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Militiamen murder residents in ‘return village’ in North Darfur

Darfur News Update by Radio Dabanga (10 - 16 December)

December 17, 2014 (SSNA) -- In an attack by militiamen on a village in South Darfur, nine residents were reportedly killed, and their homes burned to ashes, on Saturday afternoon. A camp in North Darfur was also raided this weekend. A large group consisting of "about 100 militiamen" on camels and horses attacked Abu Jabra in South Darfur, "without any warning or clear reason", an eyewitness from a neighbouring village explained. He told Radio Dabanga how the people of Abu Jabra, Gireida locality, had started to return to the village since five weeks ago, within the framework of a voluntary return programme in Darfur. During their attack, the militiamen killed nine people and pillaged the place, before setting it ablaze, the witness said. About 500 families, and six wounded, arrived at the Babanusa camp for the displaced in Gireida, a camp elder reported to Radio Dabanga. "The newly displaced told us that there are at least 200 families that fled into the desert.” Another camp leader in the neighbouring Bielel locality expects the villagers to return to El Salam camp as well, after the attack and the mounting insecurity in the area.

In North Darfur, a large group of militiamen raided Rwanda camp, and plundered a number of shops on the outskirts of Tawila town on Sunday. An army commander intervened, and returned much of the stolen goods. A robbed shopkeeper explained that the residents were terrified. The attack was immediately reported to army commander El Hadi Mohamed Hamed, who then stopped and searched the militiamen ́s vehicles for the goods. He also issued an order prohibiting militiamen to enter Tawila town with their cars and weapons, according to the listener.

Gold mining supervision by tribal administrations and North Darfur state

Gold diggers were violently robbed by gunmen in the area of Jebel ‘Amer, North Darfur, on Sunday. The militiamen beat the workers and stole more than $4,700 and an amount of gold. The Jebel ́Amer mining area lies in El Sareif Beni Hussein locality. Sadam Hamad Mohamed, one of the victims, reported to Radio Dabanga that afterwards, the militiamen left into the direction of Kabkabiya town. The North Darfur state announced the establishment of a coordination council for traditional mining last week, that will resolve problems in the mining areas. The Federal Ministry of Mines and representatives of El Sareif Beni Hussein, Kutum, El Malha, Um Keddada, and Kabkabiya localities in this council will also supervise the licensing and collection of fees for the traditional mining sites. 

In the same week, the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC) and the native administration of the Beni Hussein tribe agreed on establishing their own management board for the gold mining area of Jebel ’Amer. The RAC spokesman told Radio Dabanga that the participants in the meeting decided that they will be responsible for the gold mine. “Anyone who wants to visit, or work in Jebel ‘Amer, will have to request permission from the supervisors appointed by the board.” RAC leader Musa Hilal and his militias, responsible for Janjaweed campaigns against civilians in Darfur since 2004, were armed by the Sudanese government, but he distanced himself from the regime this year. His militia attacked several villages North Darfur, where Hilal established an administration. 

Gold has become one of Sudan’s biggest sources of revenues after the secession of the oil-rich south in 2011. As reported extensively by Radio Dabanga, in 2013, the Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes fought violently over control of the Jebel ‘Amer gold mine, leaving about 500 people dead. The UN estimated that more than 100,000 people were displaced by the conflict.

More news from Radio Dabanga:

Displaced urge UN Security Council to act on Darfur case

EL FASHER / WASHINGTON (16 Dec.) - The Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association has called upon the international community, the members of the UN Security Council, the EU, and the AU to “actively cooperate with... FULL STORY

Ma’aliya officials return to their posts in East Darfur state

ED DAEIN (16 Dec.) - Two ministers and four commissioners of the Ma’aliya tribe have been sworn in in Ed Daein, capital of East Darfur state today. After boycotting the East Darfur state government... FULL STORY

‘Govt. forces in Sudan’s Blue Nile abusing civilians’: HRW

NAIROBI (15 Dec.) - Sudanese government forces and allied militias are severely harassing and abusing civilians on a large scale in government-held areas in Blue Nile state. People from the Blue Nile... FULL STORY

Sudan opposition leaders still held incommunicado

KHARTOUM (15 Dec.) - The Committee of Solidarity with the Victims of the September Demonstrations handed the National Human Rights Commission in Khartoum a memorandum on Sunday, demanding the... FULL STORY

‘President Al Bashir misinformed about Darfur case’: ICC

PARIS / NEW YORK (15 Dec.) - The spokesman for the International Criminal Court (ICC) affirmed that the suspension of further investigations on the Darfur file does not mean that the cases against President... FULL STORY

Sudan security questions journalist about article on brothels

KHARTOUM (15 Dec.) - The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has questioned a journalist of El Tayar daily newspaper about an article she wrote about prostitution in Khartoum. On Friday... FULL STORY

‘Russia to keep Tabit mass rape off Security Council agenda’: Sudan

KHARTOUM (14 Dec.) - The Sudanese Foreign Ministry announced that Russia will attempt to keep the issue of the alleged mass rape by Sudanese army forces in North Darfur two months ago, off the agenda... FULL STORY

‘Sudan’s economy collapsed, 2015 budget fake’: economist

CAIRO / KHARTOUM (UPDATED 23:00) (14 Dec.) - The general budget prepared by the Sudanese government for the year 2015 is “a fake budget”. Institutional corruption has reached unprecedented levels according to a... FULL STORY

West Darfur farmers despair militant herders

KEREINIK (12 Dec.) - Farmers of Murnei and surrounding villages in West Darfur have complained again about herders who force them to let their livestock graze on cultivated land. Kereinik locality has... FULL STORY

‘Sudan to crush rebellion in next dry season campaign’: Defence, security

KHARTOUM (11 Dec.) - The Sudanese Minister of Defence and the head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), have announced the second “decisive dry season operation”, aiming at the “... FULL STORY

Rebels claim control of garrisons in South Kordofan, attack convoy in Darfur

NUBA MOUNTAINS / CENTRAL DARFUR (UPDATED 23:00) (11 Dec.) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) announced that its forces took control of three military garrisons near Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan, today. On... FULL STORY

Sudan to launch 20 radio stations in Darfur, South Kordofan

KHARTOUM (11 Dec.) - In January, Sudan plans to launch ten shortwave radio stations in Darfur, and ten in South Kordofan. The new radio stations will present programmes in local dialects, to counter... FULL STORY

Pregnant woman gang-raped, 17 'missing' in Kass, South Darfur

KASS LOCALITY (UPDATED 18:15) (11 Dec.) - A group of gunmen gang raped a displaced woman near the town of Kass in South Darfur on Sunday afternoon. In Kass locality, 17 people are ‘missing’ for more than a month. The... FULL STORY

Cyber Jihadist Unit monitors Sudan’s online communication

WASHINGTON (10 Dec.) - Since May 2013, Sudan experienced a tightening of press freedom, detentions of activists and political opposition leaders, and the shutdown of major civil society organisations.... FULL STORY

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Nuer community in Arab Republic of Egypt commemorates Nuer Genocide of December 15, 2013

Press Release

Cairo, December 17, 2014 (SSNA) -- With deep sorrow and sadness, Nuer community has finally concluded the commemoration of December-15-2013 massacre carried out by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his thugs in Juba last year when thousands of Nuer children, women, old men, politicians and vulnerable people were butchered in the name of fake coup in the morning of 15, 16, 17, 18, 19…….by unofficial group of soldiers recruited to kill only.

We have decided to demonstrate to show all South Sudanese and the international community that President Kiir has failed to control his soldiers and his tribesmen who carried out the killing on tribal basis/lines in December 2013, last year.

Nuer community in Egypt congratulates the Egyptian authority who really feels sorry for the demonstrators who turned up for the 1st anniversary on the 15th of December 2014.

We say thank you very much without your concerned we could have not succeeded with the demonstration and the memorial prayers.

Nuer community also extended its happiness to Nuer youths who extremely show high moral of participation in all programs including media and actions without Nuer youths the December 15th could not be commemorated at all.

We also feel concerned to continue supporting the victims of Juba massacre, Orphan, widows, and widowers who are suffering emotionally, psychologically and physically from the trauma and horrors of President Salva Kiir Mayardit atrocities.

We hope God will open ways for peace to come to our country South Sudan….

Regards,

The Nuer (Naath) Community in Egypt
Cairo, Egypt

SPLM-G10: Remembering the Tragic Events of 15 December 2013

Press release
Re: Remembering December15, 2013

Nairobi, December 15, 2014 (SSNA) -- It is one year since South Sudan was thrown into chaos and a deep national crisis. As we remember the shameful/gruesome and tragic events that befell our country on 15 December, 2013 and during the days, weeks, months and now one year that have passed since then, we the SPLM Leaders (Former Political Detainees), with heavy heart, remember the victims of what can surely be characterized as genocide, and wish to salute all South Sudanese wherever they are. We believe it is important to mark this day one year on (December 15, 2014) to honour the memory of our departed sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, friends and relatives who were killed because they belonged to a certain tribe or ethnic group;. It (it) is important to mark this day so that we can do soul-reaching and recommit and redouble our efforts to achieve durable and sustainable peace in our country in the shortest possible time. As our people remember this sad day, it is important for us to mark this day with great resolve and commitment that our country must never and never again allow this despicable and heinous crime against humanity to repeat itself in our motherland.

Causes of Crisis:

It is now an undisputed fact and common knowledge that differences within the SPLM, absence of collective leadership and loss of direction and vision in the top leadership organs lay at the root of the crisis that erupted on 15th December, 2013. Violence came into play in order to stifle political debate on reforms and democratization in the Party and the State. A ‘failed coup attempt’ was therefore fabricated to justify the introduction of violence into an otherwise healthy political debate.

It is to be recalled that on 6th December, 2013, we, together with many other senior comrades, had sounded warnings and concerns about the infiltration of the SPLM by opportunists and agents of foreign countries; about the institutionalization of negative influences of regional and ethnic lobbies in decision making as it relates to affairs of the State, about the formation of private armies (militia),in flagrant violation of the constitution and abuse of powers of the Office of the President, promoting corruption and protecting the corrupt while paying lip service to the fight against corruption and encouraging the culture of impunity. We warned that these worrying trends in the government were indicative of looming disaster.

Effects of the conflict:

While detailed data on effects of the conflict since December, 2013 remains to be established, it is not disputed that tens of thousands of lives have been lost and other massive human rights violations and abuses have been committed in violation of international humanitarian law. These crimes include massacres, ethnically targeted killings and disappearances, rape, recruitment of child-soldiers, arbitrary arrests and detention, destruction of property and violence aimed at spreading terror among the civilian population.

The conflict has caused massive displacement of over a million citizens internally and to the neighbouring countries, ruined the economy, adversely affected the delivery of basic services to our people, destroyed property and interrupted agricultural production creating a looming disaster and food crisis.

As stated above, the conflict arose as a result of differences within the Party (the SPLM) and was not tribal in nature. However, there is no mistaking the fact that increasingly this conflict is assuming tribal and ethnic dimensions. The war has now effectively polarized the country ethnically behind the two warring parties. The longer this conflict continues, the more tribal it may become; not discounting the possibility of it spreading to other regions and tribes.

The inability to reach peace and stop the killing is leaving the region and the international community with no better option but to impose peace on the warring parties. This may be the only salvation for South Sudan from collapsing into chaos and disorder in view of the un-abating brutal conflict that has gripped the country for one year thus far.

Efforts to Resolve the Conflict:

Since December 2013, soon after the conflict erupted in our country, the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has exerted strenuous efforts to help find a solution to the crisis and restore peace to South Sudan. It has held six extra-ordinary Summits on the South Sudan crisis within this space of one year.

Through IGAD mediation, the stakeholders have agreed to the formation of an inclusive Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) and a Transitional Period of two and a half years. The two warring parties have also signed a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoH) including its implementation matrix but have consistently failed to honour it. What remains outstanding for a final peace agreement to be achieved is the structure of Government and details of reforms to be undertaken by the proposed Transitional Government of National Unity in the areas of security, economy and institutional reforms.

In the upcoming session of the mediation process in Addis Ababa, which is expected to be the final lap of the IGAD mediation, the warring parties are expected to present the outcome of their consultations on the structure of government. Specifically, the point in issue is whether to have a Vice President and two deputies to the Prime Minister or simply have a President and a Prime Minister. If it is agreed that the Prime Minister is to share executive powers with the President, then the matter for resolution as between the position of Vice President and the Prime Minister, would simply be a matter of protocol. This in our view should not be an obstacle to peace.

We have also noted that despite the commitment of the two warring parties to the importance of participation of the other stakeholders in the Transitional government of National Unity, the position of the SPLM/A (IO) continues to be ambivalent on the participation of the SPLM Political Leaders (FPD) and the other Political Parties in the top positions of the TGoNU. Whereas the SPLM/A (IO) wants to de-concentrate powers from the hands of the President, the same SPLM/A (IO) would like to concentrate powers in the hands of its would- be nominee Prime Minister. This is the reason why it vehemently objects to the creation of the positions of two Deputies to the Prime Minister. We hope the SPLM/A (IO) will reconsider their position on this matter.

Other Issues of Concern:

The IGAD mediated peace process since its inception in December 2013, recognized the need for the participation of all the South Sudanese stakeholders in order to achieve an inclusive and sustainable peace owned by all people of South Sudan. As South Sudan is a multi-party system, the role of political parties in the search for peace cannot be undermined. In this juncture, the exclusion of the representatives of the other political parties in the peace process is unfortunate. In our view, the political parties should have been allowed by the government to select their representatives through a transparent and democratic process without manipulation or undue interference which is evident from the way some representatives of the political parties are denied travel outside South Sudan.

The Talked-about National Elections:

The Government of South Sudan has instructed the National Elections Commission to prepare for the conduct of elections before July 2015 so as to renew the mandate of the President before his term ends in 2015. The purpose is to renew legitimacy of the President and his government.

However, given the current state of affairs in the country, it is not feasible to hold free and fair elections while the war rages on. The national priority now should first be to end the war, reconcile and heal the nation, reform the state and promulgate a permanent democratic constitution that reflects the will and aspirations of the people.

The states of Unity, Lakes, Upper Nile, and Jonglei are currently under a state of emergency due to war and serious insecurity, in the case of Lakes state. Even for Northern Bahr al Ghazal state the situation is not also conducive for elections. The National Elections Commission has already confirmed that gubernatorial elections were impossible to be held in Unity, Lakes, Jonglei and Northern Bahr al Ghazal due to insecurity. That is why the Care-taker Governors in these states have remained in position despite the constitutional requirement that new elections should be held within 60 (sixty) days for the new Governors. This alone, besides the other political considerations, does not make the holding of general elections in the country a practical proposition.

More importantly, the states mentioned above command a combined population of four million three hundred and twenty-five thousand one hundred and ninety four (4,325,194) people according to the last Population Census. This is out of a total population of eight million two hundred and fifty eight thousand four hundred and ninety (8,258,490) for the whole country. Therefore, more than half of the population of the country cannot be disenfranchised and nothing can bestow legitimacy on any purported elections in the country that excludes them.

Moreover, there could be legal impediments that may not allow the running of general elections in the near future that relate to some requirements in the Political Parties Act, 2012. Also, this is not to mention the massive displacement of people internally and to the neighbouring countries; and who are struggling to survive under difficult conditions. Their priority is certainly not to engage in elections leave alone electing the same leaders who are responsible for their misery!

The National Security Bill:

A lot have been said by many people including the UN and International Human Rights Organizations in rejection of the infamous National Security Bill which the President has declined to sign into law because the Bill is grossly unconstitutional and due to public outcry. The Bill contradicts and offends the Bill of Rights in the Transitional Constitution and the stipulated mandate of the National Security Service in the same Constitution. South Sudan does not need such a draconian piece of legislation. The aspirations of our people are for a democratic dispensation based on the rule of law, constitutionalism and respect for fundamental human rights. Any attempts to use the law to perpetuate oppression and promote authoritarianism must be rejected stock log and barrel by all freedom loving people of our country. We are totally opposed to such oppressive legislations.

The Way Forward:

We call for immediate ending of the war to end the suffering of our people and preserve our sovereignty and independence. Specifically, we take this opportunity to make the following call:

  • Call on the two warring parties to rise up to their national responsibilities to end the conflict before the year-end;
  • Call on our people inside the country and in Diaspora to unify their ranks and intensify their voice for peace;
  • Urge IGAD and AU to stand firm and use the coming session of IGAD mediation as the final opportunity for achieving peace in South Sudan and to apply appropriate leverage to that end;
  • Call on the international community to continue supporting the IGAD initiative for restoring peace to South Sudan;
  • Urge the Government of South Sudan to allow representatives of other Political Parties who have been part of the IGAD peace process to participate in the coming sessions of the Peace Talks as critical stakeholders in the search for comprehensive and durable peace in our country;
  • Call upon our religious leaders to continue to work and pray for peace and justice in our country; to promote unity, reconciliation and healing in our society which is deeply divided by war, sectarianism and hatred;
  • Appeal to the UN and other international organizations to increase humanitarian assistance to the victims of war and other people in need in South Sudan.
John Luk Jok
Spokesman, SPLM Leaders (FPD)
15th December, 2014
Nairobi, Kenya

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