May 18, 2013 (JUBA) – Western diplomats, alarmed by the increasing violence South Sudan’s Jonglei state, have issued a joint statement calling for an end to the conflict in the country’s largest region.
The joint statement, also obtained by Sudan Tribune, bears names of envoys from the US, UK, Canada, The Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and the European Union.
The diplomats, in the 18 May release, said they are “deeply” disturbed by mounting reports of abuse of civilians, including killings, beatings, and looting and destruction of homes and humanitarian facilities.
“We urge all parties – including the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and other state and non- state armed actors – to ensure that all civilians, regardless of ethnic group, are protected during armed conflict,” partly reads the joint statement issued by the US embassy in Juba.
We call on the government to hold accountable those individuals who have committed abuses in Jonglei, including members of the security forces, through transparent judicial processes, it stressed.
They further urged all parties to enable humanitarian space in Jonglei, including ensuring safe and unfettered access for humanitarian workers and United Nations representatives to provide assistance and protection to all affected populations, and to enable all wounded to access medical care.
The worsening situation in Jonglei, the diplomats argued, requires a “political and not a military” solution, further underscoring the need for dialogue between all parties to begin at once.
“We commend the government of the Republic of South Sudan for its recent offer of amnesty to South Sudanese armed groups, and we urge the groups’ leaders to accept the pardon immediately,” further says the joint statement.
The western envoys, however, reminded the southern government that ending the conflict in the troubled region requires meeting basic needs and addressing the grievances of communities, distinct from meeting demands of rebel leaders.
“We encourage the government to urgently address these issues,” they said.
SALVA KIIR WARNS AGAINST VIOLENCE
South Sudan president, Salva Kiir on Friday warned armed rebel groups and “ill-disciplined” elements within the regular security forces to halt violence against innocent civilians in the country.
The president’s warning comes in the wake of the growing levels of violence against civilians in South Sudan’s Jonglei state and other parts of the country.
“The Government will not tolerate any violence against its citizens or looting of any property, whether belonging to citizens or humanitarian agencies,” Kiir said in a strongly-worded statement issued Friday.
The president, in the statement obtained by Sudan Tribune, also warned that members of the country’s security forces engaged in violent acts on civilians will be held accountable.
Last week, rouge elements within the army staged road blocks in Bor, the Jonglei state capital and allegedly beat up civilians, in protest over delayed salary payments.
The president, however, expressed dismay over continued distabilisation of the country and terrorising of civilians by armed militias, despite several amnesty offers for them to surrender.
He said his government was determined to take all the necessary steps aimed at achieving peace and stability in the young nation.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46621
Several foreign diplomatic missions have issued security warnings to their citizens in response to the deteriorating security situation in Sudan. Warnings have been in place for some time; however the tone of recent messages has become more urgent.
On Tuesday, the US Embassy in Khartoum issued a security alert “temporarily prohibiting all discretionary travel of US Government employees and their family members to Omdurman”. Situated on the western bank of the Nile, Omdurman is Sudan’s largest city; the country’s commercial heart.
This weeks’ security alert follows a similar message from the US Embassy on 8 May, informing US citizens in Sudan that “due to heightened security threats, the Embassy is exercising caution by temporarily limiting the movements of official US citizens and family members. This includes, but is not limited to, avoiding public gatherings and avoiding locations frequented by Westerners.”
The US security concerns were echoed with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which has issued a “negative advice” against all travel to Darfur, the Red Sea State border with Eritrea; the Abyei region; South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, while advising against all but essential travel to “areas west of the towns of An-Nahud in North Kordofan up to the Darfur border”.
The British warning highlights “a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. “The FCO believes terrorists are planning to kidnap westerners in Sudan, probably in Khartoum”.
The US and British concerns run parallel to warnings that have been issued by the Swiss and Dutch Embassies over the past few weeks.
Article source: http://www.radiodabanga.org/node/49039
May 5, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – The African Union (AU) has condemned Saturday’s attack in Sudan’s disputed Abyei region, in which the paramount chief of the Ngok Dinka, Kuol Deng Kuol, and a UN peacekeeper were killed.
AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said she had been shocked to learn of the attack on the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA), which occurred on the same day as a meeting held between members of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC).
Kuol and an Ethiopian peacekeeper were shot dead in an ambush by members of the rival nomadic Arab Misseriya tribe, while they were travelling in a UNISFA convoy on their way back to Abyei town from a visit to an area further north. Two other peacekeepers were also seriously wounded.
“The chairperson condemns, in the strongest possible terms, this heinous crime, which threatens the stability of Abyei, as well as the progress recently achieved by Sudan and South Sudan in addressing their common security and socio-economic challenges”, the AU said in a statement on Sunday.
Dlamini-Zuma has urged Sudanese government to ensure that those responsible for the attack are brought to justice. She also called on the leadership of both Sudans to exercise restraint and to ensure that the current situation does not spiral out of control.
The chairperson reiterated the AU’s support for decisions adopted by AJOC, including calls for Abyei to be a ‘weapons-free area’, as per an agreement on temporary arrangements for the administration and security of the area, signed by Sudan and South Sudan in June 2011.
“She calls on the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to take all steps required to assist UNISFA to exercise its mandate in Abyei, and in particular calls on the two governments not to arm their citizens”, the statement adds.
The AU chairperson also expressed her condolences on behalf of the commission to the Ngok Dinka community, as well as to the family of the Ethiopian peacekeeper killed in the attack.
The US embassy in Khartoum also issued a statement condemning the attacks, describing Kuol’s death as a major loss for the Ngok Dinka people.
“We express our profound sadness at their loss of life … We mourn his death and extend our deep condolences to his family and the Ngok Dinka people”, the statement said.
“The UNISFA peacekeeper was killed in the line of duty – protecting others in the service of peace. We likewise mourn his loss and express our deep condolences to his family, the people of Ethiopia and the United Nations” it adds.
The US has also urged the parties to the conflict in Abyei to work with the AJOC to conduct a transparent and effective investigation into the incident.
The divergent positions of Khartoum and Juba over the participation of the Misseriya nomads in a referendum expected to be held in October have hampered the organisation of the vote, which was originally scheduled to take place in January 2011.
Although large numbers of Misseriya have traditionally used the territory to graze and water their cattle at different times of the year, South Sudan maintains that only those permanently residing in the area should be allowed to vote.
In a bid to end the deadlock between the two countries, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) endorsed a proposal excluding the Misseriya from voting.
The Dinka Ngok comprise the majority of Abyei’s permanent residents and would be expected to vote for Abyei to become part of South Sudan.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46481