South Sudan extends the state of emergency
An extension of the state of emergency was declared on Friday by President Salva Kiir and announced on South Sudan’s Broadcasting Corporation. This state of emergency is an extension of the three-month long state of emergency that was declared in July in the states of Gogrial, Tonj, Wau and Aweil East. Minister of the Interior Michael Chiengjiek said that the president made this decision during the security committee meeting held last week that looked at the security situation of the country especially after the standoff that involved the army and the body guards of former army chief of staff Gen. Paul Malong who was detained in Juba after he was sacked from his job in May this year.
Humanitarian assistance is being denied to the people
United Nations monitors in their report written to the UN Security Council’s South Sudan sanctions committee said that humanitarians are being denied access to citizens in need of help. According to the monitors, the denial of food is being used as a weapon to cripple those perceived to oppose the government. The report points out that the government has consistently denied humanitarian access to the greater Baggari area. It also mentions that at least 160 children and elderly people have died from hunger and disease between January and September 2017.
After the release of the report, during the same meeting that declared the extension of the state of emergency, the president ordered that humanitarian organizations be granted unlimited access to all in need of help.
Former army chief of staff freed from detention
Former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Paul Malong, who has been detained since May this year in his residence in Juba, was given permission by the president to leave his residence to seek medical attention. The previous week, government soldiers had surrounded Malong’s house and ordered his bodyguards to hand over their arms. There was a standoff as the general warned of bloodshed should his guards be disarmed or arrested. Army spokesperson Ateny Wek said that the release of the former army chief was made on compassionate grounds after the security committee established that he was no longer a threat to the nation’s security.
UN extends peacekeeping mandate in Abeyi
The United Nations Security Council renewed the mandate of the peacekeeping force in Abyei, also known as the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abeyi (UNISFA). The extended mandate will last untill 15 May 2018. There had been several killings in the Abeyi area that had caused a lot of unrest in the area that borders with the Sudan.
South Sudan refugees could reach 3 million – UN
UNHCR Regional Coordinator for South Sudan Arnauld Akodjenou, after visiting four countries hosting South Sudanese refugees, said that the number of refugees could increase to 3 million in 2018 if the war does not come to an end. On top of the refugee crisis, there is a threat of famine and starvation. Already 1.25 million people are facing starvation in South Sudan.