In this issue:
US accuses Sudan's Bashir of working to undermine peace deal with south.
US condemns oil well bombings in South Sudan.
US congressman to discuss recent visit to Yida refugee camp.
ICC arrest warrant issued for Sudan's Defense Minister.
Bashir and minister dance after ICC warrant.
UN foreign staff return to Sudan war zone amid concern over food shortage.
Women raped while fleeing South Kordofan conflict.
Sudanese police storm Khartoum University's compounds, over 300 students arrested.
IDPs repatriation deadline extended to April 8, 2012.
SPLA deploys 10,000 troops in Jonglei for civil disarmament.
South Sudan's inflation drops to 48%.
Jonglei women association boasts of a new center.
53 children demobilized from military and militia activities.
Kenya to build port to serve South Sudan and Ethiopia.
US accuses Sudan's Bashir of working to undermine peace deal with south. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched an unusual attack on Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir accusing him of working to undermine the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). South Sudan became an independent state officially in July 2011 but there are several contentious post referendum issues that have yet to be sorted out between Khartoum and Juba including oil, borders, citizenship, national debt, Abyei, water and international agreements. The African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki has been mediating between the two sides for more than two years but has achieved little success. "We support the process that the African Union is running in Addis Ababa but it doesn’t seem to be making a lot of progress yet," Clinton said. Clinton pointed a finger at Bashir and suggested that he is becoming an obstacle in the quest for an agreement. "The people of South Sudan voted for independence and ever since, despite Bashir going to [South Sudan president] Salva Kiir’s inauguration, there has been a steady effort to undermine this new state," she told US lawmakers. "I think that what we’ve got with Bashir is a very determined effort to try to undo the results of the CPA," Clinton added. She suggested that the US is prepared to take measures against Bashir personally but did not elaborate. "We will certainly look at trying to up the pressure on Khartoum and on Bashir personally," Clinton said. (Sudan Tribune, 02/27/2012)
US condemns oil well bombings in South Sudan.The United States has strongly condemned an air strike against South Sudan's oil wells blamed on neighboring Sudan.
;In a statement March 1, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said such attacks on civilian targets are "deplorable." She said the US "demands" the Sudanese government end its aerial bombardments, which it says violate international law. South Sudan officials, including government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin, say Sudanese warplanes dropped bombs February 29 in an area of Unity State, about 75 kilometers from the two countries' contested border.
;The officials say the bombardment destroyed two oil wells.
;Marial said the attack violated a non-aggression pact Sudan and South Sudan signed in Ethiopia last month.
;"...this is actually a violation of the non-aggression treaty that we signed two weeks ago and with the nature of Sudan's government, they don't always respect what they signed with anybody. We are not surprised," said Marial. In her statement, Nuland also stressed South Sudan must cease any military support for rebels active in the north. She said both countries are "inflaming conflict," and "fueling mistrust."
;Marial said March 1 that South Sudan will file a complaint about Sudan with the United Nations Security Council. Sudan filed a complaint about the South with the Security Council on March 6. (VOA, 03/02/2012)
US congressman to discuss recent visit to Yida refugee camp. Frank Wolf (R-VA), a longtime advocate for Sudan and co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, just returned from a trip to the world's newest country, South Sudan, where he visited a refugee camp in Yida filled with men, woman and children who have fled the fighting in the nearby Nuba Mountains. More than 25,000 refugees are living in the camp, which is about 20 miles south of the Sudan border. Wolf heard dramatic stories of ethnic cleansing, mass murder and rape, all carried out by uniformed soldiers of the Khartoum government. Refugees recounted how they lived in fear of the Antonov planes that flew over their villages, dropping crude bombs out of their cargo bays - a trademark of the Khartoum government. The planes now fly over the refugee camp, continuing their reign of terror. "You just prepare yourself for death" when you hear a Antonov fly overhead, a refugee told Wolf. Others asked if they were being attacked because of the color of their skin. The refugees want the world to hear of their plight and desperately want Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to be arrested. Wolf is the first member of Congress to visit the camp in Yida. While in South Sudan, Wolf also met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and members of his cabinet. (AllAfrica, 02/24/2012)
ICC arrest warrant issued for Sudan's Defense Minister.The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued on March 1st an international arrest warrant for Sudanese Defence Minister Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein for a total 41 counts of crimes against humanity and crimes of war allegedly committed in Darfur between 2003 and 2004. The accused was at the time Interior Minister and the Darfur Special Representative of President Omar al-Beshir. According to the judges, there are reasonable grounds to believe that he is criminally responsible for persecution, murders, rape, inhumane acts and attacks against civilian population, among others. "The plan of the counter-insurgency was allegedly formulated at the highest levels of the government", the judges stated. Hussein is accused of having supervising a state policy organizing and coordinating attacks against civilians. According to Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, "Mr. Hussein played a central role in recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training and the deployment of the militia/Janjaweed as part of the Government of Sudan forces, with the knowledge that these forces would commit the crimes". This case is the ICC's fourth case in Darfur. ICC judges have issued arrest warrants against Sudanese President al-Bashir, former Interior Minister Ahmed Harun and Militia leader Ali Kusheyb. None of them has been arrested yet. (AllAfrica.com, 03/02/2012)
Bashir and minister dance after ICC warrant. President Omar al-Bashir danced on March 3 with his defence minister at a rally for paramilitary troops two days after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the latter's arrest. "We will start a major campaign to face the enemies of God and the state," Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein told more than 1,000 members of the People's Defence Force (PDF), formed during the country's 22-year civil war. The rally, designed to showcase the PDF's fighting readiness, was the first of its kind since the 2005 peace deal that ended the civil war and led to South Sudan's independence last July after an overwhelming vote to separate. Bashir and Hussein, both in military uniform, danced together to a PDF rallying song after the president announced an expansion of the PDF forces. "We will call these troops a 'deterrence force'," Bashir said at a Khartoum football stadium. He said he was ordering all state governors to open training camps for fresh PDF recruits. Each state is to form one brigade, with an additional seven coming from the capital Khartoum, the president said after rifle-toting male and female members of the militia staged a march-past. Hussein, 60, is the sixth person sought by the ICC or before the court for crimes committed in Darfur. Among those being sought is Bashir himself. (AFP, 03/03/2012)
UN foreign staff return to Sudan war zone amid concern over food shortage.United Nations international staff have returned to Sudan’s South Kordofan for the first time in months, the UN said February 25, as global concern mounts over food shortages in the war-torn state.
;“Today, FAO and OCHA flew back there by helicopter and they landed safely” in the state capital of Kadugli, Damian Rance, a public information officer at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told AFP.
;FAO is the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
;Sudan severely restricts the work of foreign relief agencies in the state where fighting broke out last June. For months, expatriate aid workers had not been allowed into South Kordofan or Blue Nile, where a similar conflict began in September. The first expatriate staff to return arrived in Kadugli February 24 by road, Rance said.
;“This follows a decision made earlier by the government of Sudan to authorize their return,” Mark Cutts, who heads OCHA’s office in the country, said in a statement.
;The international staff who went back are office heads, so their arrival “essentially boosts the skill sets” available to assess people’s needs and coordinate aid distribution if foreign relief workers are granted wider access to the region, Rance said.
;UN officials have repeatedly said they need full access -- including to rebel-held areas -- to properly assess the needs of the people.
;”We believe that unless we’re able to mount a humanitarian operation that has the consent of all sides, the situation there is going to deteriorate very rapidly,” Cutts told AFP earlier.
;He said aid agencies “are waiting for a positive response from the government” on a joint proposal by the U.N., African Union and Arab League to assess the needs and deliver aid throughout the conflict area. The US special envoy for Sudan, Princeton Lyman, said last month that the food situation is so dire that Washington warned Khartoum it would consider ways for aid to be sent in without Sudanese government approval.
Women raped while fleeing South Kordofan conflict. Alarming levels of sexual violence are being reported by women and girls who have fled conflict in Sudan's South Kordofan area, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said. Fighting has raged for months between the Sudanese army and SPLM-North rebels who want to topple the Khartoum government in South Kordofan and Blue Nile – two states which border newly independent South Sudan. Citing refugee accounts, IRC said significant numbers of women and girls were raped while fleeing South Kordofan's Nuba Mountains and crossing into South Sudan. "Violence against us was happening all the time. Raping was happening frequently," one refugee told IRC staff. Some referred to the perpetrators as simply "men with guns" and "military", IRC,a non-governmental organisation, said. "Women and girls described attacks in front of family members, by multiple perpetrators and for prolonged periods of time," Bob Kitchen, the director of IRC's emergency preparedness and response team, said in statement. Fighting in recent months has forced about 417,000 people to flee their homes, more than 80,000 of them to South Sudan, according to the United Nations. IRC said some 20,000 had settled in South Sudan's Yida refugee camp where many women and girls continue to suffer rape. (TrustLaw, 03/01/2012)
Sudanese police storm Khartoum University's compounds, over 300 students arrested. Sudanese police in the early morning of February 17 raided dormitories of the University of Khartoum and arrested over three hundred students in anticipation of a new protest they planned to stage this weekend. Since December students organized different protests in Khartoum asking to remove the Director of the University who asked the police to enter in the campus to disperse a student protest. The students demonstrated in support of the al-Manasir ethnic group’s demand for compensation, as they have been affected by the construction of Merowe Dam north of Khartoum. Since, the University was closed in order to avoid any escalation of the protests, students were asked to return to their homes in the different provinces. However, many remained on the campus and called for a new sit- in outside the Director’s office on Sunday 19 February. At dawn on Friday - the first day of the Sudanese weekend - the anti-riot police cordoned off the student housing block and started to evict the students, an eyewitness told Sudan Tribune. The source added that hundreds of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) members dressed in plain clothes participated in the preventive arrest of 317 students. (Sudan Tribune, 02/17/2012)
IDPs repatriation deadline extended to April 8, 2012. Juba and Khartoum have signed a Memorandum of Understanding extending the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) repatriation deadline of South Sudanese residing in Sudan to April 8, 2012 from the initial April 1, said the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Joseph Lual Acuil at a press conference in the Ministry of Information on February 14. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to extend the repatriation deadline for one week. Over 700,000 South Sudanese currently residing in Sudan are expected to be in South Sudan before the end of the set deadline. The Minister has called on the International Community to help in the process given the time limit.Khartoum has also asked Juba to repatriate its 10,000 IDPs who are in Kosti. The Minister said the time is running out and South Sudan might not meet the deadline given thousands stranded in Khartoum and Kosti. Acuil said Sudan only approved three routes of Bentiu, Renk, Wau—and Air—for the repatriation of the IDPs. (Gurtong, 02/16/2012)
SPLA deploys 10,000 troops in Jonglei for civil disarmament. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has completed the deployment of 10,000 of it's forces in Jonglei State to carry out civil disarmament. In the recent weeks, the Governor of Jonglei State, Hon. Kuol Manyang Juuk has been urging the civil population to cooperate with the army during the massive disarmament exercise which was scheduled for this week. Speaking to Gurtong at the SPLA headquarters in Juba, the SPLA spokesperson, Philip Aguer Panyang disclosed that, disarming the large civil population in Jonglei State will bring peace among the local communities since possession of small arms is a major threat to the population. “We have deployed this number of SPLA forces in Jonglei State to make sure that all civilians are free from illegal firearms used to fuel intertribal conflicts based on cattle raids,” Aguer said. “The forces will carry out thorough disarmament for two weeks in all Counties across Jonglei State in order to restore peace to the people,” he said. Jonglei State is one of the leading States in South Sudan in inter communal fights since the country gained her independent on 9th July 2011 with poor road infrastructure for the police force to quell the conflicts. Thousands of people mostly innocent women, children and old people have been killed while more than 100,000 have been displaced.Maintaining security in South Sudan is one of the major challenges facing the new fledgling nation while the government attempts to prevent more deaths through the disarmament exercise. (Gurtong, 02/22/2012)
South Sudan's inflation drops to 48%. South Sudan’s inflation, which in December 2011 stood at a whopping 65.6% dropped to 47.8% in January, the country’s national bureau of statistics said in its latest report. The report, unveiled earlier this month, also cites a decline in annual inflation for Juba, the South Sudanese capital, when compared to the rest of the country, from August 2011 to January this year. In an interview with Sudan Tribune, David Chan Thiang, the director of economic statistics at the national bureau attributed the decrease in inflation to the government’s recent move to remove illegal check points erected across the country as well as the notable improvements in road networks. In the past year, the report added, prices of food & non-alcoholic beverages reportedly increased by 40.6%, while those of alcoholic beverages and tobacco as well as furnishing and household equipment are said to have surged by 205.1% and 111.0% respectively between January 2011 and January 2012. The price of transportation, it says, also decreased by 9.4% from January 2011 to January 2012. (Sudan Tribune, 02/13/2012)
Jonglei women association boasts of a new center. Jonglei State Governor launched the newly built women centre with funding from the Norwegian Peopl's Aid (NPA) last Saturday after the NPA country director Mr. Jan Ledang handed over the building to the chairperson of Jonglei women association in Bor. Mr. Jan said that, when peace prevailed in South Sudan after the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), his home country offered to rebuild South Sudan and women were firstly brought on board. “This building is a base for the women in South Sudan because they are very strong and I will start by giving credit to them because they suffered a lot during the struggle to liberate their country. Without the women this country wouldn’t have achieved independence,” Jan said. He elaborated that in 2005, the Southern Sudan Ministry of Gender recommended the first women centre to be built in Jonglei State. NPA took the initiative to construct the women’s centre where women would discuss issues affecting them like gender violence, income generating activities and also to use it for conferences and also as a centre for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Governor Manyang urged all the State women to maintain peace not to divide themselves along tribal lines in their associations, "there will more centres similar to this constructed in the Counties only if you all have good collaboration skills." “The ideology of being a Nuer, Dinka Murle, Anyuak, and Jie woman need to be eliminated from now and your centre will start expanding to the County level,” he assured them. “There are many investors who are ready to help South Sudanese but they can only help people who always share one dream. Unity among yourselves should be the first priority and you will achieve a lot in your State,” the Governor said. (Gurtong, 02/13/2012)
53 children demobilized from military and militia activities.The Republic of South Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RSSDDRC) and UNICEF welcome the recent release of Children Associated with Armed Forces and Groups (CAAFGs) on January 30, 2012 in South Sudan. The latest demobilization of 53 children from Renegade Militia Group (RMG) in Western Bahr-El-Ghazal State is one of the biggest single releases since South Sudan’s independence on 9th July 2011. The children were first put into an Interim Care Centre before sent to their families. Of the 53 children, 20 are originally from Northern Bahra le Ghazal and 33 are from Western Bahra le Ghazal States respectively. The Chairperson of RSSDDRC Mr. William Deng Deng called upon all armed groups to assist in demobilizing children. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure that all children still associated with armed forces and militia groups in the country are released and returned to their communities,” Deng said. “We urge all armed groups including the renegade militia groups to cooperate and integrate their forces into the national army and facilitate immediate release of all children,” he said.‘‘The government of the Republic of South Sudan is committed to support the Demobilisation process and uphold international legal standards that protect children in situations of armed conflict,’’ Deng added. UNICEF provided support to the Commission last year to facilitate the release and reintegration of 208 children from military and militia groups operating mainly in the Greater Upper Nile and Bahr-el-Ghazal States of South Sudan. (Gurtong, 02/09/2012)
Kenya to build port to serve South Sudan and Ethiopia. East African heads of state, including South Sudan president Salva Kiir, attended a ceremony March 2 to mark the beginning of construction for a controversial new port in Kenya’s eastern coastal region of Lamu. Villagers fear the port may ruin idyllic beaches that draw Hollywood stars to the nearby island of Lamu year after year. But Kenya hopes the port will make the country a regional telecommunications and transportation hub. Kiir said the port will be a terminal for an alternative oil pipeline through Kenya, freeing South Sudan from its dependence on the infrastructure of Sudan. Kiir said the port is strategically and economically important for the region. Construction will be done in phases and will cost Kenya about $24.5 billion, according to Kenyan government estimates. The port is part of a wider project to improve infrastructure in the region. It is designed to include a highway, a railway line and a petroleum pipeline crossing over three countries. Kiir said the improved transport links and pipeline could create a backbone for South Sudan’s infrastructure and allow his country to end its reliance on oil. “The port of Lamu project will create economic opportunities and employment. It will make goods and services more abundant and affordable in our markets,” Kiir said. Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki said the government is aware of the concerns raised by the people of Lamu, especially with regard to land, environment, cultural heritage and fishing grounds. “The rights of the people of Lamu, like the rights of all other Kenyans, are enshrined in the Constitution and are, therefore, inalienable. I have instructed the relevant government ministries and agencies to move with speed and ensure that these concerns are addressed as soon as possible,” Kibaki said. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi also attended the launch. (Washington Post, 03/02/2012)