7 - 13 September 2015
Compiled by Vincent Marquis
- Tense political climate amidst ceasefire violation
- Discussions continue over peace agreement
- Violence against journalists and activists continues
- Violence erupts in Western Equatoria State
- Fighting resumes in Lakes State
1. Tense political climate amidst ceasefire violation
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 7, 2015, in English) Ceasefire: SPLA seeks US and UN roles in monitoring violations
- The SPLA has called on the United States and the United Nations to intervene in monitoring violations of the ceasefire between the government troops and forces of the SPLM-IO. The appeal comes days after many reported serious violations of the ceasefire.
- SPLA spokesperson Colonel Philip Aguer says the US and the UN should fill the gap that he claims was created by IGAD, adding that the regional body should have created a mechanism to monitor and report on who is violating the ceasefire.
- The US recently circulated a draft document at the UN Security Council, detailing possible sanctions if the peace agreement signed last month is not implemented. Similarly, last week, the UN expressed the threat of more sanctions on the government and the opposition should they fail to fully implement the deal.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 8, 2015, in English) South Sudan army moves on rebel-held positions in Upper Nile despite ceasefire
- South Sudan’s government has hired war-planes from the government of Uganda and has continued to bomb rebel-held positions, defending the action as a move to regain territories from rebels and secure the airport of Upper Nile state’s capital, Malakal.
- The official who defended the activities of the government claimed opposition forces were hostile to aircrafts passing over the area, noting that in June rebels shot at a UNMISS aircraft carrying supplies, mistaking it for a government plane carrying troops.
- Officials in Malakal said citizens are confused as the national government in Juba continues to launch attacks against rebels while senior officials speak publicly about respecting the ceasefire and implementation of the peace agreement.
- The accusation came a day after Kiir admitted that his forces had been violating the ceasefire and warned of punitive measures against any military officer who would not comply with his orders, instructing the army’s chief of general staff to observe the ceasefire.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 11, 2015, in English) S. Sudanese army, rebels clash in Central Equatoria state
- Fresh clashes erupted on Thursday between the South Sudanese army and the armed opposition forces, barely a month after the two rival factions signed the peace agreement.
- The Commander of the armed opposition faction in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria state, Major Gen. John Kenyi, said pro-government forces attacked their bases west of Central Equatoria, accusing them of attempting to regain their territories.
- The senior rebel commander further warned government forces against continued attacks, saying they would be forced to retaliate. Both warring factions have traded accusations of hostilities despite declaring a permanent ceasefire after they signed the peace agreement.
2. Discussions continue over peace agreement
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 7, 2015, in English) S. Sudan’s Kiir warns “spoilers” could derail peace agreement
- South Sudan President Salva Kiir told US Secretary of State John Kerry that “spoilers” could take advantage of the absence of a joint command council of senior military officers of the rival forces and derail the implementation of the peace agreement.
- President Kiir, his aide said, told Kerry he was committed to the full implementation of the deal, but reportedly feared such efforts could be derailed if a joint command was not immediately established to carry out monitoring and verification mechanisms on ground.
- The official admitted Kiir was aware of the presence of some elements in his cabinet and in the army who are opposed to the deal, citing the army chief of staff, Paul Malong, who reportedly defied and disrespected the President at a consultative meeting held in Juba.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 7, 2015, in English) S. Sudan cabinet approves formation of peace implementation body
- The South Sudan Cabinet passed two administrative decisions endorsing the formation of a high-level committee to oversee the implementation of the peace deal recently signed to end months of conflict in the nation.
- Also unanimously approved was a resolution applauding President Salva Kiir’s decision to sign the compromise peace agreement with the armed opposition faction led by his former Vice-president Riek Machar.
- The country’s Information Minister, Michael Makuei Lueth urged the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to facilitate the implementation of the deal, claiming the regional bloc had placed itself at the centre of the decision-making process.
3. Violence against journalists and activists continues
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 10, 2015, in English) S. Sudan newspaper editor quits journalism over death threats
- Nhial Bol Aken, the editor-in-chief of The Citizen and one of the most critical journalists in South Sudan, has quit journalism, citing personal security and safety concerns after allegedly receiving several death threats from government agents.
- “It was not simple decision to make. It was difficult choice to make but I have finally decided to quit journalism after my family and I have concluded that I should stop due to security and safety reasons,” Aken said.
- Journalists in South Sudan are recurring targets of violence, forcing many of them to either change their profession or adopt new strategies including self-censorship. Independent media houses interested in investigative journalism are seen as "destabilizers” and often encounter obstacles when trying to publish their pieces.
- Nine journalists have been killed so far in the past four years since South Sudan became gained independence in July 2011.
4. Violence erupts in Western Equatoria State
(Gurtong, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 13, 2015, in English) Fresh shooting in Maridi, Western Equatoria State
- Fresh shooting began on Saturday morning in Maridi town, Western Equatoria State. The County Commissioner, Wilson Yanga, confirmed that gunshots were heard in the town but said authorities are still unsure as to the cause of the shooting and who was involved in it.
- Yanga said the shooting also extended to the area of Hai Gabete, adding that his security team is working to resolve the situation. Several civilians fled their homes, according to eyewitnesses.
- In June end July, similar clashes broke out in the area between Dinka pastoralists and local residents. At least 10 people were killed in those events and many fled their homes to neighbouring counties.
5. Fighting resumes in Lakes State
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated September 11, 2015, in English) 5 killed in Pagoor-Lakes
- The Commissioner of Chueibet County in Lakes State, Mayom Malek, says five people were killed after a cattle raid in Pagoor Payam. Malek said the men were shot dead after youth pursued the raiders to try to recover the stolen cattle.
- “They came and raided some cattle in Chueibet County. The cattle belong to Pagoor Payam. Therefore, the youth who are the cattle owners ran after them until they reached the border. This is where they clashed,” Malek said.
- Malek said the youth are suspected to be from Rumbek Center, but authorities there have yet to confirm that information.