South Sudan

  1. Sudan judges condemn army's 'heinous violations'

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    People continue protests demanding the restoration of civilian rule in Khartoum, Sudan on January 17, 2022.
    Image caption: Sudan has been in turmoil since a coup in October

    Dozens of Sudanese judges and prosecutors have condemned the killing of more than 70 protesters since October's coup and have called for a criminal investigation.

    Frequent protests have been met with live gunfire and tear gas and thousands are once again out on the streets of the capital Khartoum.

    A statement from 55 judges to the head of the judiciary said military leaders had carried out heinous violations against defenceless protesters.

    The Sudanese police say dozens of officers have also been injured. Separately, more than 100 prosecutors have said they are stopping work in protest at the violations by security forces.

    Sudan's acting information minister said an investigation would be carried out into the deaths of seven protesters on Monday.

  2. South Sudan flood victims struggle to find safe water

    Nichola Mandil

    Juba

    Women in Pibor collecting water in floods

    Thousands of people who were displaced by flash floods in South Sudan find it almost impossible to find safe drinking water, the charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said.

    The majority of those affected are in the northern oil producing Unity State, MSF's press release said.

    Eight months since flooding began, people in Unity State and other surrounding areas are stuck in poor living conditions and are at risk of outbreaks of infectious and waterborne diseases.

    "When you walk through the camps, you can see malnourished children, people collecting dirty flood water to drink, cattle collapsing and their carcasses everywhere. Such poor conditions are harming people’s health," MSF's Reza Eshaghian said.

    The number of people reported to have been affected by floods since May last year was 835,000.

  3. South Sudan president sacks central bank governor

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has dismissed the central bank governor and appointed a replacement.

    The dismissal of Dier Tong Ngor was announced in a presidential decree read on the national broadcaster on Monday night.

    No reasons were given for his sacking.

    He was replaced by Moses Makur Deng who has been a director-general in charge of banks’ supervision and research at the bank.

    South Sudan’s economy is driven by oil, which accounts for nearly 90% of the country’s national budget.

    The economy is in a bad shape due to the conflict and the drop in global oil price as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.

    Some South Sudanese online have welcomed the appointment of Mr Deng and urged him to improve the economy.

  4. South Sudan floods affect humanitarian access - UN

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    An area affected by flooding in Pibor, South Sudan
    Image caption: Over 835,000 people across the country have been affected by the flooding

    The UN has said access to flooded areas in South Sudan has become a challenge in the quest to offer help to those affected.

    The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says funding constraints have also affected humanitarian aid.

    The agency says more than 835,000 people across the country have been affected by the flooding since May.

    People in Jonglei and the two oil-producing states of Unity and Upper Nile in the northern part of the country are reported to be the worst affected.

    Last week, Nicholas Haysom, the head of UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan who visited Bentiu described the situation as “dire”.

    He said flood waters were not receding and hundreds of thousands of people remained displaced and in desperate need of assistance.

    He said the consequences could be disastrous in terms of food insecurity, lack of healthcare, education and the risk of water-borne diseases.

  5. WHO probing mysterious deaths in northern South Sudan

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    A map of South Sudan

    The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is investigating the deaths of nearly 100 people who succumbed to a yet to be identified disease in Fangak, Jonglei State, in South Sudan.

    Last week, the ministry of health reported that an unknown disease had killed dozens of people in the area which is one of the worst hit by recent flooding.

    A local health official said initial samples collected in the area returned negative test results for cholera.

    "We decided to send a rapid response team to go and do risk assessment and investigation; that is when they will be able to collect samples from the sick people – but provisionally the figure that we got was that there were 89 deaths,” WHO’s Sheila Baya told the BBC.

    She said Fangak area was not reachable by land due to flooding and the team was waiting for a helicopter to return them to the capital, Juba, on Wednesday.

  6. South Sudan has received 0.5m Covid vaccines so far

    Nichola Mandil

    Juba

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that South Sudan has received in total more than half a million doses of Covid-19 vaccines – some manufactured by Oxford AstraZeneca but most from Johnson & Johnson.The donations to South Sudan have mainly come from the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) initiative and the US government. As a result of these donations, nearly 180,000 South Sudanese out of a population of at least 11 million have been fully vaccinated.

    But almost half the doses have not yet been used and there are more to come. “We have a lot of vaccine in our hands – we already have half a million that has reached South Sudan, and by the end of this year or sometime in January, we will have approximately one million doses,” Dr Brendan Dineen, WHO’s Covax Coordinator in South Sudan said.

    "We continue to request that people be vaccinated," he added.

  7. South Sudan violence may amount to war crimes - Amnesty

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC News

    A silhouette of an anonymous gunman (file photo).
    Image caption: Harrowing atrocities were committed against civilians in West Equatoria state

    Fighting between government-allied groups and the opposition in South Sudan has led to "unimaginable violence" in recent months that could potentially amount to war crimes, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

    The report says dozens of civilians were killed and tens of thousands others displaced in the fighting in West Equatoria state between June and October this year.

    It reveals harrowing atrocities committed against civilians in Tambura region.

    "The testimonies we have gathered speak of unimaginable violence, including civilians killed as they fled and bodies set on fire and mutilated,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s director for East and Southern Africa.

    Survivors interviewed by the organisation gave distressing accounts of escaping indiscriminate gunfire lasting for hours, and of entire neighbourhoods being set alight.

    The report, which is the first detailed human rights analysis of the conflict, says some of the atrocities potentially amounted to war crimes.

    South Sudan has seen rising cases of inter-ethnic clashes and politically incited violence in recent months.

    This is despite the signing of a revitalised peace deal between President Salva Kiir and rival Riek Machar in 2018.

  8. UN aims to limit potential South Sudan election violence

    Nichola Mandil

    Juba

    The UN’s peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (Unmiss) says it is prepared to contain any possibility of violence related to elections scheduled to take place in 2023.

    South Sudan has never conducted elections since becoming independent 10 years ago. A vote scheduled for 2015 could not take place due to the conflict that erupted in December 2013.

    Last month, President Salva Kiir announced that elections would take place at the end of the transitional period in 2023.

    But last week, First Vice-President Riek Machar warned against holding elections before a unified national army is formed.

    President Kiir and Mr Machar formed a unity government in February last year to end conflict between their rival forces and agreed to form a unified army of 83,000 troops, a key part of the 2018 peace agreement they are yet to fulfil.

    “We want to limit the possibility of violence – before the elections, during the elections and after the elections – if the parties choose not to accept the results," Unmiss head Nicholas Haysom told reporters in the capital, Juba, on Wednesday.

    "I don’t think there is a golden script for the elections. It is really a decision for South Sudanese to decide under what conditions they want to conduct the elections,” Mr Haysom continued.

    In March this year, the UN Security Council determined that the situation in South Sudan continued to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region, and extended the mandate of Unmiss until 15 March 2022.

    The resolution mandated Unmiss to advance a three-year strategic vision to prevent a return to civil war, build durable peace, and support inclusive, accountable governance and free, fair and peaceful elections.

  9. UN condemns looting of South Sudan aid facilities

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    The UN has strongly condemned violence and looting in South Sudan's oil-producing Unity State in the northern part of the country.

    An incident in Leer county is said to have led to the injury and death of civilians, destruction of assets and looting of humanitarian commodities.

    One humanitarian aid worker from a non-governmental organisation supporting the community with nutrition services was killed during the violence.

    “Attacks against civilians, looting of aid intended to support the most vulnerable is unacceptable. This behaviour must stop,” UN's acting Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth, said in a press release.

    Health and nutrition facilities in Gandor, Guat, Luol and Padeah were reportedly looted.

    Mr Hollingworth says more than 3,600 children supported by these facilities will not receive timely access to nutrition services because of the violence.

    He said an estimated $80,000 (£60,000) worth of supplies were looted from two facilities in Gandor and Luol, which he said would have provided three months of health and nutrition supplies to some 14,000 people in need in the area.

    Since March, there has been an increase in such incidents across South Sudan - with young men attacking and killing a number of aid workers and looting assets.

  10. South Sudan learn of abuse case against Swedish oil firm

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    spent munitions lying on the ground at an abandoned oil treatment
    Image caption: The Swedish government has indicted Lundin Energy for abetting the war crimes committed in the oil fields in Unity State

    Representatives of the Dutch peace movement, Pax, are in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, to raise awareness amongst the public about the atrocities committed by the Swedish Oil Company, Lundin Energy, during the 21-year war with Sudan.

    In the mid-1990s, international companies signed contracts with the Sudanese government to exploit oil in areas that were in its control, which led to a war with the rebels that lasted until 2003.

    Lundin was among companies awarded contracts for Block 5A in Unity State which was worst affected by human rights violations with an estimated 180,000 people displaced.

    The Swedish government has indicted Lundin Energy for abetting the war crimes committed in the oil fields in Unity State between 1997 and 2003.

    “We are here to inform the South Sudanese public so that they understand the case (in the court in Stockholm)," Petter Bolme, from the Unpaid Debut Project, told reporters in Juba on Monday.

    "An estimated 12,000 people died in essentially in war over control over oil areas, the war that was motivated by Lundin security needs, because Lundin demanded Sudanese authorities to provide security, and as a result, vast majority of the population was displaced – terribly improvised,” he said.

  11. No unified army, no election - South Sudan VP

    Nichola Mandil

    Juba

    A Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldier holds up a gun at a containment site outside Juba on April 14, 2016.
    Image caption: A civil war broke out in South Sudan in 2013

    South Sudan’s Vice-President Riek Machar has warned against holding elections before a unified army is formed.

    Last month, President Salva Kiir announced that elections would take place at the end of the transitional period in 2023.

    But addressing members of his party in the capital Juba, Mr Machar said: "If you do not have unified forces, where will you get security for the elections?”

    President Kiir and Mr Machar formed a unity government in February last year to end conflict between their rival forces and agreed to form a unified army of 83,000 troops.

    Mr Machar listed three other conditions that he wanted fulfilled before elections could be held:

    • The return of millions of refugees from neighbouring countries
    • A nationwide census and
    • A permanent constitution because "we want free, fair and credible elections".

    Civil war broke out in 2013 when Mr Kiir and Mr Machar fell out, leading to a conflict that has displaced some 4 million people.

    South Sudan achieved its independence in 2011.

  12. South Sudan to end child marriages by 2030

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    South Sudan’s government has promised to end child marriages by 2030 in line with the African Union's campaign to achieve this goal on the continent by then.

    Paramount chiefs from 10 regional states and the three administrative areas are meeting in the capital, Juba, for the second national conference on ending child marriages.

    Among the proposals suggested at the conference include one from the Swedish ambassador Joachim Waern for a law criminalising child marriages.

    South Sudan is one of 40 countries in the world with the highest rates of child marriages. A survey conducted in 2010 found that about 7% of girls marry before the age of 15, and 40% before the age of 18.

    South Sudan's gender ministry says only 6.2% of girls in South Sudan complete primary school, with one out of five dropping out of secondary school due to pregnancies.

    Those most affected are between the ages of 15 of 19 years.

  13. Soldiers will carry sticks because of arms embargo - Kiir

    Nichola Mandil

    Juba

    Graduating soldiers will carry sticks at their passing out parades because of a dearth of weapons in South Sudan since a UN embargo three years ago, the president has said.

    Yet in recent months the US' acting ambassador to South Sudan has said there's no lack of weapons in the conflict-stricken country - but there is a lack of food.

    "We have repeatedly informed the UN system about the negative impact of the arms embargo... all we have received in return are conditions that do not recognise progress achieved so far. We have no option other than to graduate these forces with sticks," said President Salva Kiir at a governors’ forum in Juba on Tuesday.

    President Kiir and his former arch-rival, Riek Machar, now First Vice-President, formed a unity government in February last year and agreed, as part of a revitalised peace deal, to form a unified national army of 83,000 forces, a key part of the 2018 peace agreement they are yet to fulfill.

    The embargo was due to expire in May this year, but it was renewed for another year.

  14. South Sudan capital gets a new mayor

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    Michael Lado Allajabu has been appointed mayor of South Sudan’s capital, Juba, after Kalisto Lado Faustino was sacked last week without any reason given.

    The new appointment was announced by the governor.

    Mayor Allajabu's welcoming ceremony was attended by Mr Faustino - who said that even though he was not invited, he wanted to demonstrate how leadership should be exercised.

    He said he wanted to show Mr Allajabu respect and hand over the office properly.

    The new mayor said he would continue with the reform agenda and that he would introduce digital tax collection systems in order to minimise corruption in the city.

    Improvement projects by the outgoing mayor had rattled some people as illegal structures were demolished to pave way for roads aimed at minimising traffic.

  15. Nine killed in inter-ethnic attacks in South Sudan

    Nichola Mandil

    Juba

    At least nine people are known to have died in inter-ethnic revenge attacks in Jonglei state in eastern South Sudan.

    Governor Denya Jock Chagor told local reporters in the state capital, Bor, that they had been killed in two separate incidents over the weekend.

    He said the killings were sparked by an ambush of two young men by attackers allegedly from the neighbouring Greater Pibor administrative area.

    The incident was reported to have angered youth from the Dinka community, who retaliated by attacking people from Pibor residing in Bor town – killing at least seven of them.

    US-funded Eye Radio reported that amongst the dead were ethnic Murle businessmen.

    The authorities have begun investigations into the incident, the governor said, but it is not clear whether suspects have been apprehended.

    There have been waves of inter-communal violence between the three neighbouring communities of Dinka Bor, Lou Nuer and Murle in the past, which had reduced since May because of flooding in the state.

    But there are fears that the violence might resume as the dry season approaches and flooding subsides.

  16. Mayor of South Sudan's capital sacked

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    Kalisto Lado Faustino

    Some residents of South Sudan’s capital, Juba, have taken to social media to express their anger at the dismissal of the city's mayor, Kalisto Lado Faustino.

    Others are however celebrating the sacking saying the demolition of illegal structures during a recent restructuring project led by the mayor was unfair.

    Mr Lado was sacked by Central Equatoria state Governor Emmanuel Adil Anthony on Thursday evening.

    He had been the mayor since March and no reason was given for his dismissal.

    Those who are opposed to the dismissal say he was hardworking and changed the face of Juba city.

    During his tenure, feeder roads into the capital were expanded easing traffic and improving overall security.

    His restructuring project however led to clashes with some senior government officials.

    Some traders were also angry with Mr Lado saying they had ot pay higher taxes when he was in charge.

  17. US diplomat meets Sudan's detained PM

    During a three-day visit to Sudan, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa has met Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who has been under house arrest since last month's coup.

    Molly Phee gave few details of what they talked about except to say in a tweet that they discussed "ways forward to restore Sudan's democratic transition".

    View more on twitter

    The US has condemned the 25 October coup against the joint military-civilian government that had been in place since 2019.

    It was supposed to be paving the way for elections following the overthrow of long-serving president Omar al-Bashir.

    Ms Phee also met the coup leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the Reuters news agency reports.

    He said that the process of releasing those held since the takeover had begun, it quotes the state news agency Suna as saying.

    Sudanese protests against the coup have continued.

    On Tuesday, journalists, some of whose colleagues have been detained, held their own demonstration against the military government:

    View more on twitter
  18. South Sudan flooding affects over a million people

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    Women fetching water in a flood affected area

    The government of South Sudan says more than one million people have been affected by flash flooding this year.

    Disaster Management Minister Peter Mayen Majongdit announced this while receiving food aid from Egypt.

    He said the donated food items that include sugar, rice, lentils and other items would be distributed to the affected people.

    Cairo airlifted 12 metric tonnes of assorted food items.

    Last week, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) reported that some 760,000 people had been affected by flooding.

    The government now says the total number of those affected has risen to 1.2 million.

    Jonglei state in the east and the two oil-producing states of Unity and Upper Nile in the north are said to be the worst affected as a result of rising waters across the country since May.

    Map showing states affected by flooding in South Sudan
  19. Floods and violence hamper South Sudan aid

    Nichola Mandil

    Juba

    Flooding in Jonglei state. Picture shows people waking amongst the waters
    Image caption: The recent floods are the worst to hit South Sudan in decades, according to the UN

    Flash flooding and violence continue to hamper humanitarian efforts in different parts of South Sudan, while also increasing people's needs, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) says.

    Some 760,000 people were reported to have been affected by flooding since May in eight of the country's 10 states – with Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile being worst affected.

    Violence in parts of Western Equatoria State, Warrap State and the oil-producing Unity State continued till late last month, Ocha said.

    Civilian casualties, displacement and the disruption of humanitarian services to people in need were reported as a result of the violence.

    “Fighting between armed groups in Yei and Lainya Counties in Central Equatoria State displaced civilians to surrounding areas with some seeking safety in Uganda. Humanitarian activities had to be suspended there,” Ocha said in its latest humanitarian snapshot published on Wednesday.