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Tuesday, Sep 01st, 2015

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South Sudan’s rebels accuse government forces of burning down villages, rapping women and girls in Unity State

Addis Ababa, August 30, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudanese rebels have accused government troops of rapping women, girls, and burning down villages in Unity State.

Colonel William Gatjiath Deng, the newly appointed Acting Spokesperson for the Sudan People’s Liberation army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) says government soldiers have again attacked their positions in Koch, Leer, and Mayiandit counties of the oil-rich Unity State.

“Today [Sunday] early in the morning on the 30th/August, 2015 around 6:00AM, government troops again launched attacks on our bases in Leer, Koch and Mayiandit Counties. And they burned down villages [a]round Rupkuai town and Mayiandit County including Koch County and targeting civilians, raping women and girls in the areas,” Col. Gatjiath said.

“This is the first violation of permanent ceasefire,” he noticed.

The rebel Spokesman disclosed that government has been transporting heavy weaponries using gunboats and barges, adding that Juba is prepared to launch a full scale war against the armed opposition in and around Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile State.

On Friday, the SPLM/A-IO  accused government forces of shelling their outposts in Unity and Upper Nile States.

The rebels also calls on the IGAD-Plus, African union (AU), and the international community to condemn what they described as "violations of the permanent ceasefire."

Government troops attack rebel positions in Upper Nile State

Pagak/Addis Ababa, August 29, 2015 (SSNA) – South Sudan’s Government troops on Friday launched surprise attacks on rebel outposts in Upper Nile and Unity States, South Sudan’s armed opposition said.

Rebels condemned the attacks, saying Juba-backed forces have been shelling their bases near Malakal, the capital of the oil-rich Upper Nile State.

“SPLM/SPLA condemns in the strongest possible terms the continued military offensive by forces of the regime in Juba against bases of SPLM/SPLA in Unity and Upper Nile states. Government forces on Friday shelled our bases in the west bank of the River Nile near Malakal, Upper Nile state’s capital,” rebel Spokesman James Gatdet Dak said in a statement obtained by the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA).

Gatdet said government military ferries and boats from Unity State to Upper Nile State carrying soldiers also shelled their locations in Unity State, adding that the armed opposition expects Juba to launch full scale offensive against the SPLA-IO’s positions.

“Three ferries and six boats carrying troops and mounted with heavy weaponry have been shelling our positions along the River in Unity state as they proceed to Malakal. We suspect that their plan is to launch a full scale offensive against our bases around Malakal,” Gatdet disclosed.

“This is a serious violation of the terms of the peace Agreement signed on 17th and 26th August 2015 by the principals of the two warring parties and declaration of Permanent Ceasefire which shall come into effect at midnight of 29th August 2015,” he added.

The rebel Spokesman calls on the international community to exert pressure on Kiir’s regime to end the war and “abide by the declared ceasefire.”

South Sudan’s warring factions have accepted the IGAD-Plus brokered power-sharing deal. Rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar signed the pact on the 17th of August and South Sudanese president Salva kiir signed the deal this Wednesday.

However, it is not clear if the rival sides will implement the internationally-backed deal.

The agreement calls for the establishment of a coalition government within 90 days.

Whereabouts of journalist and human rights defender unknown amidst ongoing intimidatory campaign against journalists in the country

By Front Line Defenders

August 28, 2015 (SSNA) -- Approximately three weeks since he was arbitrarily detained by South Sudanese security forces on 6 August 2015, the whereabouts of human rights defender Mr Clement Lochio Lomornana are unknown.

He was reportedly last seen on 15 August 2015 being forced in a military vehicle.

Clement Lochio Lomornana is a prominent journalist and a strong voice in the defence of media rights and freedom of speech in Africa. The journalist has been working for a radio and internet news service called Gurtong Media for approximately 6 years and has been very vocal about the civil war and subsequent peace talks to end the 20-month conflict in the country. Clement Lochio Lomornana has been targeted a number of occasions in the past months as a result of his work.

On 6 August 2015, Clement Lochio Lormanawas detained by South Sudanese security forces in Chukudum, Budi County, along with two friends, brothers Amin Venansio andNailo Venansio. They were taken from their huts in the middle of the night and brought to a military barracks, where torture was reportedly used to force them to confess to crimes which they did not commit. Amin and Nailo Venansio were allowed to receive visits from their family, while Clement Lochio Lormana was not.

On August 15, Clement Lochio Lormana and Nailo Venansio were reportedly last seen being forced into a military vehicle. Since then, there has been no information on their whereabouts.

However, authorities in South Sudan have officially denied that they have arrested Clement Lochio Lormana.

In the months prior to Clement Lormana's detention, he had been subjected to a number of serious acts of intimidation and attempted attacks. He reported being followed in Juba on several occasions, and he had received several death threats. After sharing his concerns with family and friends, the human rights defender decided to leave South Sudan for a period of time and go into hiding in Uganda and Kenya. He decided to return in early August.

Journalists and those who are critical of the government have suffered ongoing persecution and harassment in South Sudan. In this context, journalist Peter Moi was shot dead on 20 August 2015, the 7^th journalist killed in South Sudan in 2015. This occurred justthree days after President Salva Kiir threatened to kill reporters who "work against the country."

Front Line Defenders expresses grave concern at the arbitrary detention and unknown whereabouts of Clement Lochio Lormana, particularly in light of harassment against him and other journalists. Front Line Defenders remains gravely concerned for his physical and psychological integrity and believes that his detention and disappearance are directly linked to his peaceful and legitimate human rights work.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in South Sudan to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Clement Lochio Lormana,as Front Line Defenders believes that he is being held solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful human rights work;

2. Allow Clement Lochio Lormana immediate and unfettered access to his family and lawyers, and ensure that his treatment, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the 'Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43173 of 9 December 1988;

3. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Clement Lochio Lormana and other journalists in the country;

4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in South Sudan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

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