South Sudan News Agency

Saturday, Oct 10th, 2015

Last update03:08:19 AM GMT

You are here: Opinion

Darfur: Radio Dabanga, News Digest Number 7 | 12 April 2015

By Eric Reeves

April 12, 2015 (SSNA) -- This is the seventh installment of a digest containing what I believe to be the most important stories reported by Radio Dabanga in the previous week. Radio Dabanga has been by far our most important and reliable source of information about what is occurring in Darfur, and provides a great deal more than the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the largely worthless quarterly reports of the UN Secretary-General.

This digest looks back a few days further to pick up important stories not included in the last installment of this digest; still, the oldest story here is dated April 2, 2015. On the eve of Sudan’s electoral travesty, referred to absurdly by the National Congress Party regime as “elections,” a considerable amount of news has been reported by both Radio Dabanga and Sudan Tribune; and while the number of primary stories included here, from both sources, is the usual ten, there are a considerable number of related stories that are important in their own right and have been included in subsidiary positions under various rubrics. This is still perforce highly selective.

There is a separate, concluding section on this week’s elections; perhaps the most important story comes today from Radio Dabanga:

Sudanese civil society call for nation-wide intifada, April 12, 2015 | Khartoum

The Civil Society Initiative stressed that the road chosen by the Sudan Appeal signatories, after the Sudanese government declined to accept the AU invitation to discuss the process of a broad national dialogue in the Ethiopian capital on 29 March, is a mass intifada. It called “on all sectors in the rural and urban areas” to support the Sudan Appeal and the uprising. “Only a nation-wide uprising can release Sudan from the grip of the corrupt ruling National Congress Party, restore peace, rights and freedoms, and rebuild the country based on democracy and equal citizenship,” the statement reads.

These words raise the prospect of extreme violence, as the regime has again given orders for its security forces to use live ammunition in controlling any demonstrations during the election period (“Any demonstration to be fired at with live ammunition”—President and Field Marshal Omar al-Bashir, as reported in minutes for September 10, 2014 meeting of senior military security officials). Hundreds were killed by security forces during the September 2013 demonstrations; Amnesty International has established that these forces were given “shoot to kill” orders from the beginning of the demonstrations.

All dispatches have been edited to some degree for length; any editorial comments on my part appear italicized in [brackets] and in blue; all emphases within the cited texts have been added. The reporting on the election appears at the end of this digest.

Eric Reeves, 12 April 2015

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 1 |

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 2 |

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 3 |

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 4 |

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 5 |

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 6 |

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 7 |—and below


Sudan Tribune |Bashir says Darfur does not need peacekeepers

April 8, 2015 | El Fasher

The Sudanese president Omer Hassab al-Bashir said that Darfur region does not need the hybrid peacekeeping mission (UNAMID), adding that local traditions and customs are enough to resolve conflicts in the region. [Al-Bashir is speaking her from the capital of North Darfur, scene of the worst violence the region has experienced since the early years of the genocide. That al-Bashir’s comments here are, on their face, ludicrous mendacity shows a wider contempt for the people of Darfur, of Sudan, and the international community as a whole.]

Following media reports late last year about mass rape in Tabit, a village 45km southwest of North Darfur capital El-Fasher, Sudanese authorities loudly criticised UNAMID for echoing the news. They were also angered after remarks by UN officials who called for further investigation, pointing to the heavy presence of military and police during the first probe. Since then, Sudan refused to authorise a second investigation and called publicly to speed up the finalisation of an exit strategy for the joint mission from Darfur.

[The mass rape of more than 200 girls and women at Tabit (North Darfur) by regular army forces has been authoritatively established in a lengthy report by Human Rights Watch; Khartoum’s denying the UN the opportunity for further investigation only works to make clear how dismayed the regime is at the uncovering of some of its atrocity crimes in North Darfur. This is the real reason for the increasingly energetic calls that the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) be withdrawn. If the force is withdrawn, it will precipitate a complete breakdown in humanitarian operations.]

Addressing an electoral rally in El-Fasher on Wednesday, Bashir expressed regret over the killing of dozens during recent clashes between Berti and Zayadia tribes in North Darfur state... He said the conflict between the two tribes was not due to normal differences but a result of a conspiracy that aimed at destabilising the region and sabotaging elections.

The Sudanese president warned Darfur people against allowing Satan to fuel discord among them through tribalism and regionalism, saying there is no difference between Arab and African tribes. [No one is more responsible for exacerbating ethnic tensions and violence than al-Bashir and his National Congress Party regime. His infamous Janjaweed militia commander Musa Hilal conveyed the views of the regime all too well in an August 2004 memorandum: “Change the demography of Darfur and empty it of African tribes.” The effort to “change the demography” of Darfur is nowhere more energetically pursued than in North Darfur, the location of al-Bashir’s campaign speech.]

“Do you need anyone to reconcile among you? Do you need UNAMID? Do you need the AU, UN or IGAD?” he said. [Al-Bashir would have this heard as a rhetorical question; for most Darfuris it is anything but.]

Bashir praised steadfastness of the residents of El-Fasher and their resistance to the rebellion for 12 years, vowing to uproot rebellion during a brief period of time. [The same vow was made over eleven years ago, with the same arrogance and contempt—and inaccuracy.]

He congratulated the residents of El-Fasher for the Al-Inghaz Al-Gharbi highway, pledging to complete renaissance and development in the region. [Members of al-Bashir’s regime are utterly shameless in offering promises they know they can’t keep.]

“Darfur does not need UNAMID protection”: Al Bashir

April 9, 2015 | El Fasher

Concluding his electoral campaign in the five states of Darfur, President Omar Al Bashir told supporters in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, on Wednesday that the Darfuris do not need to be protected by foreign peacekeepers. He stressed that Darfur has a long tradition in resolving disputes... “Do you need someone to tell you how to find reconciliation between yourselves? Do you need UNAMID? Do you need the African Union? Do you need the UN?” Al Bashir asked hundreds of supporters. [It is true that Darfur had traditionally been blessed with mechanisms for reconciliation, compensation, and adjudication of disputes between tribal groups; al-Bashir’s genocidal counter-insurgency campaign has destroyed these almost completely.]

“Despite the rebels’ claim that Darfur is marginalized, they continuously impede the government's efforts to build schools and dig wells.” [This is pure fabrication, a shameless lie in an effort to deflect blame for what all recognize has been a decades-long marginalization of Darfur and other peripheral regions.] “[The rebels] are trading the cause of Darfur, following a foreign agenda.” He said that the rebels will soon be eliminated. “No post will be obtained with a gun anymore.” [This comes from a man who seized power by military coup in June 1989 and has never since participated in a meaningful election.]

The president’s visit to the North Darfur capital was preceded by tight security measures. The town’s Grand Market and the shops at the main roads were shut, a merchant informed Radio Dabanga. He said that men in civilian clothes ordered the shop and stall owners to attend the speech of Al Bashir. One of the sheikhs of the Zamzam camp for the displaced near El Fasher told Radio Dabanga that most of the camp residents boycotted the visit of Al Bashir, “except for a few people who joined the ruling National Congress Party in an attempt to meet some of their needs.” He compared the president’s visit to Darfur with “a murderer who visits the cemetery to dance on gravestones of his victims.”

• Sudan Tribune | Sudanese warplanes kill 14 civilians in Central Darfur

April 7, 2015 | Khartoum

Sudanese army warplanes killed 14 civilians during an airstrike carried out in Central Darfur state a week ago, said the UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. “The Joint AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is able to confirm the dropping of 10 bombs which led to the killing of 14 civilians and the wounding of 18 others in Rowata, Central Darfur, on 1 April,” Dujarric said at a press conference at the UN Headquarters on Tuesday. [We must be grateful for this extraordinarily rare confirmation from UNAMID of an airstrike that not only violated UN Security Council 1591 (March 2005), banning all military air flights in Darfur, but clearly—given the nature of the attack—is a war crime. In aggregate, the bombing attacks on civilians in Darfur—of which only a miniscule fraction have been investigated by UNAMID—are crimes against humanity (see ).

[The] government recently intensified the airstrikes in Darfur ahead of general elections, which will take within a week. The rebel groups vowed to disrupt the electoral process in solidarity with a campaign launched by the opposition forces calling to boycott the elections. Dujarric said the army continues its attacks, adding [that] bombs dropped in the area failed to kill peacekeepers who were present in the area on Monday. “Yesterday, a verification patrol was dispatched to Rowata; while it was in the village, the team witnessed another aerial bombardment, consisting of five bombs dropped close to where they were standing,” he said. The UN mission strongly condemns such aerial bombings, which cause widespread death, destruction and displacement of populations, he further said. [And “condemnation” is all the UN and African Union are prepared to offer the people of Darfur; there is absolutely no plan to compel a cessation of attacks that have been ongoing for twelve years. In turn, the sense of total impunity on Khartoum’s part is only more fully confirmed if nothing of consequence follows from aerial attacks that were actually witnessed while in progress by UNAMID observers.]


Gang-rape, beatings, robberies in Kutum, North Darfur

April 7, 2015 | Kutum Locality

A group of militiamen gang-raped a girl (15) of Kassab camp for the displaced in Kutum locality on Sunday. In two separate incidents, other Kassab camp displaced were beaten and robbed... [A] Kassab camp activist reported that militiamen riding on camels attacked four young women who were collecting firewood and straw five kilometres north of the camp. “They beat three of the women with their whips, and kept them silent at gunpoint, while they seized the fourth, and raped her alternately,” she said. “The victim was transferred, severely bleeding and in a bad mental state, to a health clinic in the vicinity.”

Other Kassab camp residents were intercepted by militiamen on the same day, when they were collecting firewood southwest of the camp. “They beat and whipped them, and robbed them of their money, mobile phones, three donkey carts, and the axes and ropes used for collecting the wood,” a camp elder said. In Kutum town, gunmen entered the premises of Kutum Hospital on Sunday evening. One of the guards told Radio Dabanga that “a group of gunmen took a double-cabin vehicle belong to the Ministry of Health at gunpoint, and headed northwards.” [These brazen, vicious assaults give some sense of the complete lawlessness and lack of security that dominates much of Darfur—and threatens all of it.]

Two gang-raped in North Darfur’s Tawila

April 7, 2015 | Tawila Locality

Three militiamen raped two young women in Tawila locality on Monday. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a listener reported that the two women, aged 21 and 17, from Karkar village, 20 kilometres south of Tawila town, were collecting firewood in the area of Riheid See Sawa. “Three Janjaweed riding on camels and wearing military uniforms ambushed the women, and repeatedly raped them at gunpoint.” [The reason Khartoum was so sensitive about an investigation of the mass rapes at Tabit is the success the regime has had in making of rape, used systematically as a weapon of war, something that is rarely reported by UNAMID or adequately noted by the UN Secretary General; local authorities—even those who are willing—cannot halt the ongoing epidemic of sexual violence. Here again years of impunity for these brutal crimes ensures that they will continue. No international actor of consequence has spoken out on a consistent basis for what are, in aggregate, crimes against humanity.]

Militiamen kill two in Mellit, child dies by bombing in North Darfur

April 3, 2015 | Mellit / Fanga / Kass

Two men were shot dead at the hands of pro-government militiamen in Malawi area, close to Mellit, North Darfur, on Thursday. The killing took place against the backdrop of the raids in Mellit locality earlier this week, in which militiamen reportedly killed and injured at least 48 people. [These murderous attacks will continue until the international community finds the will to bring real pressure on the regime to stop; such pressure is nowhere in sight or even mooted by those nations with the ability to ensure that there are painful consequences for such continuing barbarism.] Thursday also witnessed an aerial bombardment in East Jebel Marra, resulting in the death of a child.

In Kass, a man was shot dead by militiamen. A relative of one of the dead reported to Radio Dabanga that the militiamen, driving five vehicles mounted with Dushka guns, were on their way to Kabkabiya after participating in the raids on several villages in Mellit last weekend and from Monday to Wednesday. [The militiamen—likely Rapid Response Forces (RSF)—also operate with a sense of total impunity, knowing that they are doing what the regime wishes them to.]

A child died by an explosion when the Sudanese Air Force bombed an area near Fanga, in East Jebel Marra, on Thursday. A number of livestock were killed, too, and large tracts of farmland were burned down. A witness told Radio Dabanga that an Antonov aircraft flew over Burgo area, north of Fanga, for a long time, before it dropped seventeen bombs. The 8-year-old Saleh Goma Saleh was killed inside her house. Twelve cows and donkeys did not survive the bombardment either. “The latest attack sparked panic amongst the residents in the area, who have fled into the woods and mountains. [The displacement caused by relentless aerial bombardment, in areas to which humanitarians and UNAMID have little or no access, has produced a significant undercounting of those recently displaced in the region.]

Ten die in North Darfur armed robbery

April 8, 2015 | Ailliet Locality

Ten people were reportedly killed and eight others wounded in an ambush on a passenger lorry in the area of Abu Sufyan in Ailliet locality on Tuesday. A relative of one of the victims reported to Radio Dabanga that the passengers were returning from the market of Abu Sufyan to Ed Daein, capital of East Darfur. “At about 8pm, a group of gunmen riding on motorcycles and camels opened fire at the lorry. Nine passengers, among them three children and a woman, were killed instantly. Nine others sustained various bullet wounds

Two dead in Border Guards’ attack in North Darfur

April 8, 2015 | El Kuma Locality

Two people were killed in an attack by paramilitary Border Guards on Tofai village, El Kuma locality, on Monday. “Haroun Daoud and Abdallah Idris Hamid, nicknamed Jigeira, were shot dead in the attack,” a villager told Radio Dabanga from Tofai. “They took Nureldin Abakar Ibrahim and Ishag Bashir Mohamed with them to an unknown destination,” [he] added, explaining that the Border Guards, supported by militia troops of the Central Reserve Police (Abu Tira), had raided the village, located 7 kilometres west of El Kuma, before. “In the former raid, they stole our mills engines, and plundered all the shops.”

Abbala extort villagers in Kabkabiya, North Darfur


Militant Abbala tribesmen [abbala—“camel herder—indicates an Arab tribal group] have demanded payment for the protection of farmlands south of Kabkabiya. A farmer told Radio Dabanga from Numu village that one of the omdas in the area began to collect grain from the villages of Numu, Halaga, Kandag, and Dimri last Monday. “Each village is supposed to pay 60 (100kg) sacks of sorghum to the Abbala militia commander in the area, in exchange for the protection of our crops until the harvest,” he reported, calling the move “unfair and unjust.” [Such extortion schemes are increasing rapidly throughout Darfur.]

Insecurity hampers aid in Mellit, North Darfur

April 6, 2015 | MELLIT

Humanitarian operations in North Darfur’s Mellit locality have been adversely affected by insecurity caused by violence between the Berti [one of the African tribal groups in the region] and Ziyadiya [one of the Arab tribal groups]... [Violence began] on 27 February, according to the latest report issued by the UN Humanitarian Office. Fighting was reported between 26 and 28 March in villages surrounding Mellit town. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported the displacement of an estimated 8,000 people (1,600 families) who have arrived in Saiyha town and surrounding area and an estimated 135 people (27 families) who have arrived at Abassi camp. Some aid agencies have limited their activities due to the security situation. The Sudanese Red Crescent suspended operations in the 11 health facilities they run in the area, and the World Food Programme (WFP) postponed its displaced profiling exercise. Some organisations withdrew their staff from the area. Humanitarian organisations are planning to undertake a rapid fact-finding mission to assess the situation on the ground. Aid agencies continue to provide assistance to people displaced following fighting between government forces and armed movements in North Darfur’s Tawila locality and some parts of the Jebel Marra area. The agencies have verified 31,800 newly displaced people, of whom the IOM has registered 29,500. [The actual number of displaced in this general region is certainly much greater than the 31,800 verified by IOM; lacking access to large areas, many are uncounted—and left without humanitarian relief.]

Militias return from North Darfur raids with food, cattle

April 3, 2014 | Kutum / Mellit

Militias continued to pass through Kutum locality in North Darfur on Wednesday and Thursday, allegedly returning from attacks they committed in Mellit in the previous days. A source said that at least 48 people were killed and injured during these raids, northwest of El Fasher locality. [This extreme level of murderous violence is beyond the control of anything other than a robust international peace-making force; this was just as true in 2006 when Khartoum rejected the force proposed by the UN Department of Peacekeeping operations; it was true as well in July 2007 when UNAMID was officially authorized by the UN Security Council; and it was true as the incompetent and ill-equipped UNAMID officially took up its mandate on January 1, 2008.] Several witnesses told Radio Dabanga that pro-government militias that participated in the attacks in Mellit locality were on their way to the military bases in Kutum town. “About 60 vehicles loaded with food items, household furniture and other items drove by.” One of them said that 25 vehicles went to Damirat El Gubba, 22 drove to Kutum town with one of the leaders of the Central Reserve Forces, and 15 vehicles went to El Ghireir area. Another group of militia members on camels and horses passed on Thursday with more stolen livestock. “About 40 camels and ten herds of sheep,” according to a witness. [Looting on a large scale, a hallmark of the early years of the genocide, has resumed with a vengeance.]


Woman, baby die in Darfur village attack

April 5, 2015 | Deribat, eastern Jebel Marra

Aisha Idris and son Musa Ibrahim were killed when a mortar shell fell on her house in East Jebel Marra on Sunday afternoon. The two died outright when a salvo of mortars was fired on the area, allegedly from the military garrison in Deribat. Their home was completely destroyed in the ensuing fire. Other villagers have taken cover in the surrounding wadis out of fear for repeat attacks.

Darfur wood collector kidnapped, vehicle hijacked

April 5, 2015 | East Jebel Marra

A man has been kidnapped, together with his vehicle, while collecting wood in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that on Thursday, Saddam Musa drove his Land Rover from Zamzam camp to the area of Tarni to collect firewood. He was intercepted by a group of militiamen. They forced the passengers to disembark, and then drove-off with Musa and his vehicle to an unknown destination.

Two killed by bomb explosion in Darfur's Jebel Marra

April 10, 2015 | Fanga

One child and one 23-year-old died in a bomb explosion south of Fanga, East Jebel Marra, on Thursday. A relative of the victims told Radio Dabanga that Bishara Abdelrahman Adam (14 years) and Mariam Saleh Omar (23 years) were riding on donkeys on their way to a garden, 3 km south of Fanga. Their movement triggered an unexploded grenade to detonate. Both Bishara and Mariam died on the spot, along with their donkeys. The relative explained that parts of their bodies were scattered. They were collected and buried on the same day.
*Years of conflict have left Darfur and other parts of Sudan littered with potentially deadly explosives and munitions (UXO), such as missiles and grenades. Radio Dabanga appeals to listeners throughout Darfur (and elsewhere in our reception area) not to touch any “unexploded” grenades or other ammunition found in the field. Mark its position clearly to alert others, and report it immediately to a camp elder, UNAMID and/or the local police---RD.


Three dead, 115 houses destroyed in South Darfur fires

April 8, 2015 | El Radoom / Gereida, South Darfur

Three people burned to death in El Radoom locality in South Darfur on Tuesday. The massive fire destroyed 85 houses. In El Nasr district in Gereida, 30 houses went up in flames, as well as a mosque and a Koran school. “Two children and an adult died in the fire that broke out in the area of Wad Hujam,” a villager who escaped the inferno told Radio Dabanga. “85 houses burned to the ground.” In El Nasr district of Gereida town, a fire broke out in a house at 2.30 pm on Tuesday. “It spread quickly owing to the heavy wind. 30 houses went up in flames, as well as a mosque and the adjacent Nur El Hoda Koran School, that hosts 230 Koran students and teachers,” a resident of the neighbourhood reported. [As I have noted previously, Radio Dabanga is constantly reporting fires, many of a highly suspicious nature. Arson is always a difficult crime to prove, but there can be no doubting that fires often serve the regime’s purposes, particularly when they occur in camps for displaced persons, which Khartoum is eager to see dismantled in any event.]

More than 60 homes destroyed in Central Darfur inferno

April 9, 2015 | Deleig

A massive fire near Deleig [Toja village] in Central Darfur destroyed more than 60 houses, agricultural crops, and killed a large number of livestock on Tuesday. The people did not manage to contain the flames with water and sand, because of heavy winds. “Apart from the destruction of 62 homes, and several stores with agricultural crops, large numbers of sheep, goats, donkeys, and chicken burned to death.”

“Gunmen carjack UNDP vehicle in South Darfur”

Sudan Tribune, 9 April 2015 | Nyala, South Darfur

Gunmen carjacked a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) vehicle in Nyala the capital of South Darfur state on Thursday, a UN official said. While he was collecting an employee residing in Hay Almattar neighborhood in Nyala, the driver of a UNDP minibus was intercepted by three armed men who ordered him at gun point to drive the vehicle outside the town and headed into unknown destination," the source told Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity. The commissioner of the state governor affairs, Abdel Mutalab Ali Idriss confirmed the car-theft crime.... [South Darfur] is known for criminal activities and robbery committed by armed gangs.

30 East Darfur policemen dismissed

April 8, 2015 | Ed Daein (formerly part of South Darfur]

The Sudanese Ministry of Interior dismissed 30 East Darfur policemen on Tuesday, who refused to be transferred to South Kordofan. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a listener explained that the policemen refused to join their colleagues in South Kordofan, on the ground that they have repeatedly performed their duty in the war-torn southern region, while others have not been sent to the battlefields at all. The source considered the dismissal as "targeting a specific group,” and explained that the 30 policemen are all from Abu Karinka, Adila, and Sharif. [Recruitment efforts, despite promises of unaffordable salary increases, are flagging badly, even as the Sudan Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces continue to struggle militarily in South Kordofan. It seems highly unlikely that the (second) “final campaign” to seize all of South Kordofan, including the Nuba Mountains, will succeed. And with the passage of time, the costs of war continue to accrue, morale deteriorates, and fewer and fewer are motivated by the call to “jihad.”]


3.5 million kg of ‘carcinogenic sugar’ distributed in South Darfur

April 9, 2015 | Nyala

The total load of contaminated sugar recently distributed in South Darfur reportedly consists of 70,000 sacks of 50kg. A source revealed to Radio Dabanga that prominent South Darfuri members of the ruling National Congress Party, in agreement with market traders, transported the contaminated sugar to Nyala, and stored it in the Kenana Sugar Company stores in the city. The source reported that each of the 21 localities in the state has received 100 sacks, while the rest has been distributed at the markets. “The expired sugar is currently sold for the price of SDG240 ($40) per sack, which is SDG70 ($12) lower than the real market price.” He commented that “though the NCP leaders in South Darfur received millions of pounds for the election campaign, they are not satisfied, and want to earn more by selling carcinogenic commodities to the people.” [An object lesson in who joins the National Congress Party and why.]

No salaries for 300 teachers in South Darfur

April 9, 2015 | Nyala

300 teachers in South Darfur demand the immediate payment of their February and March salaries. The names of about 500 teachers disappeared from the payroll after the Ministry of Finance had computerised the salary administration, Mohamed Hassan Haroun, a secondary school teacher in Nyala explained to Radio Dabanga. “At the end of February, we were surprised to learn that the state could not pay our salaries, because our names were missing in the new system. The authorities managed to settle the salaries of 200 teachers. The others are still waiting for their entitlements for February and March,” he said.

On 31 March, the state’s medical personnel staged a sit-in at the state Ministry of Health in Nyala, demanding payment of their February and March salaries. An administrative staff member of the Ministry told Radio Dabanga that about 2,160 names of medics disappeared from the financial records. [Corruption runs deep in all branches of the regime, and skepticism about the “accidental” deletion of names is certainly warranted.]


Sudanese civil society call for nation-wide intifada

April 12, 2015 | Khartoum

The Civil Society Initiative stressed that the road chosen by the Sudan Appeal signatories, after the Sudanese government declined to accept the AU invitation to discuss the process of a broad national dialogue in the Ethiopian capital on 29 March, is a mass intifada. It called “on all sectors in the rural and urban areas” to support the Sudan Appeal and the uprising. “Only a nation-wide uprising can release Sudan from the grip of the corrupt ruling National Congress Party, restore peace, rights and freedoms, and rebuild the country based on democracy and equal citizenship,” the statement reads. [Regime change will come to Sudan only when fear of the brutal security forces is overcome by anger at the tyranny, corruption, economic mismanagement, and denial of human rights that have marked the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party from the beginning of its rule in June 1989.]

Sudanese opposition step up anti-election campaign

April 9, 2015 | Ed Damazin (Blue Nile State)

The mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) and the Sudan Congress Party are calling on the Sudanese to “stand up and topple the Khartoum regime.” The displaced and refugees of Blue Nile state have announced their boycott of the election.

In a statement on Wednesday, the leader of the SLM-AW, Abdel Wahid El Nur, appealed to “all Sudanese, of all military, political, and civil sectors, to join the “Oust!” campaign and stage an uprising to prevent the re-election of criminal Omar Al Bashir. He called for mass civil disobedience actions throughout Sudan to “free our people from dictatorship, and build a nation based on equal citizenship, and individual and collective freedoms, bring the murderers and criminals to justice in national and international courts, and write a new history of our country, without discrimination and exclusion.”

In Sodari, North Kordofan, Ibrahim El Sheikh, the head of the Sudan Congress Party called for a general boycott of the election. At a symposium on Wednesday, he urged the Sudanese to stand up to prevent the re-election of “liar Al Bashir and his affiliates, who shamelessly robbed the country’s resources and used them for their personal gains.” Dr Bashir Adam Rahama, Foreign Relations Secretary of the Popular Congress Party (PCP), led by Dr Hassan El Turabi, described the general election, scheduled to take place between 13 and 15 April, as “a one-horse race by the ruling NCP.” He told Radio Dabanga that his party will not participate in the election, through nomination or voting, as the outcomes are “predetermined.”

The Blue Nile displaced and refugees announced in a statement on Wednesday that they will not cast their votes or recognise the electoral results. They wonder how they can participate in election organised by a government that severely hampers efforts of humanitarian organisations to provide aid, while continuing their attacks on the population “aerial bombardments, shelling, and internationally prohibited chemical weapons.” In their Declaration of the 2015 Election Boycott, the war-affected call for a broad national constitutional conference “to reach a comprehensive solution to the problem of Sudan, prosecute all offenders of justice, headed by President Al Bashir, and compensate the victims, in accordance with national and international standards.” The statement also demanded the release of political detainees in the detention centres of the security apparatus, popularly known as “ghost houses”, and the abolition of all laws restricting freedoms and which violate international conventions on human rights, including the National Intelligence and Security Service Act and the Public Order Bill.

[It has long been clear that only regime change can rescue Sudan from its continuing descent into economic chaos, increasing violence, and ever more savage political repression. This is now the mainstream opinion of most Sudanese parties, and all major opposition parties. Over a decade ago I argued as much, suggesting that the international community had an obligation to compel regime change, given the genocidal nature of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party cabal. Given the deeply misguided U.S. efforts to effect regime change in Iraq, the timing for such an argument was not auspicious. It nonetheless makes for interesting reading more than ten years later | The Washington Post, August 23, 2004.

Darfur displaced call for nation-wide protest during election

April 8, 2015 | Kalma Camp / Cairo

The Coordination Office of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association has called for a nation-wide boycott of the general election scheduled for 13-15 April. “We call on all the Sudanese not to cast their vote next week, and to stage mass demonstrations instead, in protest against the rigged election and the brutal regime in Khartoum,” Yagoub Mohamed Abdallah, head of the Coordination Office told Radio Dabanga. He stressed that the Darfur displaced and refugees are all convinced that unless the regime is overthrown, there will be no stability in Sudan. “Toppling the National Congress Party government is simply our duty. We have to stop the ongoing attacks, aerial bombardments, and rapes in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile.”

The head of the National Umma Party, El Sadig El Mahdi, also stressed the need for a popular uprising, which, he said, is “the only option left against the tyranny in Sudan.” In a statement on Tuesday, El Mahdi accused the Sudanese government of reneging from its prior consent to participate in the preparatory National Dialogue meeting with opposition forces in Addis Ababa on 29 March. He attributed the government's changed position to the momentum it gained by joining the Saudi alliance against Houthi rebels in Yemen on 25 March. “By refusing to attend the pre-dialogue meeting in the Ethiopian capital, the regime has left us no other option than a broad mobilisation for the Leave! Campaign, and launch a third Sudanese intifada,” El Mahdi said. Sudan witnessed two popular uprisings after its independence on 1 January 1956. A professional unions’ strike, throughout Sudan, led to the dissolution of Gen. Ibrahim Abboud’s military rule in October 1964. More than a decade later, in March 1985, people took to the streets in protest against the policies of President Jaafar Nimeiri. His regime was ousted on 5 April.

Sudan’s opposition forces renew call to boycott April election

April 6, 2015 | Khartoum

Opposition ‘Sudan [Call]’ forces have added their voices to the swelling call to boycott the election scheduled of 13 April. In a statement issued to mark the 30th anniversary of 6 April 1985 popular uprising which ended the rule of general Jaafar Numeiri, the coalition of the political and armed opposition forces said the government obstructed the African Union brokered pre-dialogue meeting and aborted the German initiative to facilitate a negotiated settlement. The statement continued that by said by doing so the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) insists to move forward in the path of war and rejects a negotiated solution, leaving the choice of a peaceful uprising for the opposition forces. “Thus the Sudan Call forces appeal on the masses of our people to escalate the resistance against the fraudulent elections and overlook its, results and to continue the resistance campaigns until the overthrow of the regime...”

The Sudan Call forces said they agreed to develop their activities and intensify efforts to reunite the opposition forces. The statement, signed by NUP chairman El Sadig El Mahdi, Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) chief Malik Agar, National Consensus Forces (NCF) representative Mohamed Mukhtar El Khateeb and civil society groups delegate, Babiker Ahmed El Hassan.

Red Cross, Crescent plan for casualties during Sudan's election

April 11, 2015 | Geneva

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) expects demonstrations against the backdrop of the upcoming election to end up in clashes, and has set up an emergency plan for the polls next week, and their possible aftermath. An Emergency Plan of Action, released on the eve of the “election silence” on 11 and 12 April, contains worst-case scenarios and the description of activities for preparing first aid posts and volunteers in a number of “high-risk states.” “Given the history of the country and existing political tensions in many areas there is a high risk of violence around the elections, as the government continues to ignore opposition calls to postpone the vote and form a transitional government,” the emergency plan for the 'Dref' operation of the IFRC reads.

Disaster scenarios

The SRCS has prepared three scenarios in case of disaster. It expects that the most likely to occur are protests that end up in riots or clashes. In this scenario, the IFRC thinks most casualties will happen in the high-risk states. “It is estimated that 50,000 persons will be affected. SRCS will provide First Aid assistance, evacuation, rescue, [and] PSS as it has volunteers all over the States of risk.” If the situation turns worse, the IFRC moves to scenario 2, “loss of lives,” and 3, with the possibility of population movement or displacement.

No support from EU, Sudan Troika

A rally by students in Khartoum who reject the election was dispersed with tear gas, rubber bullets, and beatings by the security apparatus on Thursday. Anti-election protests in the capital of Sudan and the Northern State on Wednesday and Thursday resulted in the detentions of many demonstrators. The European Union has stated that it will not support the Sudanese general election, scheduled to start coming Monday. According to the members of the Sudan Troika (Norway, the UK, the US), an environment conducive to a participatory and credible election in Sudan does not exist.

My own commentary on Sudan’s elections---

“Sudan: Where Elections Matter for the Wrong Reasons”

Sudan Tribune, April 10, 2015

by Eric Reeves

Sudan holds national elections in the coming days, including for the office of President. The result is a foregone conclusion, indeed to speak of the voting process that will occur as an “election” is deeply misleading. The present National Congress Party (NCP) regime has gone to great lengths to predetermine the results, particularly the re-election of President Omar al-Bashir. It was al-Bashir who nominally led the military coup of June 1989 that brought the National Islamic Front to power, although geopolitical tact produced the re-designation as the NCP. But the actors are the same, the men who wield real power are largely the same, although more of the top leaders come from the military and intelligence community. If there is a difference between this electoral farce and that of 2010, it is that many more preparations have been taken to ensure victory, and that this victory have a specious sheen of legitimacy.

But leaked minutes from a meeting on August 31, 2014 make clear the extent of the political machinations that are the real story behind these elections. Ibrahim Ghandour, recently invited by the Obama State Department to Washington for negotiations, offered some impressively specific comments on his multifarious achievements. They include bribes, voter manipulation, fraud, and the threat of violence.

But there are other reasons that the impending elections will be meaningless and can do nothing to reflect the will of the Sudanese people. There are three areas of the country where there is simply too much violence to conduct elections: Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. Indeed, ballots destined for South Kordofan were recently seized by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N), a measure of their determination to show the world they will not sit idly by while tyranny perpetuates itself.

And they are not alone: in December 2014, a coalition of opposition groups and forces, including the SPLM/A-N signed the “Sudan Call,” a political declaration that urged voters to boycott the election, describing it as "façade intended to falsify the national will and legitimise the regime.”

Radio Dabanga, our only reliable source on the situation on the ground in Darfur, reported (April 7, 2015):

The Coordination Office of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association has called for a nation-wide boycott of the general election scheduled for 13 – 15 April. “We call on all the Sudanese not to cast their vote next week, and to stage mass demonstrations instead, in protest against the rigged election and the brutal regime in Khartoum.”

Boycotts are being staged, some quietly, in many locations around the country, and the NCP regime is doing its own part in attenuating the voter list and candidates. Sudan Tribune, which does the best job of reporting broadly on news from greater Sudan, filed a dispatch on April 7, 2015 noting that “Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party has dismissed all its members running as independents in next Monday’s general elections.”

It’s still not clear who, besides the Arab League, will monitor the election. A consortium of East African countries known as IGAD says it intends to, but IGAD is short on capacity and finds itself overwhelmed with involvement in efforts to halt the civil war in South Sudan. Any presence during the elections would be skeletal at best. For its part, the Arab League will ratify the elections; but this means little, given the organization’s history of antipathy toward fair elections and its mindless solidarity with Khartoum. Perhaps the African Union will follow through on an earlier commitment, but it is highly doubtful they could mount a significant monitoring presence in a country as large as Sudan in the time remaining.

Why should we care?

Why should be care that the world is witnessing another electoral travesty, a thoroughly grotesque version of the democratic process? The main reason is that the regime’s “victory” may give certain Western countries a reason for warmer relations with Khartoum, responding to the sheen of legitimacy that even profoundly fraudulent elections will produce. The U.S. in particular may be tempted to turn a blind eye to the illegitimacy of these elections, for the Obama administration still wants closer cooperation with Khartoum on counter-terrorism and wants access to its massive, wildly expensive new embassy in Khartoum, designed to be the “listening post” for North Africa. Right now, the regime is saying no, and the leaked minutes reveal deep hostility to the U.S.

But a recent visit by Steven Feldstein, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, may have had all these issues front and center in talks. Feldstein’s comments on departure suggested that he and the U.S. credit, at least partially, the farce Khartoum has called the “National Dialogue,” a supposedly broad-based effort to provide greater political openness and the basis for a reformed, more democratic Sudan. But the “National Dialogue” is distinguished mainly by how few have joined; an overwhelming number of opposition groups, of all sorts, believe this is just more trickery by the regime, designed to give only the appearance of greater political legitimacy. Still, Feldstein mentioned the phrase twice in his brief departing remarks, and one can all too easily imagine this administration turning a blind eye to Sudan’s ghastly realities in order to further counter-terrorism cooperation.

While he was still a senator, Russ Feingold made a particularly well-informed assessment of what the U.S. was getting from this putative “cooperation.” Since he sat on the Intelligence Committee and also chaired the Africa subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was uniquely positioned to assess the trade-offs with Khartoum that began under the Bush administration, and have continued under the Obama administration. In this trade-off, Khartoum provides counter-terrorism “intelligence” and in exchange the U.S. will adopt a more conciliatory attitude toward Khartoum, despite its ongoing policies of genocidal counter-insurgency. Feingold made clear his own skepticism about Khartoum’s behavior in cooperating on counter-terrorism:

I take serious issue with the way the report [on international terrorism by the U.S. State Department] overstates the level of cooperation in our counterterrorism relationship with Sudan, a nation which the U.S. classifies as a state sponsor of terrorism. A more accurate assessment is important not only for effectively countering terrorism in the region, but as part of a review of our overall policy toward Sudan, including U.S. pressure to address the ongoing crisis in Darfur and maintain the fragile peace between the North and the South. (Statement by Senator Russell Feingold, May 1, 2009)

Everything has borne out Feingold’s assessment of six years ago, and yet the U.S. continues to woo the regime. And armed with the “legitimacy” conferred by these elections, this regime will certainly continue to conduct campaigns of ethnically-targeted destruction in the Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan regions of Sudan. 13-year-old girls will continue to be raped; bombs wills continue to fall on purely civilian targets; villages of non-Arab/African populations will be destroyed because they are perceived as supporting the rebels Khartoum can’t defeat militarily; and desperately needed humanitarian relief will continue to be denied to well over one million people at acute risk.

Let us hope that the Obama administration understands these elections for what they are. They certainly should not confer the “legitimacy” that the regime has so often spoken of in its secret meetings as the ultimate goal of their electoral charade. But “should” is a word the Obama administration has had a difficult time understanding in its dealings with Sudan. And the sense of an imperative, tragically, is much more likely to come from the Obama administration intelligence community than from those who care about the lives and livelihoods of the Sudanese people.

Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College, has published extensively on Sudan, nationally and internationally, for the past sixteen years. He is author of Compromising with Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007 – 2012 (September 2012).

Something Serious is Brewing in Addis Ababa In Spite of the Teeth Grindings in Juba

By: Justin Ambago Ramba

April 4, 2015 (SSNA) -- South Sudan now in the second year of its new civil war, the country has since been a hotbed for militant politics thus making it one of world’s spots to remind all humanity that,” Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You”, or else we are all doomed to fail.

This trend became accentuated more than ever before by the vivid diplomatic shuttles involving delegates from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the European Union, the Troika (USA, UK and Norway) begin converging on the Ethiopian Capital City, Addis Ababa in a last attempt to hammer a peace deal for the world’s newest country.

It is for this important reason that all ears are beginning turn towards Addis Ababa, with that direction with everyone hoping to get hold of a first-hand news on what is seen as the likeliest most ever inclusive participation by the members of the human race to bring sanity back to the war devastated citizens of South Sudan.

The imminent outcome of the new initiative on peace in South Sudan is hoped to produce all that is needed to rekindle the hope of a better future to the country and its ten million people.

Optimism among a people traumatised by wars, often doesn’t come easily especial when these wars only stop to start yet another. But gauging by the new dynamics involved in the new IGAD PLUS initiative that officially replaced its predecessor, the failed and much compromised old, Museveni-dominated IGAD-ONLY Initiative, these are all likely set to change. 

One can thus say that, for the first time in a long while a fresh hope of a new breeze of peace to the war torn South Sudan is becoming more and more of a reality than ever before, even though real mountains of differences between the various warring factions remain to be addressed.

The most important learning curve in this whole process probably lies with the fact that it was the IGAD that came out openly to accept and acknowledge the reasons behind the failures of its first solo attempt.

Hence, the new initiative by default must be different from the first one both in substance and spirit. My readers will agree with me that with this new initiative now fully operational, the old IGAD initiative should clearly be remembered for what is actually was – a representation of a much dreaded top to bottom approach.

Hopefully much has already been said about the cos and pros of the Old IGAD Solo initiative and why it had failed to yield any fruits of peace. So could the learning curve here be the organisations own admittance of inborn errors in the form of conspicuous conflict of interests the eventually compromised it.

It’s  one year’s attempt at mediating the peace process was on several occasions mired with inconsistencies as it knowingly or unknowingly became conspicuously pro the government of the day in Juba tried thus undermining much of the sensitive prerequisites for  arriving at an all binding peace deal.  But have things now changed for the better? This we will find out when the new IGAD PLUS Initiative officially convenes in a few days’ time.

Equally resented and unappreciated in the old IGAD solo initiative were the damages done to organisation’s image by the apparently conspicuous and manipulative   hands of the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni.

Adamant to impose his will on south Sudan, Museveni spared no opportunity to turn IGAD into his personal toll to achieve just that. In fact his hands were all over the place and actually at times too strong to be contained nor ignored.

All the above could be history now, as the fresh news coming out of the Ethiopian Capital over the past few days has all the elements of a world community united for the first time to talk with one voice and act with the sole intention of salvaging South Sudan from the imminent demise that its failed leaders have chosen for it and its people.

Those who don’t know that a new dawn could t dawn on South Sudan any moment from now if all its friends act in good faith, are reminded to prepare for the good news to come soon. All are called upon to appreciate the new reality that indeed something serious and equally great is now brewing in Addis Ababa in a way to tackle the 14 month old civil war in the new country of South Sudan. Africa and the word want to act on South Sudan and they want to act now!

So please instead of putting hurdles in the way of a just and inclusive peace, why not help them in this noble mission? After all the independent sovereign state of South Sudan is still to install in place it’s “first ever elected president, government and parliament”.

South Sudanese must top killing one another over the existing rotten and rudimentary structures they inherited from Khartoum. It is time to start the new independent Republic of South Sudan, with new philosophy, new vision, new institutions and above all new spirit. 

I can’t emphasize what I am about to say here any better. To fellow south Sudanese, I say, the mission to stop bloodshed in our country is on the way. It’s meant to put an end to impunity by holding to account all abusers of human rights and spoilers of peaceful settlement and stop a whole generation of South Sudanese young people from being again reduced to mere fodders to feed a brutal war, when there is no winner in sight.

Please beware of the Pharisees, I mean those hypocrites and dinosaurs of the geriatric Jieng “Dinka” Council of Elders and their clown Michael Makuei Lueith’s.

Now that they are aware of how the new initiative is likely to blow the top off their campaign to replace the aspirations of the people of South Sudan for a democratic republican system with their day dreams of a tribal fiefdom, they are beginning to throw their venoms right, left and centre.

This is the reason why these spoilers of peace are finding it all too difficult to shut up their big mouths. You saw them shouting, yelling and wailing all over the place, didn’t you! I bet you did.

Well it has long been said that,” The best way to detect an eminent natural calamities of exponential magnitudes e.g. earthquakes, tsunamis, total eclipses of the sun or sometimes even the collapse of dynasty or a dreadful end to a tyrant, is to watch out for signs of fear, restlessness and intense panic among animals like birds, cats, dogs or even the wildlife”.

In as far as South Sudan stands now, all you need to do is watch the behaviours of those believed to have perpetuated the ethnic cleansing of December 2013 and you can tell that their fates is about to be sealed once and for all.

In other words watch out for the reactions from Michael Makuei Lueth, the mouth-piece of the genocidaire regime in Juba and read between his lips that the regime is on real fire.

You should also watch out for reactions from the tribal & spiritual leaders of the same genocidal regime - its “Supreme Council” of the Ayatollahs - the so-called the Jieng “Dinka” Council of Elders.

If you watch them carefully, these people are becoming jittery than ever before. They are rightly now the Jieng “Dinka” Council of Panicked Elders, for the fate set up for them in the AU Report, is something even a million centuries of history won’t wipe away!

What upsets them the most is now the confirmed position – confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) remains firm in its threats of sanctions to the parties which include asset freezes and a travel ban on individuals obstructing the peace process.

Again information coming from a reliable source in Addis Ababa suggests the next round of South Sudan peace negotiations to resume between 10 and 18 April in Addis Ababa. This too leaves them with very little time to carry out any meaningful diplomatic offensive.

Another  deadly blow to Michael Makuei Lueth war of words, is the very reliable confirmation  from Addis Ababa,  that the coming talks will  definitely  see the  IGAD along with African Union, UN, EU, Troika and China as full participants and brokers.

Worth stressing here is the most unwavering part of the Addis Ababa new IGAD PLUS brew that this new initiative is set to operate under a completely new expanded mediation mechanism and is intended to remain so for the rest of its life spun regardless of  whether any of the protagonists likes it or not!

Not only that, but reliable sources also confirm that the IGAD-PLUS mediating body  has prepared a draft proposal for a final peace agreement with  the AU Report and its recommendations forming an integral part of its approach to transitional justice.

They also confirm that forthcoming peace negotiations would be the last opportunity for IGAD PLUS and the South Sudan’s two warring factions to restore peace to the young country.

More interestingly is the revelation that both leaders’ president Salva Kiir and his former deputy turned armed opposition leader Riek Machar, are believed to fully accept the new draft proposal by the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and strike a final peace agreement during the next round of peace talks in mid-April.

Both sides are expected to sign an agreement to stop the war, form a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) with clearly spelt commitments to an equal share of power and power within a federated system of government  and carry out reforms?

So what will happen in the event that the two leaders and indeed the two warring sides refuse again to sign a deal? 

It that event the stringent side will only has itself to blame. The immediate steps to be taken by the IGAD PLUS would be to push for an urgent and fast tracked Arms embargo, ban on foreign travels and freezing of assets for top officials and military generals and other noxious ethnically motivated groups e.g. the Jeing “Dinka” Council of Elders and the many other negative regional and tribal organisations operating across the political divides and beyond.

The neighbouring IGAD member and non-member states have also been promised sticks and carrots to cooperate in the implementation of these UNSC sanctions and embargos.

A well place African dignitary recently said that since the beginning of the year 2014, the African Union has recognised major areas of interventions to retain peace in Africa.

These are the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Boko Haram of Nigeria, Al Shababa in Somalia and Kenya and now the civil war in South Sudan.

On the other hand the international community is more than willing to see this continental organisation scores  its first ever success stories since it replaced its predecessor,  the much criticized Organisation of African Unity (AOU) – an organisation better remembered for siding with dictatorial leaders in the perpetuation of oppression in the continent !

So are we about to see a radical change in the regional, continental and international politics in favour of hands on the ground to stop the bloodletting in South Sudan, reboot (overhaul) the country and start a new page of stability, accountability and human rights respect and reinstate the dream of a better life this highly promising part of Africa!

Justin Ambago Ramba is a Concerned South Sudanese and a voice for the millions who ate voiceless in the country.

Simon Yel Yel of Juba and his Article entitled ‘The Question of Self-Driven Rebellion in South Sudan’: Is His Nationalism or Tribalism?

By Riang Yer Zuor Nyak

April 6, 2015 (SSNA) -- In an article entitled, The Question of Self-Driven Rebellion in South Sudan, Simon Yel Yel started out analyzing rebellions (past and current, with the one in South Sudan being the current) in Africa. What initially caught my attention was the part talking about various causes of those rebellions. I felt that he was evasive about something. I went on and then, the last section of his article clearly revealed what he was after.

Regarding the causes of rebellions in Africa, he stated as follows: “Initial grievances of the leadership of such a rebel group would vary from being blocked from achieving political power, under representation of their region/ethnic group in the government and administration of their regions, deliberate neglect of access to development funds, blockage of their ethnic group from the private sector and allocation of their land to other ethnic groups (of the ruling ethnic group), etc.”

The causes of rebellions, as he mentioned, suggest that rebellions in Africa are caused by things that are not national in nature. Rather, they are caused by narrow interests. That was what caught my attention in the first place. Nevertheless, these might be causes to some of the rebellions that he mentioned in his article. But the problem is that he has chosen to mention those causes to suit the point that he later attempted to make in relation to the current war in South Sudan. He intentionally left out as possible causes such things as dictatorship, corrupt practices by visionless leaderships, socio-economic neglect of the citizens by governments that do not allow democratic changes, leadership failure which leads to institutional failure, and so many others.

Regarding the current level of the war situation in the country, he put the blame on foreign hands that he believes are directly or indirectly fuelling the war. He stated, “In the recent failed coup attempt, many foreign hands are either directly or indirectly involved in fuelling the situation to its current level.”  I think this point is interesting. It is interesting because it resembles positions taken by both the Jieng Council of Elders and Salva himself. Here Simon is joining Salva and elders in talking about long discredited coup story that Salva failed to convict people of. He publically admitted that there was no coup, and made a statement to the effect that there were people who wanted to exploit the situation. Why would Salva and his supporters want to continue talking about a coup attempt—a story that none other than Salva put to rest long ago?

I agree that there are foreign hands fueling this war. It is only a question of how they are fueling it. To the best of my understanding and the understanding of those who have keenly been following the issues of this war objectively, these hands started manipulating the situation just immediately after December 15, 2013. Uganda rushed in with her army to directly take part in the war; Ethiopia immediately responded by sending in arms; Sudan immediately sent in arms; Kenya opened up her ports for Juba to import lethal weapons; the USA sanctioned the unjustified move-in by the UPDF; and the African Union immediately instructed the IGAD to do its best to make sure that Salva and his government were kept alive. It was only after the coup story was revealed to be a fabrication that some of these countries and organizations, especially Ethiopia and Sudan, stopped their arms supplies to Juba.

These are the hands that have been fueling the war. But, in whose interest have they been fueling the war? Clearly, they have been fueling the current war in the interest of Salva. Ungratefully, Salva and his Jieng Council of Elders, now plus Simon Yel Yel, are the ones talking as if foreign hands are fueling the war in the interest of someone else. How can one rationalize such a behavior?

Regarding the intentions of the UN, US and AU, it is obvious that Simon Yel, Salva, and the Jieng Council of Elders are not happy with the sanctions and putting the country under a foreign trusteeship. He stated, “The UN statements within the country and indecorous suggestions of Ambassador Cohen and AU leaked report of Obasanjo to place our country under UN trusteeship plus sanction drafted by US and adopted by UNSC are clear evidences of ill intentions within the international community.”

As to the sanctions, there is no reason why one would be so unhappy other than that there is an obvious nervousness on the part of those who have billions to lose. These sanctions are intended to push the parties to make compromises. More importantly, they are targeted sanctions that would only target individuals seen as having responsibility for failure to reach a deal. They are not going to be applied against the country. Individuals and the country are totally different entities. The negative responses that Salva and his supporters are making are only signs that they know exactly who is refusing to make peace (this would be the legitimate target of the sanctions, not the country). And that is Salva for refusing to negotiate in Addis Ababa on any issue placed on the table for discussion in March 2015.

Concerning the issue of trusteeship, the group should only be concentrating on the issue that is bringing such a terrible threat to the sovereignty of the country. They talk about “…our country…” When did they start loving this country? They looted her resources as if she longed to aliens far away from the African sea shores; they neglected the welfare of the citizens as if they (citizens) have no claim to the resources of the country; and they have killed the citizens of this country without a shame—beginning with the Zande in Yambio and the Lou Nuer in 2006, Shilluk, Murle, Lak and Thieng Nuer in Kaldak and, finally, the Juba massacres.

I know that these African vultures are salivating to have their chance to get their slices from the South Sudanese resources using some form of legitimacy to be bestowed up on them by the UN. It is not a good prospect. But, South Sudan is not an island, and the response should not be just blaming the ‘foreign hands’. More, and positive things, must be done to prevent this. Salva and his group must, instead, start working on some way to make peace so that we can all work together to remove this threat.

On the issue of negotiations, Simon Yel Yel stated, “Giving the above factors causing coups in Africa, Riek Machar and his loyalists failed to come out with a clear socio-political agenda to enable them negotiate the government with facts and build a political stance.” He claimed that Dr. Riek Machar and his group “…failed to come out with a clear socio-political agenda to enable them negotiate…” Really? How does Simon Yel define socio-political agenda?

This is one of the things why I sometimes think that either there is something wrong with Salva and his supporters, or they think that something is wrong with the people of South Sudan, that they do not know what is going on, and that they should only be fed with information and then things would be alright. Either way, the conclusion would be that something is terribly wrong with Salva and his group.

The issues that have been presented by the SPLM/A are socio-political and economic. The issues of economic reform, social services reform, reform in the system of governance, security sector reforms, reforms in the current political system (removing dictatorship and replacing it with democratic system), dealing with the root causes of the war (which the government and the IGAD refused, but was accepted by the government in Arusha), and many more. Any reasonable person going through such a list would conclude that there were socio-political agenda presented by the SPLM/A. Simon Yel should have come out with those socio-political agenda that he believes the SPLM/A failed to come out with. Until then, he must remain as a blind tribal supporter of his tribesman, Salva.

In an attempt to justify his statement that there were no socio-political agenda, Simon stated, “Their (rebels) negotiation begins with stepping down of the president Salva Kiir and ends with making Riek Machar either a ceromonial prime minster or first vice president with his own independent army loyal to him apart from the national army(SPLA). Something that common sense can’t buy at all.” Again, he is either unfamiliar with the issues at the Peace Talks or he thinks that his audience is in the dark about these.

Yes, the SPLM/A demanded that Salva stepped down as president, and rightly because he has committed genocide. IGAD, AU and the rest of the international community thought that the demand would prolong the war. In the name of peace, the SPLM/A made a concession to let Salva remain in the government as president. The alternative suggestion was to keep him as a ceremonial one after IGAD introduced the idea of a prime minister. Again, that stood in the way of peace. To break that, the SPLM/A agreed on power-sharing between the president and the prime minister. In this arrangement, both the prime minister and the president would be, jointly, executive. During the last two sessions of the talks, the same IGAD abandoned the creation of the office of the prime minister favor of the creation of the office of the 1st vice president. The SPLM/A, again, did not want to block the process by sticking to the premiership. The SPLM/A’s final position was either prime minister or 1st vice president so long as executive powers were shared equally. Where did Simon Yel come up with the idea that the SPLM/A ended “…with making Riek Machar either a ceremonial prime minister or first vice president…?” Is it unfamiliarity with the facts, or is it twisting of the facts?

In the same paragraph, Simon Yel talked of commonsense as incapable of buying the demand for separate armies (what he referred to as “…his (Dr. Riek’s) own independent army loyal to him apart from the national army (SPLA).” First, he needs to understand that the idea of two armies does not allow for a national army versus the other army. The idea is that during the time that the two armies should stay separate, there will only be two South Sudanese armed forces under two separate commanders-in-chief. There will not be such things as the national army and the private army. It is only after the agreed period that the national army will be constituted from the two armies. Second, there is a need to know the nature of the commonsense that Simon talked about. Commonsense, in our case as South Sudanese, can easily buy the idea of two armies. We are not as forgetful as Simon wants to present us to the world. It was not too long ago that Sudan had two separate armies, and we were the beneficiaries of that arrangement.

Simon Yel suggested that the SPLM/A practices tribal militarization and recruitment of underage children as signs that it has lost a political direction. He stated, “Moreover, the tribal militarization from the rebel side and recruitment of underage boys to engage in power struggle against the legitimate government proved beyond doubt that the rebel groups lost the political direction to convince south Sudanese and world at large but continue to engage in whatever it takes to get power with support from the biased International community (Trioka).”

I agree that the majority of those fighting against the anti-people regime of Salva are ethnically Nuer. If this is what Simon referred to as tribal militarization, then be it. Let us also ask the question of the Mathiang Anyor, Gel-weng, Dut-Ku-beny and so on. These are from his and Salva’s Dinka community. It follows that the majority of those fighting against the pro-people forces of SPLM/A are ethnically Dinka. When will Simon Yel Yel talk about tribal militarization on the side of the anti-people regime?

The first important issue that Simon should deal with (before making accusations of tribal militarization) is that which led the Nuer youths to take up arms against the genocidal regime in Juba. The systematic killings of their relatives and their tribesmen and women mobilized them to resist. They should not be blamed for their response. The question should be why don’t other South Sudanese who know exactly the magnitude of what happened to their Nuer brothers and sisters in Juba respond the same way or any other different effective way to condemn Salva and his accomplices for committing genocide? Yes, Salva and his accomplices targeted only the Nuer. However, killings of the Nuer was (and still is) an injury to the South Sudanese society. The fact that Simon Yel is still supporting Salva after committing genocide makes him not only a tribal-minded, but, it also disqualifies him to talk of nationalism.

I disagree with Simon in his claim of underage recruitment. There is no evidence whatsoever that the SPLM/A recruits children to fight. The whole of the Nuer community is angered by the killings of unarmed innocent civilians. The number of the young men and women, old men and women coming forward to join the fight is simply overwhelming. Some of them are turned away for one reason or others. They are always in tears when they are told that they cannot join the army. There is no reason to recruit underage children when there is more than what is needed for recruitment. Recruitment of underage and forced recruitment of any age group happen only when the number of fighters needed by an army to fight the war is not met. The claim that the SPLM/A recruits children is just a flagrant lie.

Recently, the anti-people army of Salva Kiir has abducted children from Wau Shilluk. They were found at a training camp, and they were not the first to forcibly join that camp and others. Embarrassed with the revelation, the regime claimed that it was a militia group doing that. By militia group, is meant General Johnson Olony’s—the government army general commanding the government forces in Malakal and its environs. When he fights on behalf of the government, he is a government General defending the constitution; when he retook Malakal from the pro-people forces of SPLM/A, the regime took credit and now the town is said to be under the control of the government; he and the forces under him get their salaries from the Bilpam (the regime’s military headquarters); he and his forces get their arms, ammunition, equipment, and uniforms from Juba; he and his forces are fed by the government; when he got wounded, he was a government General and was taken abroad for medical treatment; and many others. But when the abduction affair became a public knowledge, he has become a militia leader whose activities the government has no control over and, therefore, not responsible. This is irrational, and no one can buy it. Simon has to condemn the government for recruiting underage boys, instead of making accusations that are difficult to prove.

It was not very long ago when an international organization went to such places as Bentiw, Bor and Malakal and concluded that both sides were recruiting children to fight in the war. Michael Makuei was very angry about the report, saying that those who made such reports were just sitting in hotels in Juba and sent false reports to get money from donors. Well, the thing was that those people went to the towns mentioned above. They were not just sitting in Juba as Michael Makuei claimed. Moreover, it was just a little bit before the story of abduction in Upper Nile became a public knowledge. This makes the story of child recruitment in South Sudan partially credible.

What is a lie about the report is what Stephen Par Kuol referred to in is article as “the fallacy of both side bashing diplomacy”. The researchers went to towns controlled by the regime and did their research. They did not go to the SPLM/A controlled areas to see what was going on on that side of the equation of the war. How could they have made a conclusion that what they found in Bentiw, Bor and Malakal was exactly what was going on in the SPLM/A controlled areas? If these types of reports are what Simon Yel based his accusation on, then he should have, at least, accuse both sides. But, if he wanted to be credible and convincing, he should not have used such a report or any others like it, especially if he knew that the researcher only went to the government controlled areas without visiting SPLM/A areas, to accuse the SPLM/A of committing the act.

I also disagree with Simon that the government in Juba is legitimate, as I always do with others who make such a claim for Salva and his government. I have addressed this issue somewhere else with some of the reasons why such a claim is not in place (one should look up an article by myself entitled: SALVA KIIR’S ATTACK ON HIS OWN LEGITIMACY CLAIM). For this reason, I find it reasonable not to waste time on arguing on this issue in this piece.

Simon Yel, also in the same paragraph above, made another interesting claim that the SPLM/A has “…lost the political direction to convince south Sudanese and world at large but continue to engage in whatever it takes to get power with support from the biased International community (Trioka).” First, is he talking about a political direction as should be dictated by Salva, Jieng Council of Elders or himself? Second, who are South Sudanese to be convinced by the SPLM/A? Aren’t they South Sudanese who are now fighting the genocidal regime? If they are, then the SPLM/A has not lost any political direction. Our national politics is based on national issues. Those national issues have been on the media regularly; they have been placed on the table of negotiations in Addis Ababa and the government has been refusing to face them. If any political direction is lost, it must be the government that has refused to deal with real issues.

The third point is that Simon claimed that “…the world at large…” cannot be convinced by the SPLM/A since, according to him, the SPLM/A has lost the political direction. The irony of this claim is that in the same sentence he talked of the international community (Troika) as a source of support for the SPLM/A. The question that begs to be asked is, what is the world at large without the international community (Troika)? In his article, he talked of the UN, USA, AU and others as the ones fueling the current war against what he calls a ‘legitimate government’. If all of these international actors are against the regime, and he perceives them to be in favor of the SPLM/A, then the SPLM/A has convinced them of the badness of the genocidal regime in Juba. And if the SPLM/A convinced these international actors of the badness of the regime in Juba, then the “…world at large…” is convinced. Lastly, if the world at large and South Sudanese in particular are convinced, shouldn’t it be concluded that the SPLM/A has not lost the political direction, especially if the only requirement to convince the world and South Sudanese is the maintenance of a political direction?

Simon Yel Yel concluded is article by stating the following: “To conclude, conflict resilience and nationalism (replaced by tribalism) which are almost gnawed in the current conflict remain the main pillars in restoring hope and confidence among the citizen of South Sudan and to easily defeat the SELF DRIVEN REBELLION in our country.”

I agree that resilience and nationalism can be pillars in restoring hope and confidence in our situation. The questions are resilience against what? Nationalism practiced by whom? To him, it might be resilience against the pro-people forces so as to maintain an anti-people stance. To me and others who do not see any legitimacy in Salva’s government, it should be resilience against the anti-people forces of Salva in the hope that at the end, a government of the people would be put in place.

As to the idea of “…nationalism (replaced by tribalism)…”, it is easy for Simon Yel and others like him to talk about it. But it is impossible for him and others like him to abandon tribalism such that they can practice nationalism. He sees the killings of non-Dinka citizens of South Sudan by his tribesman as legitimate; he sees resisting of a genocidal man and his criminal regime as practicing tribalism. He is being tribal of the first rate. Then if this is the case, how can the same person refer to nationalism as a pillar in restoring hope when he does not believe in it? Let him change first. While he is participating or giving moral support to his tribesman in completing the task of exterminating South Sudanese nationals, let him, instead, allow others (believers of nationalism) to talk about it.

The whole talk about nationalism and against tribalism in Simon’s article is the usual way by many of his kind to attempt to disguise tribalism such that it looks like nationalism. The problem is that most of those who try to do this are never successful. Members of the Jieng Council of Elders are even better than many of these men and women in disguise because they (elders) have plainly and consistently presented themselves to the South Sudanese as Dinka in partnership with Salva in the project of exterminating the Nuer, and maybe others after.

Concluding Remark

This war has defined the people of South Sudan as never before in our history. We are coward, tribal and greedy. We are not nationalists. I am sorry to say this. But, it has to be said.

It started on December 15, 2013 in a way that was later, on the 16th, declared as a foiling of a coup attempt. But what transpired afterwards was totally un-South Sudanese. Power of a sovereign state was used by Salva Kiir to systematically kill the Nuer, targeting them solely on their ethnic origin. It was done in a broad day light. The private tribal militia was so stupid that they would even asked non-Nuer South Sudanese, in their door-to-door search, to show them the Nuer homes in the neighborhoods. And when they found one, they would shoot and kill the occupants in the presence of others who would later be witnesses against their criminal undertaking. As the result, the current war of resistance started.

More than a year later, even some of those South Sudanese who were in Juba on the days of the massacres, still refer to Salva and his government as legitimate. How could this be possible? It is the answer to this simple question that leads me to making a conclusion that this war has defined South Sudanese as never before in the history of this country.

For those who come from the Dinka community who still stand behind Salva (after committing the worst kind of crime) and refer to him as legitimate, they are either tribal-minded who are standing firm behind their tribesman, or they are un-nationalistic who think that the crime was committed only against the Nuer and not against South Sudan, or they are staying with him in his genocidal government out of greed. In here, I am talking about the members of the intelligentsia, not the ordinary, innocent Dinka men and women.

For the members of the Nuer community who call themselves Nuer leaders in Juba, theirs is a pure form of cowardice and greed. They either think that Salva is militarily invincible who should never be resisted, or they think that remaining in alliance with Salva would, in the short run, bring one financial stability. They should have been out of that government to lead the rest of the South Sudanese in resisting and stopping genocide. There is nothing un-nationalistic about saying to one, ‘No, you cannot kill my brother or mother’. They are comforted by such names as nationalist, as stated by the Jieng Council of Elders in the recently circulated letter. No matter what is said about them in public, the tribal elders are surely saying something about them in private—something that is not nationalistic or positive.

For those who are non-Dinka and non-Nuer, they are either un-nationalistic who think that the crime was not committed against their communities, and that it is a Nuer problem that they have nothing to do with, or they are coward who think that it is not wise for one to put oneself up against the power that be, or they are in the government or wanting to be in the government to show support for Salva for economic (greed) reasons.

The bottom line is that there is no Nuer without South Sudan, and there is no South Sudan without the tribal components of her society. What happens to one tribe (good or bad) happens to the whole of our society. What happened in December in Juba may have specifically happened to the members of the Nuer tribe. Nevertheless, it does not take away the fact that those who perished were members of the South Sudanese society, and that their unjustified deaths should have mobilized the whole country against Salva Kiir. If any non-Nuer citizen of South Sudan saw them as just members of the Nuer tribe, then there is a problem with our Society. And this undermines the very roots of our oneness as a people. If Salva and his government can be allowed to get away with it, then any government can be allowed to get away with anything.

Cowardice, tribalism and greed are slowly killing South Sudan. If we do not work together to confront the sources of these problems, then, we will end up with a country or haters, coward and greedy. And that is not the kind of a country that one can be proud of.

The author is a South Sudanese. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

More Articles...

Page 22 of 668

Our Mission Statement

To bring the latest, most relevant news and opinions on issues relating to the South Sudan and surrounding regions.

To provide key information to those interested in the South Sudan and its people.