South Sudan

  1. Riek Machar: Peace is the only option for South Sudan

    Nichola Mandil


    Riek Machar
    Image caption: Riek Machar was speaking during the opening of his party's conference

    The first Vice-President of South Sudan Riek Machar has said that peace was the only option for stability in the country, during the opening of his political party's conference.

    He said there had been “violations” of the a peace agreement and a “lack of political will” from some parties.

    But he insisted his party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), was committed to its implementation.

    “These violations are a clear demonstration of lack of political will and commitment to implementation of transitional security arrangements. Despite the slow progress in the implementation of the agreement, we are optimistic and, I repeat, we are optimistic that peace shall prevail.” Mr Machar, told the delegates during the opening of the sixth national conference of SPLM-IO in the capital, Juba, on Tuesday.

    Mr Machar told members of his party to prepare for elections at the end of the transitional period.

    He also urged President Salva Kiir to re-commit to the implementation of peace agreement they both signed.

    Mr Machar and his main political rival, Mr Kiir, formed a unity government in February after six years of conflict, which saw thousands killed and millions displaced from their homes.

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  2. Amnesty urges UN to maintain South Sudan arms embargo

    A man carrying a gun walks past a cattle at Kirgui village in Udier town, South Sudan
    Image caption: The UN arms embargo on South Sudan has been in place since 2018

    Amnesty International has urged the UN Security Council to maintain its arms embargo on South Sudan amid "extreme violence by government forces and an increase in attacks on civilians, including war crimes".

    Amnesty said it had documented "a series of extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, torture, and destruction of civilian property by government and former opposition forces".

    The organisation cited a four-fold increase in violence in the states of Jonglei, Lakes, Warrap and Western Equatoria between April and June this year compared to the same period last year.

    Amnesty said that as South Sudan was earlier this year calling for the embargo to be reviewed, "government soldiers were shooting civilians, burning homes, raping women and girls, and displacing tens of thousands of people from their villages in the south of the country".

    "Quite simply, the government of South Sudan has failed to protect its people. It would be irresponsible of the Security Council to suspend or lift the arms embargo now, in light of the horrendous human rights violations being committed by government forces," said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s East and Southern Africa Director.

    The UN Security Council is due to conduct a mid-term review of its arms embargo and other measures on South Sudan before 15 December.

    The council first established an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018 which was renewed last year and subsequently extended by a year on 31 May this year.

  3. First woman appointed to head South Sudan university

    Nichola Mandil


    Awut Deng Achuil
    Image caption: Awut Deng Achuil was also the first woman to hold the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs in South Sudan

    South Sudan's President President Salva Kiir has for the first time appointed a woman to chair the governing body of a university.

    Awut Deng Achuil, currently the Minister of General Education and Instructions, will chair the council of the University of Bahr El-Ghazal.

    Her appointment was announced in a presidential decree read on the national broadcaster, the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation.

    The university was established in 1991, when South Sudan was still part of Sudan. The country gained its independence in 2011

    Ms Achuil was also the first woman to serve as South Sudan's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

    She relinquished the post following the appointment of a unity government in February to end conflict between rival groups in South Sudan.

  4. South Sudan talks propose power to impeach president

    Nichola Mandil


    Participants to the National Dialogue Conference in Juba
    Image caption: Some of the proposals by the national conference have been described as controversial

    Delegates to the just-concluded South Sudan's national dialogue conference have recommended that the two parliaments should have powers to impeach the president and vice-president.

    The forum also recommended a two five-year term limit for the president and a peaceful transfer of power through timely, free and fair elections.

    They also want rebels not to be rewarded with government positions.

    Some of recommendations have been described as controversial.

    “Even if the recommendations of this conference are so controversial, please implement them,” Mr Angelo Beda, the co-chair of the conference, told President Salva Kiir during the closing of the event on Tuesday.

    President Kiir said the recommendations should serve as “guidelines” to the constitution-making process.

    “Despite its popular legitimacy, therefore, we should not attempt to replace the agreement with the consensus reached through the national dialogue,” President Kiir told the delegates as he closed the conference.

  5. South Sudan's Kiir to close national talks conference

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    South Sudan's President Slva Kiir is expected to close this year's national dialogue conference that recommended a two term presidential limit.

    The 15-day conference was boycotted by First Vice-President Riek Machar and key opposition figures.

    Dr Machar cited “reservations due to lack of implementation of some provisions of the 2018 revitalised peace agreement".

    The national dialogue was aimed at discussing solutions to end political and communal violence in the country.

    It also sought ways of addressing the fear of political domination by some ethnic groups and agree on resource sharing among all groups.

    Participants in this year's conference recommended a two five-year term limit for the president starting from the next elections.

    They also recommended that regional state governors should serve for only two consecutive terms of five years.

    The 518 delegates, representing 80 counties from across the country and representatives of the different political parties, recommended that the country should adapt a presidential system with two deputies to the president - one of whom must be a woman.

    The conference also recommended the establishment of more regional states.

  6. Foreign missions condemn attacks on aid workers in S Sudan

    Foreign missions in South Sudan have condemned the attacks on aid workers in the country by unidentified gunmen.

    They said aid workers "need to be able to deliver services without interference and fear of violence. They should never be a target".

    The Heads of Mission of the US, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, and the EU issued the joint statement.

    The statement comes after the killing of two aid workers in Pibor area. The offices of two non-governmental organisations were also set alight in Renk town.

    Nine humanitarian workers have so far been been killed this year in South Sudan.

    A total of 124 aid workers, mostly South Sudanese, have lost their lives in the line of duty since conflict erupted in the country in late 2013.

  7. South Sudan's VP Machar accused of 'leadership failure'

    Nichola Mandil

    BB News, Juba

    The first Vice-President of South Sudan, Riek Machar, has been accused of "leadership failure" by a top official of his Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) party.

    The official, secretary-general Tingo Peter, tendered his resignation on Tuesday after serving in the role for four years.

    He accused Mr Machar of failing to "display good leadership" and running the party without consultations.

    Mr Machar’s office has not responded to the accusations.

    "You have run the movement without transparency, especially when it comes to decision making process. You don’t respect the institution's structures established by the movement’s constitution,” Mr Peter wrote in his resignation letter.

    He said his resignation will not affect the implementation of a peace agreement signed by Mr Machar and his political rival President Salva Kiir in 2018 after years of conflict.

  8. South Sudan confirms measles outbreak

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    A child is given a measles vaccine

    South Sudan's health ministry has confirmed an outbreak of measles in five regional states.

    “When we say there is an outbreak it means there are cases. But at the moment I cannot say how many cases or how many have died and who died,” John Rumunu, Director-General for Preventive Health Services, told the BBC in the capital, Juba.

    He said the ministry and its partners were planning to conduct reactive measles vaccinations in the areas where the outbreaks have been reported.

    Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) had last week said that 30 children with severe measles were being treated at its facility in Pibor area in eastern South Sudan.

    It called for an urgent vaccination campaign to stop the spread of the contagious disease.

  9. South Sudan moves to curb medical NGOs

    Nichola Mandil


    Women wade through flood waters after the River Nile broke the dykes in Pibor
    Image caption: South Sudan is currently facing a number of humanitarian crises including dealing with the impact of flooding

    South Sudan’s health ministry has issued new directives limiting the activities of international NGOs working in healthcare.

    Among the 10 guiding principles are an obligation for the NGOs to deposit their money into a single account to be called “the unified healthcare partners’ account” at the central bank.

    It is feared that the new measures could impede the activities of NGOs in the country that has been affected by conflicts and severely hit by recent flooding.

    But the government argues that this would aid accountability and make auditing and tracing money very easy.

    Health ministry official Mayen Machut also said that NGOs are forbidden from employing young South Sudanese medical professional as they “have caused an internal brain-drain of healthcare professionals in South Sudan”.

  10. UN suspends operations after gunmen kill aid workers

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    A map of South Sudan

    The UN has temporarily suspended humanitarian services in eastern South Sudan, in Pibor area, following the killing of two local aid workers.

    One of the victims, who worked for child rights organisation Plan International, was shot dead last Thursday on a road near Pibor town by unidentified gunmen.

    A day later, a community mobiliser working for a local non-profit organisation was killed by armed youth while returning on foot from delivering nutrition services to children and new mothers affected by violence in the area, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

    The Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Alain Noudéhou, has condemned the violence.

    The killings bring to nine the number of humanitarian workers so far killed this year in South Sudan.

    A total of 124 aid workers, mostly South Sudanese, have lost their lives in the line of duty since conflict erupted in the country in late 2013.

  11. South Sudan sacks head of central bank

    South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has dismissed the governor of the Central Bank, Gamal Abdalla Wani, less than 10 months after he took office.

    The news of his dismissal was announced by decree on the national broadcaster on Monday evening. No reasons were given for his sacking.

    Mr Wani was brought in when his predecessor, Dier Tong Ngor, was sacked. Now Mr Mgor has been reinstated as Central Bank Governor.

    In July, Mr Wani said the Bank of South Sudan under his leadership had a plan of "resorting to refining crude gold" in order to rescue the ailing economy - which has been hit hard by the fall in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

  12. South Sudan flooding: rains continue

    Video content

    Video caption: Amid extensive flooding in south Sudan continues but children show remarkable resilience

    Amid extensive flooding in south Sudan continues but children show remarkable resilience .

  13. Dad walks in 'chest-high waters to get son to clinic'

    A dad walked through chest-high waters for two hours to get his 13-year-old son to a clinic in flood-hit South Sudan to receive medical treatment, medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said.

    Heavy flooding has affected some 800,000 people in South Sudan, and people are battling to reach medical centres, MSF added.

    "In areas where floodwaters are too high to walk, people are using makeshift rafts constructed from plastic sheeting or large plastic water tanks reshaped as canoes, with a shovel for an oar.

    "Those who stay to protect their houses use sandbags or mud walls to try to stop the water," the charity said.

    It added that patients who manage to reach MSF clinics sometimes describe a "harrowing journey".

    "When 13-year-old Yoel fell ill, his father Stephen Manyang Chan, a widower and father of five, carried him to the MSF clinic in Leer, Unity State, walking through chest-high waters for two hours.

    "There are no roads to the hospital, only water," MSF quoted the dad as saying.

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  14. South Sudan reports new vaccine-derived polio outbreak

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    South Sudan’s health ministry has announced an outbreak of polio in five regional states of the country.

    The new outbreak is that of vaccine-derived virus that is linked to low immunisation rates.

    In June, the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Region declared South Sudan free of the wild polio virus.

    The new cases were spotted after the first sample turned positive last month.

    “This polio outbreak is vaccine-derived and it is not wild polio virus. As of now, we have 15 circulating cases reported in five states," Dr John Rumunu, a ministry official, told reporters in the capital, Juba.

    The ministry has triggered a national response to the outbreak that will focus on enhancing surveillance and immunisation campaigns .

    “A nationwide immunisation campaign targeting over 1.4 million children will be carried out in 45 counties in the 10 states. There will be two phases starting from first week of November,” Dr Rumunu said.

  15. UN condemns attacks on NGOs in South Sudan

    Nichola Mandil


    A map of South Sudan showing the locations of Renk town and the capital city of Juba.

    The United Nations has condemned attacks on two international humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and their activities in Renk town in northern regional State of Upper Nile. Last week, the offices of the European Christain aid organisation Medair and World Vision were set alight.

    Activists from the Renk Youth Association had accused them of failing to implement a legally required employment quota which states the local community should do 80% of jobs.

    “If it is about qualifications, we have over 100 graduates having degrees and other qualifications. These NGOs must cease operations and leave Renk because they are committing injustice against our people,” activist Chuli Ajak Angok told the BBC by phone from Renk.

    The UN says that, following threats and attacks, almost 30 aid workers have moved closer to UN Mission base in Renk for their safety.

    Intimidation is unacceptable, the UN says.

    “Humanitarian workers are in Upper Nile to deliver lifesaving assistance to the most vulnerable people, including women, children and older persons,” Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UN interim Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan said in a statement obtained by the BBC on Thursday.

    “Intimidating them and forcing humanitarian activities to suspend result in delays of this much-needed assistance to the most vulnerable people, and is unacceptable,” the statement adds.

  16. Travellers 'fail to self-isolate' in South Sudan

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    South Sudan's health ministry says that more than 3,000 people who arrived from abroad defied its Covid-19 safety measures, including self-isolation.

    The country reopened its airspace for international flights in July, four months after suspending flights to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

    Arriving passengers have to isolate for 14 days.

    “Over 3,000 people who arrived into the country via Juba International Airport provided wrong telephone contacts. I don’t know what their intention was," Thuou Loi, the ministry’s spokesperson, told reporters in the capital, Juba.

  17. South Sudan denies change of currency plan

    South Sudan's President Salva Kiir says his government has no plans to change the country's currency as announced by the minister of information last week.

    President Kiir now says the change "was a suggestion, a proposed idea to be studied by the economists".

    At the time, it had been touted as a measure to force hoarders to release cash.

    Last week's announcement had caused hyperinflation, according to a government statement.

    The government tweeted that the change was mentioned as one of the long-term economic measures but was not agreed on:

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    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranks South Sudan as the poorest in the world by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per person.

    The country is almost solely dependent on oil revenues and there is very little investment in other sectors such as agriculture and infrastructure.

  18. South Sudan's suspected Ebola cases 'test negative'

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    Ebola virus

    The authorities in South Sudan have said the suspected cases of Ebola in the north-western region have tested negative.

    But samples were not collected from those who died from a yet to be established illness that sparked suspicions.

    They were buried before a medical team from the health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in the area.

    Last week, the health ministry received an alert from Raja county in Western Bahr El-Ghazal State, after three people died from an unknown disease in Timssa area, near Central African Republic (CAR).

    Three others were reported to be in “critical condition”.

    “The ministry of health would like to inform the general public that the samples tested negative of Ebola and other forms of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers," John Rumunu, director-general for health preventive services, told reporters in the capital, Juba.

    "There is no Ebola virus in South Sudan and there is no reason to panic,” he added.

    Dr Angelo Goup Thon, the acting director for emergency preparedness and response, said samples collected from critically ill patients that had returned a negative test result had been sent to Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) for toxicology analysis.

    Results are expected in two days.

  19. Ruling party sued for locking out women from top posts

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    South Sudan's President Salva Kiir
    Image caption: Activists want South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, pictured, to replace two male governors with women

    A group of activists in South Sudan have taken the ruling party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), to the supreme court for what they call a “violation” of women’s constitutional rights.

    They accuse the party of not respecting the constitution and provisions of the September 2018 Revitalised Peace Agreement which grant a 35% gender quota for women at all levels of government.

    The petition was received by the deputy chief justice, John Gatwich Lul, who promised to submit it to chief justice, Chan Reec Madut, for consideration.

    In June, President Salva Kiir appointed nine governors to the country's 10 regional states. Only one was a woman, Sarah Cleto Rial, who was nominated by the party of the first Vice-President Riek Machar.

    The president's party did not appoint any women to its six gubernatorial slots.

    “We are urging the Supreme Court to order the SPLM and compel them to remove two male governors and replace them with two females,” Wani Michael, the petitioner told the BBC in the capital, Juba, on Thursday.

    Mr Wani said if the court fails to respond to their plea, there is a possibility of moving to the East African Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania.

    South Sudan is a member of the East African Community bloc, but it is yet to be admitted fully.