Last Japanese troops leave U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan

By Denis Dumo

JUBA May 25 (Reuters) – The last Japanese troops withdrew from a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan on Thursday, marking the end of a controversial push by the Japanese prime minister to expand his military’s overseas role.

The 40 men and women, all that remained of Japan’s 350-strong military contingent, left from South Sudan’s capital of Juba, where they have been based for the past five years as they helped build infrastructure in the war-torn country.

“I would like show my great appreciation to the Japanese Self Defense Forces,” said David Shearer, the chief of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan in a statement on Thursday.

“Your work has consistently provided services that are essential for UNMISS to carry out its mandated tasks, including the protection of civilians and assisting in delivering humanitarian aid.”

Oil-rich South Sudan has been ravaged by civil war since 2013, when President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer.

The withdrawal will ease political pressure on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had promised in March to bring them home and vowed to resign if any troops were killed.

Violence in South Sudan has worsened after an internationally backed peace deal failed last year, creating Africa’s largest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Parts of the country have plunged into famine and the fighting since has increasingly fractured along ethnic lines, leading the U.N. to warn of the risk of genocide.

Japan’s post World War Two constitution prevents it from participating in active conflicts. But since November, the contingent was allowed to mount rescue missions and escort U.N. staff and charity workers, a move that stoked controversy in Japan.

The expanded role was in line with a 2015 security law pushed by Abe that expanded the overseas role of the Japanese military. Critics said the change weakened Japan’s war-renouncing constitution. (Editing by Tom Heneghan)

 

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Breaking News: SPLM-IO Welcomes Sanctions As Principals Fail to Meet Datelines:

Nyamilepedia

Riek Machar (centre),  at a press conference at the Radisson Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 9, 2014. He is flanked by Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth (right), and De-Mabior Garang. Igad has warned Machar team of sanctions for skipping peace talks. AFP PHOTO | ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER SPLM/SPLA Chairman Riek Machar (centre), at a press conference at the Radisson Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 9, 2014. He is flanked by Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth (right), and De-Mabior Garang. (Photo: ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER)

March 5, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan’s SPLM/SPLA [in Opposition], under the leadership of former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, welcomes the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2206(2015) to impose sanctions on individuals, who impede peaceful resolutions to end the conflict in the world’s newest state.

The resolution, which was passed this morning by the former South Sudan ambassador to Washington, Amb. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, the current deputy chairperson for External Relations Committee, gives the UN Security Council a green light to impose sanctions and armed embargo to end the conflict and restore stability in South Sudan.

“The SPLM/SPLA Leadership formally welcomes the UN Security Council Resolution 2206(2015) on South Sudan; which lays groundwork for Targetted…

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I’m not rebel of Rebel Machar anymore, defector Lul Ruai in Juba

Brig. Gen Lul Ruai Koang speaks upon his arrival to Juba on Thursday, Photo by Denis Dumo

Brig. Gen Lul Ruai Koang speaks upon his arrival to Juba on Thursday, Photo by Denis Dumo

Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, former military spokesman of South Sudan’s rebel group SPLM-IO, saying slow-moving peace negotiations to end the ethnic-fuelled conflict were ignoring the demands of smaller factions.

Lul landed at Juba International Airport from Nairobi, Kenya Thursday afternoon following negotiations with Greater Pibor chief administrator David Yau Yau. He was received by cabinet officials and driven off in a government-owned vehicle after speaking  to press,

“Am happy to be back after nearly two years, we are taking research
for peace to the greater high and that why am back to Juba. It has
taken us fourteen months to get into a meaningful corner but with the
assistance of our brothers who are well experienced in the process of
bringing about peace that’s why I came to Juba so that we find speedy
way of bring peace to South Sudan”, Lul said.

Lul’s defection to Juba is a drastic turnaround for the spokesperson. In his press releases as the rebel military spokesperson, Lul frequently referred to Kiir’s soldiers as “genocidal forces” while using inflammatory and threatening rhetoric against the SPLA-Juba.

The fighting has killed more than 10,000 people and driven more than 1.5 million from their homes. It erupted in December 2013 after a political dispute that saw Machar sacked as deputy president. The conflict has broadly followed ethnic rifts that pre-date independence.

Koang said he was frustrated that Machar would return to his former role as vice president under the latest pact, saying the demands of other groups had not been addressed.

“Local issues need to be addressed especially in Greater Lou Nuer,” he told reporters. “If these issues are not addressed, then the possibility of us going back to war is very high.”

“You know I have been part of the delegation to Addis Ababa right from first of January 2014, and we thought that the process is going to be comprehensive, it is going to answer all the fundamental problem we have and we remain, but we realize  that the problem has been narrow down to map out power struggle”, he added.

SPLA-Juba faction held a welcoming ceremony for Lul Ruai Koang, the former military spokesperson for Riek Machar’s SPLA-In Opposition, upon Lul’s arrival in South Sudan’s capital on Thursday.

to press.

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Machar ‘confident of reaching final deal’

Riek Machar_9

South Sudanese opposition leader Riek Machar announced late Friday that he expects to reach a “final agreement” with his rival Salva Kiir, saying most of the disputed points of a proposed power-sharing deal have been settled.

This comes after two days of high-level talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which failed to result in a final deal but ended with announcements of “progress.”

Regional bloc IGAD, which has been trying for about ten months to broker a peace deal among the South Sudanese factions, announced in a communiqué that its leaders have agreed to grant rivals Machar and Kiir a period of 15 additional days “to complete consultations” on the power-sharing proposal.

Chief Mediator Seyoum Mesfin, the former foreign minister of Ethiopia, said that only a few issues remain to be negotiated. He explained that the parties are now expected to deliberate internally on whether to accept the proposed deal.

IGAD mediators have proposed a structure in which the SPLM-Juba faction will retain the presidency while SPLM-IO will be given the newly created position of prime minister. According to a version of the power-sharing proposal obtained by Radio Tamazuj on Friday, the president and prime minister each will have certain functions, while other functions will be jointly exercised.

In remarks at the conclusion of the two-day IGAD summit meeting, SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar said, “I am happy to announce that we have reached an agreement on one important issue which will make us pursue the rest of the topics, and this is Transitional Government of National Unity.”

“I am happy today that we have cleared the functions of the government, even if we have some issues to pursue in the next 15 days – consultation with our constituencies. I am confident that we will reach the final agreement,” he said.

According to the chief mediator, this period for consultations is necessary to secure further support within each faction: “Bringing them on board and seeing eye to eye on all issues is very critical to give guarantee and solid support to the agreement. I think it was wise, it was wise and necessary – 15 days is not a big deal.”

Asked whether Kiir and Machar had agreed on the powers of the president and prime minister during the transitional period, Mesfin said, “Indeed, yes: on the powers, here and there there will be touching and clearing the document on the structure in particular – they need to negotiate and it’s not a big deal, we are confident that they will achieve it soon.”

For his part, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Mesfin’s successor at the Ethiopian foreign ministry, announced, “the negotiating parties agreed on most of the issues to form transitional unity government and resolve pending issues in 15 days.”

Meanwhile, Salva Kiir announced, “What we committed ourselves to is actually to end the conflict in South Sudan and stop the war with immediate effect, as it has been directed by the IGAD leaders, it is naturally an order that we have to abide by.”

“I therefore call upon all the forces in South Sudan and especially the SPLM or the SPLA forces – that is the national army of South Sudan – and all other regular forces to remain in their barracks as from this hour, and not to be found outside their barracks,” added Kiir.

He did not comment on the particulars of the proposed power-sharing deal but mentioned his agreement with the IGAD communiqué, which calls for the warring parties to consult internally on the proposal for a period of 15 days.

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Former Yei mayor and aide found dead

By Denis Dumo-Juba

 File Photo, Hon._Cecilia_Tito_Oba_Mayor_of_Yei_Municipality

The former mayor of Yei in Central Equatoria State Cecilia Tito Oba Mayor and her office manager were found dead in Juba on Saturday afternoon near Yei road opposite UNMISS compound, according to the state government.

Central Equatoria State Information Minister Soba Samuel confirmed the incident and added that the ex-mayor and office manager were brutally killed and dumped at a construction site.

“After their disappearance we found their bodies yesterday at around 3:00 p.m. in Jebel and nobody knows what happened actually,” he said.

Soba said the bodies were taken to the mortuary for investigation.

Meanwhile, Central Equatoria Commissioner of Police Henry Danima said he is not in a position to give any comment as the case is still under investigation.

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Insecurity in South Sudan capital Juba

Is the President Salva Kiir saved

who is responsible for night killing in Juba

By Denis Dumo-Juba 

Below are other crimes and criminal related killings in Juba

October 2012, Deng Athuai the chairperson of South Sudan’s Civil Society Alliance was kidnapped at gunpoint and was later found abandoned at a graveyard at the suburb of Juba.

In Nov 2012, unknown gunmen attacked the house of SPLA Major General Malek Reuben in Juba, his bodyguard was killed in the attack.

In April 2013, a boy was found killed and dumped near the house of the then deputy minister of interior Salva Mathok, the motives of the murder was never established or killers brought to book.

In July 2013, Deng Athuai the chairperson of South Sudan’s Civil Society Alliance disappeared and was later found “crying inside sack along the road side” between Kabur-tit and Gumba forest by the South Sudan security services according to sources.

In March 2014, SPLA Brig. Gen Kawach Deng Kawach was shot and killed in Juba, the killer believed to be a police officer was arrested.

In August 2014, an unidentified gunman shot and injured the head of South Sudan’s civil society alliance, Deng Athuai, on Friday, forcing several people to flee the crime scene for safety.

This week (Nov 2014) a police officer guarding a house of government official shot dead an assailant but was fatally wounded in the process and died while en route to the hospital. The motive of shooting is not known.

Today, former mayor of Yei in Central Equatoria State Cecilia Tito Oba Mayor and her office manager were found dead in Juba on Saturday afternoon near Yei road opposite UNMISS compound, according to the state government.

President Kiir shaking hands with D.Governor of Central Equatoria Manassah Lomole

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South Sudan rebels say they seize oil hub Bentiu; govt denies it

* Each side blames the other for renewed fighting

* Diplomats fear escalation of clashes in dry season

* Peace talks due this week, but start date uncertain

By Aaron Maasho and Denis Dumo

ADDIS ABABA/JUBA, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Rebels said on Wednesday they had seized the South Sudan oil hub of Bentiu as renewed fighting against government troops entered a third day, but the government said it was still in control of the town.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than a million have fled their homes since fighting erupted in December, triggered by a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.

The conflict has disrupted oil production, which provides a big portion of the government’s revenue.

Diplomats and analysts say there could be a surge in fighting as the dry season approaches, after a lull in the rainy season.

“We are now in control of Bentiu, as of this afternoon,” Lul Ruai Koang, the rebels’ spokesman on military affairs, told Reuters in the Ethiopian capital.

Each side blamed the other for the fighting in Bentiu, the capital of the oil-producing Unity State.

“Fighting started two days ago when government troops attempted to expand areas under their control. Our presence was limited to seven or eight kilometres to the north and to the south of the city before clashes broke out,” Koang said.

He said oil facilities in South Sudan’s Upper Nile region could be attacked by the rebels. “Oil installations are a legitimate target,” he added, because they were a source of government funding.

PEACE TALKS

The two sides are due to hold a fresh round of talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this week, but the start date is uncertain.

SPLA Army spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer rejected the rebels’ claim to have seized Bentiu.

“That is a lie, after four hours of serious fighting in Bentiu today, at around 4 p.m., our forces have managed to defeat the rebels and Bentiu is under the government control,” he told Reuters in Juba.

Aguer said there were no details of casualties because there was no telephone network in Bentiu, which has changed hands between the two sides since the war erupted.

Unity State oil fields have been damaged in previous episodes of fighting, slashing output, which stands at about 160,000 barrels per day for the whole country, down from 245,000 barrels per day in December 2013.

The civil war has created a humanitarian crisis in the world’s newest state, which declared independence from Sudan in 2011, and has exacerbated ethnic tensions between Kiir’s Dinka people and Machar’s Nuer.

A ceasefire signed in January has been broken frequently and peace talks have often stalled.

The lack of progress has frustrated Western backers of South Sudan. The European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions on commanders on both sides for violating the ceasefire. (Writing by James Macharia; editing by Andrew Roche)

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