1-7 February 2016
Compiled by Vincent Marquis
- Debates over implementation of peace agreement
- Controversy continues over creation of 28 states
- Alleged ceasefire violations in Blue Nile and former Unity State
- Increasing number of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda
- Controversy over new NGO bills
1. Debates and discussions over implementation of peace agreement
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated February 1, 2016, in English) Machar calls on US to support adherence to South Sudan peace agreement
- South Sudanese former Vice President, Riek Machar, has called on the United States government to support the implementation of the peace agreement he signed with President Salva Kiir in August last year.
- Machar, who leads the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), and is the First Vice President designate of South Sudan, also discussed security arrangements with the US envoys during a meeting with the African Union.
- His Press Secretary, James Gatdet Dak, said Machar asked for US support to put pressure on President Kiir, and through other bodies such as IGAD and AU, to revoke the 28 states he unilaterally decreed and implement the peace deal as it was signed based on the existing 10 states.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated February 3, 2016, in English)Peace partners agree to form transitional government ‘soon’
- The South Sudanese Minister of Information says the Transitional Government of National Unity will be established soon before amending the constitution. Michael Makuei made the remark following the fourth meeting of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission in Juba.
- “The Transitional Government of National Unity will continue to discuss the issue of 28 states, and if the Transitional Government of National Unity fails to agree on the issue of the 28 states, then there will be no further operationalization,” he said.
- Minister Makuei said The Transitional Government of National Unity is expected to be established in one or two weeks.
2. Controversy continues over creation of 28 states
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated February 1, 2016, in English) IGAD tells South Sudan to suspend 28 states until review
- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has urged President Salva Kiir and his government to “suspend” the implementation of the 28 states he created, saying the decision is “inconsistent” with the peace agreement signed by warring parties in August 2015.
- In a communiqué released on Sunday after two days of meeting of the IGAD Council of Ministers, the regional bloc also urged the parties to the agreement to soon form a transitional government of national unity (TGoNU) at the national level.
- The statement called on the parties, the government, the SPLM-IO, and other partners in peace, to form a boundary commission with membership of all the parties to the peace agreement and review the process for creating new states.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated February 2, 2016, in English) Opposition parties & government welcome IGAD’s position on more states
- The National Alliance, which has petitioned the Supreme Court of South Sudan over the creation of more states, has welcomed the statement of IGAD asking the government to suspend the creation of 28 states in the country.
- “Although the National Alliance has been calling all along for the decision to create the 28 states to be revoked, we believe that the compromise proposal by IGAD to suspend its operationalization for a month is something we can live with in order to salvage the peace process,” Chairman Lam Akol declared at a news conference in Juba.
- The government has expressed confidence in agreeing with the SPLM-IO on the subject. “We appreciate the decision,” said the Minister of information, Michael Makuei. “We will continue to work together in the road of peace. Definitely, we will agree.”
3. Alleged ceasefire violations in Blue Nile and former Unity State
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated February 1, 2016, in English) SPLM-N claims repelling fresh government attack in Blue Nile
- The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) said its fighters repulsed the eighteenth government attack against the strategic area of Jebel Kolgo, 30 kilometres south west of the Blue Nile state capital of Ed-Damazin.
- In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, SPLM-N official spokesperson Arnu Ngutulu Lodi said their forces repulsed an attack carried out by the government against Jebel Kolgo following a three-hour battle on Saturday morning.
- He stressed the government attack was the 18th of its kind since 2015, saying that 4 government soldiers were killed and 5 SPLM-N fighters were wounded. Lodi expected the government army would renew its attack against Koglo after it reorganizes its forces in Abu Garin area.
- The Sudanese army didn’t comment on the incident.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated February 5, 2016, in English) Armies trade accusations over troop buildups near Bentiu
- The SPLM-IO has made a counter-accusation that government forces have moved out of their deployment areas in the former Unity State. The SPLA has denied the claim, saying it is implementing the peace agreement.
- In a statement, the spokesperson of the SPLM-IO forces, William Gatjiath Deng, says their forces were blocked at Adok Bar Port. He says the government forces have also moved out of their deployment areas and have been assembling at Tharwang Yiela and Torabieth.
- The government made a similar accusation against the SPLM-IO, saying the opposition forces were regrouping around Bentiu and had blocked all routes into the town.
- The two sides are trading accusations just days after agreeing to form a unity government.
4. Increasing number of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated February 5, 2016, in English) More South Sudanese flee to Uganda
- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says there has been a sharp increase in the number of new arrivals of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, saying the refugees are fleeing violence and hunger in the former Western Equatoria, Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria and Jonglei states.
- In a statement, the UNHCR says the Ugandan districts of Adjumani, Arua, and Kiryandongo received about 50 new arrivals per day in the first three days of January, but the number increased to a peak of 700 arrivals on January 7th and 8th.
- The UNHCR says the refugee camp in Adjumani currently hosts more than 3700 South Sudanese refugees; the one in Arua has over 900 and that of Kiryandongo hosts more than 700.
- The commission says it is processing an Emergency Response Team to reinforce response and support to the government and people of Uganda.
5. Controversy over new NGO bills
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated February 3, 2016, in English) New bills give government powers to audit NGOs
- The South Sudanese parliament has passed NGO bills that give powers to the relief and rehabilitation commission to “audit non-governmental organizations when necessary”.
- Last year, members of parliament passed the bills as one but the president sent it back, citing observations that include the power and function of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission. The Deputy Speaker of the national assembly, Mark Nyipuoch, says they have incorporated the observations.
- In addition to auditing, the new bills also empower the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission to “monitor and evaluate all the activities of the non-governmental organizations”.
- The leader of the minority, Onyoti Adigo, says the bill has been passed at a wrong time, saying such bills should have been discussed by the forthcoming transitional parliament.