Tag Archives: South Sudan civil war

A Nightmare Live

Image from https://robertlindsay.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/human-butcher-shop.png

Mass killings, rape, torture, abductions and forced cannibalism have led to an increase in mental illness in South Sudan, with patients routinely housed in prisons due to an “almost total” absence of mental health care,.  There are only two practicing psychiatrists for South Sudan’s 11 million people, Amnesty International said in a report released on July 5, 2016 ahead of the country’s fifth anniversary of independence on July 9.

“My mind is not good,” the report quoted one man, Phillip, as saying as he described being forced to eat the flesh of dead men rounded up and shot in a security forces building in the capital, Juba, when conflict broke out in December 2013.  “They found me, tied my arms behind my back and forced me at gunpoint to drink blood and eat flesh … At night when I sleep, those who were killed come back in my nightmares.”

More than 10,000 people have been killed and two million displaced since fighting erupted between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.

Clashes have continued even though warring factions signed a peace deal in August 2015, with 200,000 people still sheltering in United Nations military bases across the country.

Lual, another man quoted in the report, said he felt suicidal after security officers forced him to disembowel corpses in detention in Juba in 2014.”Whenever they would kill people, we would be taken to dissect the stomachs of those who were killed, so they could be thrown into the river and wouldn’t float,” he was quoted as saying.

Excerpts from Cannibalism, rape and death: trauma as South Sudan turns five, Reuters, July 5, 2016

The Use of Drones in Peacekeeping Operations: South Sudan

Jamam refugee camp from the air. image from wikipedia

The U.N. Security Council is urging the use of unarmed drones in the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, but the government there says that could cause “disagreement and hostility” as a peace deal tries to take hold.  The council on October 9, 2015 adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution requesting the U.N. secretary-general to “prioritize” the deployment of remaining troops, plus military helicopters and drones. The U.N. is exploring the use of drones in a growing number of peacekeeping missions after first using them in Congo in 2013.  But deploying the drones — even getting them into South Sudan — needs government consent. “The mission requires the collaboration and cooperation from the host authorities for its operations, including air and aviation ones,” a U.N. official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.  Ambassador Francis Deng told the council that requesting drones without consulting his government is “to invite controversy.”

South Sudan’s rival sides signed a peace deal in August 2015, but numerous cease-fire violations have been reported. Each side blames the other for the violations. Meanwhile, more than 100,000 civilians remain sheltered in U.N. bases throughout the country. Thousands have been killed in the conflict fueled by the rivalry between President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar.  The council resolution also extends the peacekeeping mission’s mandate until Dec. 15 while supporting the implementation of the peace deal. The mission has more than 12,500 uniformed personnel on the ground.

Excerpts from UN Wants Peacekeeping Drones in South Sudan, Which Objects, Associated Press, Oct. 10, 2015

Ingrained Sexual Violence in Sudan

Dinka girl by Richard Buchta late 19th century

Women in South Sudan have suffered unprecedented levels of sexual violence in the last two years, including abduction, rape, forced marriage and murder as civilians became targets of merciless ethnic warfare, the head of the Red Cross mission there has said.  “We went to one village to distribute aid and (our teams) were told they had been attacked some days earlier and 90 women had been abducted. After several days only about 60 of them came back,” said Franz Rauchenstein, the outgoing head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation.The latest turbulent chapter in South Sudan’s four years of independence erupted in December 2013, after a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, revived tensions between Kiir’s Dinka and Machar’s Nuer people.

“Civilians have been directly targeted. The people are collateral damage of the attacks. Houses are burnt, properties destroyed and so the people are literally running for their lives,” Rauchenstein said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation in London.  “What is new in this conflict is that women have been attacked while they have been seeking refuge on the islands,” said Rauchenstein, referring to the remote hideouts in swamps where traumatised civilians hide during attacks….Human rights groups have also pointed to cases of gang rape, of pregnant women being cut open and of women being raped using wooden sticks or plastic bottles.

Scale of South Sudan sexual violence is unprecedented – Red Cross, Reuters, Oct. 8, 2015

How Oil Dictates the Future of South Sudan

South Sudan’s oil fields have become a battleground in the struggle for power in Africa’s newest nation, encouraging Western nations and regional mediators to consider international monitoring of crude revenues as a way to remove a major bone of contention from such conflicts.  South Sudan sits on Sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest crude reserves, and its oil fields were early targets in fighting that erupted in December 2013 and has rumbled on despite two ceasefire deals and U.N. warnings that a man-made famine looms.

It marks an alarming slide into dysfunction by a nation whose creation three years ago the United States hailed as a foreign policy success. Instead of lifting the nation out of grinding poverty, oil is blamed for stoking a war…Diplomats and regional mediators said monitoring revenues was gaining traction as an idea for discussion, though the mechanics of such a system and how the warring sides would be pushed towards a deal have not been determined….

South Sudan’s oil output has tumbled by about a third to 160,000 barrels a day since the fighting began in December 2013, but it remains the main source of cash for President Salva Kiir’s government both by selling crude and by borrowing against future earnings, digging the nation deeper into debt.  As of June 25, 2013 South Sudan owed $256 million to China’s National Petroleum Corp, which has 40 percent of a venture developing South Sudan’s oil fields, and a further $78 million to oil trader Trafigura. [a Dutch multinational commodity trading company] It plans to borrow about $1 billion from oil firms in fiscal year 2014/15, equal to about a quarter of forecast revenues.

Rebel leader Machar, who was fired as deputy president last year, said oil sites would be a “legitimate target” unless funds were put into a neutral escrow account pending any deal.

But President Salva Kiir’s government says such outside intervention would violate its sovereignty and insists it has not bought arms since fighting began.  “We are not the protectorate of anyone,” presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said. “We have the right to buy arms, but we haven’t bought anything since December,” he said, despite rebel claims of weapon shipments arriving in recent months.  Kiir and Machar come from rival ethnic groups, and the conflict has re-opened deep ethnic divisions in the country.

Monitoring revenues is on the table for talks sponsored by the regional African grouping IGAD, though diplomats acknowledge it can only be part of a broader deal on how to share wealth and power in the divided nation…South Sudan has already lost billions of petrodollars in its young life. Kiir wrote to 75 former and serving officials in 2012 seeking the return of $4 billion that disappeared since 2005. No significant amounts were repaid, diplomats said.  Though the country – the size of France – has almost no roads and only a third of its 11 million people can read, South Sudanese now watch more wealth frittered away on fighting than on building roads or paying for schools….Fighting has killed at least 10,000 people, displaced 1.5 million and left a third of the population facing the prospect of famine as they have not planted crops…

But Western diplomats say pressure for a deal on oil monitoring needs to come from the region, led by heavyweight neighbours such as Kenya and Ethiopia.China, with its oil interests, would need to support the move, though diplomats said it had worked with the West during the crisis. Alongside China, other oil investors are India’s ONGC Videsh and Malaysia’s Petronas.”  If they can get the oil sector right, share the oil revenues in a much more inclusive manner, then that will dictate the country’s future,” said Luke Patey, author of a book on Sudan and South Sudan’s oil industry.

Excerpts from South Sudan conflict drives idea of oil wealth monitoring, Reuters, Aug. 1, 2014]

The South Sudan Blow Up

Jonglei,_South_Sudan

More than 300 people were killed and thousands sent fleeing into bush during two weeks of fighting between South Sudan’s army, rebels and rival tribes in the east of the country last month, officials said.  South Sudan’s army is grappling with a rebellion led by politician David Yau Yau in vast Jonglei state and new clashes have broken out between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes. More than 1,600 people have been killed in a cycle of tribal violence in Jonglei since the break-up of Africa’s largest country.

Western powers are worried the violence will escalate into full-blown civil war, undermining stability in the young African country, which is awash with arms after decades of conflict with Khartoum that led to its secession from Sudan in 2011, Reuters reports.  A team of local chiefs travelling around Pibor County in Jonglei had reported 328 deaths so far – all Murle members and some of them women and children, according to Jodi Jonglei Boyoris, a senior state representative. The number of Lou Nuer killed and wounded remained unknown. Boyoris said he expected the death toll to rise although the fighting had died down this month…

The United Nations has said thousands of people are hiding in the bush outside Pibor town in Jonglei to avoid the conflict between the army and Yau Yau, who says he is fighting corruption, army abuses and one-party rule in South Sudan.  The United Nations estimates 100,000 people have been affected by the conflict, with many fleeing to the bush and cut off from humanitarian access

Excerpt, Over 300 killed, thousands uprooted in bout of South Sudan fighting, Reuters, Aug. 12, 2013