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South Sudan Watch Update 69

Dr Machar finally accepts deal

With prior disagreements solved, opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar accepted the peace deal proposed in Khartoum. Last week, Dr. Machar and the leaders of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) had refused to sign the deal saying that it did not consider the rebels’ terms on the number of states in the country and who is responsible for writing the constitution. After talks with the president of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, Riek Machar signed agreement. IGAD announced that this would not be the final one and that the final peace deal would be signed later, following discussion of the remaining matters of contention.[1]

Meanwhile other parties in South Sudan do not agree in the peace process.

The National Salvation Front (NAS) joined People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and the SPLM- Former Political Detainees – FDs in denouncing the peace deal initialed by Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. In a statement released the day after the deal was accepted, the spokesperson of NAS, Samuel Manase, said that the Khartoum negotiations fell short of addressing the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan. He added that the peace deal is a recipe for more conflict and his party would not subject their people to what he referred to as a “short term peace.” According to Mr. Manase, the peace deal does not address the NAS and PDM demand for a federal system.[2]

Rebels’ issues to be handled in Nairobi

Regional leaders will hold a summit in Nairobi during the month of September to address points of contention during the negotiations in Khartoum. NAS, PDM and the SPLM- Former Political Detainees – FDs have all denounced the peace deal saying that it cannot bring about lasting peace because their issues, including the desire for a federal system, were not addressed. Omar Al-Bashir, the guarantor for the last round of peace talks, has to convince IGAD members to consider the rebel’s desires at an upcoming meeting in Nairobi.[3]

Another aid worker killed

An aid worker attached to the Episcopal Church in South Sudan was killed during an ambush in Yei state. The aid worker was identified as Joseph Kiri and was the Provincial Youth Coordinator of the Episcopal Church in Lainya county. He was killed near Limbe along the Yei-Lainya road. There have been several battles between government forces and the rebels in the Yei state in the past week. South Sudan has been considered the most hostile country for humanitarian workers.[4]

A reign of tortured- Amnesty says

Amnesty International put out a report documenting cases of arbitrary arrest and torture of detainees in South Sudan despite several promises by the government to respect the rights of prisoners. The report documents, among others, the case of four men who died in detention due to harsh conditions and a lack of sufficient medical care. The four men were held in prison without charge and in harsh conditions that eventually killed them. It also mentions the cases of some former detainees who were forced to go without food for days at a time and some who were not allowed to leave their cells at all.[5]

IDPs returned

The UNMISS relocated over 3,000 internally displaced people from the UN protection of civilian site (POC) in Juba to the Mangateen community. According to David Shearer, the head of the UN mission in South Sudan, the people in the camp expressed their desire to leave following increased acts of violence within the camp. Just last month a person was killed and three others were wounded during fighting in the camp. According to UNMISS the majority of those relocated were women and children.[6]

Soldiers sentenced over hotel attack

A court in South Sudan sentenced ten soldiers to prison for crimes committed during the attack on Terrain Hotel in 2016. In July 2016, soldiers broke into the hotel where they committed crimes including murder, rape and destruction of property. Among those attacked were journalists and foreign aid workers. Brig. Gen. Knight Briano, who convicted the soldiers, found three of them guilty of raping foreign aid workers, four guilty of sexual harassment and one guilty of theft and robbery. These soldiers were given sentences ranging from seven to fourteen years. One soldier was found guilty of murdering a journalist named John Gatluak Nhial and was sentences to life in prison. There was also one soldier who was set free because of a lack of enough evidence against him.[7]

[1] “S Sudan rebel chief approves peace deal with rival Kiir,” News24, 31 August 2018, available at https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/s-sudan-rebel-chief-approves-peace-deal-with-rival-kiir-20180831

[2] “South Sudan’s NAS refuses final peace document,” Sudan Tribune, 31 August 2018, available at http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article66152

[3] “IGAD to handle South Sudan rebels’ complaints,” The East African, 1 September 2018, available at http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/Igad-to-handle-South-Sudan-rebels-complaints/4552908-4739214-c46mx5z/index.html

[4] “HUMANITARIAN WORKER KILLED DURING YEI AMBUSH,” Nyamilepedia, 4 September 2018, available at https://nyamile.com/2018/09/04/humanitarian-worker-killed-during-yei-ambush/

[5] Amnesty International, “Arbitrary arrests, torture of detainees despite repeated promises in South Sudan,” 4 September 2018, available at https://www.amnestyusa.org/reports/arbitrary-arrests-torture-of-detainees-despite-repeated-promises-in-south-sudan/#

[6] “UN Relocates 3500 IDPs From Juba POC to Prevent Conflict,” Gurtong, 6 September 2018, available at http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ctl/ArticleView/mid/519/articleId/21585/UN-Relocates-3500-IDPs-From-Juba-POC-To-Prevent-Conflict.aspx

[7] “South Sudan judge convicts 10 troops for 2016 rampage,” Mail Online, 6 September 2018, available at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-6137873/Judge-deliver-verdict-troops-accused-rape-murder.html

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