Chad President Idriss Deby Itno Killed: Military

AP—Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, who ruled the central African nation for more than three decades, was killed Tuesday amid clashes between rebels and security personnel, the country’s top military commander announced on national television and radio.

The stunning announcement came just hours after electoral officials had declared Deby the winner of the April 11 presidential election, paving the way for him to stay in power for six more years.

The circumstances of Deby’s death could not immediately be independently confirmed due to the remote location. It was not known why the president would have visited the area or participated in ongoing clashes with the rebels who opposed his rule.

Peter Mayen’s wife files for divorce over her husband’s “reckless behavior”

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Peter Mayen Majongdit | Photo: File

Thessherald—The wife of Peter Mayen Majongdit, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, has filed for divorce a day after her husband fired three shots in the air to disrupt a women’s soccer match on Saturday.

According to a reliable source, the wife insisted that she must file for divorce due to what she described as “reckless behavior” by her husband, who currently holds a public office in the unity government.

Mayen was trying to forcibly take his wife off the pitch while playing when he was stopped by security guards deployed at the stadium.

This is not the first time the Minister has been in the limelight over abuse of power and malfeasance in office.

Last year, Mayen traded blows with individuals after defaulting on outstanding debts, sparking an uproar on social media.

Mayen was appointed in March 2020, in line with the implementation of the peace agreement signed in 2018.

Health Minister takes lead on COVID-19 jab, urges leaders to follow suit

The Minister of Health Elizabeth Achuei Yol receives her first dose of Covid-19 vaccine | Photo: File

The Minister of Health, Elizabeth Achuei Yol, has received her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and urged the country’s leaders to do the same. She’s the first person in the country to be vaccinated against the virus.

In the coming weeks and months, all frontline health workers in South Sudan will be offered the vaccine through a national vaccination campaign. Subsequently, people with co-morbidities and people above 65 years of age will also be offered the vaccine. 25 March 2021, South Sudan received 132,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility.

“The first phase of the vaccination is conducted in Central Equatoria State targeting health care workers as well as persons aged 65 years and older, given their increased risk of severe disease and death due to a potential COVID-19 infection”, said Minister of Health Hon Elizabeth Achuei. “The aim of the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine is to protect the prioritized groups against COVID-19”.

South Sudan aims at vaccinating 40 per cent of its population against COVID-19. The COVAX facility has committed to providing half of the required doses meaning 732,000 doses in total. Therefore, the vaccination must be done in phases as the vaccines arrive.

“This is a significant moment for the people of South Sudan. “said Patience Musanhu, Gavi Senior Country Manager for South Sudan. “By protecting the most vulnerable groups, we can save lives, take pressure off health systems and ease the economic burden brought on by the pandemic.”

A person being vaccinated with the Astra Zeneca vaccine requires two doses to ensure optimal immune response against the COVID-19 virus. The COVID-19 vaccination in South Sudan will be provided on a voluntary basis and free of charge. All people receiving the vaccine will be asked to consent prior to being vaccinated.

“The COVID-19 vaccination marks an important step towards control of COVID-19 in South Sudan, which pose a threat to our well-being”, said Dr Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Representative a.i. for South Sudan. “Safe, effective, and quality vaccines for COVID-19 are our best hope for bringing the pandemic under control, together with other public health interventions, such as physical distancing, washing hands and mask use”.

Over several months, COVAX partners have supported governments and partners, particularly in low-income countries including South Sudan, to prepare for the vaccination roll-out. This includes assisting with the development of national vaccination plans, supporting cold chain infrastructure, as well as stockpiling of half a billion syringes and safety boxes for their disposal, masks, gloves and other equipment to ensure that there is enough equipment for health workers to start vaccinating priority groups as soon as possible.

“If there is one lesson we can draw from the pandemic, it is that we need more partnerships like these in the world,” said the UNICEF South Sudan Representative Hamida Lasseko. “UNICEF is proud to have made vaccine deliveries all over the world including South Sudan on behalf of COVAX. Children in South Sudan are now safer because the warm hands of health workers are safer through vaccination.

Latest: Archbishop Paul Lukudu passes away in Nairobi

A well-known and outspoken Catholic Emeritus Archbishop of Juba Diocese, His Grace, Paulino Lukudu Loro, has died in the capital, Nairobi after battling an illness.

“The Lord is my shepherd…Even were I to walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no danger, for you are at my side… (Ps 23:1.8). My brothers and sisters in Christ and fellow-citizens of our great nation.

“I, your shepherd, by God’s will and design, bring to you the saddest news of my entire life-time: My predecessor and Father, His Grace Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro, a star that ceaselessly was shining over our church and nation for well over thirty years has this morning flickered out in the Kenyan Capital City of Nairobi.”

“This tragic and saddest of all news will not affect only the church but indeed the wider community of our South Sudan society.”

In a statement, the Archbishop of Juba declared three days of mourning in honor of Archbishop Paulino Lucudo Loro until the beginning of the Requiem Mass.

“I therefore announce, beginning as of today, a 4-day mourning period for His Grace Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro. Further pieces of information on the content of the mourning period will be announced as soon as they are available.”

“Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.”

Kiir’s office responds to Biar’s testimony before U.S. Senate on Foreign Relations

Full Text: Response to the testimony of Peter Biar Ajak at the recent U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the State of Democracy.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit presides over the opening of the country’s secondary school leaving exams at Juba Day Secondary School | PPU

Press statement

During the recent US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the State of Democracy in the World, Dr. Peter Biar Ajak testified making a series of largely unsubstantiated allegations against President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Government of South Sudan. Some of these baseless claims merit a response.

The charge incessantly repeated by Dr. Ajak that he narrowly escaped death at the hands of South Sudanese Security agents in Nairobi, Kenya is patently false. All along meanwhile under detention in South Sudan for dangerous subversive activities, he was totally at the mercy of the Government. Yet, not only did he suffer no harm both physically and psychologically, but the very same President Salva Kiir Mayardit whom he continues to vilify, showed clemency and ordered his release after hardly serving any significant jail term following his lawful conviction by a competent court of law.

The narrative that Dr. Ajak was set free and allowed to leave the custody of South Sudan’s penal institutions only to be pursued and hunted down in Kenya with the objective of murdering him is a cock and bull story that deserves to be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

Having said that perhaps Dr. Ajak is entitled to sorme credit after all for this elaborate ruse, probably crafted with the help of his lawyers, to enable him instantaneously gain political asylum in the US as an applicant whose life was allegedly in immediate danger. In that he has succeeded with flying colors. On the mandate of President Kiir, Dr. Ajak asserts that the President assumed power upon the country’s independence as an appointed rather as an elected leader.

By this he insinuates, that as an unelected leader of independent South Sudan, President Kiir lacks legitimacy. Naturally the new political dispensation ushered in at South Sudan’s independence in July 2011, was an interim arrangement that could not conceivably start in a vacuum. The incumbent Government led by President Kiir had by necessity at the time, to be entrusted with the task of steering the country through transition to elections.

“It is fanciful to think that the SPLM should have dispensed with and proceed to organize elections immediately upon the proclamation of independence. need for an interim period The unfortunate and tragic events of 2013 denied South Sudanese the opportunity of exercising their inalienable right to go the polls and elect their leaders in 2015 as originally envisaged.”

Had elections gone ahead as planned, President Kiir and the SPLM would have undoubtedly sought the renewal of their mandate to run the country. It is regrettable that South Sudan missed the chance of holding elections, but that is not a credible basis upon which to brand the current Administration as a regime that is undemocratic and hence bereft of any legitimacy. Legitimacy does not stem from form but rather from substance or essence. When President Kiir was elected in 2010 as the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, those who cast their ballots for him are the very same South Sudanese who would have done so again had elections been held in 2015.

The fact that eligible South Sudanese voters voted in 2010 in the context of a united Sudan and were expected to vote again in 2015 as citizens of an independent South Sudan, does not affect one bit, the mandate they bestow upon whoever they vote into office.

The constitutional and political context in which they vote is immaterial for as long as the voters remain the same people. Therefore President Kiir’s right to lead South Sudan, at least till the next elections determine the post-transition power architecture, is undiminished.

Furthermore, the claim that democracy in South Sudan is being stifled is totally without merit. Responsibility Sharing (Power Sharing) during the Transitional Period among multiple political entities is the bedrock of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) of September 2018.

These arrangements that have been embedded in the Agreement, constitute an eloquent manifestation of democracy in action. Therefore the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU), by its very nature, is a recognition and full acceptance of the reality that South Sudan is irreversibly locked into a trajectory towards multi-party democracy.

The call for early elections in 2022, is again without justification. It must be borne in mind that the actual inauguration of the (R-TGONU) following conclusion of the Agreement in September, 2018 took some time. Hence the time lost must be recouped so that there is adequate time to complete all the tasks of the transition before elections are held. Dr. Ajak himself would acknowledge the absolute necessity of first producing a Permanent Constitution and conducting a population census as indispensable pre-requisites to holding any credible elections. And since these two processes, especially adoption of the Permanent Constitution on the basis of which elections shall be held, and others require time, there is no plausible rationale to insist on rushing elections.

All the critical transition tasks on which genuinely free and fair elections would be predicated must be accomplished before the polls, even if that means adjusting the electoral time-table to accommodate these tasks. Premature elections cannot reflect the true will of the electorate and would consequently amount to an act of practical disenfranchisement, a travesty of political justice and a recipe for disaster.

The Government’s commitment to the further consolidation of peace and rendering the current dispensation more broad based and inclusive is underlined by ongoing peace talks with hold-out opposition Groups. The three separate rounds of negotiations held under the auspices of St. Egidio Community with the two factions of the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) thus far, have yielded promising results.

This engagement will relentlessly continue till (SSOMA) joins the peace fold. Conflict-induced political instability continues to seriously aggravate the already daunting economic challenges facing the nascent Republic of South Sudan. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made matters worse. However this grim scenario is not without a silver lining. Thanks to the (R-ARCSS), which is being successfully implemented, albeit at a somewhat slow pace, the factor of conflict and its impact on the economic situation is fast receding.

The Government has been pro-active in the search for solutions to economic difficulties. The Ministry of Finance & Planning has undertaken in collaboration with and the active participation of South Sudan’s Development Partners, a Public Financial Management Reform Process that will enhance accountability and transparency. And in tandem with this process the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of South Sudan (Central Bank) have engaged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an economic policy review exercise aimed at liberalizing the exchange rate and improving overall economic performance.

We are optimistic that the cumulative effect of these measures will among other things, assist the Government meet its financial obligations, notably the payment of salaries, fully and on time. The humanitarian situation currently obtaining in South Sudan is difficult and continues to demand robust intervention. Acting in concert with the international community the Government has managed to ameliorate the level of suffering engendered by the humanitarian crisis.

The Government constantly strives to remove bottlenecks constraining the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to needy communities. Inter-communal conflicts over access to pastures and water among pastoralist and agro-pastoral communities have been largely exacerbated by the proliferation of small arms among the civil population.

Ultimately it becomes imperative that these illegal arms are collected and disposed of in a manner that ensures they never find their way back again into the hands of those from whom they were taken in the first place. The ongoing disarmament process that is regulated by law is essentially a peaceful exercise whereby Chiefs and Traditional leaders solicit the voluntary surrender of weapons from their people.

It is hoped that this endeavor will succeed and the Government will not be compelled to have recourse to coercive measures to strip the civil population of these weapons. However, in the event that the use of force becomes unavoidable the Government will not hesitate to use it to save lives and preserve law and order.

And such action if at all needed, will be carried out meanwhile strictly observing fundamental human rights. The Government of South Sudan cannot reflect on the humanitarian situation without pausing to express its profound gratitude to the international community for all that it has done thus far to mitigate the crisis.

We thank the United Nations, its Agencies and the international NGO community for the action they have taken to date, to ease the plight of the thousands that have been uprooted from their homes in Jonglei State and Pibor Administrative area by a combination of violent conflict and devastating floods. Given the recurrent nature of the phenomenon of flooding in those areas, we urge continued support in helping devise more durable solutions so that flooding and its attendant woes in flood-prone areas of South Sudan becomes a thing of the past.

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.”

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.”

Shilluk representatives reject relocation of Makal County hqrts

Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Chairman of the SPLM-IO (Photo Credit: File)

Members of the Shilluk community have rejected the recent unilateral decision taken by the SPLM-IO and ITGNU to relocate the headquarters of Makal County to Wau Shilluk.

“We, the representatives of Makal County, met the first vice President Dr. Riek Machar, to register our deep concern about failed announcement of our County Commissioner. The meeting lasted about two hours at the end of which H.E. Dr. Riek expressed his satisfaction and assured us that the mistake involving failed announcement of the County Commissioner would be rectified sooner than later,” the group said in its statement.

“The decision relayed to the public by Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro in a press statement on Friday 12″ March following a meeting between Dr. Riek Machar, Hon. Tut Gatluak, the Presidential Advisor on Security, Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro, Hon. Budhoge Ayang Aney Kur, Governor of Upper Nile State and his Deputy Hon. James Tor Monybuny came to us not only as a surprise. but, indeed contrary to the spirit in which we discussed the matter with the First Vice President; if anything, the information we gave has been spined dishonestly to serve a hidden agenda.”

“The Establishment Order of Makal County contained in a message No. 003/10/2004 dated 16/10/2004 specifically mentions Malakal as its capital. This provision does not contradict the status of Malakal as a Municipality or a City as is the practice in Juba, which houses the capital of the Republic of South Sudan as well as the capital of Central Equatoria State, Juba County, Juba Payam, Juba Boma and the Juba City Council.”

On a positive note, the representatives applauded the opposition and the government for agreeing to change the name of their county from Ogod to Makal.

“Therefore, reverting back the name of our County to Makal from Ogod is appreciable. We, the people of Makal County, condemn divisions being created by the decision in Lelo Payam through the creation of the so-called Wurjwok Payam and Wau Payam.”

“We also reject, in the strongest possible terms, the attempts to separate Makal County from its capital in Malakal. We also reject the wrong practice of non citizens of a county taking major decisions without consultations with the indigenous people of a county.”

“The available State Laws ought to be followed. Malakal town, over the decades, peacefully accommodated our people until the surge of ethnic ideology in the wake of CPA implementation. Since 2005, it has been a thorny road of conflict, hatred, tears and bloodshed. It is our cherished hope that the R-ARCSS ushers a new spirit of peaceful coexistence, social harmony and unity among our people,” said Hon. Joseph Kwonyireth Deng Yieljak On behalf of Makal County Committee.

Ethiopia arrests 5 S. Sudanese, seizes 300,000 SSP, illegal firearms in Gambella

A Soviet Union General-Purpose Machine Gun (PKM) and more than 300,000 South Sudanese pounds impounded from smugglers in Gambella | Photo: EBC

The Ethiopian government has arrested five suspects accused of illegally smuggling more than 300,000 South Sudanese pounds, PKM machine guns and rounds of ammunition in Gambella, a town bordering Ethiopia and South Sudan.

According to Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, “the five suspects were arrested while smuggling foreign money and weapons from neighboring South Sudan.”

The incident was also confirmed by Gambella’s Deputy Police Commissioner, Tut Khor. “The five suspects were arrested three days ago in the Gambella region, and are in police custody before they are brought before the court as soon as their investigation is finalized.”

More than 300,000 South Sudanese pounds impounded from South Sudan’s nationals | Photo: ETB

South Sudan and Ethiopia have porous border points that make it easy for criminal groups to smuggle firearms and illicit money used to fund illegal activities in the region.

Last week, the two neighboring countries inked an agreement aimed at curbing cross-border criminals activities in the region.

The cooperation agreement was signed by the Ethiopian Chief of General Staff, General Birhanu Jula and his South Sudanese counterpart Gen. Johnson Juma Okot in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

P8 Students in SPLM-IO-controlled areas to take their exams on Monday

Thousands of students who had missed out on recent Primary Eight Exams are expected to sit on Monday, February 15th, according to a statement issued by James Gatdet, Press Secretary in the Vice-President’s Office.

“The Office of the First Vice President would like to inform the public that the Primary 8 school examinations are expected to take place soon in about 19 centers in the areas controlled by the SPLM/SPLA (I0) in Upper Nile and Jonglei states.”

This comes following a high-level meeting convened on Thursday by the country’s Cluster Services.

“The Examiners will be accompanied by a delegation of officials from the Parties concerned, mainly the ITGONU and SPLM/SPLA (I0).”

The head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition, Dr. Riek Machar, urged the concerned authorities to cooperate with the examiners until the exams are over.

“His Excellency the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, as usual, has directed the authorities in the areas where the examinations will take place to cooperate and provide security and protection to all those who will be taking the examinations materials, as well as the Examinees. The Office wishes the Ministry of General Education and Instructions a great success in ensuring that all children in the Republic of South Sudan do the exams.”

In the same development, the Minister Education, Awut Deng Acuil confirmed that the scheduled exams are slated to take place on Monday, February 15th and wished all the students the best of luck.

“Members of the press, Ladies and gentlemen, It is my pleasure to inform the nation that the Ministry of General Education and Instruction and the National Examinations Council have decided to fix new dates for the conduct of Primary eight examinations for the pupils that had missed out on the initial examination.”

“The new dates shall be as follow 1. Transportation to the locations will take place from Friday 12h through Sunday 14th February 2021. 2.”

“The administration of examination begins on Monday 15th February 2021 and ends by Friday 19h February 2021. Congratulation to my children and I wish them the best of luck! Thank you.”

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