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SPLM orders appointment of Upper Nile State Secretary

Sudan Tribune - Sun, 24/01/2021 - 09:05

January 23, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan's ruling Sudan's Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) has ordered for the appointment of the acting SPLM Interim State Secretary for Upper Nile State.

SPLM Acting Secretary General Jemma Nunu Kumba (File Photo ST)

The order is dated in January 20 letter issued by the acting SPLM Secretary General, Jemma Nunu Kumba.

“In exercise of the power conferred upon me under Article 28 (1) (m) of the SPLM Constitution 2008 (as amended in 2016), I, Cde Jemma Nunu Kumba, Acting Secretary General of the SPLM, do hereby issue this order for the appointment of the Acting SPLM Interim State Secretary for Upper Nile State,” the letter read in part.

In June last year, President Salva Kiir and the First Vice-President, Riek Machar reached a deal on the allocation of the country's 10 states after three months of discussions.

The armed opposition (SPLM-IO), led by Riek Machar, was given three states, including Upper Nile, where the appointment of a governor is still pending.

The SPLM-IO nominated General Johnson Olony as governor of Upper Nile.

Kiir, however, rejected the SPLM-IO nominee, describing him a “war monger” and asked the First Vice-President to write an undertaking to take responsibility if Olony breaks the truce.


Categories: Africa

UN urges "zero tolerance" for sexual violence in Ethiopia's Tigray region

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 22/01/2021 - 10:11

January 21, 2021 (JUBA) - The United Nations has urged “zero tolerance” policy and called on all parties to prohibit the use of sexual violence and cease hostilities in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the U.N. secretary-general's special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Pramila Pattern said there has been a high number of reported rapes in the Tigray's capital, Mekelle and reports that some women are being forced by military elements to have sex in exchange for basic commodities.

“I am greatly concerned by serious allegations of sexual violence in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, including a high number of alleged rapes in the capital, Mekelle. There are also disturbing reports of individuals allegedly forced to rape members of their own family, under threats of imminent violence,” said Patten.

She added, “It remains critical that humanitarian actors and independent human rights monitors be granted immediate, unconditional and sustained access to the entirety of the Tigray region, including IDP [internally displaced people] and refugee camps where new arrivals have allegedly reported cases of sexual violence”.

According to the UN, 59,000 Ethiopians have fled to Sudan, while some 5,000 Eritrean refugees are living in “dire” conditions in the area of Shire. The U.N. says 25 of the refugees are women and girls of reproductive age.

“I call on all parties involved in the hostilities in the Tigray region to commit to a zero-tolerance policy for crimes of sexual violence, in line with their respective obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law,” Patten said.

“I call on the government of Ethiopia to further exercise its due diligence obligations to protect all civilians from sexual and other violence, regardless of their ethnic origin and those displaced by conflict, and to promptly allow for an independent inquiry into all allegations of sexual and other forms of violence, to establish the facts and hold perpetrators accountable, provide redress to victims, and prevent further grave violations.”

While commenting on the monitoring and investigation missions recently conducted by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in Western Tigray and the Amhara region, the UN official called on the Ethiopian government to further exercise its due diligence obligations to protect all civilians from sexual and other violence, regardless of their ethnic origin and those displaced by conflict.

Patten also urged authorities to promptly allow for an independent inquiry into all allegations of sexual and other forms of violence, to establish the facts and hold perpetrators accountable, provide redress to victims, and prevent further grave violations.

On November 4 2020, the Ethiopian government launched a “law enforcement operation” against the leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the region's ruling party, after TPLF fighters attacked a federal military base. TPLF leaders called the federal government's response a war against the people of Tigray.


Categories: Africa

UN to set up temporary operating base in Warrap State

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 22/01/2021 - 08:06

January 21, 2021 (NEW YORK) – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is working with authorities to establish a temporary operating base in the greater Tonj area of Warrap State to reduce tensions and build confidence, a UN official said Thursday.

Map of South Sudan showing Warrap state in red

The move comes amid reports of sporadic intercommunal conflict caused by cattle raiding in the Greater Tonj area of Warrap State.

The incident reportedly led to deaths, injuries and displacement of the population.

A spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, Stephane Dujarric said the mission is closely monitoring the situation and preparing to intensify patrols to deter further violence.

“Additionally, the mission is stepping up its community sensitization activities in Warrap through peace campaigns,” he said in a statement.

The campaigns, he noted, are intended to raise awareness among residents on the need for social cohesion as well as benefits of a peaceful cattle migration season.

Cattle are a main source of wealth for many communities in the East African nation.

Livestock-keeping communities in South Sudan routinely engage in cattle raids, which observers say have become more deadly because pastoralists switched from using spears and arrows to guns.


Categories: Africa

West Darfur announces security plan to protect civilians

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 22/01/2021 - 07:39

January 21, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - West Darfur State approved on Thursday security plan to protect civilians after the bloody tribal violence that resulted in the death of 160 people and the injury of 215 others.

Following the attacks of 16 January by armed Arab tribesmen on Krinding camp outside El-Geneina, the Sudanese government swiftly deployed troops in the in and outside the state capital but the violent incident continued to take place in several parts of the state.

The West Darfur Governor Mohamed Abdallah Aldoma approved a security plan to restore security the eight localities of the state, said the official news agency SUNA, on Thursday.

According to Aldoma, a joint force consisting of police, security service, army, the Rapid Support Forces, and Central Reserve under the command of the state army command will be deployed across the state particularly in the troubled neighbourhoods.

The state capital, El Geneina has been divided into areas that need urgent and immediate interventions, and others where are deployed stationary forces to arrest outlaws.

He disclosed that large additional forces are on their way to the state the centre. The first military reinforcements came from the other Darfur states.

On Tuesday, Mohammad Zakaria Secretary-General of West Darfur Government said that they opened 42 centres to shelters over about 50,000 displaced persons, including children, women and the elderly.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke with the Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok on Thursday to discuss the security situation in West Darfur, said a statement released by the Sudanese cabinet.

The Sudanese premier briefed the UN chief "about the military and security reinforcements that the government dispatched to the West Darfur State, and the legal measures that are being taken to hold accountable all those who caused the violence," said the statement.

Also, he told Guterres about the government plans to build community peace and to form the national mechanism to protect civilians.

In a related development, the British humanitarian group Save the Children said they plan to ramp up its humanitarian response in West Darfur in coming days, sending an Emergency Health Team to set up mobile clinics in areas with large numbers of displaced families.

The team will also be distributing hygiene kits and establishing water and sanitation services to help prevent the spread of disease, as well as running mobile child protection services and a family tracing and reunification program.


Categories: Africa

UK backs Sudan's economic reforms & debt relief

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 22/01/2021 - 06:14

January 21, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The United Kingdom extended £40 million in aid to Sudan to support cash assistance program that targets poor families and pledged a bridge loan to clear arrears at the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The Sudanese ministry of Finance and Economic Planning signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office that outlines London's support of Khartoum's structural economic reforms.

The £40 million will finance the "Thamarah" program to support 1.6 million Sudanese families through the World Bank's multi-donor trust fund.

The British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrived in Khartoum on Wednesday for a two-day visit to hold talks on a number of domestic and regional subjects.

His visit was described as 'historic' as it is the first of its kind in more than a decade and the most senior by a British official since the ouster of former president Omer Hassan al-Bashir after a popular uprising in April 2019.

Raab told the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok that the UK is ready to support Sudan's debt relief once the economic reforms are implemented.

The acting minister of Finance and Economic Planning Heba Mohamed Ali said in a press statement that the British pledge comes within the framework of the UK's contributions that were previously made at the Sudan Partners Conference in Berlin last year.

She indicated that the transitional government began implementing the first phase of the Thamarah program to support Sudanese families, noting that it aims to alleviate the economic difficulties that the country is going through and is implemented through an effective partnership between the ministries of finance, economic planning, labour and social development, in addition to other relevant institutions.

The Sudanese official affirmed the government's commitment to addressing the structural and chronic imbalances facing the economy for decades.

Her ministry also confirmed UK's commitment to providing a bridge loan of $400 million to pay AfDB arrears.

Raab praised the progress made by the transitional government and emphasized the UK's desire to continue to deepen relations with Sudan.

"The United Kingdom and Sudan have strong historical ties and a commercial partnership for which we want to see prosperity and growth," he said.

"We will continue our support for Sudan in its democratic transition and welcome the necessary economic reforms undertaken by the Sudanese government to put the country on a path to creating a better life for the people of Sudan," he added.

The UK Foreign Secretary, also, held talks with the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council Abdel Fatah al-Burhan.

He also heard from women who played a leading role in the 2019 revolution and saw first-hand how British humanitarian support is helping people in need.

Britain has provided £125 million to Sudan this fiscal year, including £5 million pounds in the form of new funding to meet the urgent needs arising from the crisis in the region.


Categories: Africa

Former Upper Nile governor urges calm after separate attacks

Sudan Tribune - Fri, 22/01/2021 - 01:00

January 21, 2021 (JUBA)- Simon Kun Puoch, former governor of Upper Nile, one of the 10 states in South Sudan, has called for calm following attacks in which several lives and properties were lost.

Governor Simon Kun Pouch (FILE)

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday, Puoch said at least 13 people were killed and several others sustained injuries during two separate attacks in Melut County, Upper Nile.

The first attack, which took place on January 13, 2021, left five innocent civilians dead including a child, two women, an elderly person, and two young men, reads the statement in part.

The second incident intervened in Paloch on January 16, 2021, resulting in the death of 7 civilians from Gajaak, a clan from a section of ethnic Nuer. Five others sustained injuries and in critical condition.

The development sparked fears among political and military figures from the area, causing the government to dispatch top army officers to investigate the assaults and diffuse tension from escalating into a large-scale communal feud.

The Upper Nile State is the only remaining whose governor has not been appointed since July when President Salva Kiir declined to approve and appoint the nominee of the SPLM- IO to which Johnson Olony ally himself.

Kiir now wants Machar, the first vice-president in the unity government and the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) to write an undertaking to take responsibility should Gen Olony break the truce.

Speaking with church leaders from the All African Conference of Churches and World Council of Churches who had visited him to discuss the delay of implementation, President Kiir said that Gen Olony remains an “active soldier" who operates outside the territories that are neither controlled by SPLM-IO nor the government.


Categories: Africa

Hamdok urges political groups to file nominees for Sudan's new cabinet

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 21/01/2021 - 12:36

January 20, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, on Wednesday, urged the ruling coalition to submit the lists of nominees for the new cabinet ministers.

Last Sunday, the Nominations Committee of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) said consultations underway with the National Umma Party (NUP) to finalize its nominees for several ministerial portfolios.

Also, the South Sudanese mediation secretary-general Dhieu Matouk held a meeting with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) groups to discuss the selection of nominees for the new government in line with the peace agreement.

On Wednesday, Hamdok shared a meeting with the FFC and the SRF to discuss the formation of the new cabinet.

During the meeting, he stressed the need to observe the agreed selection criteria including competence, qualification, experience, integrity and the good conduct of the candidates, in addition to taking into account the equitable participation of women.

Further, the Prime Minister said that the speedy formation of the new government would positively impact the implementation of the Juba Agreement for Peace in Sudan.

The new cabinet will be composed of 26 ministers.

The two ministries of the defence and interior are reserved for the military component, while the armed groups got seven portfolios after long discussions with the FFC.

Based on the results of last democratic elections in 1986, the NUP demands six ministries out of the 17 ministries of the FFC.


Categories: Africa

Civil society body to evaluate South Sudan's coalition government

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 21/01/2021 - 10:15

January 21, 2021 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese civil society says it intends to conduct a survey on citizens' perception regarding the performance of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) formed in February last year.

South Sudanese civil society activist Edmund Yakani (The Niles/File)

The survey, Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said Thursday, runs from January 22-February 15 across the country.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, CEPO's executive director, Edmund Yakani said the exercise is intended to generate citizens' opinions for informing the parties' signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan about their performances in implementing the peace agreement.

He said all citizens, stakeholders and political parties will participate in the survey.

“It is time for us to assess ourselves about our performance at our various capacities in contributing to the genuine and meaningful implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan. It is good to know our strengths and weakness in engaging in the process of transitioning our country from violence to peace,” said Yakani.

According to the activist, the desk review of the public perceptions survey is completed and its findings would be release on January 22.

He, however, stressed that the final findings of the public perception survey will be release during CEPO's event commemorating the first anniversary of the formation of the unity government on February 22.

CEPO also urged the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC), the regional bloc (IGAD), African Union and United Nations to conduct in-depth evaluation of the peace partners' performance in implementing the peace deal.

The parties to the peace agreement formed the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in February 2020. Despite this, there are many unresolved key issues, including security arrangements and an agreement on the finalization of governance structures.

Government and opposition forces should, as part of the September 2018 peace deal, form one national army.


Categories: Africa

Ethiopia dismisses agreement with Sudan on border troops' deployment

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 21/01/2021 - 09:25

January 20, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Ethiopia dismissed statements by the head of the Sovereign Council about a bilateral agreement to deploy the Sudanese troops on the border before "the law enforcement operation in Tigray".

On 16 January, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan disclosed he had agreed with the Ethiopian Prime Minister to close the Sudanese borders to prevent any infiltration to and from Sudan by the TPLF fighters.

On his weekly press briefing on Wednesday, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Dina Mufti told reporters that they were surprised that Sudanese military officials misinterpret "friendly talks for cooperation along the borderlines of Ethiopia as a green light to encroach into Ethiopian lands".

"It should be clear that our government is responsible and sensitive to the sovereignty of the country and could not agree, by any means, to let a third party occupy Ethiopian lands," Mufti further stressed.

During his speech last Saturday, al-Burhan said the Sudanese armed forces have been deployed within the international borders.

Sudanese officials strongly rejected to Mufti past statements about the occupation of Ethiopian territory. They further said there are still two border areas they demand that the Ethiopian army withdraws its troops from it.

No need for South Sudan's mediation

The Ethiopian diplomat also declined the South Sudanese offer to mediate the border dispute between the two countries

"We have heard that some countries have expressed readiness to mediate between Sudan and Ethiopia on the border issues," Mufti said in a statement about the South Sudanese initiative.

He added that there is no need for such an offer because they did not refuse to discuss the matter directly with the Sudanese authorities.

"In this regard, as we have repeatedly said, had it not been for our firm stand to carry out negotiations with Sudan on the border issues, it would have been relevant to invite third parties to mediate the two countries".

Nonetheless, he requested the withdrawal of the Sudanese army from the "Ethiopian" territory before to hold bilateral talks on the border issue.


Categories: Africa

Uganda's elections marred by widespread violence, says HRW

Sudan Tribune - Thu, 21/01/2021 - 09:23

January 21, 2021 (KAMPALA) – The weeks leading up to Uganda's recently concluded elections were characterized by widespread violence and human rights abuses, a US-based rights body said.

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni (Photo: Carl Court/AP)

Human Rights Watch, in a statement issued Thursday, said abuses included killings by the country's security forces, arrests and beatings of opposition supporters and journalists, disruption of opposition rallies and nationwide shutdown of the internet.

The authorities should ensure thorough investigation and prosecution of those responsible for abuses, the rights body noted.

Last week, president Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of the presidential election held on January 14 with 58.64 per cent of total votes, defeating 10 other candidates who had contested.

According to Human Rights Watch, since election campaigns began in November last year, security forces clamped down on opposition members and journalists, violently arresting scores of people, including two of the opposition presidential candidates.
It cites the November 18 and 19, 2020 incident in which security forces clamped down on protesters demanding the release of then-detained Robert Kyagulanyi, resulting in at least 54 deaths.

“A democratic playing field for free and fair elections was worryingly absent during these elections,” said Oryem Nyeko, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Instead of restricting free expression, movement, and assembly, the Ugandan government should take concrete steps to improve respect for human rights for all and remove all remaining restrictions,” he added.

Uganda's security forces are also accused of blocking people, including the US ambassador to Uganda, Natalie E. Brown, from attempting to visit Kyagulanyi.

Also cited were restrictions imposed on media covering opposition party members, where journalists were sometimes beaten or shot.

Authorities applied similar restrictions on activists and civil society groups, including blocking National Elections Watch Uganda, a coalition of local organizations, from monitoring the elections.

Meanwhile, the US-based human rights body urged Ugandan authorities to immediately end all forms of harassment and intimidation of journalists, opposition supporters and leaders, while advocating for protection of their rights, including freedom of movement and respect for the rule of law.


Categories: Africa

I can’t think far! Akufo-Addo preaches concensus building, and next, Police charges NDC lawmakers for unlawful assembly – Mahama

ModernGhana News - Tue, 12/01/2021 - 19:57
Former President John Dramani Mahama cannot comprehend why President Akufo-Addo will be preaching consensus building in respect of the new Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin who was elected from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the next day, the Police will be charging NDC parliamentarians for unlawful assembly.
Categories: Africa

Speeding driver ‘chopping love’ with fiancée kills 10 year old; family demands justice

ModernGhana News - Tue, 12/01/2021 - 19:47
The family of a ten-year-old who was killed by a speeding driver making out with a lover while driving on the Aduman ndash; Aduamoah road in the Afigya Kwabere District of the Ashanti region, is seeking justice.
Categories: Africa

C/R: 2-year-old boy drowns in gutter

ModernGhana News - Tue, 12/01/2021 - 19:47
A two-year-old child has drowned in a gutter at Netro, a suburb of Mankessim in the Mfantseman Municipality of the Central Region. The little boy was said to have been playing at the back of his house while his 19-year-old mother was also washing.
Categories: Africa

NDC MPs court process served on Speaker exposes Akufo-Addo’s doublespeak – Mahama

ModernGhana News - Tue, 12/01/2021 - 19:47
Former President John Dramani Mahama has berated President Akufo-Addo for promoting empty rhetoric on consensus building in parliament while acting differently. His remarks come after the Greater Accra Regional Police Commander served a court process on the Speaker of Parliament, Rt.
Categories: Africa

Covid-19: No facemask no entry notice in offices no more works – Coalition

ModernGhana News - Tue, 12/01/2021 - 19:47
The National Coalition of NGOs in Health has criticized some organizations in the country for refusing to enforce the no facemask no entry principle in their offices. According to the Coalition, offices have suddenly stopped implementing the directive thereby allowing people to enter organizations freely without any due scrutiny.
Categories: Africa

West Africa: Democracy ‘a constant process’ top UN official tells Security Council 

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 11/01/2021 - 20:32
While elections are one-time events, “democracy is a constant process of deliberation and consultation” where dialogue provides an “important arena for the building of national consensus”, the top UN official in West Africa told the Security Council on Monday. 
Categories: Africa

UN chief calls for ‘urgent transition’ from fossil fuels to renewable energy 

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 11/01/2021 - 19:46
Building a global coalition for carbon neutrality by mid-century will be the UN’s “central objective”, the world body’s top official told a conference on climate action on Monday. 
Categories: Africa

South Sudan: Timely action by Ghanaian peacekeepers proves ‘every second counts’

UN News Centre - Africa - Sun, 10/01/2021 - 23:20
Ghanaian peacekeepers at the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have been commended for their lifesaving support to a man who was severely wounded during recent violent inter-communal clashes in the north of the country.
Categories: Africa

Uganda elections 2021: How ex-rebel Yoweri Museveni has stayed in power for 35 years

BBC Africa - Sun, 10/01/2021 - 01:24
Uganda's Yoweri Museveni is running for a sixth elected term in office, against 10 challengers.
Categories: Africa

How South African police are tackling pangolin smugglers

BBC Africa - Sun, 10/01/2021 - 01:08
The pangolin is said to be the world's most trafficked mammal. The BBC filmed a rescue operation.
Categories: Africa