Kenyan Authorities Deport Riek Machar’s Spokesman

Kenya, Riek Machar's SpokesmanKenyan government spokesman, Eric Kiraithe, has said that a spokesman for the former Vice-President of South Sudan was deported after his “visa was cancelled”.

Kiraithe told the BBC that James Gatdet Dak, was deported to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, on Thursday evening.

The deportation was said to have been agreed upon by both the Kenyan government and Sudanese authorities.

Other reports also confirmed that the he was picked on Wednesday afternoon in what appeared to have been a coordinated operation organized by the Special Service of Kenya and South Sudan.

Thereafter, “he was taken to the airport where he was allowed to speak to some of his family members and relatives,” the reports said.

Although the motive behind Dak’s deportation remains unclear and speculative, some have attributed the cause to the statement in which he welcomed the sacking of the force commander of United Nations mission in South Sudan who hails from Kenya.

According to the AP news agency, Mr Gatdet was kicked out of the country for posting comments on Facebook that supported the sacking of the commander.

A few others, who are high ranking members of the government, however, blamed the South Sudanese government for allegedly engineering Dak’s deportation.

Britain To Deploy About 100 Troops To South Sudan- Minister

BritainUp to 100 additional British troops will join U.N. peacekeeping work in South Sudan, the defense minister said on Thursday, taking the total to around 400.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the deployment, which supplements the 300 British personnel already in the region, could help reduce the number of migrants fleeing poverty and war in Africa and the Middle East from traveling to western Europe.

“This large scale deployment underlines how we are stepping up our global commitments,” Fallon told a conference of defense ministers.

“Backed by a rising defense budget, it’s part of our effort to tackle the instability that leads to mass migration and terrorism. It will help keep Britain safe while improving lives abroad.”

Last month, the United Nations Security Council authorized the deployment of 4,000-strong protection force in South Sudan’s capital Juba after several days of fighting involving tanks and helicopters between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing former Vice President Riek Machar.

Clashes Flare In Southwest Of South Sudan’s Capital

south sudanFighting flared late on Saturday in southwest of the capital of South Sudan between forces loyal to the President and those backing the opposition.

This is coming after clashes last month raised fears of a slide back into civil war.

Steven Lodu Onseimo, the Information Minister for Yei region where Saturday’s clashes took place, told Reuters that two civilians and a soldier were killed, but said the area was calm on Sunday.

Witnesses had reported heavy gunfire around Yei, which lies on a road linking the capital Juba with neighboring Uganda. The government and opposition each blamed the other side.

Following the fighting in July, the U.N. Security Council authorised the deployment of a 4,000-strong protection force to support the existing 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission.

“Our forces have managed to close Juba-Yei road. Our forces destroyed the government’s convoy that attacked our forces in the area,” opposition spokesman James Gatdet said by telephone.

The Yei Information Minister described the attack as an “ambush” of a government convoy by the opposition.

Political differences between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar first erupted into conflict in late 2013. They signed a peace deal in August 2015, but sporadic fighting has continued.

Machar had recently returned to Juba to take up his position as deputy again when the July clashes flared. Machar then withdrew with his forces from the capital.

Kiir’s spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, said after Friday’s vote for extra U.N. troops that the government would not accept the new force, describing it as a U.N. bid to take over South Sudan.

The United Nations had threatened an arms embargo if the government did not cooperate.

Regional states have backed sending extra troops to South Sudan in a bid to quell the conflict and prevent any further spillover.

More than two million South Sudanese have been displaced by more than two years of conflict since the nation got its independent from Sudan and many have fled to nearby states.

 

South Sudan Accepts Plan By IGAD To Deploy Regional Force

igadSouth Sudan’s government has agreed to allow the deployment of a regional protection force, the regional Africa group Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said.

The decision follows ethnically charged fighting last month in the capital Juba.

“The government of South Sudan has accepted (the deployment of troops) with no condition,” the secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Mahboub Maalim, said after a special summit of the group’s leaders in Ethiopia.

Plane Crash Kills 40 In South Sudan

Plane Crash Kills 40 In South SudanAt least 40 people have died in a plane crash near the international airport in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

Reports say around 40 bodies were counted at the plane wreck site.

The spokesman to the President, Ateny Wek Ateny, told Reuters that there were at least two survivors, a crew member and a child on board.

It is however unclear how many of those were on the plane and how many were on the ground.

Local media reports say the aircraft was a cargo plane heading to Paloch in Upper Nile State and crashed just 800 metres from the runway.

The plane came down on the east bank of the nearby River Nile.

South Sudan Uses Fashion To Appeal For Peace

akuja2South Sudan’s capital, Juba, recently played host to the Fashion and Arts for Peace Festival South Sudan, to raise money and awareness to the plight of thousands of South Sudanese who have been affected by the country’s current political crisis.

The world’s newest nation has been besieged by a political crisis, where at least 10,000 people have been killed since fierce fighting erupted in South Sudan in December, pitting President Salva Kiir’s government forces against supporters of Riek Machar, his former deputy and long-time political rival.

Adding to the country’s many problems, aid agencies recently said that South Sudan could be headed for the worst famine since the mid-1980s, when malnutrition swept through East Africa and killed over a million people.

However, organisers behind the festival are hoping to inspire South Sudanese to come together and showcase some of the country’s riches, including culture and fashion.

In its second edition, the festival aims to promote peace and tolerance in South Sudan through artistic expression.

It’s not just about dazzling designs and the CatWalk, the show also featured dancing, singing, food and fashion. The event also provided a platform for artisans and artists to show and sell their works, showcasing jewellery and other fashion items made from local materials and designs that they hope would have global appeal.

Event founder and organiser, Akuja Garang, hopes that the festival would help South Sudanese see that they have more that unites than separates them.

With so many items to choose from, from jewellery, clothes and books, many visitors said that they were spoilt for choice and Garang said she hopes that the event can also help change perceptions of South Sudan and promote a positive image of the country.

Combat in the nation that won independence from Sudan in 2011 has played out along deep ethnic fault lines, with Kiir’s Dinka community battling Machar’s Nuer.

More than one million people have been displaced by the violence and more than 400,000 have fled the country. According to U.N. officials, the U.N. Peacekeeping Operation in South Sudan is sheltering nearly 100,000 civilians at its bases.

South Sudan Deploys Army To Guard U.N. Base After Attack Kills Dozens

south sudanSouth Sudan sent troops to secure a United Nations base after armed civilians fired on displaced tribes people sheltering there, in an attack that killed at least 48, the President’s spokesman said on Friday.

Locals pretending to be peaceful protesters delivering a petition forced their way into the camp on Thursday and opened fire before being beaten back by UN security personnel (UNMISS).

“The Army has come in now. They have been ordered to protect UNMISS so there will be no attack from anybody,” President Salva Kiir’s spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, told Reuters by phone.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than one million displaced since fighting erupted in South Sudan in the middle of December, triggered by a power struggle between Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.

The conflict in Africa’s newest state took on a tribal dimension as Kiir’s Dinka fought Machar’s Nuer for control of strategic towns before a ceasefire was signed on January 23.

Sporadic clashes between both sides after the ceasefire deal erupted into full-blown combat this week, when the rebels seized control of Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity State.

Thursday’s attack on the U.N. base at Bor, some 120 miles north of the capital of Juba, was blamed on locals who were seeking to punish the Nuer for the loss of Bentiu.

“Those internally displaced people in Bor from the Nuer community were celebrating the capture of Bentiu by the rebels and this angered the local community,” Ateny said.

The Dinkas are the predominant group in the area.

The locals went to the base to demand the relocation of the 5,000 Nuer living there and were dispersed by UN personnel before regrouping nearby and launching the attack, he said.

The Acting Spokesman for UNMISS, Joe Contreras, said that security had been stepped up in their bases around the country – where tens of thousands are sheltering – and urged South Sudan to investigate the attack and prosecute the assailants.

No one has been arrested over the attack, pending completion of investigations, Information Minister, Michael Makuei, told Reuters.

The conflict has disrupted oil production, which provides most government revenue. The rebels warned oil firms to pack up and leave within a week after they recaptured Bentiu on Tuesday.