‘A Return To Civil War In South Sudan’ Julian Questioned

Mr. Taban Deng Gai, First Vice President of South Sudan, at UN General Assembly in New York(Photo: UN)

Mr. Taban Deng Gai, First Vice President of South Sudan, at UN General Assembly in New York(Photo: UN)

September 30, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— JUBA – The South Sudan’s First Vice President Taban Deng Gai carries out a public relations offensive in New York and Washington this week, all indications suggest that the country is teetering dangerously close to collapsing back into civil war.

Nyamile press has obtained this summary report from the Julian Wyss, program assistant in the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, Gai’s visitation and carrying out public relations offensive in New York and Washington was on Friday last week on Friday.

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On Friday, Deng addressed the United Nations General Assembly, insisting that South Sudan is “stable, peaceful, and that my government is functioning and life is returning back to normal.” Only a day later, however, the country’s top opposition leader and former Fisrt Vice President, Riek Machar, issued calls for renewed armed resistance against President Salva Kiir’s government.

While the US Department of State “strongly condemned” Machar’s renewed call to arms, veteran South Sudan watchers have called the move anticipated, following Machar’s hasty exit from the capital city of Juba in July after government forces destroyed his house. Machar was subsequently replaced as First Vice President by Deng, a controversial move likely in violation of the August 2015 peace agreement. While the peace agreement is still technically in effect, it remains unclear how widely it is being observed.

Since Saturday, the veiled reports trickling out of the country suggest that the political situation is deteriorating. On Tuesday morning, Machar’s forces reported an attack by government troops on their garrison in the northern town of Bentiu, the capital of Unity State. An opposition spokesperson indicated that Machar’s troops were planning action against government forces in Juba and advised UN staff to evacuate the capital to avoid being trapped in the fighting.

Also on Tuesday, top leadership of the Cobra Faction of the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (SSDM/A) of the government’s armed forces publically defected from Kiir’s government, indicating that their 16,000 troops would join opposition forces fighting against Juba. The SSDMA/A is composed mostly of ethnic Murle South Sudanese.

Kiir’s military has also been investing in more technically advanced weaponry, recently acquiring two Aero L-29 Albatross fighter jets. While the origin of these jets remains unclear, preliminary reports suggest that they were serviced and painted in Uganda, a country with which South Sudan has a military cooperation accord.

Even in Juba, firmly under the control of Kiir’s forces, stability remains elusive. On Tuesday night, twenty minutes of intense shooting broke out in a suburb of Juba. Police blamed the incident on “criminals” and refused to provide additional details. The crackdown on press freedom also continues. Earlier this week, the body of veteran journalist Isaac Vuni was found in Juba. Vuni, a vocal critic of the Kiir administration, was abducted by unidentified troops in June 2016 (though unofficial reports suggest that his abductors were wearing government-issued military uniforms). Since December 2013, over eight journalists have been killed in South Sudan.

Moreover, the rainy season in South Sudan, which typically makes the roads impassable and fighting difficult, is quickly coming to an end. Average precipitation rates typically drop significantly through October and November. Fighting is more likely in the coming months as commanders are able to more easily move supplies and personnel. South Sudanese refugees continue to flood into neighboring Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, another warning sign that local populations are anticipating an escalation.

Taken together, these indicators suggest that renewed fighting may not be far off for the world’s youngest country.

More troubling still, however, is the rising protection threat facing the 200,000 South Sudanese civilians—mostly women and children—sheltering in UN-administered Protection of Civilians (POC) sites, many of whom belong, like Machar, to the Nuer ethnic group, the second largest in the country.

Deng, while also ethnically Nuer, has been denounced both by the ethnicity’s tribal chiefs, as well as Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition. In his visit to Washington this week, Deng accused Machar of refusing to allow the civilians to leave the camps, of politically organizing, and recruiting in them. There is little available evidence to support this claim.

Regardless of its validity, this claim should be a red flag for the international community. If the country were to regress into civil war, accusations that POCs are benefiting Machar could be easily used as a justification to attack them. While the United National Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is responsible for protecting the camps, the force has failed to stop several massacres in them in the past. UNMISS inaction during the attack of the Terrain Hotel compound in Juba and gang-rape of foreign aid workers by South Sudanese troops, despite being located less than a mile away, was also likely noted by those keen on disbanding the camps. The United Nations Security Council has authorized a more robust protection force for the country, but the Kiir administration has repeatedly stalled its deployment, squabbling over various details.

Ultimately, however, effective protection of South Sudanese will require more than peacekeepers. Decisive international action in South Sudan is urgently needed to prevent a collapse back into civil war.

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4 comments

  • 1. Lets start off with a crude but tough statement.
    1. There is no leadership in Juba
    2. Kiir has been occupying his seat for 11 years now, and chances that he will change in the next 2 years based on past performance somewhat less than zero.
    3. I respect outcomes, positive outcomes and there is really nothing to show for the last decade in Juba. So there is no respect or adoration for Kiir, who in his capacity a President holds they key to progress.
    4. There was an incredible amount of goodwill capital in the South Sudan “Goodwill account” since 2005 and through 2011. Not only has Kiir and his types in Juba squandered billions of dollars in real money, but a lot more seriously, they have bankrupted the goodwill accounts.
    5. UN, EU, Troika and the rest of the international community have seen through Kiir and his antics. they all know that the Juba people serve lies upon lies, using any outlet available. Now with taban added as another parrot endlessly propagating the same old junk messages as the world has come to detest. There is peace everywhere in South Sudan (that is except in those places were it isn’t).
    6. Paid spin doctors set in to try to defend the indefencible. Accusing any and all coming with truth of either being against South Sudan or telling lies. Attack being the strategy of Juba.
    7. Kiir says he wants peace – easy, stop fighting and killing your own people
    8. Kiir has promised the UNMISS free access time and time again. But never followes through on the promise.

    Time to realize that the People of South Sudan need a proper government. There is nothing to save in the current Juba setup, save a few offices and some junk leather sofas and other Kiir paraphernalia. There is certainly no government function worth saving. in fact, if Kiir took his entourage to some other country and let the offices be empty, at lest the constant work against peace and the people would stop. This is clear to see for all.
    Seeing the sycophants kissing the hand of Kiir on SSTV is revolting. The bishops also kissing the hand of death and destruction, the hand of the devil is appalling. It is sick for all those suffering in South Sudan today.

    Everyone takes ill about the opposition, accusing the opposition of being power hungry, when the fact is that the real power hunger sits with Kiir and his old cronies in Juba.

    Why not give the opposition a chance?

    They couldn’t possibly do a worse job than Kiir has done (impossible even if you stick a dead and half rotten goat into the presidential office in Juba.
    When will the greed and suffering stop? Will we have to wait for Kiir and JCE to die of old age?

    The UN and AU IGAD should immediately deploy forces to Juba, and throughout South Sudan.
    Arming them so that can eliminate any threats on land or by air to any civilians under threat by Kiir and his murderous mob. Taking Kiir to criminal court can wait until peace has returned.

    And also, the ongoing purchase of (temporary) loyalty which Taban and his people is doing is revolting, use the money to buy food for the masses not for a few WEW people.

    Realize that paid loyalty ends immediately the money runs out. And so the cycle of violence continues.

  • SPLM has to change itself because it is too stupid.

  • Stop Hacking,otherwise i will pass those Unknown Phones Numbers to Nyamilepedia or others Media and most of will you lost the Jobs like Dr.Riek Machar. Edward Snowden,Julian Assange in hiding and Machar on RAN.

    • I meant most of you will lost jobs. Those secret Phones should have being use for security only and not personal one. Protect the country and People instead of me and myself.