Sunday 25 June 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
South Sudanese pro-government forces killed at least 114 civilians in and around Yei town between July 2016 and January 2017, as well as committing uncounted rapes, looting and torture, the U.N. human rights office said on Friday. "Attacks were committed with an alarming degree of brutality and, like elsewhere in the country, appeared to have an ethnic dimension," a report on the U.N. investigation said. "These cases included attacks on funerals and indiscriminate shelling of civilians; cases of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls, including those fleeing fighting; often committed in front of the victims’ families." Fighting flared when the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), loyal to President Salva Kiir
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
Some eight months after the U.N. Security Council authorized the deployment of an extra 4,000 peacekeepers to war-torn South Sudan, the first of those troops have just trickled in amid bureaucratic hurdles by the country's reluctant government. "Meanwhile the situation in the country has deteriorated at a rapid pace," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a monthly report on the status of the deployment and obstacles facing some 13,000 peacekeepers already on the ground. The 15-member Security Council approved the additional troops - known as a regional protection force (RPF) - in August, following several days of heavy fighting in the capital Juba between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing former Vice President Riek Machar. The force...
(Xinhuanet 05/19/17)
South Sudan revealed on Friday that 40 rebels were killed in the latest clash on Thursday in Bieh state's Waat area. Brigadier Dickson Gatluak, spokesman for the Sudan People's Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO) faction under first vice president Taban Deng Gai, told Xinhua that together with government troops they killed 40 rebels who attacked their positions at Waat. "The 40 rebels killed were from the rebel side, and two people from our side were injured in the fighting. The aggression was from the side of the rebels," Gatluak said. This came after another clash Tuesday in the border town of Yei between the warring factions killed 4 soldiers. However, Lam Paul Gabriel, deputy military spokesman of the SPLA-in opposition rebels...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(Xinhuanet 05/18/17)
The Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in Sudan's White Nile State said on Thursday that the number of South Sudanese refugees in the state has amounted to 140,000, according to the latest statistics by Sudan's Commission of Refugees. "The White Nile State has established eight camps to accommodate the continuing influxes of refugees from South Sudan," Mohamed Idriss Al-Sheikh, HAC commissioner in White Nile State, told journalists visiting the state. He reiterated that local authorities are providing all services, including food, education, health and water, to the refugees. The official also said there were no security problems inside the refugee camps in White Nile, denying previous reports about spread of diseases such as watery diarrhoea because of the intensive presence of...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Rebels attacked the South Sudanese town of Yei on Tuesday, killing at least four government soldiers, the state governor said. Rebel forces in the country's three-year-old civil war said the death count was higher and told civilians to leave the southwest town close to the border with Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. "What the rebels are doing here is destruction and creating a situation where civilians suffer," David Lokonga Moses, the governor of surrounding Yei River State, told Reuters. South Sudan broke away from Sudan in 2011 then plunged into civil war two years later after President Salva Kiir, from the Dinka ethnic group, sacked his deputy and long-time rival Riek Machar, a Nuer. Fighting spread across the oil-producing...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(Xinhuanet 05/16/17)
The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) until Nov. 15. The 15-nation UN body underscores that "continued cooperation between the government of Sudan and the government of South Sudan is also critical for peace, security and stability and the future relations between them," the resolution said. The council further reiterated "its demand that Sudan and South Sudan urgently commence the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration and Council, including by resolving the deadlock over the composition of the Council," the resolution said. Sudan and South Sudan are disputing the oil-rich Abyei, an area inhabited mainly by Sudan's Arab Mesiria tribe and South Sudan's...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(AFP (eng) 05/15/17)
The United Nations said Monday that $1.4 billion (1.3 billion euros) was needed this year alone to help the nearly two million people who have fled war and famine in South Sudan. The UNHCR refugee agency and the World Food Programme presented an updated response plan to the crisis in appealing for nearly double the $781 million they had previously said they needed. "Bitter conflict and deteriorating humanitarian conditions in South Sudan are driving people from their homes in record numbers," UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said in a statement. South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, fell into a brutal civil war in December 2013, just two years after it spilt from the north. Tens of thousands of people have been...
(AFP (eng) 05/14/17)
Sacked South Sudanese army chief Paul Malong, returned to the capital Juba on Saturday claiming he had been asked to return by the authorities and insisting that he'd never had any intention of rebelling. "If I want to rebel I can rebel here (in Juba)... If I was about to fight I would fight here," he told reporters upon his arrival in the capital. South Sudan President Salva Kiir sacked his powerful, hardline army chief Malong on Tuesday. Malong, long regarded as an ethnic nationalist of Kiir's majority Dinka tribe, was replaced by General James Ajongo Mawut, a career soldier.
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(AFP (eng) 05/12/17)
South Sudan's president insisted Friday that the security situation was "normal" and that people had no reason to worry, three days after dismissing powerful army chief Paul Malong. President Salva Kiir's dismissal of Malong on Tuesday night has raised concern among the population who fear confrontation between soldiers loyal to each man. Speaking at the presidential palace in Juba, Kiir presented Malong's dismissal as "routine work". However, Kiir berated Malong who he said had erred by failing to thank him for the job he held and by not congratulating his successor, James Ajongo, on his new appointment. "I was talking to him, I said, Malong, you did a mistake: the first thing that you should have done was to thank...
(Sudan Tribune 05/12/17)
Deteriorating security in parts of South Sudan coupled with increased displacement could worsen the humanitarian suffering in the country through outbreaks of diseases, the United Nations special envoy for the young nation has warned. David Shearer said in situation in South Sudan’s Bor-Pibor area was particularly concerning with fears that violent clashes could occur between youths from the Dinka Bor and Murle communities. “We are worried that might spark more widespread fighting between those two communities [and] hence the reason we are providing support to the peace efforts on the ground,” said Shearer. “The important thing is that we de-escalate tensions and provide an opportunity to talk rather than to fight because fighting only will result in a greater cycle...
(AFP (eng) 05/10/17)
South Sudan President Salva Kiir sacked his powerful, hardline army chief Paul Malong on Tuesday, a government spokesman said. General Paul Malong, long regarded as an ethnic nationalist of Kiir's majority Dinka tribe, was replaced by General James Ajongo Mawut, a career soldier. "The decrees are two: one for the relief of Chief of General Staff, General Paul Malong Awan, and another decree is for the appointment of former Deputy Chief of General Staff for Administration and Finance General James Ajongo Mawut as the Chief of General Staff," Kiir's spokesmen Ateny Wek Ateny
(Xinhuanet 05/10/17)
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Tuesday evening sacked army chief General Paul Malong in a decree run on state television in Juba, replacing him with Lt. General James Ajongo Mawut. Malong was appointed chief of the South Sudan army (SPLA) in December 2013 after war broke out and was until his sacking part of a group of senior generals indicted by the UN for orchestrating killings and atrocities during the more than three years of violent conflict in the war-torn youngest nation. The UN and various international NGOs accused him of recruiting the Mathiang Ayoor militia largely composed of his ethnic Dinka youth from his native Northern Bahr El Ghazal region, where president Kiir also hails from, to fight...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/10/17)
Uganda hopes to raise $2 billion in donations at a U.N. refugee summit next month to help fund relief operations for refugees flowing in from neighboring South Sudan, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said on Tuesday. The east African country hosts a total of 1.2 million refugees, of which almost 800,000 are South Sudanese who fled the world's youngest country since the outbreak of civil war. Rugunda said Uganda faced difficulties in coping with the influx, which ballooned recently since the latest wave of violence erupted in July. "The ... numbers are placing a huge strain on our already stressed ability to cater for food," he told a news conference. "We are hoping that ... we will be able to raise...
(Voice of America 05/10/17)
Efforts to start a "national dialogue" in war-ravaged South Sudan are on hold again after a key steering committee could not muster enough members for a quorum. The government says more than half the committee members appointed by President Salva Kiir have yet to report for duty. Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said Sunday that officials were forced to delay the swearing-in of the committee that was to oversee the dialogue. "It has been postponed until further notice because the percentage of the steering committee was only 20 percent. So we are waiting [for] committee members at least to be 50-plus [percent] before they are sworn in," Ateny said. Kiir said in December that the national dialogue would begin sometime...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...

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