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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.

Humanitarian Appeal by Shilluk Community in Diaspora

To: His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General
Office of the Secretary General of United Nations,
885 Second Avenue New York, NY 10017, USA.

Date: August 24, 2015

Subject: The Forgotten Shilluk Civilians in Upper Nile State in South Sudan

Dear Mr. Secretary General:

August 28, 2015 (SSNA) -- We the undersigned members of the Shilluk community in Diaspora would like to draw your attention, the attention of the UN and the wider international community to the war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed in the Shilluk Kingdom by the dictatorial regime of President Salva Kiir of South Sudan. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the horrendous crimes and violations of international humanitarian law being committed against unarmed Shilluk civilians in the Upper Nile State of the Republic of South Sudan. We are deeply saddened by the continued devastation and denial of access of NGOs to provide food and medical supplies to the civilian population.

It is with considerable sadness that we write this letter to you, in the name of the thousands of defenseless, starving, sick and desperate Shilluk people in the Upper Nile State of South Sudan who are being bombardeddaily by the ruthless regimes of President Kiir and Yuweri Museveni of Uganda who is shamefully actively supporting him on the ground. We are aware that you are fully informed and aware of the government of South Sudan’s recent decision to deny humanitarian access and aid to civilian populations who have been caught up in the conflict zones and of the deliberate bombardment of civilian populations, schools and hospitals in Chollo areas by the governmentsof South Sudan and Uganda.

We would like here to mention some of the most recent human rights violations in Shilluk areas. For instance, after the recent government recapture Malakal, the capital city of Upper Nile State, from the rebels in July 2015, it used Ugandan-led air bombardments and deliberately targeted the civilian population including hospitals and schools in the towns of Kodok and Owaci where aid organizations were assisting people in need, destroying hospitals, schools and houses and killing civilians including children, women and elderly. Entire Shilluk communities have been forced out from their ancestral homes by the repeated bombardments and they are nowliving under harsh conditions in the bush fearing for their lives. Many of these civilians are facing dire humanitarian situation such as a lack of food, medicine, sanitation and shelter from heavy rains and other elements. Again, in a separate incident in Kodok, a hospital run by International Committee of Red Cross was bombarded several times where approximately thirty patients lost their lives.  These barbaric incidents forced the Red Cross to withdraw from the area and left civilians vulnerable due to lack of health services. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross 12 civilians have been killed in Kodok as a result of bombing of the hospital and school by the government of South Sudan using Ugandan helicopter gunships.

On Saturday, July 18, 2015, a truck full of civilians’ mostly women and children was ambushed on the highway linking Malakal and Paloch by the so called Dongjol Dinka Militia supported by South Sudan’s government.  These civilians were on their way from Malakal to Paloch. The truck was travelling from Malakal and carrying goods and food aid for the IDPs at UNMISS in Paloch. The militias began shooting at the truck and killed two Shilluk civilians and dozens of others were wounded and brought to UNMISS health facilities in Malakal. On May 24, 2015, the combined forces of  the Padang Dinka SPLA of Akoka, Darfur forces and Blue Nile forces killed and wounded 28 Shilluk civilians near UNMISS outside Paloch. Many of thevictimscould not be recognized except for only three, identified as follows; Chan Charles Othow, Wilson Sabino Ayul, Ayual Ajak Adwong.   Again on May 25, 2015, about 30 Shilluk youth disappeared after they went to the town in Malakal and never return to UNMISS. Many assumed they may have been killed by the Padang Dinka SPLA.

In another recent incident, the killing of Shilluk civilians occurred on Sunday, July 26, 2015; when a Dinka counterinsurgency within SPLA government forces in Upper Nile State ambushed Shilluk civilians on the road between UNMISS at Malakal town and Makal village at about 8:00 pm at night. The civilians were coming from Wau Shilluk in search of food. Four people were found dead on Sunday morning and one person was wounded and has been treated in the hospital in UNMISS  compound.   Dinka SPLA forces continue to kill Chollocivilians and this is clearly an orchestrated ethnic cleansing which should be confronted by the international community.

Reports from sources in affected  areas on the ground indicate that children, the elderly, and women are dying every day in Kodok, Wau Shilluk and many other areas in the Shilluk Kingdom in Upper Nile State due to lack of food and medicines. Furthermore, the government of South Sudan is continuing to prevent the NGOs, UN agencies and other aid groups from reaching civilians in the Shilluk land who have been affected by the conflict. Under the internationalhumanitarian law and the laws of war, the South Sudanese government is obligated to allow and facilitate rapid and unrestricted passage of humanitarian relief to civilians who have been affected by the conflict.

We strongly call on UN, IGAD, the AU, the Troika countries and EU to bring more pressure to bear on the government of South Sudan and its partner in crime, the Ugandan government, to immediately stop all forms of indiscriminate aerial bombardments against the civilian population in the Shilluk areas of Upper Nile State, to stop preventing the NGOs  from delivering food aid to the civilians who have been trapped in the West bank of the Nile and for the Ugandan government to withdraw its forces from the area.  The Ugandan bombardment of civilian populations constitutes serious violation of international humanitarian law.

We urge the international community to act against the government of South Sudan and uphold the principles of international humanitarian law by ensuring humanitarian access andassistance to the civilian populations who have been affected by the conflict. In recent weeks the government of South Sudan has intensified its offensive against the rebels in the Upper Nile State and surrounding areas. In this fight against the rebels, the government of South Sudan is committing serious human right abuses, pursuing scorched earth policy and committing war crimes against unarmed civilian populations who are not party to this conflict. What is happening now in the Shilluk Kingdom is similar to what the same so called South Sudan army of the SPLA did in 2010 when they burned entire Chollo (Shilluk) villages, raped hundreds of women and girls and killed an untold number of civilians in Shilluk villages as reported in the following link:

The UNMISS has moral obligation to fulfill its mandate to protect civilians in Malakal town and the entire Shilluk  Kingdom from the violence by ensuring that peacekeepers are deployed in larger numbers to Malakal town and other areas in Upper Nile state.  Despite the fact that Malakal is under control of the government of South Sudan, South Sudan’s government has failed its responsibility to protect the civilians in Malakal, Kodok, Owaci and Wau Shilluk in Upper Nile State. UNMISS should provide more security to protect civilians anddisplaced people in its bases in Malakal and other areas in South Sudan.

What is happening in Upper Nile state is a crime against humanity whereby the killing of civilians continues and acts of terror, atrocities, destruction and looting of properties are committed by the very government forceswho are supposed to protect the civilians. Already many international observers are predicting horrific famine in South Sudan similar to the famine which occurred in 1988 where many lives were lost due to starvation. The following link provides an example of the desperate conditions of the civilians who have been trapped in the conflict in the Shilluk Kingdom in the Upper Nile State of South Sudan:

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) the hospitals in Kodok that were catering for the vulnerable civilian population were left with serious shortages of doctors and medical personnel because ICRC staff could not safely access the area.  In itsrecent report, UNICEF indicated that most of Shilluk civilians on the West bank of the Nile River are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. This link is the latest example of desperate civilian situation of those trapped in the conflict in the Shilluk Kingdom.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and Doctors without Borders also reported the dire situation of the civilians and appealed for urgent humanitarian relief. They and called on the government of South Sudan to allow unrestricted access to Malakal and surrounding areas so that aid agencies can provide urgent humanitarian assistance to thousands of people caught up in the violence in Upper Nile state. This is another Link to the reality of the situation:

We are therefore urgently appealing to the UN and the international community to act and rescue civilians in the Shilluk Kingdom. The suffering of the civilian population in the Shilluk Kingdom continues to worsen due to continuing violence and lack of humanitarian assistance. President Salva Kiir’s regime should know that under the UN Charter for member states, Article 56, they have a legal obligation to respect and ensure respect for human rights such as the rights to food, shelter and basic medical care for the civilian populations in the conflict.

However, It is clear that Kiir’s government continues to deliberately cut off humanitarian assistance to  Chollo (Shilluk) civilian populations along the Nile, in particular on the west bank, including areas hosting large numbers of displaced persons in  Wau Shilluk, Kodok and Owaci. It is also clear that President Salva Kiir’s government is using food as a weapon of war to starving Shilluk civilians.  This is the worst human rights violation under international humanitarian law and the world must act to stop the killing of civilians and save lives.  South Sudan government and Ugandan warplanes continue to bomb civilians in the Shilluk Kingdom of Upper Nile State as we speak.

Your Excellency, your intervention to stop the continuing genocide and crimes against humanity taking place in South Sudan and humanitarian relief for the civilians affected by the conflict is urgently needed. Your Excellency, we believe your leadership can play a crucial role by putting pressure on the government of South Sudan to end its restriction of humanitarian aid for the people of the Shilluk Kingdom and to end the air bombardment against civilian populations.

In conclusion, we respectfully reiterate the following:

1. We urge your Excellency as Secretary General and executive head of the UN, to immediately establish a high-level inquiry and fact finding mission in affectedareas with a view to thoroughly investigate these war crimes and to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

2. We are appealing for urgent humanitarian relief for people in need in Shilluk Kingdom in South Sudan who have been affected by the senseless violence and ignored by the international community.

3. We are urging  the AU, the Troika countries, EU and UN to put pressure on the government of South Sudan to immediately end restriction of humanitarian aid and the provision of food and medicine to the civilian population who have been affected by the conflict.

4. We call upon the  IGAD-plus, the AU, the Troika countries, EU and UN to condemn these crimes against humanity and  bring more pressure on the government of South Sudan and its partner in crime the Ugandan government to immediately stop all forms of indiscriminate aerial bombardments against the civilian populations.

5. We urge  the IGAD-plus, the AU, the Troika countries,  the EU and the UN to directly engage in the current peace talks and  actively support efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement of the ongoing crisis and exert pressure on warring parties for an enduring peace in South Sudan.

Yours Sincerely,

Signed by the Chollo (Shilluk) Community in Diaspora

1. Mr. Michael Aban Kalkon
2. Mr. Othow Kur Awang
3. Mr. Jwothab Wanh Othow
4. Mr. Aban Pagan Othow
5. Mr. Otom Oluak Nyawello
6. Mr. Yusuf Apara Nawi
7. Mr. Chol Ocam Allan
8. Mrs. Lucia Peter Tug
9. Mrs. Teresa Nyaum Nawi
10. Mr. Oyot Samuel Ador
11.Mr. Bolis Agal
12. Mr. Charles Bartholomew Anyang
13. Mr. Ywomo Arop Byenyo
14. Mr. Augustine Afamet Ochoung
15. Mr. Okoth Omai Awak
16. Mr. Fabio Mathew Deng
17. Mr. Ongien Ojwok Ding
18. Mr. Omai Othow Ajak
19. Mr. Obwony Odhong Yowin
20. Mr. Sabit Okwagi
21. Mr. Francis Nyawello Chan
22. Mr. Lwanyo Padiet
23. Mr. Johnson Owaci Okwac Deng
24. Mr. Andrew Nijok BOL
25. Mr. Michael Yowdo
26. Mr. Peter Adieng Ding  
27. Mrs.  Kwach-Kwan Abwol
28. Mr.Lewis Dengangok
29.Mrs. Rita Saviro Ayik
30. Mr. Peter Opach
31. Mr. Emmnuel James Bol
32. Mr. Tyson Anny Laa
33. Miss. Niveen Anny Laa  
34. George Pagak Akuey
35. Olanyi Amum Lueth
36. Benino Aban
37. Michael Chol Tip
38. Silvio William
39. Mrs. Nyaban Kiir
40. Mrs. Veronica Mojwok Ajak
41. Mr. Chan Aba Nyakwol
42. Ms. Nyachagjwok Chan Aba
43. Anna Chan Aba
The United Kingdom
1. Dr Joseph Kucburo Ajang
2. Mr. Peter Fashoda Ageng
3. Mr. Gabriel Gwang Ajang
4. Mr. Karlo Kwol Akol
5. Mr. Ojiango Abar Dingmejok
6. Mr.  Okuc Peter Awol Ajal
7. Mrs. Mary Otor
8. Mrs. Veronica Saverio Ayik
9. Mrs. Lucia Aywok Bol
10. Dr.  Ronyo Mayik
11. Mr.  Akic Adwok Lwaldeng
12. Mr.  Lam Arop Yor
13. Mrs.  Vivian Joseph Kur Nyidhok
14. Mr.  Mojwok Goldit Akwot
 15. Mrs. Nyagith Mayik Diing
 16. Mrs.  Suzana Tom
 17. Mrs.  Regina Simon Twong
 18. Mr. Michael Olwak Godying
 19. Mr.  Charles Bedipiny Fashoda
 20. Mr.  Emmanuel Kimo Fashoda
  21. Miss.  Adelina Pwochjwok Fashoda
  22. Miss. Viviana Peter Fashoda
1. Mr. William Amum
2. Mr. Samuel Otong
3. Mr. Sabino Diok
4. Mr. Emmanuel Jimmy
5. Oyath Aromi
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8. Mr. Peter Ojwal
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11. William Goldiet
12. Paul Nyibek
13. Mark M. Mayott
14. Linda Akoj.
1. Mr. Paul J.Kwajakwan
2. Mrs.Assunta A.Ajang
3. Dr. Banydhuro S.Oyay
4. Mr. John D. Kuldite
5. Mrs. Lucia A.Ajang
6. Mr. Chol K.Afaj
7. Mrs. Rebecca Y.Okaj
8. Mr. Simon A.Landid
9. Mr. Simon Arop Okyij
10. Mrs. Lucia John Obwony
11. Mrs. Luciano Ador
12. Achol Simon Othom
13. Mr. Francis Akic Ajang Yowm
14. Oudriko Mayoum
15. Alia Gakug
16. Mr. Peter Deng
17. Mr. Mojwok Pasqualla Mayom
18. Mr. Aban M.Lwanyo
19. Mr. Bob A.Bwogo
20. Mr. Kudit Geil
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22. Rita J.Along
23. Maria Awak Joseph
24. Mr. Ezekiel R.Arop
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27. Rebecca S. Oyay
28. Suzy A. Okony
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32. Mer Kwajakwan
34. Tito Kwajakwan
35. Mr. Philip Awu
36. Mr. Othow Kudit Chalker
37. Mr. Tipo Mel
38 .Mrs. Elizabeth Atilio
39. Ashwill Mayiik
40. Mr.PachaiyPathum A .Nyikako
41. Mr. Orito Olami Awu
42. Dodo Daniel Mongo
43. Vivian Akol Ajawin
44. Ayak Yor Kak Bol
45. Mr. Isaac Ayul Deng
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48. Mer Anthony Kuol
New Zealand
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8. Mrs. Pachok Juma Abba
9. Miss. Patricha Pawill Kim Adowk
Other locations
1. Mr. Simon Pagan Obur Ajak - Sweden.
2. Mr. Nyawello Pakwan - U.A.E
3. Mr. David Karial - Egypt
4. Mr.Wialliam Odwol Najok - Germany
5. Dr. John Tito Tipo Adibo - Germany
6. Mr. Youdo Abodayi Shawich - Germany
7. Mr. Joseph Chol lual deng – The Netherland
9. Dr. John Ojur Dennis- Malaysia
10. Mrs.  Frieda Joshua Adieng –The Netherland
Mr. Barrack Obama - President of the United States of America
The Rt Honourable David Cameron MP Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Mr. Tony Abbott - Prime Minister of Australia
Mr. Stephen Harper- Prime Minister of Canada
Mrs. Erna Solberg- Prime Minister of Norway
H.E. Omar Hassan Al Bashir- President of the Republic of the Sudan
H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn - Prime Minister of Ethiopia & IGAD Chairman
H.E. Jean-Claude Juncker-President of the European Union
H.E. Mrs. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – Chairperson of the African Union Commission

South Sudan’s rebel leader declares “permanent ceasefire”

Addis Ababa, August 28, 2015 (SSNA) -- The leader of South Sudanese rebels Dr. Riek Machar has declared permanent truce with Salva kiir’s government forces, saying his armed movement is committed to peace and it abides by the IGAD-Plus signed document.

In an order extended to the South Sudan news Agency (SSNA), Machar cites Chapter II article 1.1 of the IGAD-Plus’s compromise peace agreement on the resolution of South Sudan’s civil war as reason for his order.

“Reference to Chapter II article 1.1 of the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of south Sudan signed on 17th August 2015 in Addis Ababa, and 26th August 2015 in Juba, I, Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM/SPLA), hereby order all SPLM/SPLA forces to cease fire in the country as of midnight 29th August 2015,” the directive reads in part.

The leader of the armed opposition also orders the SPLA-IO forces to remain alert and to act only if they are attacked by the rival forces.

“All forces are to remain alert in their current positions and to act only on self defence or respond upon aggression,” Machar further stated.

On Thursday, the rebel leader also said government troops attacked SPLA-IO's positions in the oil-rich Unity State and accused Juba of violating the peace deal.

Dr. Machar signed the IGAD-Plus’s compromise peace agreement on the 17th of August. His opponent, Kiir, signed the pact on August 26 in Juba; nine days after he declined to sign the same document in Ethiopia.

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