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Khartoum Warns Against South Sudan Independence Declaration

August 19, 2010 (Khartoum) -- The Sudanese government on Thursday warned against any move by the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) to declare Southern Sudan as an independence state, saying the ruling party in the South will commit “political suicide” if it (the SPLM) chooses parliamentary vote without a referendum.

The warning comes just one day after Juba unveiled an ambitious plan for future cities of Southern Sudan - a plan designed to transform the war-torn region into animal-shaped cities.

“The SPLM wanted to divide Sudan. If the movement decided on declaring South Sudan's independence by a parliamentary vote without a referendum it would be committing political suicide”, Sudan’s ruling National Congress party deputy chairman Nafie Ali Nafie told reporters in Khartoum.

Dr. Nafie, who is also senior advisor to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, defended his party stance on the referendum process saying the NCP will agree to hold the referendum on time if it serves the best interest of the people of Southern Sudan.

The special advisor to the president accuses the SPLM of working against the unity of the Sudan.

The US special envoy to Sudan Major General Scott Gration (Ret.) is in Sudan for several days visit amid fear that the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) may turn to a new North-South civil war.

Before Gration departure to Sudan, the US State Department expressed "concern and dissatisfaction" over the upcoming referendum vote which is an important part of the CPA.

"We believe that keeping the referenda on track is part of building a lasting peace and our ultimate goal is, obviously, full implementation of the CPA. So we don’t want to see any delays”, Acting Deputy US State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said.

The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission tasked with day-to-day operations of the referendum is deadlocked over the selection of its Secretary General.

The two main peace partners formed the nine member commission in June as part of their commitment to implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The people of South Sudan are expected to choose secession over unity by January 2011.

The New York Times vs. Radio Dabanga: What is the truth about returns to Darfur from eastern Chad?

The New York Times vs. Radio Dabanga:What is the truth about returns to Darfur from eastern Chad, represented by the New York Times in "A Taste of Hope Brings Refugees Back to Darfur"? (dateline: Nyuru, West Darfur; February 26, 2012)

By Eric Reeves

March 31, 2012 (SSNA) -- There is strong evidence in a dispatch yesterday evening from Radio Dabanga that the New York Times' East Africa correspondent, Jeffrey Gettleman, has been the unwitting agent of significant journalistic fraud.  On almost any reading of the dispatch below from Radio Dabanga, Gettleman stands accused of having been duped by the Khartoum regime and officials of the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) into fabricating an untenably positive story about refugees returning to their homes and villages in West Darfur from eastern Chad.  The research conducted by Radio Dabanga---drawing as it does from an extremely wide network of Darfuris, on the ground and in the diaspora---is extensive and unambiguous, and would seem to make Gettleman's central claims untenable.

[  See:  "UNAMID official's claim 100,000 refugees returned to Darfur false," Radio Dabanga (

Eastern Chad (30 Mar 2012); text also appears below.  ]

In particular, the statements of Darfuri refugee camp leaders in eastern Chad and a senior official of the UN High Commission for Refugees---Jean Bosco, UNHCR Chad representative---are remarkably at odds with the claims in Gettleman's dispatch.  Bosco declared to Radio Dabanga:

"UNHCR denied the return of any Sudanese refugees to Darfur in 2011. 'There are 282,743 registered [Darfuri refugees] in the camps in Chad. We had heard that some may have spontaneously returned to Darfur, but they were not accompanied by us. Our staff on the ground have not been able to provide any material evidence that they were living in the camps in Chad,' said Jean Bosco UNHCR Chad representative to Radio Dabanga."

Gettleman, in the first paragraph of his dispatch, speaks of:

"More than 100,000 people in Darfur have left the sprawling camps where they had taken refuge for nearly a decade and headed home to their villages over the past year, the biggest return of displaced people since the war began in 2003 and a sign that one of the world’s most infamous conflicts may have decisively cooled."

Gettleman goes on to cite a different UNHCR source:

"François Reybet-Degat, the current head of the United Nations refugee office in Sudan, said that more than 100,000 people returned home to several different areas of Darfur in 2011, far more than in any year before that."

But Reybet-Degat also offers an extraordinarily and demonstrably inaccurate picture of security in Darfur: "There are still pockets of insecurity [in Darfur], but the general picture is that things are improving."  This characterization, long promoted by a self-serving UNAMID, has no basis in the evidence as represented by Darfuris.

To be sure, one must wonder about the extraordinary discrepancy in the comments of two UNHCR officials.  But since Reybet-Degat declares only that "more than 100,000 people returned home to several different areas of Darfur in 2011," we simply can't know what these areas or locations are, or how many they are.  Certainly there is nothing that supports Gettleman's clear suggestion that the returnees are primarily from Chad.  For their part, the Darfuri refugee camp leaders in eastern Chad make clear they believe that Gettleman's claim about "the return of 100,000 refugees was 'misleading' and if this was the case the camps would be visibly emptier." [Radio Dabanga will be broadcasting interviews with these camp leaders in coming days.]

In a larger sense, it's simply impossible to know what Reybet-Degat was claiming: displacements and returns are a continuing process in Darfur, varying significantly from region to region and year to year.  Indeed, what neither Reybet-Degat nor Gettleman mentions is the evidence for massive, ongoing human displacement in Darfur (evidence that comes primarily from UNHCR and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). Collectively this evidence suggests that more than 1 million Darfuris have been newly displaced since UNAMID officially took up its mandate on January 1, 2008.  Resettlements, such as they are, have not made up for this staggeringly large new human displacement---much of it affecting people already displaced, sometimes two or three times.

Displacement continues to this very day.  On March 27, for example, Radio Dabanga alone reported a finding by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):

"The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN said on Monday [March 26, 2012] that about 3,000 people from the areas of Dar Es Salam and Zam Zam camps in North Darfur have been displaced to Kalimdo and other areas with El Fasher. The FAO said that the displaced people are in need aid, food and medicines."

Moreover, the statement of Jean Bosco (UNHCR Chad representative) to Radio Dabanga is worth noting again:

"UNHCR denied the return of any Sudanese refugees to Darfur in 2011. 'There are 282,743 registered [Darfuri refugees] in the camps in Chad. We had heard that some may have spontaneously returned to Darfur, but they were not accompanied by us. Our staff on the ground have not been able to provide any material evidence that they were living in the camps in Chad,' said Jean Bosco UNHCR Chad representative to Radio Dabanga."

Finally, in offering this account, Gettleman chose to ignore at least one previous assessment by Radio Dabanga on the fate of returnees in Darfur, though he had been specifically apprised of its significance:

"[Seven] families who came back to the Guldo region [West Darfur] in the framework of the Sudanese Government’s voluntary repatriation initiative were found in an extremely worrying state. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that they were part of 25 families who left Kalma Camp (South Darfur) as a part of the Voluntary Return program. However, the journey was too dangerous, and 18 families were forced to travel back to their original camp in South Darfur. Furthermore, they reported to Radio Dabanga that the remaining families did not receive any support from the province of West Darfur, even though it organized the deportation. They now call for international action to save these families, who are currently in a critical state." (Radio Dabanga, July 26, 2011, "Voluntary Repatriation: 7 families found in a critical state")

For my own part, I offered a lengthy brief on March 2, 2012 that attempted to contextualize the situation for refugees and IDPs that Gettleman tried to represent simply by visiting Nyuru: "The Seen and the Unseen in Darfur: Recent Reporting on violence, insecurity, and resettlement," Sudan TribuneMarch 2, 2012

This was followed by an overview of the epidemic of rape that continues to define all areas of Darfur, and certainly governs possibilities for returns: "RAPE AS A CONTINUING WEAPON OF WAR IN DARFUR: Reports, bibliography of studies, a compendium of incidents," (March 4, 2012) at  

[  Radio Dabanga is self-described as:

" … a project of the Radio Darfur Network, a coalition of Sudanese journalists and international (media) development organizations, supported by a consortium of international donors, humanitarian community organizations and local NGOs. Radio Dabanga is conceived, operated and facilitated by Free Press Unlimited in the Netherlands."  ]


"UNAMID official's claim 100,000 refugees returned to Darfur false"

Radio Dabanga (

Eastern Chad (30 Mar 2012)

There have been claims in the international media that more than 100,000 refugees have left the camps in Chad and returned to Darfur in the past year. Radio Dabanga conducted an extensive investigation to find out if this was the case. The results suggest otherwise. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) confirmed that there are currently 12 camps in Chad with 282,743 registered people. In interviews with the 12 camp leaders to be broadcast over the next few days, they said the return of 100,000 refugees was "misleading" and if this was the case the camps would be visibly emptier.

The leaders of Gaga, Furshana, Berayjin, Terayjin, Milih, Tolom, Abu Nabuk, Arkasoni, Jebel, Kulungo, Ardimay, Goz Amir said they were surprised at the timing of this false information suggesting refugees were freely returning to Darfur. They reiterated their calls for full disarmament of militias, to expel those settled on their land and to prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. The leaders demand a comprehensive peace deal with all the non-signatory movements to the Doha agreement and the rebuilding of their villages that were destroyed.

UNHCR deny return

UNHCR denied the return of any Sudanese refugees to Darfur in 2011. "There are 282,743 registered in the camps in Chad. We had heard that some may have spontaneously returned to Darfur but they were not accompanied by us. Our staff on the ground have not been able to provide any material evidence that they were living in the camps in Chad," said Jean Bosco UNHCR Chad representative to Radio Dabanga.

Government wants to mislead

The 12 camp leaders said the insistence of the Sudanese government and the UNAfrican Union Mission in Darfur to tell the international media that refugees are beginning voluntary return is to deceive the world into thinking peace and stability have returned to Darfur.

They added that there are non-Sudanese nomads that have entered the area, the government from Niger, Nigeria and Chad. These people are people are photographed to create the impression that Darfuri refugees have returned. In West Darfur, where the 100,000 refugees were reported to have returned, displaced people told Radio Dabanga that there are new settlers in the area. They have taken over areas belonging to the Masalit who are still living as refugees in Chad.

NYT reports return

The New York Times reported in February that 100,000 refugees have returned to the Nyuru area of Darfur from the camps in Chad. "It's amazing," said Dysane Dorani, head of the UN mission for the western sector of Darfur to the NYT. "The people are coming together. It reminds me of Lebanon after the civil war." "On a recent morning, thousands of Nyuru's residents were back on their land doing all the things they used to do, scrubbing clothes, braiding hair, sifting grain and preparing for a joint feast of farmers and nomads. Former victims and former perpetrators would later sit down side by side together, some for the first time since Darfur's war broke out, sharing plates of macaroni and millet---and even the occasional dance---in a gesture of informal reconciliation."

From the interviews conducted with camp leaders and UNHCR it is clear that the New York Times  was mislead by Dorani and the residents in place are in fact new settlers and not Darfuri villagers.

You can read the rest of the New York Times article here.

[End of Radio Dabanga dispatch]

Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College, has published extensively on Sudan, nationally and internationally, for more than a decade. He is author of A Long Day's Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide.

Application of King Solomon’s Famous Ruling on Abyei Case

By: Gabriel Garang Pioth

November 23, 2012 (SSNA) -- The Government of Sudan has shifted ‘their position from its previous claims on Abyei being Sudan territory to its current position of wanting to cut it in two, in a move aimed at sharing the territory with South Sudan in equal proportion. If this case does not resemble King Solomon’s anecdote, its resolution won’t be far away from King Solomon’s ruling. The famous King Solomon ruling is found in the Holy Bible, 1 King 3:16-28. The story and the ruling go like this:


One day two prostitutes came before King Solomon and one woman (Woman 1) said: "Your Majesty, this woman and I share the same house. I gave birth to a baby boy in the same house. On the second day, she gave birth to a baby boy too. We live together and no outsiders come to our house. One night this woman accidentally rolled over her son and killed him by smothering it. When she woke up at night, she discovered that she has killed her son. She took my son from my side while I was deep asleep and put her dead child in my son’s spot. When I got up in the morning to nurse my son, I found the child was dead. When I look at him closely, I realised that the child was not mine. It belongs to this woman”.

The second woman (woman 2) said: "It is not so! The living child is mine, and the dead one is yours!" The woman 1 responded: "No! The dead child is yours, and the living one is mine!" The argument went on and on before the King. King Solomon stopped the arguing mothers and repeated their core argument. The King said: "you (woman 2) claim ‘the living child is yours, and the dead one is hers, 'and you (woman 1) claim the dead child is hers, and the living one is yours!" they affirmed their statements.

Then King Solomon said to his servant, "Bring me a sword!" The servant brought a sword to him. He then ordered his servant, "Cut the living child in half, and give one half to woman 1 and the other half to the woman 2” The woman 2 broke down in tears and said: "Please Your Majesty, give her the living child and do not kill it!" But the woman said: "Don’t give it to either of us; go ahead and cut it in two!" The King ordered his servant to stop killing the child and gave the child to woman 2 because in his infinite wisdom, she was the real mother.

Abyei: The Disputed Child

Prior to 1904, both South Sudan and the North Sudan used to coexist as separate systems in the same country. In 1905 Abyei was transferred from Bhar el Ghazal to Kordufan. The Dinka Ngok of Abyei became dissatisfied with their host from the get-go. They joined Anyanya-I war (1955-1972) and then the SPLA/M liberation struggle (1983-2005) en masse. During the negotiations of comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) between SPLM and GoS in Kenya from 2002 to 2005, both mothers (SPLM/South Sudan and Sudan) argued emphatically to be granted the child (Abyei). The squabbling between the SPLM and GoS over Abyei almost derailed the peace talk. When the mediators saw that this Abyei issue was risking the whole talk, they decided to give the child special status (protocol) and freedom to decide in a plebiscite to choose between two options: remain with Sudan or reunite with the South Sudan. The GoS knew the child would certainly choose to join South Sudan because that is where it was transferred from and that is where its tribesmen are. By then the international community (and especially United States President, George W. Bush) was threatening with sanctions any person likely to refuse. The GoS being afraid of their previous mistake (hosting of Osama Bin Laden) kept quiet, hoping that they would thwart the whole exercise when left alone with South Sudan. The CPA was signed and celebrated as the closing chapter for the war in Sudan on January 9, 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Before the CPA reached its second birthday, the GoS started their manoeuvring by first retracting from previous commitment to honour the Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC) report. The two mothers (South Sudan and Sudan) then resolved to take the child to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). The PCA took the common legal solution for a disputed property by cutting the limbs (oil producing areas) off the child and give them to Sudan and the other part of the body (the land) to South Sudan. At first, the GoS celebrated their victory by claiming that the court has done the right thing. Although the GOSS didn’t break down like the biblical mother, it decided to take the torso child.

After the GoS learned what they were given was the dead part of the body (oil was nearly depleted) and South Sudan has taken the body that contains the lungs that pump blood to the limbs, they started to cry again demanding that the child be cut in two. The wrangling between GOSS and Sudan Government over Abyei started all over again. This time, the child was taken to the wise-men/women of African (African Union Peace and Security Council, AUPSC) to decide the case. The GoS did not hide what they thought was the solution for the dispute over the child. They publicly told the wise-men/women of Africa that, to end the dispute over this child once and for all, the child should be cut in half.

The GOSS played the real biblical mother by pleading to the AUPSC to spare the life of the child and decide logically who the real mother is between these two women. The GOSS Foreign Minister explained how the child was born and taken to South Kordufan. The Minister also gave birthmarks (physical features, historical account etc) which showed the child really belong to South Sudan.

Although the AUPSC did not take the same steps that King Solomon went through, they took the view that a true mother would not call for the child to be cut in two. Instead, she should have demanded to have the child as a whole or gives it away alive so that she can still be able to see him/her around like the woman 2 in King Solomon’s anecdote. The AUPSC decided that the child would be given 1 year (from October 2012 to October 2013) to make up its mind before a referendum to decide whether to remain with Sudan or join South Sudan. As usual, the GoS was quiet when the decision was unanimously handed down by AUPSC in Addis Ababa on October 24, 2012. Omar el Bashir is now making his usual noise to brand the wise-women/men of Africa (many stood against ICC arrest warrant against him by the way) as biased towards South Sudan. I don’t know whether the international community will let El Bashir get away with his bargain hunt for justice.

The GoS promiscuous relationship with various rebels’ factions in the Sudan has earned it the notorious title of being the world record holder in dishonouring agreements. They only seek peace when they are weak in one way or the other. They would seek peace with the group they perceive to be powerful. Often, they prolong the peace talk to score some points on the other fronts and restock their arsenals. They can only agree to a peace deal for short term benefits. When the pressure that forced them into the peace deal has passed, they would dishonour the agreement and the cycle between the intermittent peace and war continues throughout the history of Sudan.

When their trick fails to change the situation, they would resort to childhood cry. For instance, in April 10, 2010 when the SPLA seized Panthou (Heglig) oil fields from Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan el Bashir, declared the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) as an insect that deserved to be crashed. The SPLM Deputy Secretary General, Hon. Ann Ito responded by comparing the Government of Sudan (GoS) to a mosquito, which lands quietly on your skin and suck your blood. When you feel the itchiness from mosquito bite and make any move, it flies away and cries hysterically to awake the people around. When the SPLA captured Panthou, the noises from NCP awaken everybody including those who were asleep, the blind and those with interest in Sudan. These different groups of people avenged their anger on the GOSS. They called SPLA as occupying forces when in real sense, they only retook their land. The President of South Sudan haphazardly ordered the withdrawal of SPLA forces from Panthou and the justice was done the NCP way!

On November 20th to 21st, 2012 SAF warplanes bombed Kiir-Adem in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State killing five civilians and wounded two others. This unprovoked attack on the territory of South Sudan is a sign of NCP intention to dishonour the cooperation agreement. According to my own calculations, we have just passed the peaceful part of the great circle and we are back to where we started.

In conclusion, our forefathers have warned us that when you reach for more things above your shoulder, you are more likely to lose what you had under your armpits. The NCP has been successful in confusing world justice, and get away with it. If the AUPSC resolution of October 24, 2012 fails to resolve the problem of Abyei, I don’t know the court that GOSS and GoS would go to again since they appear to have exhausted all judicial avenues?

Gabriel Garang Pioth is a South Sudanese residing in Australia. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

South Sudanese: Don't Let Your Country Reach The Rock Bottom!

By Luk Kuth Dak

November 27, 2013 (SSNA) -- I have always had a love for history and democracy, spending countless hours in the libraries delving through history books and biographies among other topics. Also, am fascinated by ' democracy' having lived in one of the world most oldest democracies, The United States of America.

That leads us to the question of what democracy means in the first place:

Firstly, "democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state through elected representatives.

Secondly, "a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting."

And thirdly, "an organization or a situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights under the constitution."

The list goes on and on.

But, if you take a closer look at the above definitions, you will find out that they in contradiction with the system of government that exits in the Republic of South Sudan (RSS).

When Salva Kiir Mayardit became the first elected president of the RSS, He made a promise that he will establish a democratic system of government in the country. "I will be opened for disagreements, and I will respect the freedom of expression, he was quoted as saying."

He didn't keep that promise, did he?

Today, however, the RSS is anything but democratic, and more and more it seems as though the President is the country, and the country is the President.

That's why most- if not all- of his supporters (This writer included) are alarmed and dismayed by what we see and observe in the media. It's self evident that President Kiir pretty much wants to barricade himself with those who cannot say ' no' for an answer. Those who dare otherwise, he shows them the ' door of no return.'

Talk about a ' one man' show.

More alarming, The President has severly wounded and compromised his country's relations with the West, especially the US and UK respectively. His first visit after he ousted the SPLM old guards was to Khartoum, where he received an unprecedented welcome by the ICC most wanted fugitive, Omer Hassan al Basher.

Sadly, these are difficult times for our country, and we should continue to advocate for changes everywhere.

The author is a former broadcasting journalist. He can be reach at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Statement on the Crisis in South Sudan

By Citizens for Peace and Justice

Expressing our alarm and concern with the ongoing violence, continued killing, loss of innocent lives and destruction of property in South Sudan since 15 December 2013,
Affirming our moral responsibility to take a stance and be a positive force for peace and justice,
Offering our deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones in the violence,
Recognizing that what started as a political dispute within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has now become a crisis engulfing the whole country,

January 15, 2014 (SSNA) -- We, concerned citizens of South Sudan, drawn from civil society, churches, academia, think tanks and national NGOs, hereby agree to the following statement:

The violence has brought into question the legitimacy of current institutions of governance in South Sudan and has undermined any claims that the parties to the conflict have to being the custodians of the people's interest.

There is no military solution.

The failure of key institutions, including the executive, legislature, judiciary and army, has contributed to the crisis.

Since 2005, fundamental issues of governance and civil rights have been neglected. These include the national constitution, elections, freedom of expression, accountability, justice, reconciliation and security sector reform.

We therefore resolve that:

1. The peace process should be expanded to include voices from all sectors of South Sudanese society and to address the fundamental governance issues that allowed the conflict to proliferate so quickly.
2. All parties must commit to an immediate ceasefire and guarantee humanitarian access.
3. All parties must abide by international humanitarian and human rights law.
4. All parties must ensure the safety of civilians in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps and areas under their control.
5. All parties must be held accountable for their actions and justice must be delivered for the victims and survivors of the violence.
6. A citizen-driven national dialogue should be initiated to address the critical challenges facing the South Sudanese people in their efforts to develop a democratic state and to promote reconciliation and healing.
7. The indefinite detention without charge of South Sudanese political figures is a violation of South Sudanese and international law. Political detainees must either be charged and provided with legal representation or released.
8. The current mediations being brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and states involved in the mediations should remain neutral to all parties.
9. Foreign governments should refrain from providing military assistance to any of the parties involved in the conflict as this will only contribute to the suffering of our people and should not be allowed.

In recognition of the above findings and resolutions, we the Citizens for Peace and Justice commit ourselves to extending and continuing the dialogue with our fellow South Sudanese in the pursuit of a peaceful and just resolution to the conflict in our country.


Agyedho Adwok, Citizen
John Apuruot Akec, Academics and Researchers Forum for Development
Zacharia Diing Akol, The Sudd Institute
Anyieth D’Awol, The Roots Project
David Kwol Deng, South Sudan Law Society (SSLS)
Robert Deng, University of Juba
Bol Gatkuoth, Citizen
Samuel Lony Geng, Citizen
Rev. Both Reath Luong, Nuer Peace Council
Jok Madut Jok, The Sudd Institute
Lona James Elia Luduro, Voices for Change (VFC)
Machien Luoi, Citizen
Athiaan Majak Malou, Citizen
Don Bosco Malish, Citizen
Lorna Merekaje, South Sudan Domestic Elections Monitoring Program (SSuDEMoP)
Leben Nelson Moro, Citizen
Chuol Gew Nhial, Citizen
Abuor Gordon Nhial, Citizen
Rev. James Ninrew, Nuer Peace Council
Rev. George Riek, Citizen
Rev. Peter Tibi, Reconcile
Angelo Ugwaag, Citizen
Samson Wassara, Citizen


David K. Deng, Esq.
Director, Research Department
South Sudan Law Society (SSLS)

Page 284 of 538

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