Monday 26 June 2017
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks...
(The Associated Press 06/19/17)
South Sudan has the world's fastest growing displaced population and more needs to be done to help them, says the director of the United Nations refugee agency. More than 4 million South Sudanese have fled their homes, nearly 2 million of whom went to neighboring countries, said U.N. and other organizations. The international community should do more to help South Sudan, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, said after visiting a camp for the displaced. "The international neglect that you see here is matched nowhere else in the world," Grandi told The Associated Press. "Wherever you look there are dead ends." Grandi on Sunday visited South Sudan's largest camp for internally displaced people in the town of Bentiu. It's...
(The Associated Press 06/16/17)
Bakita Juma doesn't like to think about her dead parents because it makes her cry. The slender teenager would rather focus on the woman whom aid officials recently chose to raise her and her siblings on a small piece of earth in what has become the world's largest refugee settlement. Bakita says she likes her new mother. As for her two younger siblings, it is impossible to tell. One of the consequences of South Sudan's civil war has been the thousands of children fleeing without parents or guardians, without documentation...
(Voice of America 06/08/17)
A U.S. congressional delegation returned from central Africa last week with one overriding question: what can be done to stop South Sudan's war and help the refugees streaming into Uganda, suffering from a lack of food? Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, says the answer lies with the parties in South Sudan's conflict, especially the government and military, which have been accused of blocking food aid to needy populations, using rape as a weapon of war and engaging in ethnic cleansing.
(Bloomberg 06/06/17)
Total SA approached South Sudan about developing two of its biggest oil blocks after previous talks on the fields collapsed, according to the African nation’s petroleum minister. "They have written to me that they are still interested" in blocks B1 and B2, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said Monday in an interview in Cape Town. Tullow Oil Plc has also asked to discuss the blocks, he said. South Sudan needs foreign investment to ramp up oil production -- currently at about 130,000 barrels a day -- after conflict that erupted in 2013 cut output. Discussions with Total on blocks B1 and B2 reached an impasse in April
(Voice of America 06/03/17)
The world is watching closely as food shortages grip parts of Africa and the Middle East. As humanitarian groups respond to the crisis, they have to solve a major problem: how to track food security in areas that are simply too remote or too dangerous to access. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has come up with an innovative answer. The U.S.-funded organization is working with DigitalGlobe, a Colorado satellite company, to crowdsource analysis of satellite imagery of South Sudan. The effort will rely on thousands of volunteers — normal people with no subject matter expertise
(Voice of America 05/31/17)
A top South Sudan army official has used his position to accumulate millions of dollars through his personal business, while helping to orchestrate a conflict that has resulted in famine, according to a new report by a Washington-based human rights group. Lt. Gen. Malek Reuben Riak, the SPLA’s deputy chief of defense force for operations, accumulated more than $3 million in his personal account between January 2012 and early 2016, according to the Sentry. It says Reuben made millions more...
(The Guardian 05/31/17)
Men appear before military court in Juba over alleged involvement in hotel attack in which five aid workers were raped and one man murdered. South Sudanese soldiers accused of raping five foreign aid workers and killing their local colleague have appeared before a military court in Juba, in a case seen as a test of the government’s ability to try war crimes. The attack, one of the worst on aid workers since civil war erupted in South Sudan three and...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/31/17)
The Vatican said on Tuesday it had scrapped tentative plans for Pope Francis to make a visit this year to South Sudan, which has been hit by civil war, famine and a refugee crisis. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the trip "was not for this year" but did not say when it might now take place. Church leaders in the country said they had expected the pope would visit the capital, Juba, probably in October, but the Vatican had never...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has...
(Bloomberg 05/30/17)
Africa’s corn harvest this year is a tale of two extremes as worries about overflowing silos and rotting crops in the south contrast with the east where supermarkets are running short of the staple food. Zambia and South Africa are both predicting record output of the grain, while Zimbabwe may meet its domestic needs for the first time since it began seizing land from white farmers in 2000. Yet in East Africa, 17 million people may be facing hunger, and...
(Voice of America 05/27/17)
South Sudanese authorities released a journalist Thursday who had been detained without charges since August 22, 2014. George Livio, who worked for the U.N.-sponsored Miraya FM radio station, had been arrested by national security operatives and detained at an unknown location. The U.N. did not immediately provide a reason for Livio's release, though the U.N. mission in South Sudan had been pushing for his freedom and that of two other staff members. Several rights groups, including Amnesty International, had petitioned President Salva Kiir to intervene and release Livio. VOA's South Sudan in Focus reached Gelego
(The Guardian 05/22/17)
Crimes against humanity. Mass atrocities. Mass displacement. While these terms accurately describe the conflict in Syria, they are equally applicable to South Sudan’s ongoing civil war. Left to its present trajectory of displacement and famine, roughly half of South Sudan’s population will have died of starvation or fled the country by the war’s fourth anniversary in December – an occurrence nearly unprecedented in modern history. In a study conducted by the South Sudan Law Society using the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire,...
(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...
(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...
(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...
(Bloomberg 05/09/17)
A former general in South Sudan’s army said he commands a new rebel movement of at least 30,000 fighters that will seek to overthrow President Salva Kiir, threatening to deepen the three-year civil war in Africa’s newest nation. Thomas Cirillo, a former lieutenant general, resigned as deputy chief for logistics in South Sudan’s army in February, accusing Kiir of waging a “tribally engineered war” and turning the military into a force dominated by the Dinka, the president’s ethnic group. Now, Cirillo says his National Salvation Front includes four rebel groups and is prepared to challenge his one-time colleagues.
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
Wednesday was World Press Freedom Day, but in South Sudan, journalists say freedom to do their work has all but disappeared. Alfred Taban, editor in chief of the independent Juba Monitor, says his English-language newspaper is routinely censored by security agents prior to publishing. Taban was arrested last year for writing an editorial calling for South Sudan’s leaders to step down. “In July when I wrote that President Kiir and the then-First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar should be removed...
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and...

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