Kiir declares 3 days of mourning in honor of “bulldozer” Magufuli

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit declares 3-days of mourning in honor of Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli | Photo: PPU

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit has joined the rest of the world in mourning the death of Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli and declared three days of mourning across the country.

“H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit has issued a statement on the passing on of H.E. John Pombe Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania,” the Office of the President said on Thursday.

“The people of Republic of South Sudan are deeply saddened and grieving with their brothers and sisters in the United Republic of Tanzania.”

The President ordered all diplomatic missions to fly their flags half-mast for a period of three days in honor of the Tanzanian bulldozer President, Magufuli, who succumbed to the cardiovascular disease while receiving treatment at Mzena hospital in Dar es Salaam.

“H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit declared three days of mourning across South Sudan and instructed all the Government institutions and our diplomatic missions abroad to fly their flags half-mast during this period beginning from today in his honour to the Late H.E. President John Pombe Magufuli.”

Kiir urged the people of Tanzania to be strong at this tragic moment and come to terms with the death of their leader that has sent shock waves across the region.

“H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit said that at this moment, the people of the Republic of South Sudan stand in solidarity with the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania.

In addition, H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit prays to the Almighty God to give all the strength and comfort to the people of Tanzania and the family of the late to withstand this immense loss.”

Vice-President Rebecca Nyandeng tests positive for COVID-19

Vice-President for Gender and Youth Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior tests positive for COVID-19 | File

South Sudan’s Vice-President for Gender and Youth Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus upon arrival from Nairobi, Kenya, her office announced on Thursday.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, the Executive Director in the office the office of the Vice-President, Chaat Paul Nul, confirmed that the South Sudanese official is in stable condition are being quarantined at home.

According tO the World Health Organization (WHO), from 3 January 2020 to March 17, 2021, there have been 9,613 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 104 deaths in South Sudan.

Nyandeng was appointed last year as Vice-President for Gender and Youth Cluster in accordance with the implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health and the National Task-Force on COVID-19 issued a statement extending the ongoing partial lockdown until April 3 as a countermeasure to curb the spread of coronavirus cases in the country.

Activist urges South Sudan’s leaders to live up to their promises

Former Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs General Kuol Manyang | File

A South Sudanese human rights defender, Mary Nyibol Maker, has urged the country’s leaders to refrain from making empty promises and embark on steering the nation towards a democratic path.

The activist made the remarks after former Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk admitted that the country had lost its sense of direction as a result of their failed leadership.

“This is an affront and a slap in the face to the people of South Sudan; the dead, the walking-dead, the maimed, the orphans, the widows and widowers, the disabled and even the able-bodied who have been deprived of their right to speech, freedom of movement and right to life,” she said.

She criticized Kuol and other leaders for burying their heads in the sand when innocent civilians were killed under their watch in broad daylight in Juba.

“Mr Kuol has finally acknowledged and admitted their failure. After what? — How many innocent lives have been claimed over these passed years under your watch or were you sleeping all this time?,” she criticised.

She called on the South Sudanese leaders to stand aside and give power to the youth, if they admit their failures and past mistakes.

“You should then step aside and give way to people who have South Sudan at heart. People who at least remember the reason we gained independence for,” she added.

“People who do not place their tummies before their thinking abilities! People who are sympathetic and empathetic! People who can walk the talk and talk the walk! People who can not rest unless a good job is done! People who are God-fearing, obedient, honest with themselves and others, truthful and with dignity! People who see their fellow people as humans, feel the pain their fellow people are feeling and have sleepless nights till a solution to what bothers their fellow people is found.”

“It’s a high time that you people excuse yourselves and give us a room to recover the little that is left: The Street kids, the hopeless, war-wounded comrades who are only waiting for their death day, the half alive raped, used, abused and dumped women, the walking-dead soldiers that have been defending you without salaries and on top of that, their wives being taken by the immoral government officials in their absence, the aged group that thought they would die happy because they gained independence but no, they’re cursing themselves and wishing to die earlier so that they may never witness yet another day of mistreatment.”

China denies luring S. Sudan into debt-trap, but admits to building JIA from scratch

Juba International Airport built from scratch by the Chinese government | China’s Embassy

The Chinese Embassy in Juba has denied speculative reports suggesting that China may take over the Juba International Airport if South Sudan fails to repay its unsettled loans allegedly amounting to 2.6 million USD.

“On March 16, 2021, the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in South Sudan made the following remarks on the groundless accusations against China-South Sudan cooperation made recently by related personnel,” the Embassy noted in a statement.

“The Chinese Embassy has noticed that recently a small number of people produce and spread misinformation, attacking China-South Sudan cooperation groundlessly. The fabricated story even claims that the Juba International Airport (JIA) would be taken over by the Chinese side because South Sudan can’t repay Chinese loan.”

The Chinese government blamed an unnamed country for trying to damage relations between South Sudan and China.

“The rumors have been made up to exaggerate the amount of China’s loan to South Sudan, so as to blame China for creating a “debt trap”. Such ridiculous tales are not new. They are just the same as the hype tactics of some forces in other countries and regions in recent years. It is not too difficult for people to judge the purpose behind the story.
The old JIA used to be in a state of disrepair with its runway seriously damaged, facing great safety hazards.”

“At the request of the Government of South Sudan, China provided South Sudan with preferential buyer credit loan to support the reconstruction and expansion of JIA after careful feasibility study. Started in March 2014, the project was completed and handed over to South Sudan in March 2017. JIA has always been managed by South Sudanese side in past, present and future.”

“After the completion of the project, JIA’s passenger flow has increased by more than 60% and international flights turnover has tripled. The new JIA has played an important role in promoting economic and social development of the country and implementing the international humanitarian assistance, bringing considerable direct and comprehensive benefits to South Sudan every year. Considering the remarkable revenue generated by the project, there will be no difficulty in repaying the loan for South Sudan, nor will it increase the debt burden of the country so long as both sides comply with the agreement faithfully.”

“Over the years, China has provided humanitarian assistance to South Sudan within its capabilities, and supported the construction of hospitals, schools and other livelihood projects. China also takes the lead in providing in-kind assistance to South Sudan’s peace process. Meanwhile, focusing on the long-term development needs of South Sudan and fully considering the country’s economic situation, China supports South Sudan’s infrastructure construction through the combination of both government grants and preferential loan.”

“According to the statistics of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), so far Chinese loan only accounts for about 10% of South Sudan’s total loans, and most of South Sudan’s debts are commercial loans issued by financial institutions of other countries and regions. However, the amount of China’s loan to South Sudan fabricated by the false story is said to be several times the total amount of South Sudan’s external debts. The implication that China creates a “debt trap” are therefore totally groundless.”

“We hope that the producers of the story can at least do some homework out of their busy schedule of spreading misinformation, otherwise they will only degenerate themselves, lose credibility and fall into the moral trap set by themselves.”

SPLM/A-IO condemns surprising attack on its forces in Nasir by SSPDF

The main armed opposition group, SPLM/A-IO, has issued a statement condemning the recent attacks on its forces by the SSPDF forces in Kedbek, Nasir county.

“On Monday, 15h March, 2021, the SPLA-IO defensive position of Ketbek in Nasir surprisingly came under aggressive attack from some anti peace elements within the SSPDF base in Nasir. They burned down ketbek base to ashes making the SPLA-IO to tactically withdraw to Pananyang in respect of the R-ARCSS,” said Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO Deputy Military Spokesperson.

The opposition party strongly criticized the government forces for starting the violence at a time when the whole country is yearning for peace.

“The SPLA-IO is aware of the start of the clashes between the SSPDF and civilians in Koat on Sunday 14 March, 2021 where they also burnt civilian’s houses and destroyed other properties. The SPLA-IO would like to make it clear that its forces in Ketbek didn’t start or influenced the fight in Koat but wonders why its base was attacked and destroyed at this time when majority of the suffering South Sudanese want peace.”

The opposition lauded the top leadership of the SSPDF for pledging to bring perpetrators to account.

“The SPLA-IO acknowledged the effort from the SSPDF high command to bring those responsible for the violations in Ketbek to account; however, its calling upon the JDB, CTSAMVM and UNMISS to investigate this violation as mandated by the R-ARCSS.”

“The SPLA-IO remains committed to the implementation of the Security Arrangement and reserve the right to self defense when aggressed. LIBERATION 17MAR 2021 Col. Lam Paul Gabriel SPLA-IO Deputy Military.”

Progress and momentum as National Consultations on Solutions Initiative get underway in South Sudan

The IGAD Chair, the IGAD secretary and the UNHCR Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa at the high-level meeting in Khartoum, Sudan | Photo: UNHCR

Press Statement

Juba – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), UNHCR, the Refugee Agency and partners, applaud progress toward lasting solutions for forcibly displaced persons as national consultations took place last week in Juba, South Sudan.

The two day event successfully marked another milestone for South Sudan’s implementation of the Sudan and South Sudan Solutions Initiative, under the auspices of IGAD, following the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial National Technical Committee (NTC) and hosting the second High-Level technical meeting in Juba in early January.

The workshop was attended by over 70 persons, both virtually and in person, including representation of those internally displaced, refugee returnees and host communities in Bentiu, Bor, Jamjang, Maban, Malakal, Wau and Yambio. Refugees hosted in Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda also actively participated virtually.

“As fragile peace holds and the number of people seeking solutions increases, we have a unique opportunity before us,” expressed Arafat Jamal, UNHCR Representative to South Sudan. “This process belongs to the government as well as the people of South Sudan, and I welcome the continued robust participation of displaced people as state level consultations are rolled out.”

IGAD commended the Government of South Sudan for the progress witnessed in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), which provides prospects for durable solutions for millions of displaced populations.

Reflecting the cross-cutting challenges and collaborative spirit needed to create conditions that would allow for solutions, the Government of South Sudan was represented by the Office of the President and Vice President, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) and Commissioner for Refugees Affairs (CRA). In addition, government line ministries, including Gender, Land, Housing and Urban Planning, Education, Health, General Education and Foreign Affairs took part. In addition, representatives from the United Nations, IGAD and civil society participated.

Key priorities raised at the dynamic workshop include accountability and transparent governance; security such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; peace building; restoration of social services; coordination of returns and support in return areas; and partnerships to ensure solutions are sustainable.

With some 2.3 million South Sudanese refugees hosted in neighbouring countries, another 1.6 million internally displaced and some 360,000 refugees spontaneously returned to South Sudan, their voices at all stages, including in consultative and dialogue processes that are shaping the path to peace, remains vital. The next step on the way towards the IGAD Heads of State Summit is the launch of state level consultations including outreach to government counterparts, internally displaced people, refugees, returnees, as well as the communities hosting them. The findings of the consultations will inform the drafting of a solutions strategy.

Recognizing that there are still significant obstacles in the way of refugees returning home, any return must be voluntary. UNHCR remains committed to supporting the respective governments in their efforts to create the conditions on the ground that will allow for safe, dignified and sustainable return and integration.

S. Sudan’s national Dr. Emmanuel Taban recognized as COVID-19 expert

Dr. Emmanuel Taban, from refugee to Covid-19 expert —is expected to launch his inspiring book on Wednesday

Dr. Emmanuel Taban, a South Sudanese national, who stuns the world with his extraordinary expertise | Courtesy

Inspiring Life Story

Inspiring Story—As the dreaded Covid-19 rampaged through South Africa, one unassuming physician had worked out that his expertise as a lung specialist could bring relief to victims of the respiratory disease. He had the skills and tools with which to suck out the mucous that collected in patients’ air passages and caused breathing failure.

He tried out his novel use of therapeutic bronchoscopies on critically ill Covid patients in his clinic in rural Mpumalanga, South Africa and saved the lives of all he worked on.

His journey from being incarcerated in the notorious ‘White House’ torture chambers in Juba by the Khartoum regime when he was 14 years old, to his current position as a highly qualified doctor, is just as remarkable.

He escaped prison and made his way to Eritrea, living off the street before making the journey to Nairobi in Kenya to his uncle – who disowned him. He set off once again, travelling for 3,000km to South Africa. Here, with the help of a charity organisation, he completed his secondary education and went on to study medicine at Medunsa University, specialising in pulmonology (lung-related diseases).

Dr. Taban’s extraordinary story and never-say-die spirit has become a source of great inspiration for millions of young Africans who find themselves in often hopeless situations.

He’s expected to launch his inspiring book on Wednesday, March 16 on Facebook. You can watch live on Jacaranda FM’s Facebook.

Newsflash: China to take over JIA in 2022 over unpaid debts

Juba International Airport to be taken over by China over unsettled debts | File

China is now proposing to take over Juba International Airport in the event that the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, fails to pay off its unsettled debts, which amount to $2.96 billion, according to an internal document obtained by Thessherald.

South Sudan has become one of the latest African countries to fall into Chinese debt-traps after Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Latest data obtained from the China-Africa Research Initiative, reveal that China currently owes more than $30.34 billion from developing countries in Africa.

In 2016, the South Sudanese government requested $1.9 billion from China to boost its developmental projects and repair key oilfields ravaged by years of conflict.

According to the World Bank, South Sudan is one of the most oil-dependent countries in the world, with oil accounting for almost the totality of exports, 90% of revenue, and more than one-third of its gross domestic product (GDP).

However, a recent study by Transparency International revealed that South Sudan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, followed by Somalia and Yemen.

Church leader pleads with UK to halt planned budget cuts to S. Sudan

The Archbishop of Wales has joined forces with Christian Aid to call on the UK government to halt proposed aid cuts to South Sudan. It’s been reported that cuts could be as much as 59 percent of the existing budget currently allocated for the country.

Under the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification process, some regions of the country have been categorised as ‘Famine Likely.’

Archbishop John Davies, who will retire in May, said in a statement: “I strongly urge the UK government to stop these and other international aid cuts. They will do untold damage to the poorest communities in our world. In South Sudan in particular, these cuts risk tipping the country into a deep crisis.”
The Church in Wales’ Centenary Appeal is supporting a Christian Aid project to restore peace in South Sudan.

“Through our Centenary Appeal, we in Wales stand with our brothers and sisters in South Sudan. I urge the UK government to do the same. I understand the need for fiscal responsibility, but these are the wrong cuts, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. Be it carelessly or deliberately, these cuts will harm vulnerable people. We must not balance the books on the backs of the poorest in our world. In the name of all that is good, Prime Minister, please stop these cuts,” he added.

Cynan Llwyd, acting head of Christian Aid in Wales, said: “South Sudan is in a particularly fragile state. Food security has worsened due to a number of reasons like flooding, displacement and a long running conflict. Christian Aid’s partners are working hard on the ground to help but it is a desperate situation.

“Through its Centenary Appeal, the Church in Wales is supporting one of our partners in its efforts to build and maintain peace. Conflict makes poverty much worse and threatens any gains made through development work. Christian Aid will continue to work with its partners in South Sudan but the aid cuts will make our work much harder.”

UN threatens to blacklist peace spoilers in S. Sudan, warns arms’ suppliers

Vice-President Taban Deng Gai | Courtesy Photo

Geneva—On Friday, the United Nations Security Council threatened to blacklist anyone deemed as peace spoilers in South Sudan and warned all member states against supplying illegal firearms to South Sudan.

“Extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) until 15 March 2022, the Security Council demanded today that all parties to the conflict in that country and other armed actors immediately stop fighting and engage in political dialogue, in accordance with the peace agreement signed in 2018,” said the UNSC in its resolutions dated March 12, 2021.

“The Council expressed its intention to consider all appropriate measures against those whose actions undermine peace, stability and security, and demanded that all Member States comply with their obligations to prevent the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related materiel, as set out in previous resolutions.”

The UN Security Council called on donor countries to intensify humanitarian aid to South Sudan.

The UN encouraged firm engagement by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union Peace and Security Council, and countries in the region to find a durable solution to South Sudan’s peace and security challenges, while calling upon the international community to scale up its humanitarian response.

While extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, the Council members called on all actors to respect human rights in the country.

“Today’s resolution goes on to demand that all parties to the conflict immediately cease all forms of violence, human rights violations and abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law, including rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, and to hold those responsible to account. It also demands that all parties and other armed actors prevent further acts of sexual violence.”

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