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Saturday, Aug 23rd, 2014

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A militia group carries out targeted killings in Upper Nile; rebels accuse government of ‘complicity’

Addis Ababa, August 5, 2014 (SSNA) -- Early this week, a militia group calling itself Mabanese Defence Forces started ethnically based killings in the oil-rich Upper Nile State. The carnage left at least six people dead.

All the dead were humanitarian aid workers serving the needy people in and around Maban County, Upper Nile State.

At least six targeted killings were carried out on Monday and Tuesday by the militia faction; some employees were ambushed and at least one person was forced out of a car and shot to death by the group, according to humanitarian sources in Upper Nile.

The South Sudan News Agency has confirmed Gabriel Yien Gach as one of those killed. Gach was taken out of his employer’s car and shot to death by members of the Maban-based militia.

Mr. Gach, a Nuer by tribe, was working for the Norwegian aid agency, the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

Meanwhile, the South Sudanese rebels said they are aware of the existence of the Maban militia group which carried out the killings and that they are not surprised, adding that Juba has been training, financing, and arming the Mabanese Defence Forces for months.

“We are aware of the fact that the genocidal regime of Salva Kiir has been training, financing, and arming this group; only [uninformed] South Sudanese will disagree [with our intelligence finding]”, a senior rebel official who prefers anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media told the South Sudan News Agency.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) condemns the killings and raises concern about the operations of aid agencies in Maban County.

“Elements of this militia have been moving around the town, approaching offices of humanitarian organizations and asking if they have any Nuer employees”, the UN said in a press statement.

“Such crimes put the humanitarian operation in Maban at risk, jeopardizing the lives of tens of thousands of men, women and children who count on aid organizations for their survival”, Toby Lanzer, the UN humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan Warns.

At least one million people have fled their homes and hundreds of thousands more fled to the neighboring countries, according to the United Nations (UN).

Peace negotiations between the warring factions have been ongoing in the Ethiopian capital—the talks lead to little or no success with fighting still raging.

South Sudan Civil Society Chairman Survives Assassination Attempt

Juba, August 1, 2014 (SSNA) -- The chairman of the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance, Deng Athuai Mawiir, has survived an assassination attempt with at least one serious injury.

The shooting occurred on Friday in the South Sudanese capital, Juba.

A government source who spoke to the South Sudan News Agency on condition of anonymity revealed that at least two unknown gunmen dressed in black military-style uniforms were responsible for the shooting.

“Deng has been shot multiple times by unknown-masked gunmen. Initial reports from many Eyewitnesses suggest that people who dressed in black military-fashion uniforms were seen shooting Deng and fled the scene after they thought their target [Deng] was dead”, the source told the SSNA.

“He is now in a hospital getting necessary medical treatment for his wounds”, the source added.

In 2012, Deng Athuai was kidnapped and tortured for three days by government agents who felt that the leader of civil society was spreading anti-government attitude. The police called his kidnapping "politically motivated".

However, the government denied the abduction, asserting that organized criminals were responsible for Athuai’s ordeal.

Most South Sudanese believe that Mr. Athuai was the architect behind the anti-corruption campaign which forced President Kiir to write to seventy five (75) corrupted government officials—a campaign which infuriated many Kiir’s political allies.

Ugandan Government Refuses to Receive South Sudan Rebel Delegation at the Airport: Spokesperson

Addis Ababa, July 21, 2014 (SSNA) -- A high level delegation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in Opposition (SPLM-O) arrived at the Entebbe International Airport early Monday to meet Uganda’s Museveni; but the Ugandan government refused to receive the delegation at Uganda's main airport, Entebbe.

Many regional observers said Uganda's refusal to receive South Sudanese anti-government delegation at its own airport raises more questions than answers.

The rebels call Kampala's hasty move a "humdrum", adding that they are not surprised.

In a strongly worded statement issued on Monday by James Gatdet Dak, the Spokesperson for the leadership of the SPLM-in Opposition, Dak criticizes Ugandan authorities and questions the real intention behind Yoweri Museveni’s desire to have a face-to-face meeting with the South Sudanese rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar.

“The attitude demonstrated by the Ugandan leadership has clearly indicated that President Museveni is not serious to dialogue with our leadership. Maybe the Ugandan leadership had a different intention. Maybe they didn’t like the fact that the mission to Kampala was made known to the world through media”, Mr. Dak said.

Dak also declared that Ugandan President is best known for his deceptive approaches.

“Kampala used to mislead the IGAD member countries that it wanted to dialogue with the leadership of the Movement, contrary to the reality which is now unveiled”, he recalls.

Meanwhile, the rebel delegation had decided to return to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, after nearly one day at the airport.

South Sudan’s rebels, regional leaders, and the international community want Kampala to withdraw its soldiers from South Sudan—a call Museveni refuses.

The South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) has learned that the Ugandan president is the one who asked to meet with Former South Sudanese Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and also gave a green light for Machar's delegation to meet him in Kampala.

Museveni has in the past unsuccessfully tried numerous times to meet South Sudan’s rebels’ leader Machar, the SSNA has confirmed.

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