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Sudan urged to allow international support to investigation into murder of revolution martyrs

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 14:47

March 5, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - U.S.-based Physicians for Human Rights (PRH) has called to allow international support to the investigation committee into the bloody raid on the peaceful pro-democracy protesters on 3 June 2019.

On 21 September, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok formed an independent investigation committee on the attack on the sit-in and appointed its members one month later on 30 October 2019.

The 7-member committee which headed by Nabil Adib had faced some logistical difficulties and requested three additional months before to submit his report.

but families of several victims of the attack on the sit-in expressed dissatisfaction with the committee and called for the inclusion of their representatives.

In a report released Friday, the PHR said urged the Sovereign Council and the government to fully support the investigation body and to accept international support.

“Permit the commission to accept support from international entities with a demonstrated record of undertaking or supporting impartial and independent efforts for justice and accountability,” recommended the report.

The 67-page report said that the brutal attack was planned, pointing out that large number troops had been pre-positioned in and around the sit-in some the days prior to the 3 June violence.

According to the report, the authorities before the attack withdrew the soldiers and militiamen who interacted with the protesters.

They were “replaced with forces that were openly hostile to protesters, including many with accents and features identified as belonging to the Rizeigat tribe from the Sudanese region of Darfur, long known for its participation in the Janjaweed militia,” the PHR says quoting the interviewees.

The report included the accounts of 30 survivors who were interviewed by PRH investigators. They gave accounts of the shooting and brutal treatment from the RSF militiamen and security forces who attacked them.

“The brutality described by interviewees was supported by PHR's clinical evaluations of wounds of survivors of the violence,” said the rights group.

The report expressed concern about the immunity from prosecution to the security forces that perpetrated the grave violations of human rights and crimes on 3 June assault. It

“Advocates in Sudan may, therefore, find it difficult to prosecute cases against members of the armed forces, including the RSF, at the highest levels of command responsibility,” said the PHR.

The investigators who conducted worked their report in Khartoum said they obtained a list of 71 mortuary admissions for the victims killed during the period of 3 to 6 June 2019 in the Sudanese capital.


Categories: Africa

Coronavirus: How ready is Africa for an outbreak of Covid-19?

BBC Africa - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 12:41
Africa is yet to suffer a major outbreak of the coronavirus Covid 19, but if it did strike the consequences could be catastrophic. BBC correspondents around the continent explain.
Categories: Africa

Ethnic Conflicts: South Sudan perspective

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 10:45

By Steve Paterno

Ethnic conflict is so much prevalent in South Sudan it challenges any attempt to preserve peace and security throughout the entire territorial integrity of nation. In other words, ethnic conflicts in South Sudan is a national security threat.

Currently dominating news headlines is the ensuing deadly battles in Jonglei ethnic triangle, involving Dinka Bor, Lou Nuer, and the Murle. There are so much reporting particularly on social media about the ongoing battles in this Jogolei ethnic triangle that is even hard to separate facts from fiction.

However, one thing remains constantly the same about this conflict and all other ethnic-based conflicts, whether that is in Rumbek State, Warrap State, or Eastern Equatoria State, the conflict is triggered by one or two incidents, escalating further, and repeating into life cycle of vicious violence. The life cycle of this vicious violence is like this: the conflicting neighbouring ethnic groups start off with a relative peace, whereby they peaceful coexist and cooperate among many ways. In the middle of coexistence, an incident would break the peaceful cycle, where for an instant, a criminal individual or a group of criminals, would commit a criminal offence such as cattle raiding or killing of a neighbouring ethnic group. Committing such an act or even suspect that such an act is committed, automatically trigger a retaliatory response against all individuals from the suspected ethnic group in question and all their animals become legitimate targets of raiding. Such retaliatory response is a natural instinct that all the warring ethnic groups developed over the ages for survival sake, due to absence of any neutral arbiter, which in this modern case, should be the state.

It is in this life cycle of vicious violence that the situation escalates from bad to worse. This is the current status reached that involves Dinka Bor, Lou Nuer, and the Murle. Here, by nature of things, the conflict engulfed all human beings from those ethnicities and their entire animals become legitimate targets of raids and counter raids.

This life cycle, would then followed by brokering of peace, where it goes a full cycle, for another relative peace before another incident break to renew and escalate the cycle of vicious violence again. And the life cycle of vicious violence continues in South Sudan naturally unabated just like that.

One would then forced to think that the only way such life cycle of vicious violence would perhaps end naturally with one ethnic group finishing the other to the extinction. However, nature does not work that way. Those conflicting ethnic neighbours live among each other through this cycle of vicious violence since time immemorial.

Therefore, there must be mitigating measures to be put in place to curb this ethic violence. Unfortunately, thus far all the mitigating attempts don't seem to meet desirable result. Worst of all, when this life cycle breaks into vicious violence, the national leaders, who suppose to act as neutral arbiter in such instant, instead of sides with their ethnic group, which is party to the conflict. The ethnic conflict is so powerful in that it consumes national leaders. Hence, national leaders become nothing, but a bunch of tribal warlords.

Another method used thus far, which have proven not to be working is disarmament. The disarmament exercises in South Sudan is fraught with too many problems, which are not limited just to partial disarmament, discrimination, corruption, where collected weapons immediately exchange hands with criminals, lack of capacity to really collect weapons and store them prominently away etc.

One other deterrence method used, which does not work, is enforcing punitive military measures against a suspected violent ethnic group. Enforcing punitive military measures against suspects seems to be the only law enforcing mechanism SPLA has developed, since bush days and still in practice in modern-day of nation-state building today. The method seems to be luckily working at times, but it backfires all the times and it is not, therefore, suitable to be incorporated in nation state-building.

To show that punitive military measure is counterproductive, let us say, for example, village X is suspected of raiding cattle from village Y.

On hearing the initial report about the suspected crime, the overzealous military governor will ring the President at 3 AM, requesting permission to carry out a military operation against the suspected criminal village X. The President of course as always grant such wishes for military operations. The overzealousness governor would then order a notorious trigger happy military commander along with an illiterate military commissioner to carry out military operations against suspected village X. Without proper planning and without judiciously establishing objectives for operations, the undisciplined soldiers are ordered to lay a siege against suspected village X. As a result, people in the suspected village X are killed, raped, beaten, their properties looted, all their animals are raised, and their entire village burned aground by the national army, which supposes to protect the people and their properties in the first place.

As a result of such military operations, the governor, commissioner, military commander and their associates got away with the loots of the village folks and nothing officially would ever be established about the initial incident, which led village X being branded as suspected criminal to warrant a military operation against it in the first place. In this manner, punitive military operations conducted against civilians also becomes another life cycle of inflicting suffering against innocent citizens, a burden in and of itself.

In those infamous military operations, the primary aims seem to be for the governors, commissioners, military commanders and their associates to get away with the loots of civilians.

Anyway, the most effective way to curb ethnic violence is to reduce those incidents, which trigger the escalation of violence to engulf all, including the most innocent through retaliatory response. Those incidents must be reduced against only individuals who directly participated in the acts and they must be prosecuted as criminals in isolated incidents they commit. The challenge here rests with the state in collaboration with local authorities to act swiftly when those incidents occur before they could naturally trigger retaliatory response, which is often out of control. The point is, if the government, through its overzealousness military governors, notoriously trigger happy military commanders, and illiterate military commissioners can carry out looting military operations among villages, it can easily haunt down criminals hiding throughout villages and even towns. Dealing with criminals does not require a magic wand, for we are a country, South Sudan that can handle its problems well.

Categories: Africa

FFC groups to press prime minister on Sudan civilian governors

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 09:02

March 5, 2020 (KHARTOUM)- A leading member of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) said they will meet the Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok to discuss the awaited appointment of civilian governors.

Hamdok and the coalition that brought him to power diverge on the timing of the appointment of civilian governors as the FFC are pressed by their bases to replace military governors while Hamdok prefers to appoint them after a peace agreement with the armed groups.

"We asked for a meeting as soon as possible with the Prime Minister to resolve the appointment of civilian state governors," said Siddiq Youssef, in statements to Sudan Tribune, on Wednesday.

Youssef emphasized that the delayed appointment of civilian governors until now has become a problem, in light of the failure of the government and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) to reach understandings on the appointment of temporary governors to the states.

He pointed out that the assignment of state governors can no longer wait, as the negotiating parties in Juba agreed to amend the Constitutional Declaration governing the transitional period.

"If the expected peace agreement provides to reshuffle the governors that we wish to assign, then the change will take place," he emphasized.

Siddiq and other members of the FFC leadership council recently returned from the South Sudanese capital after a series of meetings with the SRF leaders.

The two sides failed to agree on the percentage that the FFC can concede to the armed groups who want to have 40% of the government positions.

Last Tuesday Shams al-Din Khabbashi a member of the Sovereign Council who is also a member of the government negotiating team said that the prime minister told them he will not appoint civilian governors before the signing of a peace agreement.


Categories: Africa

UNMISS head calls to put doubts aside and support South Sudan leaders

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 07:35

March 5, 2020 (JUBA) - The head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has called to support the peace implementation process stressing that doubts should be put aside and to give South Sudanese leaders a chance.

In a video briefing from Juba to the UN Security Council on Wednesday 4 March, UNMISS chief David Shearer hailed the decision of President Salva Kiir to revert to the ten states saying he did it "against the wishes of many of his many supporters".

He also praised the courageous decision of the First Vice-President Riek Machar for his return to Juba "despite transitional security arrangements not yet in place".

"The progress is attributable to the political willingness of two men who put the interests of their country first," he stressed.

However, he said the national unity government is facing daunting challenges that require the support of the international community and the inaction may contribute to the peace implementation process.

"The doubters telling us we have been here before. But It's also important to acknowledge these are changed circumstances," he said.

"The international community will likely lean on the side of caution wary of repeating past mistakes. That's fair. But neither can we totally step back to wait to see what happens before making a commitment".

"Our actions can push South Sudan further toward sustainable peace; our inaction can help condemn it to failure".

The strong call for international support to the national unity government and the implementation of the revitalized peace pact follows statements on 27 February by a senior State Department official who said they prefer to verify first how the peace partners will work.

"So everyone's looking to see: Will this new unity government work? Will it remain an inclusive and unified government? What will their work habits be?" He said before adding they want to be certain the peace partners "work collaboratively".

The Troika countries and Washington particularly refused to contribute to the funding of the implementation of the security arrangements in the past saying that Juba should use of oil income.

Shearer's speech recalls the calls for support for the revitalized peace agreement by the former UN special envoy for South Sudan Nicholas Haysom who struggled to convince the international community to back its implementation and the security arrangements particularly.

Shearer in his speech identified some areas that require immediate support pointing to the lack of means to implement the costly process of the national army formation, and the precarious humanitarian situation caused by a combination of three factors: floods, locusts and tribal violence.

The South Sudanese Ambassador to the United NationsAkuei Bona Malwal, for his part, welcomed the latest report of the UN Secretary-General report and indicated that the president and his first vice president are holding discussions "on how to divide the ministerial portfolios equitably".

"And, Mr President, the people of South Sudan are on standby to hear the imminent announcement of the new cabinet of national unity any time from now," he added.


Categories: Africa

Nigeria housing: 'I live in a floating slum' in Lagos

BBC Africa - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 01:51
Millions of Nigerians live in flimsy housing under very precarious circumstances.
Categories: Africa

Deadlock broken, South Sudan on road to ‘sustainable peace’, but international support still key

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 04/03/2020 - 19:57
Positive developments in South Sudan have “moved the country further along the road to sustainable peace”, the top UN official there told Security Council members on Wednesday.
Categories: Africa

Actress And Humanitarian Juliet Ibrahim Turns PlusOne

ModernGhana News - Wed, 04/03/2020 - 17:13
Africa famous fecund Diva and film Actress Juliet Ibrahim is one year older today with a clearer and closer vision to her prospective achievements. The celebrity Actress has expressed gratitude to God for the opportunities, grace and developing capacity to be where she is today. In a chat with AlexReports, she was noticed to be overwhelmed with ...
Categories: Africa

The Ethiopian man leading the fight against the coronavirus

BBC Africa - Wed, 04/03/2020 - 01:14
As World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has people hanging on his every word.
Categories: Africa

Coronavirus: South Africa's economic victims

BBC Africa - Wed, 04/03/2020 - 01:01
How a health crisis on the other side of the world spelled disaster for a South African industry.
Categories: Africa

DR Congo: With Ebola on the wane, UN agencies prepare to combat coronavirus

UN News Centre - Africa - Tue, 03/03/2020 - 20:00
After more than a year of battling an Ebola virus outbreak that killed more than 2,200 people, UN officials are “cautiously optimistic” that the epidemic in the northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will soon be history as the country gears up to face the emerging threat of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 
Categories: Africa

Nneamaka Anyanwu: 'I'm empowering girls through basketball'

BBC Africa - Tue, 03/03/2020 - 15:24
Nneamaka Anyanwu started an initiative to help underprivileged girls in Nigeria through basketball.
Categories: Africa

Why are Kenyan pupils not getting enough sleep?

BBC Africa - Tue, 03/03/2020 - 13:05
Kenyan pupils are increasingly being asked to be at school by 6:30am despite classes not starting until 8am.
Categories: Africa

Letter from Africa: Fake news and Nigeria's media

BBC Africa - Tue, 03/03/2020 - 01:17
He was pilloried after a false story circulated that he had thrown a tantrum at the US consulate.
Categories: Africa

Declaring commitment to ‘peace and stability’ for Libya, top UN envoy steps down as stress takes its toll

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 22:04
After serving more than two years as the UN’s Special Representative in charge of finding a way to a lasting peace in war-torn Libya, Ghassan Salamé - who also heads up the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) - handed in his resignation on Monday, citing failing health caused by the immense stress of the job.  
Categories: Africa

Cameroonian filmmaker: 'Why I made a film for £5,000'

BBC Africa - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 12:29
Olivier Assoua migrated to Europe at 16 - years later he returned to Cameroon to make a film about migration.
Categories: Africa

Training troops for the 'world's most dangerous' peacekeeping mission

BBC Africa - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 01:00
The British Army is preparing to send troops into Mali, to join a UN peacekeeping mission.
Categories: Africa

War of words as Nigerian English recognised by Oxford English Dictionary

BBC Africa - Sun, 01/03/2020 - 01:50
Not everyone is happy that the Oxford English Dictionary now includes several unique Nigerian words.
Categories: Africa

De Mabior, Shearer discuss South Sudan's IDPs return to home areas

Sudan Tribune - Sat, 29/02/2020 - 09:39

February 29, 2020 (JUBA) - South Sudanese Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior and the head of the UN mission David Shearer discussed the situation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Protection of Civilians (POC) sites.

There are 188528 IDPs in the POCs including 115,479 in Bentiu, 27,924 in Malakal, 29,948 in Juba, 1,934 in Bor, and 13,243 in Wau according to a report released on 26 February.

The meeting discussed the return of the IPDs in the POCs across the country, said De Mabior told reporters according to a statement issued by the presidency.

They "agreed to speed up the process of the returned of the IDPs before the start of the rainy season," further said the statement.

For his part, Shearer indicated that the meeting also discussed the preparation to face the global coronavirus outbreak.

The international official further stressed the UN readiness to support the government efforts to return the displaced people to their areas of origin.

De Mabior who was nominated by the FDs group is the Vice President for Gender and Youth.


Categories: Africa

Sudan, SRF still at odds over state governors and transitional parliament

Sudan Tribune - Sat, 29/02/2020 - 07:59

February 29, 2020 (JUBA) - The transitional government and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) have not yet reached an agreement on the state governors and the transitional parliament, according to the parties and the mediation on Friday.

The SRF says that the appointment for the two institutions should be done after the signing of a peace deal so that they can get their people appointed for these positions.

However, the issue of the governors and the legislative assembly, are not part of the peace negotiations as the parties agreed to form a separate ad-hoc committee including the FFC delegates to discuss them.

Mohamed Hassan al-Taishi, spokesperson of the government negotiating delegation said on Friday that the agreed with the Darfur armed groups on 80% of the peace talks agenda.

However, he admitted that the two sides failed within the determined frame time to agree on the issues of the state governors who should be appointed during the transitional period.

"The SRF still holding on to its position, while the government spoke about the urgent need to fill the administrative void In the states and appointing civil rulers," he further said.

Al-Taishi went further to repeat that the appointment of governors is temporary and will be reviewed once a peace agreement is signed.

The government has almost finalized the peace talks with other factions of the SRF except for Darfur region.

For the talks with Darfur groups, the two sides have not yet reached a deal over the formation of a regional entity for the whole region. Also, the file of the displaced people and refugees still on hold, because their representatives have not arrived in Jua due to technical issues.

The government and the armed groups on 14 February extended the talks for three weeks. But, the statement of the member of the Sovereign Council hints that the parties would not sign an agreement next week.

Minni Minnawi, SRF deputy chairman, in a tweet on Friday, confirmed that they did not strike a deal on the governors and the transitional parliament.

"The appointment of governors and legislative assemblies violate the Juba document," he said.

"(Also) it is considered as unjustified escalation," stressed the SLM leader who used to criticize openly the transitional government and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC).

In separate statements, Dhieu Matouq the spokesperson of the South Sudanese mediation confirmed that the two sides disagree on the state governors and the transitional parliament.

In press statements after a briefing to foreign diplomats in Juba about the talks for peace in Sudan, Matouq said that the SPLM-N of Abdel Aziz al-Hilu would resume talks with the government next week.

He added that the meetings held with the rebel group by the FFC delegation which arrived recently from Khartoum have contributed to convincing them to resume talks.

It worth mentioning that Shams al-Din Kabbashi who heads the government delegation for the talks with the SPLM-N al-Hilu arrived Friday to Juba.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu says they want the government to include the secular state and self-determination in the agenda of the peace talks but the government rejects to discuss these issues during the peace talks.


Categories: Africa