14-20 September 2015
Compiled by Vincent Marquis
- Ceasefire violations intensify in Unity State
- National discussions continue over peace agreement
- Upper Nile State launches peace agreement initiative
- Russia and Angola block UN sanctions against South Sudanese officials
- New revelations regarding media censorship
1. Ceasefire violations intensify in Unity State
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 14, 2015, in English) SPLM-IO says Juba government continues attacks on their bases
- South Sudan’s armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) said government forces have continued to violate the permanent ceasefire by attacking their bases in Unity and Central Equatoria states.
- “We have received reports of renewed fighting on Saturday and Sunday morning in Unity and Central Equatoria states. Forces of Salva Kiir have attacked our bases at Katigiri in Wonduruba payam in Central Equatoria state onSaturday and fighting is still going on,” said the opposition leader’s press secretary, James Gatdet Dak.
- Dak said the unprovoked attacks by government forces are a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement, and added that President Kiir’s government was either not committed to the peace agreement or that there are elements within his government who are sabotaging the implementation of the accord.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 14, 2015, in English) South Sudan denies attacking rebel-held areas in Unity state
- The South Sudanese government has denied reports that its forces have attacked rebel-held positions in Unity state, thereby violating the permanent ceasefire as required by the signing of the peace agreement in August.
- “We are surprised by this barbaric act of the rebels. They have violated the ceasefire in broad day light with attacks on the positions held by forces in the state. This is unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” said Unity State’s Governor Joseph Nguen Monytuil in a statement
- Unity State Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports further claimed: “The reports which [I] have seen today are totally blunt lies. We have been closely monitoring the situation on the ground since yesterday when we received reports of the rebels amassing their troops within the vicinity of Bentiu town.”
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 14, 2015, in English) 13 killed as S. Sudan’s warring factions clash in Unity state
- At least 13 people died in clashes between the South Sudanese army (SPLA) and the armed opposition fighters in Unity state, the army spokesperson confirmed.
- Colonel Philip Aguer accused the opposition fighters of attacking government-held positions, describing reports blaming pro-government forces for the attack as a “cover up” by rebels. Aguer added that the SPLA is in control of the situation, but expressed concerns that rebels could capture certain areas.
- Aguer called on the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the global community to deploy ceasefire monitors to verify allegations of ceasefire violations on the ground.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 17, 2015, in English)SPLA, Opposition forces violated peace deal 50 times
- IGAD has released a report indicating violations of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement by the government and the SPLM-IO, which began to take place only a few days after the stakeholders signed the Compromise Peace Agreement in August.
- In the report, IGAD monitors claim that approximately 50 violations have been committed by the warring parties in the last 19 months. 24 of them were committed by the government and 28 by the SPLM-IO.
- The report recommends the IGAD Special Envoys to strongly condemn the two sides for these violations and urge them to commit to the peace agreement.
2. National discussions continue over peace agreement
(Gurtong, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 16, 2015, in English) President Kiir reiterates commitment to implement peace agreement
- President Salva Kiir reiterated his commitment to implement the recently-signed peace agreement, stating: “I am committed to peace and the implementation of the agreement in order to overcome the challenges of humanitarian and economic crisis that are facing our people today in the country.”
- He called upon the people of South Sudan to join hands with the government during the transitional period, until the general election in 2018, to bring peace to the country. “Remember that it is our collective responsibility and love of our country that will make us succeed and feel respected always as one people in one nation.”
- President Kiir reiterated that in his capacity as Commander in Chief of the SPLA he has issued a ceasefire order for SPLA troops to stop any military offences in conflict zones except for purposes of self-defense.
3. Upper Nile State launches peace agreement initiative
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 15, 2015, in English) Upper Nile state launches peace deal implementation drive
- Authorities in South Sudan’s oil-rich Upper Nile state have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the recently-signed peace accord.
- The caretaker governor of Upper Nile, Chol Thon, said: “We used to ask ourselves what is after this peace? We do not know what is coming. We have a very long, painful road ahead but I know that the involvement of our people in the implementation can help change a country’s course”.
- Upper Nile’s Information Minister, Peter Hoth Tuach, has confirmed that various committees have now been formed and given tasks to disseminate the information on the recently-signed agreement to the population at the grassroot level.
4. Russia and Angola block UN sanctions against South Sudanese officials
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 16, 2015, in English) Russia, Angola block UN sanction on S. Sudan’s Malong and Olony, as NGOs condemn
- International human rights groups have condemned the decision made by Russia and Angola to block a draft proposal by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to impose targeted sanctions on South Sudanese military from the two warring parties.
- The UN resolution would impose travel bans and assets freezes on the South Sudanese army’s chief of general staff, General Paul Malong Awan, and the rebel top commander in Upper Nile state, Major General Johnson Olony, for not respecting the ceasefire and pursuing violent attacks.
- In a joint statement to the UN, Enough Project, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemned the move by the two nations, saying individuals who have committed crimes under international law and serious violations of human rights in South Sudan should not be spared.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 17, 2015, in English) Government welcomes blocking of sanctions against Malong
- The South Sudanese government has welcomed the move to block UN sanctions against army chief Gen Paul Malong Awan and opposition forces leader Johnson Olony.
- “The sanctions are ‘nowhere’ because they are derailing the peace process,” Amb Mawien Makol, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman, told Eye Radio. Makol said the government is committed to implementing the August peace deal with the SPLM-IO.
5. New revelations regarding media censorship
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 17, 2015, in English) South Sudan’s newspaper told to cease publication after criticizing government soldiers
- The independent newspaper Juba Monitor has been ordered by security agents in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, not to publish stories on Friday, a source told Sudan Tribune late on Thursday.
- The event occurred after the Editor-in-Chief, Alfred Taban, wrote an editorial castigating the behaviours of the national army in Wunduriba payam that led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people.
- The journalist suggested the army’s “rebooting” and restructuring to reflect the diverse composition of South Sudan. He lamented that South Sudanese communities have to send sons and daughters to the army, who are entrusted to propel nationalism as opposition to tribalism.