge attack on Akobo County.

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Nuer raiders set fire to houses and took cattle during the attack. (BBC)

Heavy fighting has killed as many as 60 people sources in the area, including the, Akobo commissioner Goi Joyol, told Sudan Tribune.

The attack on Luo Nuer territory appears to be response to a Luo Nuer offensive into Murle territory in Pibor County that displaced up to 100,000 and killed many.

The Pibor County Commissioner, Joshua Konyi, estimates that over 3,000 people were killed in the assault which lasted for two weeks from 23 December until early January, when the army deployed thousands of extra troops to the area.

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Murle displaced people sit under a tree guarded by the SPLA in Pibor County, Jonglei, South Sudan. Jan. 6, 2012 (ST)

From June 2011 until the December violent counter attacks and cattle raids between the two groups had killed 1,000. The Pibor Commissioner says over 80,000 cattle were stolen in the latest raid. Cattle are a sign of status and used to pay bride price in South Sudan.

South Sudanese citizens are still highly armed as a hangover from decades of conflict and various rebellions in the region.

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A Murle woman with two of her children on her back returns to Pibor after fleeing the town. Pibor County, Jonglei, South Sudan. Jan. 6, 2012 (ST)

Disarming civilians and resolving local conflicts over resources are among the many challenges that South Sudan faces after it seceded from north Sudan in July 2011 as part of 2005 peace deal.

A resident of Akobo town toldSudan Tribune by phone that the attackers are advancing toward the county headquarters and are setting houses on fire.

South Sudan Red Cross director in Jonglei state, David Gai, said his volunteers are helping the wounded people.

HUMANITARIAN DISASTER

Humanitarian agencies are mounting a major emergency operation in Jonglei state with the South Sudanese government declaring it a disaster zone.

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Displaced Murle citizens return to Pibor town after the Luo Nuer offensive. Pibor County, Jonglei, South Sudan. Jan. 6, 2012 (ST)

Humanitarian agencies estimate that up to 100,000 people have been displaced by the violence. Most of those who need assistance have been hiding in the bush for up to two weeks, in many cases without food, clean water or shelter.

Preliminary results of assessments in hard-hit areas indicate that the most urgent needs include high-nutritional food, clean water, health care and shelter.

The United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Lise Grande, said in a statement on Saturday that the “emergency operation is going to be one of the most complex and expensive in South Sudan since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005. With the exception of Boma, the areas we need to access are extremely remote and can only be reached by air”.

The most recent spike in inter-communal violence has compounded an already difficult humanitarian situation in South Sudan. In 2011 more than 350,000 people had been displaced by rebellions against the government, cattle raids and revenge attacks, according to reports by local authorities and assessment teams.

On Tuesday Grande said the death toll could be anywhere from dozens to hundreds.

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Thousands have been displaced in fighting between the Nuer and Murle (BBC)

The UN’s World Food Program says it has delivered emergency rations to feed 1,000 people in Pibor for two weeks, and expects to reach 7,000 more people in the coming days. It has also distributed food packages for 2,000 internally displaced people at Boma.

On Thursday, Herve Ladsous, the undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, called the situation in Jonglei “a very serious crisis”.

“I think the problem we face in this particular region of Jonglei state is one of access, because there are no roads and we have insufficient helicopters,” he told reporters following his address to the Security Council. He said the UN had reinforced its staff in the area and that the South Sudanese government should try to do the same.

(ST)

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Data on Jonglei clashes provided by Pibor County commissioner clashes on Jan 6. 2012 (ST)
http://www.sudantribune.com/Murle-revenge-attack-on-Luo-Nuer,41226

Concerned Citizens Say: Wear White for Peace on CPA Day

JUBA   5th January 2012
South Sudan welcomed its first full year of freedom amid reports of ethnic violence across the Country, with the highest peak in Jonglei state. In the face of these horrible events, little was heard from ordinary South Sudanese on the subject. As a response to this, a new group, ‘Concerned Citizens X South Sudan’, was formed this week. Concerned Citizens represents all people of SouthSudan who wish to see an end to ethnic violence in our country.
The name of the group is meaningful. We are concerned by the current violent and unstable situation in South Sudan. The concept of ‘Citizen X’ expresses our view that we are all people of the same nation and do not wish to be primarily identified by our tribes. The character ‘X’ symbolises our condemnation of violence, war, hate speech and tribalism. It is also accessible, as it is easily recognisable by all people, whether or not they can read and write. We have incorporated the name of South Sudan because this is our land and we are proud to be part of it.
Concerned Citizens X South Sudan was formed to give a chance for all concerned South Sudanese citizens to participate in stopping violence, inside and between our communities, and to personally help in alleviating the suffering of those of our compatriots who are directly affected. It is not enough for us to say that our government or the international community must clean up these problems; we are all obligated, as citizens, to take responsibility for the problems in our communities.
Concerned Citizens wishes to emphasise that the timing of its formation does not imply support or condemnation of either party to any current conflict;  we acknowledge that this violence is a result of grievences that have been unaddressed and unresolved.  Although the current news coverage relates to Jonglei, it is clear that such violence is a direct threat to all South Sudanese, whatever their state of origin. The type of inter-communal violence referred to here has touched every payam in our nation. We aim to speak out on all subsequent inter-community violence on behalf of the aggrieved.
The new group is calling for all peace-loving South Sudanese, and our supporters, to demonstrate their commitment to peace during this season of celebration in two simple ways:
–   by wearing white clothing or white armbands on CPA Day/Referendum Day, the 9th January 2012. In so doing, we hope to make the point that peace-lovers in our new nation far outnumber those who are engaged in planning or perpetrating violence among us. The aim is to make it possible for all peace-loving South Sudanese to make their voices heard in a silent, non-confrontational, cost-free and yet visible manner. The wearing of white may seem trivial. However, this action has been carefully chosen for good reasons. The colour white is identified internationally as the colour of peace. Most people, however poor, have at least one item of white clothing, or even a piece of white cloth, which they can tie around their arm as a sign of solidarity. Therefore, everybody who agrees with the message of peace is able to participate, regardless of their income.
 
–   by donating dry, canned and non-perishable foodstuffs, clothing, cooking materials, blankets and tents, in order to assist those innocent civilians, whatever their tribe or origin, who are suffering as a result of displacement. In this way, we hope to make the point that South Sudanese are capable of taking care of our own. Distribution modalities are currenty being sought in partnership with bodies which have existing logistical networks.
The current events in Jonglei state have attracted widespread and overwhelmingly negative attention from local and international media, leading to the use of terms such as ‘genocide’, ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘failed state’ in relation to South Sudan. Concerned Citizens feels that such terms are unhelpful, whether used by South Sudanese or by international observers. As evidenced by last year’s near-99% vote for secession, South Sudanese are overwhelmingly committed to building a viable, independent and free nation. Simply by displaying white clothing on the 9th January 2012, South Sudanese will be able to begin combatting the view, so often voiced by those who wish us ill, that we are in some way destined to destroy our precious new nation through civil war and internal conflict. We want to show the world a new identity, as people who can take an active role in shaping our own destiny
Concerned Citizens X South Sudan is newly formed, and is in the process of registering as an indigenous, non-profit, nongovernmental organization. Concerned Citizens X South Sudan is not affiliated to any political party, governmental or non-governmental structure. We welcome the particiption of all peace-loving South Sudanese and the support of sympathetic non South Sudanese.  At this stage we have no mechanism to account for cash dontions; however, in-kind assistance in our early weeks would be most appreciated.
Concerned Citizens can be contacted in the following ways:
via facebook:                        concernedcitizensxsouthsudan
via email:                   concernedcitizensxsouthsudan@gmail.com
We ask that all contributors avoid abusive and hate-filled content.

By: Christopher Zambakari 

As a means to reduce conflict and fulfil its citizens’ hopes, South Sudan’s key challenges revolve around the development of an inclusive, residency-based citizenship, writes Christopher Zambakari.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed on 9 January 2005, brought an end to the brutal civil war (1955-1972; 1983-2005) that had engulfed Sudan well before its independence in 1956. The CPA was the immediate culmination of the negotiations that ended the hostility between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

It ultimately created a new political dispensation and landscape in South Sudan. An estimated two and a half million people have died and more than five million have been uprooted due to the civil war (UNMIS 2009; IDMC 2011). In fulfilling the mandate of the CPA, a referendum on self-determination was conducted in January 2011, and 98.83 per cent of South Sudanese effectively voted to secede from north Sudan. The General Assembly of the United Nations admitted the Republic of South Sudan into the community of nations as the 193rd member of the United Nations on 14 July 2011 (UN News Centre 2011).

With the celebration of independence slowly coming to an end, the South Sudanese citizens will start to demand the fulfilment of a long-awaited dream: freedom from oppression and domination, justice and equality, democracy and economic prosperity, peace and tranquillity. The South Sudanese will soon start to demand that the fruits of liberation be shared among the people. The expectation on South Sudan to deliver basic necessities such as security, water, food, healthcare and education will only grow with time.

South Sudan has seen a proliferation of consultants and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) over the past several years. Professor Mahmood Mamdani, director of Makerere Institute of Social Research, observed that the tendency today in Africa is to place the emphasis on the search for solutions while neglecting the crucial role of problem formulation (Mamdani 2011). Without devoting time to understand the issues that fuel violence, it is not possible to find sustainable solutions.

In the Sudanese context, nobody understood the challenge of Sudan better than the late chair and commander-in-chief of the SPLM/A, Dr John Garang. With the inception of the SPLM/A, Garang’s first task was to define the problem. The immediate task for Garang and challenge back then – as it was for Mandela in South Africa – was to reform the colonial state and fuse the various nationalities or tribes into a nation. The solution to the crisis of citizenship was summarised in the concept of the New Sudan.

The New Sudan vision presented at the Koka dam conference was a conceptual framework for a country which was inclusive of all its multiple ethnic groups, pluralistic and embracing all nationalities, races, creeds, religions and genders – a country in which all Sudanese would be equal stakeholders. Ironically, the challenge for the Republic of South Sudan today is the same as that outlined by Garang in 1986 (Garang 1992). How is the new republic going to build a democratic, all-inclusive nation out of so many ethnic groups in the nascent state? How is the country going to answer the question of citizenship?

The crisis of citizenship is rooted in the policy laid by the British in the early 20th century and inherited in the post-colonial period in Sudan. It also explains the cycle of violence in Darfur, in the west of what is now considered north Sudan, and the deadlock over the disputed regions, with Abyei being the most contested area. The problem in Abyei between the Ngok Dinka and the Misseriya, the conflict between the camel nomads of the north in Darfur against the agriculturalists in southern Darfur and the demand for a tribal homeland in southern Sudan all revolve around the same issues: political representation, access to pasture for cattle and claims to a tribal homeland. Without resolving those fundamental issues, the violence will not subside. Rather, new waves of violence – with higher frequency and intensity – will arise, with far more deadly consequences.

What is required in Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile is not a military solution to the problem. The problem being political, the solution must be political in nature. The question of citizenship and the colonial state, which reproduces and enforces political identities, needs a political reform that will join the two demands for citizenship, one ethnic in character and the second based on residence. The challenges in both Sudans are reflective of a larger challenge facing most post-colonial African countries (Mamdani 1996).

Every post-colonial African state deals with the question of building an effective plural society and managing diversity within an inclusive framework. This is because Africa is the most diverse continent in the world, populated by diverse nationalities, with a rich cultural heritage pre-dating recorded history and vibrant plural societies. Given that Sudan is the microcosm of Africa’s promises and problems – contained within its boundaries are all major African language groups and nationalities – the problems of Sudan are reflective of the larger continental political crisis facing all African countries (Garang 1992; Beshir 1968; Deng 1990).

FACING THE REACTIONARY RESUMPTION OF COLONIAL GOVERNMENTALITY

One of the most enduring legacies of colonialism in countries ruled by Great Britain is how power was organised. The colonial state functioned on a dual system of governance. This form of governance led to group discrimination based on ethnicity and privilege of one group at the expense of all others. Any policy designed to bring lasting peace in South Sudan must begin with the question of citizenship. At the heart of the colonial system of governance was a duality in how the colonised were ruled and how those deemed civilised were governed (Mamdani 1996). It was a project enforced by law. Whereas the urban civilised was governed under common law, the natives were governed under customary law. Customary law, in turn, discriminated against individuals based on membership in a tribal homeland. Customary law was a system that privileged those considered natives and discriminated against those considered aliens, foreigners and non-natives (Mamdani 2009).

In a recent report published by the London School of Economics it was shown that in matters of institutional reform, the new South Sudan has rather taken a contradictory path (LSE 2010). According to the CPA, too much centralisation of power in Khartoum was part of the problem of Sudan before the independence of South Sudan. Until then, decentralisation had become a de facto solution. In Southern Sudan the government experimented with decentralisation only to return to a highly centralised system. At the local level, the government policy was to enact a legislation called the Local Government Act in 2009, which was seen as a way to delegate power to local institutions. However, this policy was also tainted by something familiar in Sudanese history.

It was the mode of rule adopted by British strategists to govern Sudan in the first place. This was an administrative mechanism characterised by a duality in law which translated into parallel structures, one governing semi-proletarianised in urban areas and another governing peasants in rural areas. It was a policy which enabled British colonial administrators to divide up the majority of peasants into hundreds of smaller minorities and effectively deny them the political rights to mobilise or act as a majority. Today, it pre-empts the creation of a true inclusive state and focuses on a mode of governance, which produces many smaller nation-states within the larger state.

THE LAND QUESTION

The land question is one of the most tested in Sudan. The citizenship question and the land question are related. The definition of citizenship is either based on ethnicity or it is based on residence. These two claims converge in the area of representation in the state as well as claims made to access land and resources. Those who claim citizenship also claim that access to land be based on ethnicity, which is defined as those who are indigenous to the country. Here, Sudan is like its neighbours. When one asks the question, ‘Who are these indigenes?’, the immediate answer is ‘those of us who have always been here’ – in other words, the natives.

The second claim comes from migrant workers, immigrants, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). These groups claim that citizenship based on ethnicity is unacceptable. They claim that every citizen should have similar rights. Anyone with the remotest background on African history will notice something which is consistent throughout the continent. Migration has always taken place across Africa – both voluntary and forced. Africa is the original continent of migration. The colonial state was particularly harsh and discriminatory towards those who move out of the demarcated tribal homeland in search of better living conditions, e.g., migrant workers or those forcefully displaced or internally displaced persons.

The cases of the Banyarwanda in Uganda and in eastern Congo, the Ghanaians in Nigeria and the Burkinabe in Côte d’Ivoire are illustrative of these tendencies in the post-colonial period. In each of the mentioned situations, violence has been the outcome of a conflict that pitted those defined as natives – or indigenes – to those branded as non-native or non-indigene. Both claims should not be dismissed uncritically but understood to be based on the history of state formation in Africa. The first demand is rooted in the colonial period, reproduced by the post-colonial state, and the other rooted in the concept of nation-state which provides for equal rights to all citizens, with its genesis in the French Revolution.

Today, Sudan has the largest number of internally displaced persons in the world. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre puts the estimates around 5 million (IDMC 2011). Khartoum continues its policy of ethnic cleansing in the disputed regions with its systematic policy of driving out the Dinkas and replacing them with Misseriya in Abyei. In Southern Kordofan, a report quotes key members of the National Congress Party (NCP) explicitly demanding the ethnic cleansing of the Nubian people from their homeland (Africa Confidential 2011). Land allocation for returning IDPs is crucial for survival. This has been a particularly difficult process in relation to access to land, a vital source of livelihood for most Southern Sudanese, pastoralists, agriculturalists and nomads. One report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and the Norwegian Refugee Council puts the challenge as follows:

‘Returnees are only allocated residential plots, but for their livelihoods they would also need agricultural land; however this is not being demarcated. The returnees have generally been told that they can cultivate any available land that they find. However, some returnees told IDMC that they would need permission from the local chiefs to acquire agricultural land; this would not be easy for those who were not returning to their original village (2011).’

Without resolving the crisis of citizenship, reforming land tenure laws and resolving the conflict in the border regions, South Sudan will remain in a perpetual state of war. Success hinges upon those unresolved, yet related, issues: citizenship and access to land, Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. These issues also hold the key to a successful nation-building project in the new republic.

ADDRESSING THE CITIZENSHIP QUESTION

In his recent keynote address to the East African Legislative Assembly Symposium, Mamdani stated that citizenship in Africa has been based on two post-colonial traditions: territorial and ethnic. Mamdani pointed out Tanzania’s exception among the East African countries, a group which South Sudan might soon become a member of unless it decides to opt out. He said that ‘Tanzania is the only part of the region where a group has not been persecuted collectively – as a racial or an ethnic group. Tanzania is the East African antidote to Nigeria’ (Mamdani 2011). It can even be argued that Tanzania is not only the antidote to Nigeria but the antidote to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), where conflicts rage over the citizenship question.

South Sudan and North Sudan will need to develop a legal framework to address the question of citizenship, particularly the problem of nomads and pastoralists in Sudan and elsewhere to avoid stateless people throughout the region. It demands the political imagination of deemphasising descent and emphasising residence as the basis of a common citizenship. In the first instance, this is a shift from exclusion to inclusion, which broadens the definition of the political community. The need to reform citizenship laws in the post-CPA era was pointed out in a report by a scholar based at the Open Society Foundation who wrote that ‘Non-discrimination on ethnic, racial and religious grounds is the foundation for a stable state while exclusion and discrimination sow seeds of political unrest, economic collapse and war’ (Manby 2011).

One way out of the citizenship crisis is to change the criteria for how citizenship is defined, lest the political right of citizenship be turned into an ethnically defined membership to a native authority (Mamdani 2010). This challenge requires that a person’s primary residence be used rather than the origin of the person, while incorporating other methods for assigning citizenship. By allowing consent and voluntary selection of where people want to live, violence can be preempted and the nation-building project given a chance to succeed.

CONCLUSION

The governments in Sudan and South Sudan do not necessarily have a monopoly over the instruments of war. In the south the government does not have the luxury to unilaterally impose. The alternative strategy is to compromise and build consensus around key fundamental issues and bring all key players into the fold. This strategy will be reflected in the new government that will be formed in the upcoming weeks.

This creates the necessary environment for political imagination based on the condition that is imposed upon the Sudanese by history and politics. Looking ahead, there is a need to reform the colonial state in both its public and customary spheres, thereby changing how the mass of the peasantry is organised, institute land reform laws that reconcile the question of rights with that of justice and find a political solution to conflict in the disputed regions.

The task ahead is not impossible. It simply demands that South Sudanese mobilise to build their country. It demands political imagination to go beyond the colonial state and build unity in diversity among the many nationalities in the South. The Russian-born economist Alexander Gerschenkron used to say that there are increasing disadvantages in developing late, but the exception was the advent of technology which could enable countries to catch up from way behind (Gerschenkron 1962). The strength of the South Sudanese society is capable of propelling the country forward if leadership is capable of creating an environment conducive to the task.

Christopher Zambakari is a candidate for a Law and Policy Doctorate (LPD) at the College of Professional Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Zambakari expresses his gratitude for the support and constructive feedback received on this article from Tammy Michele Washington, Anschaire Aveved, Noah Japhet and Tijana Gligorevic.