May 5,2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan said on Sunday that it will reclaim the oil- producing region of Abyei from the government of neighboring Sudan with which it has repeatedly failed to settle the region’s final status “at any cost”, and repeated accusation to Khartoum of “masterminding” the killing of paramount chief Kuol Deng Kuol on Saturday.
South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit (Reuters)
Kuol,was killed during following a standoff that lasted for several hours with armed members of the Misseriya who claimed that the Dinka Ngok chief was passing through their land without permission.
However, Sudan’s interior ministry said in a statement today that the armed Misseriya demanded from Kuol that their stolen cattle stolen by Dinka Ngok returned to them.
The tribal leader was being escorted in a convoy protected by the United Nations Interim Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in the presence of its Ethiopian commander Major General Yohannes Gebremeskel Tesfamariam.
The ministry blamed Kuol for visiting northern Abyei region inhabited by the Misseriya without informing the monitors.
It is not clear who fired the first shot but a Misseriya chief told Agence France Presse (AFP) that the clash happened when a UN peacekeeper soldier shot one of the Misseriya who was readying his weapon.
Sudan said that yesterday’s incidents resulted in 17 deaths and 12 injuries among the Misseriya.
Two people were killed from the Dinka Ngok side including Kuol. One peacekeeper was
killed on spot and two others seriously injured. Later one of the injured soldiers passed away.
South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit sprung up to his feet at a mourning function held in Juba today saying the issue should be left to the governments of Khartoum and Juba to handle it but stressed that he was certain the region would one day return to the South “at any cost”.
“This is sad. No one had expected this to happen at a time when we have accepted to give peace a chance. President Bashir and I have accepted and declared at the press conference here when he visited Juba to work together for peace. I know it pains but this should be left to the government to see what to do. And I only want to assure you that I am certain that Abyei will one day come to the south at any cost”, Kiir told thousands of mourners on Sunday.
South Sudanese minister of information Barnaba Marial said the government condemned the attack in the “strongest term possible” and called on the international community, particularly the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and African Union to investigate and hold those responsible to account.
“The government of the republic of South Sudan condemns this unwarranted and unprovoked attack. This cowardly act of terrorism is unacceptable”, Marial told reporters Sunday.
The minister did not say what the government planned to do but said president Kiir had been engaged in discussion with Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir over the issue since yesterday.
“The government is committed to pursuing this issue. President Salva Kiir Mayardit himself has since yesterday been engaged with president Bashir in discussion to find out how to address the issue”, he said.
South Sudan’s Cabinet Affairs Minister, Deng Alor Kuol accused Sudan of effectively helping members of the Arabs nomads of Misseriya with weapons to carry out attacks in the area.
Minister Alor said chief Kuol was killed with another elder from the area and six others, five of whom are members of the Ethiopians nationals serving as part of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the area.
Three others were wounded and are in stable condition. He warned that the killing of the paramount chief would “open the door to all possibilities”, without elaborating on the remarks but officials and residents argued supply of weapons.
Speaking at the same function, Edward Lino, the Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), on the side of South Sudan and who is also the head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) branch office in the area, said while wiping his face from shedding tears that “he is very sad but was sure the area would not remain in Sudan even if it means losing the whole population in the course of fighting for the liberation of the people from years of bondage”.
“The world is helplessly looking on events unfolding in Abyei as if they are watching soccer. The international community, particularly key players, the America and her allies, the Security Council of the United Nations, the African Union and the regional leaders have left Abyei to be constantly subjected to heinous crimes and killing always committed by the criminals and the indicted president of Sudan and his government. They do not care what the international community says. They believe in seeing”, Lino told reporters Sunday.
Lino said he was only waiting to recover from his sickness and will move into the area with youth group who will accept to follow him.
“I am sad this happened. The issue of Abyei is very simple. It is simple thing because it is about land. This land belongs to us and we will get it from any animal or person by all means because it is ours. Nobody will ever deny our right”, Lino explained to the mourners mainly women and youth groups from the area.
UNISFA SHOOTS AT PROTESTERS IN ABYEI
Meanwhile thousands of people in Agok and in Abyei took to the streets to protest the killing of the chief, burning down shops belonging to Sudanese traders in Abyei town and bringing down a mosque, resulting into exchange of fire with members of the Ethiopian forces in the town.
Local officials and relatives said “three juveniles” were shot in the protest by the United Nations Interim Force for Abyei (UNISFA), generating disquiet and tension in town and the surrounding area.
“Three children, very young below 18 years have been shot by the UNISFA during the protest. They have not died but they are in critical condition. I think Ethiopian forces have a problem with our people. They shoot at our innocent and unarmed civilians and leave those who pose the danger. The Misseriya are at large holding weapons and attacking and killing people and UNISFA does not respond. They only respond when it is something related to the concern of our people”, Mijak Dau, a senior Civil Servant in Abyei town, an administrative headquarters of the area said.
It was unclear whether there were members of the Misseriya tribe or traders from other states in Sudan who were injured or killed during the protests although authorities said no Sudanese nationals were in town during protest.
“There are no traders from Sudan in the area. They fled yesterday after learning the incident. The town is now empty. The protesters only burned empty shops without goods”, said Kuol Deng, a civil servant in Abyei.
Abyei was scheduled to have a referendum in January 2011 to decide its fate but it never took place as Khartoum and Juba disagreed on who should be able to participate.
Last year, the African Union mediation team proposed that a referendum be held in the contested region this October, but that only those residing permanently in the area would be allowed to vote in the plebiscite, and decide whether they want to join Sudan or South Sudan.
This proposal would effectively make the majority of voters come from the Dinka Ngok tribe, aligned with South Sudan, thus putting the Arab Misseriya nomads, who spend several months in Abyei every year grazing, not part of the voting.
According to the mediators, exclusion of the Misseriya nomads, in line with the decision of the Hague-based arbitration court, which defined the territory of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms in July 2009.
However, Sudan swiftly rejected the plan, which received the blessing of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC)
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46474
Committee to Protect Journalists
CPJ calls on African Union to uphold press freedom
New York, May 2, 2013
The Committee to Protect Journalists asks Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the African Union, to uphold press freedom by calling for justice in journalist murders in Africa and for the release of all imprisoned journalists.
May 2, 2013
H.E. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
Chairperson of the African Union
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Via fax and email
Dear Chairperson Zuma:
We ask that you mark World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2013, by calling for the release of all journalists imprisoned in Africa and appealing for justice in the murders of journalists killed in the line of duty.
At least 41 African journalists will spend World Press Freedom Day imprisoned in direct reprisal for their work, according to CPJ research. It is particularly disturbing that Ethiopia and the Gambia, which host offices of the African Union, are among the nations holding journalists in jail. These imprisonments have silenced important voices, often in contravention of regional and international rulings.
Among the seven journalists imprisoned in Ethiopia is Reeyot Alemu, who is serving a five-year term at Kality Prison on baseless terrorism charges lodged after she wrote columns critical of the government. Reeyot was honored in 2013 with the UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize, and in 2012 with the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, among other international institutions, have censured Ethiopia for the imprisonment of Reeyot and other journalists under the country’s overly broad anti-terrorism law. Eskinder Nega, a 2012 laureate of PEN American Center’s Freedom to Write Award, has been imprisoned since September 2011 on fabricated terrorism charges after writing columns discussing the domestic implications of the Arab Spring. The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled that Ethiopia has violated international law by imprisoning Eskinder for the “peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression.” He is serving an 18-year term in prison. The Gambia, home to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, is in violation of rulings by the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States and the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in connection with the 2007 arrest of journalist Ebrima “Chief” Manneh. These entities found Manneh’s detention to be unlawful, and they called for his immediate release. Alarmingly, Gambian authorities cannot account for Manneh’s whereabouts, and over the years have given evasive and inconsistent responses to regional and international inquiries.
More than 80 journalist murders have gone unsolved in Africa since 1992, according to CPJ research. Nigeria and Somalia are among the worst nations in the world in combating deadly, anti-press violence, our 2013 Impunity Index has found. Five journalists have been killed with impunity in Nigeria since 2009. In Somalia, more than 20 murders have gone unsolved over the past decade. These killings are often politically motivated.
Madame chair, critical journalists are not criminals, traitors, or terrorists. Beyond supporting African journalists with training, the African Union should create an open political space that allows news media to report on issues of public interest. Vibrant, independent media that hold government leaders to account are a valuable ally in the pursuit of development and good governance. We urge you to use your office to persuade member states to comply with the letter and spirit of conventions they have signed that uphold press freedom.
Pansy Tlakula, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Med S.K. Kaggwa, Special rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Reine Alapini-Gansou, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46442
April 27, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese army strongly denied allegations that it is providing shelter to the fugitive Ugandan leader of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony.
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Major General Joseph Kony, is seen in an exclusive image at peace negotiations in Ri-Kwangba, southern Sudan November 30, 2008 (REUTERS/Africa24 Media)
The US-based group Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative said in a new report this week that the notorious leader recently directed killings from an enclave protected by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).
Until early this year, according to the report, Kony and some of his commanders were operating in Kafia Kingi, a disputed area along the Sudan-South Sudan border where African Union troops tasked with catching Kony don’t have access.
But SAF spokesperson Colonel al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad told Sudan official news agency (SUNA) that the the report is “baseless and rejected”.
“SAF has no renegade leaders. It is a united army and has no place for individual acts. SAF has no interest in adopting or sheltering rebels from other countries” he added.
During the two-decades Sudanese civil war, which ended in 2005 with a peace deal granting South Sudan the right to seceded in 2011, Uganda sided with the SPLM rebels who now form the government in Juba.
In response, Khartoum was widely accused of backing the LRA, which began operating in South Sudan and elsewhere in Central Africa having been forced out of northern Uganda by the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF).
The LRA was founded by Kony in his Acholi community amid repression from the UPDF. Its stated aim is to overthrow the government in Kampala and install the Bible’s Ten Commandments.
Across Uganda, CAR, DRC and South Sudan the LRA is accused of massive human rights abuses including rape, mutilation, murder and the recruitment of child soldiers.
However, the group is believed to only have a few hundred soldier’s left due to desertions and combined regional attempts – recently backed by United States army advisors and African Union troops – to end the conflict militarily.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46380