Bentiu POC handover to the government, named IDPs camp

The United Nations Mission of South Sudan [UNMISS] has handed over the Bentiu protection site to Unity State’s government. The State governor and UN representative witnessed the handing over ceremony to South Sudan, David Shiera.

The Governor of Unity State, Dr. Joseph Nguen Monytuil, said the government and the UN agreed and signed a memorandum of understanding. He stated that SPLM-IO field commander met with him on the sideline to form joint security forces who will be deployed and patrolling all counties.

 United Nations had established Protection of Civilians sites POCs] following the fighting in 2013. Many civilians run for their safety to the UN compound in Juba, Malakal, Bentiu, Bor, Rumbek, and Wau. Bentiu PoC is a home to over 100 thousand people displaced by the conflict.

Monyuil explained the keys element of the MoU is “provision for maximum protection of civilians.

The is also a need to provide technical support for the joint security from the government and SPLM-IO to be deployed soon.

Governor says the government will officially take over camp responsible next week. But, humanitarians’ organizations will still work on the site to provide aid assistant to IDPs.

“The message is simply that the government is very keen to provide maximum security and also to provide services as well as peace evident,” Nguen reiterated.

Authority promised to maintain their mandates focusing on protecting civilians without forcing anyone against his or her wills to leave the camp. 

The UNMISS head in Bentiu, Hiroko Hirahara, said the POC site transition to ordinary IDPS camp is imminent and preparation is underway. He stated that an agreement between the state government and the UN was signed to ensure IDPs’ safety and security. The UNMISS promised to respond to some of the serious crimes.

UNMISS started handing over the POCs to the government last year after its formation of the Unity government. The IDPs criticized the decision, who cited a lack of faith from the government’s security forces.

During six years of conflict, Human Rights Watch reported about 60 civilians killed in Unity State, mostly women, children, and the elderly.

Jonglei_Pibor Conference ends to form Special Court and deploy forces.

The Peace Conference delegations for Jonglei State and Pibor administrative area have ended three days talks to form Special Court and deploy joint security force to protect civilians.

The conference was held in Juba on Monday 25th. Over 200 delegations in both communities participated in the events.

The delegates endorsed several resolutions hoping to end the inter-communal violence among the neighboring communities and return raided cattle to the owners.

Some of the resolutions validated include deploying joint security forces at the Gading area to stop cattle raiders, child abduction, and random killing of innocent people along the roads.

The traditional leaders were tasked with returning raided cattle, abducting children, and compensating the victims of the conflict. But it is not clear when will the court anticipated to preside over the cases will come to effect.

SPLM Youth League’s chairperson Daniel Abocha Ali condemned the practice of child and women abduction and demanded its immediate end. 

Two, identifying and punishing those involved in this unlawful and dreadful practice. Three, returning all abducted children and women to their rightful families by all communities.”

President Salva Kiir Mayardit calls the delegates to implement the fixed resolutions.

In his closing remark, Kiir warned that he will not orders any security forces to respond in any communal fighting again. “I have decided that for any fighting, I will not send any soldier, even police. You will be left to fight until one section run away from another. If you run away from the one fighting you, and come here, I will help and protect you” He said 

The President urged the youth not to be influenced by politicians to create instability. “Let us change the style of life if people talk of love. Love doesn’t come from the mouth, but action”.

On Monday, the governor of Jonglei State, Denay Jock Chicago, expressed concern that youth need jobs to stop the fighting. He urged the national government develops hospitals, schools, and roads in the villages.

The Greater Pibor Administrative Area leader, Joshua Konyi, said the conflict has killed many people and called the armed youth to accepted peace with their neighbors.

Authority in Leer ordered the closure of two checkpoints along River Nile.

Local authorities in Leer County, Unity State, and the SPLM-IO have announced the possible closure of two illegal checkpoints along the River Nile near the Adok port. 

The checkpoints were unauthorized but illegally, collecting taxation from business people along the Nile.

Unidentified groups alleged to be SPLM-IO white army have created unauthorized checkpoints collecting money from business people.

Leer County Acting Commissioner Kong Tap Kulany said illegal taxation is unprecedented. And the two leaders have agreed to close down the River Nile checkpoint soon. 

He stated that closing an unrecognized spot check should be implemented under the SPLM-IO command to end unlawful taxation on their territory.

Kurland said, “when traders are overtaxed when they reach his final destination, he will increase the price. He will calculate all taxes taken and added them to the commodities price. To determine their commodities price, it is their right because they are dying on the River. Traders do not raise the price without lost”.

SPLM-IO’s county chairperson Stephen Chap Kai has visited Adok port on Monday to discuss an armed youth issue. 

According to the authority, armed youth were given one week to leave illegal checkpoints. Failure for them to comply with ordered, it will force the state government to use force.

“Initially, Dok has only two checkpoints plus the main port. There are two checkpoints created by youth, which make a total of five checkpoints. We discussed and agreed that the two checkpoints would be closed. Only two checkpoints plus Adok port will remain. We have talked with youth to leave the River, and they have not yet come out.”

Koang Nyuon Yap, a trader in Leer, said business people faced serious insecurity threats. And some could lose their life if they did not pay the amount need at the checkpoint.

“There are several checkpoints with much taxation, and we [traders] are being killed. We are now suffering a lot because we are doing good things for the country’s betterment. Now we are urging the government to close down those checkpoints only port can remain.”

The authority agreed that only two checkpoints and Adok port would remain legal stopping points for all business people who go to different locations.

Parties to the revitalized agreement have not yet fully formed the state’s government and local administration since the governors and deputies were appointed. 

Vice president Igga asks Jonglei chiefs to regulate price of dowries.

South Sudan Vice president for Economic Cluster James Wani Igga has called local chiefs in Jonglei State to regulated traditional bride dowries.

The top leader was addressing delegations at peace conference in Juba on Monday.  Mr Igga attributed high bride dowries as a source to rampant cattle raiding.

Jonglei and Pibor experienced long-term youth inter-communal violence on cattle rustling, revenge killing, and children abduction.

In his speech, the vice president was so concerned about rampant cattle raiding that escalated insecurity threats among the innocent people.

Some community members believed that the traditional highest bride marriage in the communities forced young people to raids other people’s cows to get married.

Wani urged chiefs to sit down with their communities to reduce the bride price so that youth stop engaging in cattle rustling.

“High bride price, the wealth you need your youth to marry need to be reduced. It is not fair to sell your daughter like a car. If there is no wealth, this causes the proceeds of raiding too. This needs the chiefs of Jonglei to intervene because youth who have no cows go and raid to get more cows to marry.”

The Acting Paramount Chief of Bor County Sultan Malaak Ayuen disputed the suggestion. He said local chiefs have no powers to dictate traditional marriage and cannot preside over marriage processes.

“The chiefs have no powers to rule over marriages. The fathers and the relatives of the girls are the main characters of the marriage. They determine whether to give their daughter with a small number of cows or, not but chiefs have no authority in this case.”

Chief Malaak says the official bride price is 30 cows in Jonglei state, but some people increased it to hundreds of cows depend on their will.

ECSS denied allegations of deporting its Bishops to Juba.

The Episcopal Church of South Sudan has denied any linked that result to deportation of two Bishops at Bor airport to Juba on chaos associated with disagreement.

The controversial dispute occurred at the airport immediately after they landed on Saturday, January 23. Security forced the church leaders to return back into aircraft citing their safety could not be granted.

“The two bishops refused to go back into the aircraft arguing that they did not understand the reason why they should go back to Juba. The aircraft left without them and later they were brought back on a vehicle to Juba,” ECSS stated.

Church leadership refuted an incident as issue with “no connection of wrangles over the power.”

Manyang Gabriel Kon worked for ECSS in Juba. He blamed security personnel for forcing two bishops to return to Juba upon their arrival in Bor. Gabriel said this is the third incident that has happened to ECSS bishops in Bor town

Emotional Photos of bishop and airport staff fighting went viral on social media platforms over the weekend. Photo shared shown the securities were blocking and pushing bishop back to the airport. And it was later denied.

Gabriel condemned the action. He said members of the ECS Church are being targeted by Jonglei State Capital Bor town’s security forces.

“It’s not clear to us because there were some people who wanted to attack Bishops, but they were going to Bor. To our surprise, the airport’s security personnel forced the Bishops and wanted to take them back to the airport”

“When you look at this situation, it’s not the one who is being attacked that’s harassed. However, the ones that are attacking them should be the ones being controlled, so this one is not clear to us why the officials in Bor are just targeting ECS workers in Bor,” said Manyang.

Police Commissioner Maj. Gen. Joseph Mayen said the security decision of ordering two bishops to return to Juba is to calm tension within the Church congregation.

He explained police department response came after tension increased among the youth at the airport during the bishops’ arrival.

They shouldn’t blame the government; instead, the government is giving them protection. They are supposed to cooperate with the government. The government has nothing with them; only what the government wants is the life of the civilians,” Mayen clarified.

Bishop of Jonglei Internal Province Archbishop Ruben Akurdit was seen having long term disputes with ECSS Primate Justine Badi, which triggered division within the Church.

Labor Minister: Change of the time zone “gives leverage” to workers

South Sudan Minister of Labor, James Hoth Mai has defended the government’s decision to change its time zone from Eastern Africa plus three to two hours. Official marked the country plunged into Central Africa time zone with Burundi and Rwanda.

The government publicly announced its decision to set back its time zone of one hour behind Eastern Africa time on January 15th this year. A new time zone shall be sufficient on February 1st, 2021.

In 1997 former Sudanese president Omar El Bashir joined the Eastern Time before South Sudan achieved its independence on July 9th, 2011. And Sudan reverted to its original time zone in 2017.

According to the Labor office, South Sudan lies between 24 to 36 degrees East of the Greenwich line. The prime meridian divided the world into the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

The government said the unanimous decision was made based on the geographical longitude. South Sudan does not fall on the Eastern Greenwich meridian.

Mr. Mai said that the government’s decision to change the Eastern Africa community’s time zone would not affect the regular working hours in labor law. People will still work an aggregate time of eight hours per day, starting from 8 am to 5pm.

“We are not observing the day time saving because our border is different from Ethiopia in the far East. We have different of twenty-four minutes. Sun gets rise there in twenty-four minutes before it comes to us here. But, when you go far west in Raja area, we have additional thirty-six minutes, our sunset goes down here while still day time in Raja area. When you rounded them up, added twenty-four and thirty-six minutes, it will be sixty. And divide two it will give you two hour”.

James Hoth further explained the country was using Eastern Africa for “reason not known.” He said changing the time zone was related to the security situation to protect citizens from unknown shooters because the country was not electrified. 

He urged the public to pull back their time by one hour in February when the time zone comes into effect. The time zone shall change automatically to an electronic smartphone.

Yirol hospital shut down after health workers contracted COVID-19

Authorities Yirol West county in Lakes said they have closed county main hospital after 7 health workers contracted the virus on Monday.

Health workers were confirmed virus-positive during public, voluntary testing. The Yirol Hospital has indefinitely suspended its operation with immediate effects.

Medic said COVID-19 patients have been advised to stay at homes as the government works closely with partners to establish isolation centers.

Dr. Marial Chuir said 23 people were identified direct contacts with patients are traced, and their samples have been taken for lab analysis.

He explained the seven cases were detected within the sample of twenty-seven people who turn up for voluntarily testing on Friday last week.

According to Dr. Marial emergency department in the hospital is permitted to provide medical services in seven days.

“We want those without cases to maintain protected themselves not to be infected by the disease. We want everyone to observe preventive measures by keeping social distancing. The public gathering needs to be avoided and minimize hand shaking as now in Greater Lakes. We have listed several cases that make us reach over twenty-five confirm cases of coronavirus, which is the first time in Yirol to record cases.’’ Said Maria.

Medical doctors appealed to the citizens to follow health guidelines and avoid public gatherings to prevent contracting coronavirus.

South Sudan has recorded three thousand eight hundred and eighty-two cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. The Government taskforce lifted the restriction on coronavirus despite the rising number of instances daily.

Governor Chagor: Youth need jobs to stop the conflict in Jonglei.

Jonglei State’s leader is not optimistic about ending communal violence triggered by cattle raiding and child abduction in his area. 

He expressed concern that it is impossible to resolve the conflict unless the government develops hospitals, schools, and roads in the villages. 

Today (Monday), delegates from Jonglei and Pibor Administrative Area commenced a two-day conference hoping to end the conflict that had taken years unresolved. 

Several peace talks and resolutions were agreed upon in the past but couldn’t stop the two communities’ bloodshed. 

Cattle raiding, abduction of children, and revenged killing had been significant issues that prolong the conflict. 

Hon: Denay Jock Chagor, the Governor of Jonglei State, said the armed youth would lay down guns if there are calls for employments at their villages to make development and peace prevail. 

“It is difficult for somebody who grows up herding cattle to stop doing cattle raiding while there is not any mean of development in their village, nothing. And now we are telling them, you lay down your guns, and sit down do nothing. That’s not possible,” says Chagor.

The Greater Pibor Administrative Area leader, Joshua Konyi, said the conflict has killed many people and called the armed youth to accepted peace with their neighbors.

“Unfortunately, always the peace conferences between Pibor and Jonglei failed, but why. Most failed because they were always being conducted in the city by the politicians who sit and resolve, not those in the conflict in the areas. Now we brought those involved in the fight, and the chiefs”, Konya said. 

Vice President for Economic Cluster, Dr. James Wani Igga, who is also the chairperson of the High-Level Committee on Jonglei Peace dialogue, has called for an end to the violence between Jonglei communities and Pibor. 

Wani directed the chiefs to mobilize the raided cattle’s return, abducted children and women between the two communities.

 “We come to a stop the bloodshed, for the killing of innocent children, women, and killing off old people who do not take part (in the conflict),” says James. 

Igga further stated that special forces would be deployed at Gading, the border of Jonglei and Pibor, to monitor suspects and prevent crimes.

Soldiers deserting cantonment sites due to lack of food and medicines, CTSAMVM reported 

The Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, known as CTSAMVM, has reported that many soldiers left the training centers due to worsening conditions.

Peace Monitoring body said officers at training camps facing lack of food, medicines, and other basic needs.

Major General Dafaalla Hamid Mohamed, Acting Chairperson for CTSAMVM, urged the parties to address the awful situation soldiers underwent for many months.

“Regrettably conditions in cantonment sites have not improved, it is of concern that conditions in Training centers have deteriorated and as a result, many trainees have left the centers. There is still no deployment plan for the NUF (Necessary unified forces),” said Mohamed.

Dafaalla reported that senior military officers’ defection and their affiliated forces from SPLA-IO had created tension and violence. He calls the parties to take bold steps to keep the ceasefire holding and protect the civilians.

Hamid described that “ill-disciplined” soldiers had committed severe violations in the Lainya area involving civilians’ killing, rape of women, and assault on vulnerable people.

Representatives from the government, oppositions, and former detainees expressed the need for urgent graduation of forces.

Brig General. Andrea Mangu Adora, a member of SPLA/M IO, said the soldiers at the training centers hope for graduation despite the absence of food. He calls to end the fighting and urge the soldiers to respect the ceasefire agreement.

“If people being killed since it should be enough for us now to look for peace, no anymore killing, no anymore looting, no anymore causing disaster,” said Mangu.

South Sudan Opposition Alliance representative, SSOA Major General David Nyang, said many trainees face a lack of food and medicines. He emphasizes that the graduation of forces is a crucial element that should be a reality.

He calls the government and National Transitional Committee to avail the resources.

“There are many females in the training centers, including trainees, and the families of trainees. These trainees, there are seven hundred and ninety-one females. And the females have special needs which are not addressed.”

Major General Bior Leek, a representative from Former Detainees, raised concern that most soldiers leaving training centers might cause further violence.

“So, what do you expect? You will expect more violence, more fighting because the soldier having a gun going empty-handed is hungry. He will be thought for looting.”

Leek mentioned that changing allegiance within armed forces created violence in Maban, Moroto, and Paloch in which civilians were killed in cold blood. He urged the parties to form a high-level committee to address the issue and take measures against those who killed the civilians.

Gen: Gatkuoth Duop Kuich, a senior member of former TGoNU said all parties should agrees on the graduation of forces.

“When unified forces are graduated and deploy in all states means the communities will have harmony.”

Duop also recommends that the change of allegiance, which has created violence affecting the communities, should be stopped.

Last week, Defense Minister Angelina Teny promised to graduate the necessary unified forces toward end of this month

US ended travel bans on Muslims and African countries

Joe Biden sworn in as the US 46th president and Kamala Harris made history as the country’s first Black, female and South Asian vice president.

Biden signed several executive orders include rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and ending travel ban on Muslims and African countries which Trump imposed. Biden’s National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan said the president’s actions will immediately reveres the elements of the Trump policies that were deeply inhumane and didn’t reflect America’s values.

The US 46th President also signed an executive order reversing his predecessor’s decision to leave the World Health Organization in the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic.

His predecessor had opted out of the United Nation’s specialized health agency at the peak of the coronavirus crisis last year.

During his inauguration address, Biden plead for national unity as political, economic and health care crises grip their nation.

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,” he said. “We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

President Biden take over the power from Donal Trump following election in November.

The inauguration, social distancing was observed due to COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 people in the United States.

New York post reported that President Joe Biden will sign over a dozen executive actions in his first hours as commander-in-chief, immediately halting the travel ban on countries with heightened terror concerns, as well as construction of the border wall.

Former President Donald Trump departed Washington, DC earlier today a head of Biden inauguration ceremony.

According to US media, Trump then boarded Marine One with former first lady Melania Trump. A departure ceremony is being held at the base before they leave for Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Florida.

World leaders have welcomed the new administration of US President Joe Biden, marking an end to the presidency of Donald Trump, who had largely rejected multilateral cooperation on global issues.

DW (Deutsche Welle) website, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Biden, saying that Europe has a friend in Washington.

“This time-honored ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol will be a demonstration of the resilience of American democracy,” she said.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a video statement that he was looking forward to tackling global issues with the US, describing Biden’s inauguration as a “good day for democracy.”