7-13 December 2015
Compiled by Vincent Marquis
- National discussions continue over implementation of peace agreement
- Alleged ceasefire violations in Nother Bahr el Ghazal
- Rival Lakes State communities opt for peaceful coexistence
- International criticism of South Sudan media censorship
1. Discussions continue over implementation of peace agreement
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated December 10, 2015, in English) South Sudan president warns of inevitable split of ruling SPLM party
- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has warned of further inevitable split of his faction of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), saying there are those “behaving like dogs” who want to take over leadership from him in Juba.
- The President accused unnamed officials in his party and government of causing further divisions and creating factions using “dirty tactics” to cause havoc and tarnish the image of others. He accused some officials of stoking division while at the same time positioning themselves to eventually succeed him.
- It is unclear which group Kiir was referring to, as there have been speculations that there are groups comprising members of the Jieng Council of Elders and military officers, as well as junior party officials rallying and pushing Paul Malong Awan, army’s chief of general staff, to enter the race and succeed president Kiir.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated December 11, 2015, in English) US conditions funding for peace deal implementation
- The US says it will provide financial support for the implementation of the peace agreement if the warring parties are committed to the process. The special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Ambassador, Donald Booth, made the statement after meeting the foreign relations committee of the senate in DC.
- “By far too regularly, we have heard from both government and opposition that we, the USA and other donor countries, are the ones who must foot the bill for peace or else watch South Sudan return to war,” Ambassador Booth said.
- “In response our message has been clear and consistent. The United States has and will continue to support peace in South Sudan but our funding for implementation will be commensurate with the seriousness and the commitment of both parties to realizing peace.”
- Up to now, the government and the Opposition led by Riek Machar have not agreed on the number of SPLM-IO advance team that should travel to Juba. The opposition has proposed a list of about 600 members. However, the government claims that reception of such a number would be a ‘security risk’.
2. Alleged ceasefire violations in Northern Bahr el Ghazal
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated December 7, 2015, in English) South Sudan army accused of new attacks in W. Bahr el Ghazal state
- The South Sudanese armed opposition group, the SPLA-IO, said their cantonment areas came under attacks by forces loyal to President Salva Kiir in Western Bahr el-Ghazal despite the ceasefire deal signed in August by the two warring parties.
- “Forces loyal to the regime in Juba have continued to target our cantonment areas in clear violation of the ceasefire and security arrangements,” said James Gatdet Dak, official spokesman of the SPLM-IO. “On Saturday government forces attacked our cantonment area in Bazia. They have been however repulsed, but fighting has continued even on Sunday.”
- Dak accused government forces of targeting civilians in the area, saying President Salva Kiir’s forces falsely accused civilians of being supporters of the opposition fighters in the area.
- The two parties in October agreed on a security arrangement to assemble their respective forces in cantonment areas, pending reunification process for at least 18 months of the transitional period.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated December 7, 2015, in English) S. Sudan rival factions trade accusation over clashes in W. Bahr el Ghazal
- South Sudanese rival forces have traded accusations over renewed fighting in several places in the country, despite ongoing preparations to receive an advance team of the armed opposition leadership in support of implementing the peace agreement signed in August.
- The South Sudanese army spokesperson, Philip Aguer, told reporters on Monday that the security situation in most of the country is under control except in Western Bahr el Ghazal and Eastern Equatoria states, where armed groups carried out banditry acts.
- The South Sudanese army official, however, denied allegations that pro-government troops attacked a designated assembling area of the armed opposition forces around Bazia town in Western Bahr el Ghazal state, stressing that it was instead the opposition forces in the area involved in banditry activities and tactics to gain more territories.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated December 8, 2015, in English) Wau: UN accuses SPLA of violating ceasefire
- The United Nations says the SPLA has been conducting military operations since last week in Wau County, Western Bahr el Ghazal State, raising concerns about the violations of the ceasefire and implementation of the peace agreement.
- According to a report by the Inner City Press, the SPLA forces are blocking Wau airport roads and restricting UN travel within Wau. However, the SPLA says it has been pursuing criminals.
- There have been reports of arrests of youth suspected of being sympathetic or members of the SPLM in Opposition in the state. Meanwhile, at least 1,000 people have fled their villages in Wau County due to insecurity, and are now camping in schools in the town.
3. Rival Lakes State communities opt for peaceful coexistence
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated December 8, 2015, in English) Rival communities in Lakes state opt for peaceful coexistence
- Three main rival communities in South Sudan’s Lakes State have accepted in principle to reconcile their differences and coexist peacefully. Youth from the Rup, Kuei and Pakam communities discussed ways of forgiving each another and support free movement on their routes.
- Movement on the road between Rumbek North and Rumbek Central counties had stopped due to fear of counter revenge killings resulting from highway ambushes.
- The county commissioner of Rumbek Central county, Mawet Manuer Kok, confirmed the meeting and expressed confidence that peace will be restored between rival communities. Manuer said discussions covered cattle raiding, counter revenge and rape as well as the way forward on how to reconcile communities.
- Lakes state has remained in a vicious cycle of counter revenge attacks since caretaker governor Maj Gen Matur Chut Dhuol took over more than two years ago, with activists, traditional authorities and intellectuals unsuccessfully calling upon President Kiir to remove Dhuol.
4. International criticism of South Sudan media censorship
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated December 10, 2015, in English) EU slams S. Sudan over media freedom restrictions
- Diplomats from Canada and nine European countries have strongly condemned the government of South Sudan for restricting press freedoms and creating limited political space as a ploy to promote a monolithic view of the nation.
- The statement issued by the Heads of Mission expresses solidarity with members of the South Sudanese society, including members of the media and civil society organisations, and points a finger at the national security service for allegedly violating media freedoms and arbitrarily arresting people in violation of the constitution.
- “A distressing number of the victims of these crimes are women and children. These crimes must be brought to an end and the perpetrators held to account. It recommended that the Hybrid Court for South Sudan after it is established will have to investigate and prosecute individuals bearing responsibility for abuses”, further reads the statement.
- According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), five journalists were killed in direct relation to their work in South Sudan this year. They were killed by unidentified gunmen in January in an ambush as they traveled through Western Bahr el Ghazal state.