New warlord in South Sudan,Ban Ki-moon wants 1100 extra peacekeepers
New York ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO)-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants 1100 extra peacekeepers to be sent to South Sudan to help protect civilians who continue to face attacks despite a peace deal signed three months ago.
Ban made the request in a report to the Security Council last week that paints a pessimistic picture of the conflict in the world’s youngest nation.
Breaches of the ceasefire by both the government and rebel forces “call into question their commitment to the peace process and the political buy-in for the implementation of the peace agreement,” said the report obtained by AFP on Tuesday.
Ban recommended that 500 additional military troops and 600 police be deployed to South Sudan, along with 13 helicopters and transport planes to quickly move peacekeepers across the country.
The UN chief also requested a field hospital in Bentiu, where nearly 100 000 people have taken refuge in the UN base, and an upgraded medical facility in Juba to provide essential emergency services.
South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of planning a coup.
Clashes are likely
Both leaders signed a peace deal in August, but fighting has continued, with ongoing ethnic attacks, killings of civilians, recruitment of child soldiers and rape.
Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict and 2.3 million have been driven from their homes while several regions face the threat of famine and a malaria epidemic.
Clashes are likely to continue between the government, rebels and splinter groups, with revenge killings and retribution expected to increase, said Ban.
“The atrocities committed during the twenty months of conflict and general collapse of state authority … imply that revenge killings and increased inter-communal violence will also constitute major risks during the transition period,” he said.
In all, nearly 180 000 people are sheltering in six UN bases, but the Unmiss mission has registered more than 2 900 violent incidents including killings, sexual violence, crimes and attacks against UN and aid personnel.
Ban said more UN vehicle and food patrols will be needed to protect aid convoys and ensure safe delivery of humanitarian aid by the 12 500-strong mission.
Ex-diplomat urges EAC to admit South Sudan
A former South Sudan official to Kenya has asked regional leaders to prioritise its admission into the EAC to promote peace and good governance.
Admitting Africa’s youngest nation to the bloc will also force the country to observe membership standards on democracy and human rights, said the former head of mission to Kenya.
“The problem facing our country is purely related to power struggles, with some individuals seeking shortcuts to power,” John Duku said.
“Once we join the EAC we will have to subscribe to proper ideals, for instance seeking political offices through free and fair elections as opposed to gun barrels.”
He spoke in Nairobi on Wednesday ahead of the East Africa Community summit set for the end of November in Arusha, Tanzania.
The appeal was made to the summit as South Sudan “naturally belongs” to the region, he said, adding membership tramps his country’s regimes and parties.
Duku noted that by endorsing the membership, heads of state attending the summit will send a message of hope and peace that the people “have been yearning for”.
He said South Sudan would also be able to emulate the region’s best practices and get exposed to global competition.
The former official asked the EAC community to support his country’s admission saying the final decision lies with the summit.
He explained that the country applied for membership in 2011 and that negotiations were concluded.
New South Sudan rebel faction seeks alliance against government
A new South Sudanese rebel faction in Western Equatoria state has unveiled its strategic objectives and for forming an alliance with other rebel groups operating in the area and in the country to remove from power the government of president Salva Kiir.
The group calling itself South Sudan People’s Patriotic Front (SSPPF) issued a statement on Monday declaring its formation and selection of political and military leadership.
Former outspoken Western Equatoria state minister of information, Charles Barnaba Kisanga, was named the head of the political wing of the group and Alfred Futiyo Karaba as the overall military commander of the forces composed mainly of the armed youth, popularly known as the Arrow Boys.
“We would like to declare this day that we have selected Eng. Charles Barnaba Kisanga as chairman to lead us to victory in our struggle against the oppressive tribal regime in Juba,” partly reads the statement, dated 23 November, extended to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.
“With this also the Arrow Boys/Girls do hereby declare themselves to be under a new name of South Sudan People’s Patriotic Front (SSPPF) because it is the people who have been fighting to defend themselves against unpatriotic tribal dictatorial regime which is only interested in furthering its tribal agenda without thinking about the country which our forefathers and recently our brothers and sisters sacrificed for with over 2 million lives to achieve the CPA in 2005 and finally Independence in 2011,” further reads the statement.
Kisanga, who had been critic of president Kiir’s government and the army’s conduct in Western Equatoria state until he was removed few months ago by the new governor, confirmed to Sudan Tribune the declaration to head the new rebellion, further adding that the new resistance movement will merge with the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) led by former vice-president, Riek Machar.
He charged that the “clique” regime under president Kiir had no love to build a nation out of South Sudan after the achievement of the goal of liberating the new country from the former Sudanese regimes, saying Kiir had instead replaced the former regime with “tribal clique, corrupt and repressive regime under an incompetent leadership.”
He said the people of Western Equatoria state were peace-loving and if given chance to influence the political landscape of South Sudan, they would help build a prosperous nation.
“For us in Western Equatoria we are patriotic citizens who love this country, South Sudan and [if] given the chance we will build it into a great and civilised nation where human rights are observed, where there will be freedom, where equality and justice will rule, where the National Army will compose of all nationalities fairly balanced and based on competence, where all Institutions of Government will be open to all tribes based on equality and competence, where security of all the citizens will be guaranteed with no more arbitrary arrests, torture and killings, where also women will have equal opportunities to participate in the matters of the state as a free nation,” said Kisanga.
The former state information minister revealed that the armed struggle and leadership of the vigilant Arrow Boys had existed for a long time even before December 2013.
But he said due to the arbitrary killings by the government which was trying to destroy leadership from all other tribes in order to build a “tribal kingdom minus other tribes”, they had to be extra cautious to protect their leaders and build the movement silently until it had now become a power to reckon with.
He revealed that the new rebel group had sent a delegation to Pagak, the headquarters of the SPLM-IO, so as to meet with the opposition leadership for possible integration of the Arrow Boys into the SPLA-IO.
“The leadership of SSPPF (Arrow Boys) in Western Equatoria is ready to unite its forces with SPLM-IO for the purpose of implementation [of] the Compromise Peace Agreement and for arriving at a lasting peace which guarantees freedom and really democracy without tolerating any form of tribalism and corruption in the new Republic of South Sudan,” Kisanga said.
He said the people affiliated with the Arrow Boys are the majority in Western Equatoria state, claiming that every household belonged to the Arrow Boys and not in support of president Kiir’s government.
The force size of the Arrow Boys is not yet known, but its commander Futiyo earlier claimed that their number was well over 10,000 in the state.
They also dismissed as propaganda earlier claims by the government that it was signing an agreement with the armed youth in the state.