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UNMISS in pursuit of shielding Machar’s Crimes in Western Equatoria State

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Riek Machar, South Sudan’s first vice president, will stop at nothing in his quest to grab the Country’s top position. He believes this his ultimate right and destiny because, for a reason best known only to him, Machar sees himself the incarnation of Ngundeng, a famous Nuer diviner who lived in the late 19th century. In 1991, at a critical moment during South Sudan’s Liberation War, Machar, with the objective of capturing SPLA leadership, stages his bush coup. When the coup fails, he opts for a split in the movement taking along most fighters from his Nuer tribe to the enemy camp. For if he can’t take SPLA leadership, decides Machar, then to hell with the aspiration of Southerners for freedom.

Indeed, Machar’s attempted bush coup comes at a very critical time for the SPLA. The Soviet Union, the movement’s main source of armaments has just collapsed. Things become even more oblique for the Southern liberation movement at that time when its staunchest supporter, President Mangistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia, is overthrown as well.

Most people, and not least Machar, see no more hope for SPLA’s success. For him, as for all pessimists, it is only a matter of time and the eventual defeat of the movement by the Khartoum regime is proclaimed. Therefore, Machar ceases the occasion to strike a deal with Khartoum in an attempt to undercut John Garang and get endorsed by the Arabs as the puppet leader of the would be defeated South. Supported by Khartoum after surrendering to them, Machar marches his white army, who are thousands of armed Nuer youth, on Bor. They inflict mayhem on the Bor-Dinka; killing tens of thousands, mostly women, children and the elderly. But, as SPLA does not only survive but even manages to reverse enemy onslaught, Machar, supported by elements in the international community who pressure John Garang to reinstate him into the movement, returns to the SPLA fold on the eve of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005. In that way, Machar comes to find himself vice president of the newly constituted Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) when Garang suddenly dies soon after the CPA. He is very much excited about that new turn of events. According to his imagination, this proves his self- proclaimed connection to Ngundeng, with regard to his destiny, is firmly on course. Nevertheless, Riek Machar remains cognizant of the political reality in South Sudan, which is very much dictated by ethnic demographic considerations. Therefore, he begins to see every ethnic group that is more numerous than his Nuer tribe an existential threat to his aspirations for the presidency. This motivates him to take his next move; ethnic cleansing. Any ethnic community claiming numerical superiority to his Nuer tribe must be depopulated. Since the Azande claim second position in numbers after the Dinka, they automatically become one of Machar’s target. With that in mind, he convinces his friend, Joseph Kony, the Ugandan rebel leader, to evacuate his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters to seek safe haven in Western Equatoria State. Kony readily agrees, because, at that moment, his LRA rebels are in limbo. Their supporters in the Sudan armed forces have, after the CPA, left for Northern Sudan. The SPLA who take over Southern Sudan won’t allow them wage cross-border war into Uganda from the region. Once in Western Equatoria, the LRA waste no time before they embark on ridding the area of its indigenous inhabitants in order to create space for themselves. Thousands, mainly ethnic Azande, are, over a number of years, massacred and hundreds of thousands displaced. As that mayhem rages on, Machar only dwells on dissuading the SPLA from confronting the rebels. He even attempts to exonerate the LRA claiming Zande ex-SPLA combatants are the ones killing their own people, not LRA.

Another of Machar’s reasons for dispatching the LRA to Western Equatoria is for them to prepare ground there for joint future operations with him should he fail to take the president’s position peacefully. In that respect, the LRA are actually Machar’s advance military mission to the area. The strategy is for Kony to get a footing in Western Equatoria and establish durable links with Al Qaida Islamic groups in the Sahel regions of Sub-Sahara Africa. The duo, Machar and Kony, considers securing links with Islamic terrorist groups a good strategy to guarantee long-term military support from them.

It should be recalled that the two, Machar and Kony, got acquainted to each other as well as to Hassen Al Turabi, Sudan’s Islamic fundamentalist ideologue, and Usama Bin Laden, founder of Al Qaida, during their long association with the Al Bashir regime in the 1990s, the time Machar had surrendered to Khartoum. The two believe that a link with related Al Qaida elements such as the Seleka insurgents in the Republic of Central Africa and the foreign nomadic Mbororo and, through them, others farther afield, including in Western Sudan, will enable them access future support from Islamic terrorists in the Arab world. In actual fact, Riek Machar, at that time, is even bold enough to attempt coercing the then governor of Western Equatoria into curbing territory for the nomadic Mbororo within the state. Proof of Machar’s subsequent alliance with Al Qaida elements would be demonstrated years later when bodies of foreign Seleka insurgents and Mbororo nomads are often seen alongside those of Balanda SPLA-IO rebels killed while attacking civilian targets and government army units in Tambura town in 2021.

In 2013, not long after South Sudan’s independence, Machar decides to test the waters. He demands that Salva Kiir relinquishes the presidency to him. When Kiir not only refuses but fires him together with his cohorts from government, Machar opts for another coup. This time, he again relies on support from his Nuer tribesmen in the army. This coup proves futile too. But, it triggers the formation of SPLA-IO, another of Machar’s rebel movements. A long devastating civil war ensues in the New Nation leading to the death of tens of thousands across the country. For instance, descending for the second time on Bor, Machar’s white army massacres many thousands and burns down the entire town. They go on to do similar things in other towns as well, including Malakal and Bantiu. Juba, South Sudan’s capital city, is spared thanks to the timely intervention of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) to halt the advance of the white army on the city. It thereafter takes up to 2015 for IGAD to broker a peace agreement, the Agreement for Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS). Even then, following the J1 skirmishes a year later, it is IGAD again that comes in to mediate the revitalization of ARCISS in 2018.

ARCISS gives Machar his current position of first vice president. More importantly, the agreement provides for a hybrid court to identify and prosecute suspects, who, like Machar, are known to have perpetrated violence and committed gross human rights violations during the civil war. For that reason, even though he is first vice president, Machar remains perturbed by that provision in the agreement. He knows pretty well that it actually targets him, among others. Therefore, the perturbed Machar embarks on a hunt for scapegoats in desperate but deliberate attempts to divert people’s attention away from his numerous crimes against the people of South Sudan. He eventually identifies scapegoats in one of the most unlikely of places; Tambura County.

Machar chooses to target people of Tambura for three reasons: first, the Azande, who account for more than 85 % of the population of the county are, as always, considered by him political arch-enemies; secondly, most Zande soldiers, who had been misled into joining his SPLA-IO rebellion, have ended up
abandoning him because of his discriminatory approaches towards them; and thirdly, there exist prominent dynamic nationalist politicians among the Azande of Tambura County who would prove formidable foes for Riek Machar if ever any of them competed with him in any given electoral process. These considerations are, for Machar, another existential threat to his political destiny.

For the above reasons, Machar begins to magnify minor inter-ethnic differences, which never previously led to any serious problem among the Balanda and Azande of Tambura County. Capitalizing on those minor differences, he goes on to instruct his loyal SPLA-IO fighters from the Balanda community of Tambura, Nagero, and Wau counties to converge on Tambura and eliminate all ethnic Azande from the county. His appointed illiterate SPLA-IO governor for Western Equatoria, Alfred Futuyo, who, like a parrot, executes every one of Machar’s orders, (for he never can make any intelligent decision on his own), takes central stage in coordinating the massacres of ethnic Azande that follow his boss’s instructions. The governor also takes to diverting state resources for military and other logistics for that cause.

What is most astounding is that the UNMISS base in Yambio chooses to clandestinely support the governor and his SPLA-IO rebel group in executing Machar’s directives! They take advantage of the immunity they enjoy, (since UNMISS’ movements and vehicles can’t be censored by South Sudan’s government security agents), to assist the governor in that regard.

In 2021, as the ultimate outcome of the aggression by Machar’s Balanda SPLA-IO rebels, hundreds of innocent Zande civilians are hacked to death, women are raped before being decapitated, children’s heads are smashed on tree trunks, wombs of expectant mothers are eviscerated and the unborn babies brought out then beheaded, and many more savage atrocities are committed by them. At the same time, homes are torched too so that whole communities abandon their villages and flee as IDPs. Proof that Al Qaida elements take part in those massacres is demonstrated when bodies of Seleka rebels and Mbororo nomads are often seen left alongside Balanda ones in battle fields when they take to attacking civilian targets and military installations in Tambura town.

As those atrocities rage on in Tambura, Machar and his accomplices, especially his illiterate governor, capitalize on blaming the violence on the Azande, exactly as was the case in the days of the LRA. But, their accusations are both absurd and incoherent. Innocent Balanda civilians are the people being killed by Zande SPLA-IO deserters, they take to saying! They later change and take to propagating that Zande militiamen loyal to the paramount chief of Tambura are the ones killing both Zande and Balanda civilians! Still later they redirect accusing fingers at all members of the ruling clan of the Azande; the Avongara. It is the Avongara who are killing people, they say! At other times, they claim disgruntled Zande youth are the culprits! But, Machar himself chooses to blame the mayhem squarely on some Zande politicians hailing from Tambura!
Even when, in a high-level security meeting held in Machar’s very office, his Balanda SPLA-IO governor for Western Equatoria, Futuyo, clearly admits to having propagated false allegations against the accused politicians and is persuaded to make a public apology, Riek Machar’s press-secretariat is instructed to edit the governor’s press-statement to eliminate from it every public mention of an apology! Similarly, when in a public rally attended by Vice President, Abdalla Bagi in Ibba County, Alfred Futuyo takes to agitating Baka tribesmen of greater Maridi to fight the Azande, Riek Machar’s entourage plays that down too. And when parliament in Juba summons the governor to shed light on the genesis of the events in Tambura, he completely fails to provide any convincing report.
As previously mentioned, the most astounding part is that some officials in the UNMISS base in Yambio take to actively support Riek Machar’s false allegations. They assemble one-sided information and, based on that, prepare biased reports intended to misinform the international community about the events in Tambura. SPLA-IO elements in UNMISS employment, who include a certain Christopher Muchiri Murenga, who is Head of Field Office (HOFO) of the mission and a Kenyan by nationality, Minalla Joseph, a South Sudanese national from the Balanda community of Nagero and Associate Information Analyst of the mission, and Martha Affandi, a Balanda lady also from Nagero who works for the mission’s Communication and Information Technology Section, are some of the conspirators misleading the UN mission.

Muchiri Murenga, for instance, is a criminal who has grabbed the Balanda wife of a certain Zande guy and made her his permanent concubine. He, like Riek Machar, takes to championing the campaign against the Azande people in order to obliterate his own crime. Strangely enough, as most expatriate employees of UNMISS have come and gone, Muchiri Murenga has stayed on from the time the UNMISS base was first established in Yambio to this very day. And again, in an attempt to conceal his crimes, not only has Murenga over the years gained notoriety for his unfair treatment of local Zande employees, he is now extending that to all Azande and their leaders as well.

One can only wonder why UNMISS, an off-shoot of the usually credible UN system would, based on obvious lies by crooked villains like Muchiri Murenga, stoop so low as to uphold Machar’s baseless accusations; especially given Machar’s well-known track-record of atrocities to the South Sudanese people. Not only are UNMISS personnel capitalizing, as Machar does, on apportioning baseless blames on the wrong individuals for the events in Tambura, they have practically put on halt the search for evidence of war-crimes committed by culprits during the civil war. And indeed, needless to point out, it is to prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes committed during the civil war that the hybrid court was provided for in ARCISS in the first place. Obviously, therefore, the strategy adopted by UNMISS is precisely where Machar and his stalwarts want things to go. They want public attention distracted then diverted away from their war-crimes.

Like in Tambura County, several tragic incidents have gone on in many other parts of South Sudan since the ARCISS was concluded. Some of these are: the chronic events that often flare up in the Bor-Pibor axis; the more recent events in Magenis, in Lobonok, in Kaju-Keji, in Tonj, in Rumbek, in Yirol, in Norther Bahr el Ghazal, and in Magwi as well as Twic-Ngok areas in Warrap State; to mention but a few. If they are failing to investigate those recent tragic incidents, not to mention crimes that were committed during the civil war, one can only wonder on what moral ground UNMISS place their judgement when they concentrate on fabricating bias reports based on bias investigations to incriminate Zande leaders from Tambura? This is an obvious proof that some people within the UNMISS base in Yambio are in the conspiracy to exonerate Machar and his collaborators of their crimes and, for that purpose, they want to divert the blame for the atrocities in Tambura on innocent persons.

Why would UNMISS take the lead in backing Machar? Has their strategy to do with the famous “regime change” agenda for South Sudan which, for a long time, has been upheld in certain international circles? That agenda advocates for Salva Kiir and his entire SPLM support base to go. Accordingly, since the Zande politicians being blackmailed by Machar and his supporters in UNMISS are all members of the SPLM party, targeting them in this way is one way to get at Kiir. Obviously, the unfair and immoral undertones related to UNMISS’ involvement in this conspiracy are therefore glaringly clear to all.
Beside the mentioned UNMISS personnel in Yambio, there are others who are in Machar’s group of disinformation and blackmail. They include some politicians who, like him, believe eliminating their competitors is best strategy to achieve their goal. One of them is a certain Joseph Bakosoro, a prominent Zande political prostitute from Tambura who, in more than five years as the state governor, did nothing useful for Western Equatoria. On the contrary, he only misled some innocent youths into Riek Machar’s rebellion & currently using Futuyo as a project to earn monthly income. Bakosoro has broken all records jumping from one political grouping (including rebel ones) to another in quest to acquire high position in government. He also holds the record of fighting his political competitors and, in order to sideline them, is collaborating with Machar in fomenting interethnic discord in Tambura and blaming its outcome on his colleagues. One famous victim of Bakosoro’s malicious intrigues was a former speaker of Western Equatoria State Legislative Assembly, the late James Bage, who was gunned down in Yambio under dubious circumstances & under direct instruction of Joseph Bakosoro.

Other prominent collaborators in Riek Machar’s SPLA-IO malicious plans include a senior general in the National Security Bureau, Gen. Louis Natale, who hails from the Balanda tribe in Western Bahr el Ghazal. It is Louis Natale who provides a lot of the ammunitions and other weapons used by SPLA-IO fighters to massacre the Azande in Tambura. Angelo Sebit Gaitano, also a Balanda from Western Bahr el Ghazal is another. Angelo Sebit was, until recently, the Public Prosecution Attorney and Head of Legal Administration for Western Equatoria State in Yambio. He is known for his biasness and devious tactics when it came to handling cases members of the Zande community were implicated in. When in Yambio, he was in close league with the aforementioned elements in UNMIS. In the Diaspora, Daniel Zingifuaboro Isbon (who is based in Australia), is another central figure in the Balanda-SPLA-IO conspiracy to rid Tambura County of ethnic Azande. He is one of the main mobilizers of the financial inputs Futuyo uses backhometopurchasearmamentsandotherlogisticalsupportforthatcause. And William Baiki Futuyo’s nephew and his State Minister of Finance, is the main conduit for the money mobilized abroad. He is also the main role-player in diverting state resources towards that cause. It is also William Baiki, who, with Alex Digi, Governor Futuyo’s press-secretary, are the chief propagandists for Futuyo & Machar’s SPLA-IO- conspiracy against the Azande people of Tambura.

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Gen. Buay rejects investigation committee on Mayom extrajudicial killings

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General Stephen Buay Rolnyang [Photo via Facebook]
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JUBA – South Sudan opposition commander and leader of the holdout South Sudan People’s Movement/Army (SSPM/A) Gen. Stephen Buay Rolnyang has downplayed impact of a recent investigation committee formed by President Kiir to investigate Mayom extrajudicial killings.

In July, fighting between rebel forces belonging to Buay and South Sudan People’s Defense Forces resulted in the killing of Mayom County Commissioner who was attacked and assassinated in his house at dawn on July 21.

The government responded by hunting down rebel forces and was able to convince Sudan to handover to them those who had fled to Sudan. Four opposition commanders who were handed over by the Sudanese authorities were later on executed.

The killing parked public outcry with President Kiir being urged by members of the public to remove the governor of Unity State Nguen Manytuil Wijang who is accused of direct involvement in the killing of the opposition commanders.

Kiir then formed a committee to investigate the rising insecurity in Unity State and told the committee to receive a report in a period not exceeding two weeks.

Speaking to Sudans Post this afternoon, General Buay said he doubts that something will be done by the committee, citing previous committees formed without tangible results.

“The SSPM/A has learned with great concern the formation of the investigation committee that was formed by the regime to investigate the extrajudicial killing of the SSPA officers who were kidnapped in Fula state, Sudan on 6 August 2022 and summarily executed in Mayom by the governor of unity state on 8 August 2022,” he said.

“It has been a tendency of the regime to form an investigation committee which usually ends up without any tangible results or outcome,” he added.

He said “Several investigation committees were formed by the President himself and the results were undermined and sabotaged and thrown into dustbin with good example of the recent investigation committee that was formed to investigate atrocities that were committed by allied militias and SSPDF forces in South of Unity state, therefore, the investigation committee ended up without any tangible results. So, this investigation committee is not exceptional.”

General Buay further alleged that army generals who were involved “in the extrajudicial killing of the SSPA officers have been secretly sent to Khartoum by Hon. Tut Gatluak pretending to be sick to avoid investigation committee.”

These, he said, are General Joseph Manyuat, General Bol Mayak, and General Michal Makal Kuol Majak.

 

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South Sudan rejects Morocco’s request to severe ties with Sahrawi

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NEW YORK – South Sudan has rejected Morocco’s request for it to severe diplomatic ties with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, saying it supports the position of the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) on the matter.

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is a partially recognised state, recognised by 41 UN member states, located in the western Maghreb, which claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara, but controls only the easternmost one-fifth of that territory.

On Tuesday, South Sudan’s Vice President for Services Cluster, Hussein Abdelbagi Akol met and held discussions with the Sahrawi Minister of Foreign Affairs on the sidelines of the 77th regular session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

 

 

The two leaders discussed bilateral relations, how to advance the interests of Africans, advocate for peace, security and supporting more than a decade-old policy in which they supported the continental body’s call for free self-determination of the Sahrawi people.

The meeting between the two leaders angered the Moroccan government, which protested in a letter it sent to the South Sudanese embassy in the North African country.

However, South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs ministry informed the Kingdom of Morocco government that “the meeting between our delegation and the Sahrawi Minister of Foreign Affairs does not negate our strategic bilateral relations with the kingdom.”

“The Republic of South Sudan is a member of the African Union and the United Nations and would want to reiterate that it does not see it fit to have contrary views to the position of the African Union and UN [Security Council] Resolution 690, as a viable engagement framework to find a lasting solution over the dispute on Western Sahara”, it added.

Juba further said it has not deviated from supporting the AU and UN’s position which insists the Sahrawi people be allowed to decide their future.

“South Sudan’s leadership and the government position on the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is fully supportive of the decision of the Organization of African Unity turned African Union to admit SADR to its membership on 22nd August 1982, and the AU Charter which calls for the unquestionable and inalienable right of a people to self-determination,” stressed the ministry’s statement.

In 2017, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI visited South Sudan and held talks with President Salva Kiir aimed at “promoting friendship and solidarity” between both nations. The visit came at the time Morroco was seeking support to return to the AU.

Foreign policy experts, however, argue that the position of South Sudan would have backpedaled a decade-old policy in which African countries generally support calls for a referendum in a region Morocco claims is part of its territory.

 

 

 

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MoH deploys Ebola response team at southern borders

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Team of health workers deployed at the border towns of Nimule. (Photo: Mabior Kiir).
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The national Ministry of Health has deployed a technical team of 15 health workers to areas bordering Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo to monitor and screen travelers amid the new Ebola outbreak in Uganda.

Dr. Victoria Anib Majur, the ministry’s undersecretary said a five-member team is heading to Yambio of Western Equatoria State.

The health personnel include public health officers, lab technicians, case management surveillance officers and infection and preventing control officers.

“The ministry of health is very determined to make sure that there are precautionary measures in place to make sure Ebola doesn’t enter to the country,” said Anib.

“On top of it, we want to send a message to people to adhere with measure by washing hand If any person develops symptoms of fever or suspects any symptoms, he should report it to the nearest health facility.”

Dr. Victoria who spoke to reporters upon the departure of the doctors from Juba Airport, revealed that the ministry has also dispatched similar five-member team to Yei and another to Nimule.

Team of specialists deployed in Yei to conduct surveillance on Ebola Virus Disease. (Mabior Kiir).
She said the health professionals will launch precautionary measures center to monitor suspect Ebola cases.

On Tuesday, health authorities in Uganda declared an outbreak of Ebola after a case of the rare Sudan strain was confirmed in Mubende district in the central part of the country.

So far, 31 confirmed and suspected cases, and 19 deaths have been reported by Uganda’s health ministryOn Friday, President Kiir’s cabinet meeting allocated 500,000 US dollars as funds for mitigation and prevention of Ebola following reported outbreak of the virus in Uganda early this week.

Via Eyeradio

 

 

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