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South Sudan to retrench troops

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Daily nation (Nairobi) 14 Jan
By BADRU MULUMBA, NATION Correspondent

Southern Sudan will create a reserve military force as it reduces the
size of the main army based on tough new standards.
The reserve force would be made up of those removed from the main army
on account of, for example, scanty education and age.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army law, approved by the Parliament of
the autonomous Sudan region, and awaiting the signature of the President
of the Government of Southern Sudan before it becomes law, also sets the
retirement age for officers.
Government officials said the law will both make the army efficient and
disciplined by laying down offences and the punishments, but they could
not give the numbers.
“The army is large and personnel have to be productively occupied,” the
minister of SPLA Affairs Nhial Deng Nhial said. Nhial would not say the
number of troops.
“Because right now especially in the officers corps we have a large
number of officers. Some of them really – we have to find something for
them to do.”
Under the proposed law, army recruits would be between 18 and 30, with
no criminal record, and with a basic education for enlisted personnel
and not less than secondary education for the officer cadets.
Officers after commissioning would serve ten years. Enlisted personnel
after basic military training would serve six years.
The period of service may be extended without exceeding the prescribed
retirement age.
Those at the ranks of private to sergeant would retire at 47 years.
General officers would retire at 60. Sergeant major to regimental
sergeant majors, and majors to colonels would retire at fifty years.
Second lieutenants and captains would retire at 52 years.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the 21-year north-south
Sudan armed conflict recognised the Sudan Armed Forces, Sudan People’s
Liberation Army and the Joint/Integrated Units as the national armies.
The SAF is in charge of the north. SPLA is in charge of the south.
The law comes barely a week after complaints from legislators about
indiscipline in the army and rising crime that has swept across the
capital.
The Cabinet met last week to discuss the insecurity following both the
shooting into the air on New Year’s Day that led to five deaths, and the
general wave of crime involving knives and machetes and robberies around
Southern Sudan’s capital town, Juba.
“We discussed the general security situation,” Martin Ellia, minister
for Parliamentary Affairs said Tuesday. “We will convene again at the
end of January and discuss it in the presence of the two ministers, of
SPLA Affairs and of Internal Affairs.”
In a Parliamentary motion under debate in Parliament legislators cited a
two-year old killed by gunshots on New Year. On December 27, a man was
killed by machete. And on December 28, four thugs ambushed and sprayed a
vehicle with bullets along a road out of Juba.
At least five people were killed and a three-year old wounded by stray
bullets from the intensive random shootings by people apparently
celebrating Independence Day.
“We want to have a south which is run, and run in a way that everybody
is subject to the law, so that the rule of law prevails,” said Wani
Igga, Speaker of the Southern Sudan Parliament, and deputy chairperson
of Southern Sudan’s ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation
Movement.

Written by torit1955

January 15, 2009 at 9:29 am

Growing Discontent in Southern Kordofan State

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1. SUDAN: Growing discontent in Southern Kordofan

KADUGLI, 13 January 2009 (IRIN) – Squabbles between parties to Sudan’s
North-South peace agreement, rival community interests and the slow
pace of development could destabilise Southern Kordofan State,
analysts warned.

“Southern Kordofan is in a state of political turmoil,” Sara
Pantuliano, research fellow with the Humanitarian Policy Group, said.

“Signs of insecurity are widespread in the western area where
grievances about lack of access to services and employment and the
blockage of pastoralist movement towards the South have led a number
of Misseriya youth to resort to armed violence.”

The state lies between North and South Sudan and is mainly occupied
by the Nuba, various central highland communities and pastoralist
Baggara Arabs comprising the Misseriya and Hawazma.

“I don’t think all is well but the tensions and flares of violence
will not necessarily lead to a return to war,” said Nanne op ‘t Ende,
author of http://www.nubamountains.com and Proud to be Nuba (2008).

“Dozens, hundreds may still get killed – that will probably continue
to be acceptable, as it has been for the past three years,” he told
IRIN. “Neither the Nuba nor Arab populations are united.

“You cannot understand Southern Kordofan when you equate NCP [the
ruling National Congress Party] with Baggara Arabs and SPLM [Sudan
People’s Liberation Movement] with Nuba Africans. The NCP and the SPLM
may be rivals [but] they both have vested interests in the CPA
[Comprehensive Peace Agreement].”

Signed in 2005 in Nairobi, the agreement ended years of war between
the NCP government and the SPLM. It provides for elections in July
2009 and a referendum on the status of the South in 2011.

“NCP and SPLM politicians [in Southern Kordofan] have for the last
three years had the chance to act as representatives without being
elected and thus have a lot of personal interests in remaining in
power,” op ‘t Ende said.

“Following the CPA towards the elections demands a certain level of
cooperation between NCP and SPLM and it seems the parties continue to
make some progress – enough to keep the CPA from derailing, too little
to be really convincing as a genuine effort to get the state back on
track,” he added.

Reconstruction plans

State Secretary-General Abdalla Eltom Elimam said development plans
existed. “It is a difficult state with poor roads, a hilly terrain,
seasonal rivers and rains making most of parts inaccessible,” he said.
“Dengue, haemorrhagic and yellow fevers are endemic.”

The five-year strategic development plan emphasises peace, security,
rehabilitation and reconstruction of basic sectors. “If we manage to
construct the main roads and provide water and healthcare, we will
help stabilise peace,” he added.

Local residents expressed mixed feelings. “During the war many people
were killed. Now we are moving freely but are not experiencing the
kind of peace and development that we were expecting,” Ayoub Osman, a
teacher in Kadugli told IRIN. “The CPA means an end to war, changes in
the status of living and reconciliation with former enemies, but some
people want the war to continue.”

Halima Kuku Adam, a tea-seller in Kolba area, said: “We need
education, healthcare and support in agriculture. Roads are still
lacking in the rural areas and water is a big cause of conflict. I do
not know what the CPA is about . but I feel there is no need to
celebrate.”

Land issues

Conflict between farmers and nomads over pasture was another issue.
“The nomads bring their livestock to the farming areas for pasture and
water and this creates problems,” Osman said.

There were also too many firearms in circulation. “I feel insecure
when I see many people moving around with guns – this is definitely
not a sign of peace,” said Amanie Kunda, a resident.

Off-duty soldiers carried weapons even in crowded markets and there
were many frustrated, jobless ex-SPLM fighters.

“The young men are not eager to work the fields and are either
hanging around on a soldier’s fee, studying or looking for a job in
Khartoum,” said op ‘t Ende. “What does Southern Kordofan have to offer
young people?”

About 289,000 people have returned to Southern Kordofan since 2005;
the return of SPLA ex-combatants to the Nuba region from the Lake
al-Abyaed area will exacerbate the pressure on resources.

“Events in Southern Kordofan are likely to have a domino effect,”
said a humanitarian worker in the region. “People will look at events
there and the government’s handling of this will influence them.”

Growing instability

Discontent, analysts say, has grown. “Southern secession would leave
the Nuba within a Northern Sudan possibly dominated by the NCP, and
some former SPLA soldiers have reportedly set up armed groups
protesting the remarginalisation of the Nuba in the CPA,” the
think-tank Chatham House said in a 9 January report, Against the
Gathering Storm: Securing Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Pantuliano said differences over power-sharing between the NCP and
SPLM were aggravated in 2008 when an NCP governor dismissed finance
minister Ahmed Saeed, who was from the SPLM.

“In the central and eastern part, the rift between the SPLM and the
NCP [threatens] the delicate power-sharing arrangement between the two
parties,” she said. “If the SPLM demands to reinstate its finance
minister are not met, it is likely that it will withdraw from the
joint government, leading to further political instability and a
possible return to violence over the coming months.”

One observer said war was unlikely, however. “It is unlikely that the
state will return to war at least during the interim period,”
Abdalbasit Saeed noted in a blog article: Kordofan, Making Sense of
Darfur.

“The SPLA/Nuba earned the CPA protocol which ascertains an autonomous
identity for Southern Kordofan vis-à-vis Northern Kordofan,” Saeed
said. “Southern Kordofan won minimum gains that would make futile any
attempts of return to armed violence during the six-year interim
period.”

The protocol provides for public consultations on the CPA, but there
is still no commission to implement it. According to the International
Crisis Group, delays in setting up the commission have fed into Nuba
frustrations and reinforced perceptions that the protocol is unlikely
to produce positive outcomes.

A state land commission has also not been formed. “Land was a major
factor for people going to war, when it was taken from them and given
to big farms,” said a local leader. “The CPA did not clearly state
that land in the state is communally owned yet this is the feeling
among the people. If the land is taken away by force then there will
be problems.”

END1

2. SPLM Accuses SAF of Re-arming Civilians in South Kordofan
Khartoum
6 January 2009 (SRS)

Members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement from South Kordofan state in the National Assembly say the Sudan Armed Forces are re-arming civilians in South Kordofan state.

Addressing journalists during a press conference in Khartoum on Monday, the chairman of the Environment and Tourism committee in the National Assembly,SPLM member Ramadam Ibrahim Shimela, said SAF troops are building up their forces in Kuk, South Kordofan, claiming that the anti-government Justice and Equality Movement is present in the area.

Shimela described the presence of SAF troops in South Kordofan as a
deliberate violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that forbids
SAF’s presence in the Nuba mountains after the 9th July 2007 relocation
deadline.

[Ramadan Shimela]: “We think that re-arming civilians by giving them
weapons is a time-bomb which will never benefit the people of the state at
all. The presence of these weapons will never help promote the peace and
transformation we are talking about. These weapons will help transform
conflicts into wars and we think this situation is dangerous and we
strongly condemn it and we think that all of us must reveal this fact to
the public”.

Shimela urged the Government of National Unity to form a fact-finding
committee to investigate the issue and immediately disarm all the tribes
that he alleges have been re-armed recently by the SAF in South Kordofan
state.

END2


John Ashworth
ashworth.john@gmail.com

+249 919 744 274 (Sudan)
+254 725 926 297 (Kenya)
+27 82 853 3556 (international roaming)
+88 216 4333 3401 (personal satphone – in the more remote parts of Sudan)
+88 216 6710 4316 (office satphone)

IKV Pax Christi
PO Box 53958 00200 Nairobi Kenya
+254 20 2340888

This is a personal e-mail address and the contents do not necessarily
reflect the views of IKV Pax Christi

Written by torit1955

January 15, 2009 at 8:43 am

Chollo MPs Letter and Demands on Upper Nile Killings

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The 4th anniversary of the CPA celebrations on 9 January in Malakal Town, the capital city of Sou are targeted by their Dinka neighbors for slaughter and th Sudan’s Upper Nile State, turned out to be  a trigger for carnage and blood shed whereby Chollo community mass displacement. Below is a letter written on the the day of the carnage at AnakDiar village, 15 KM out side the city; the MPs letter contains Chollos perspectives of the sad events and what needs to be done to address it.

Also included is a list of demands of the Collo MPs to the authorities:

Moderator

H.E. The Governor, Upper Nile State

Subject: The Unprovoked Attack on Anakdiar.

We, the representatives of the Collo nation in the National, Southern Sudan and Upper Nile State Assemblies would like to submit to you our concerns on the above subject. Yesterday, when the whole Sudan was celebrating the fourth anniversary of the historic signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, fighting took place in the morning between Collo and Dinka tribes over which traditional procession (Yai) should enter the stadium first. Thanks to God, the fighting was limited only to members of the two tribes in the two processions using spears, lances and sticks. Yet several persons from both sides were injured, some of them seriously. The order of the processions appears to be a trivial issue, but it is a serious matter deep-rooted in the claims over the ownership of Malakal town, the location of the celebration. According to tradition, the procession of the owner of the location where the celebration takes place leads all participating processions. It is common knowledge that some elements of the Baliet Dinkas have been claiming ownership of Malakal town and all the Collo areas east of the White Nile and north of Sobat river.

At about 5:00 pm in the evening of the same day, credible reports were received that some elements of the Dinka were preparing to attack Anakdiar. This information was passed to your Excellency officially by the Commissioner of Panyikang County in the Stadium and you confirmed at 7:00 pm that a military force was sent to Anakdiar and you instructed that this information be passed to His Majesty the Reth of Collo and assure him not to worry as things were under control. Your instructions were communicated to His Majesty accordingly. To our bewilderment and dismay, Anakdiar was attacked at about 2:00 am today by armed Dinka. They found no resistance of any sort. More than fifteen lives were lost, some people burnt in their houses, scores wounded and thousands displaced. The force that your Excellency assured us to have left for Anakdiar in the evening yesterday never left at all. Only a Police force on their own initiative left for Anakdiar at about 9:00 am today!! This callous murder of innocent people must be condemned in the strongest terms possible and the perpetrators apprehended to face the full brunt of the law. The displaced persons who found their way to Malakal town arrived in very miserable conditions and yet received very little attention from the authorities. We are grateful to the foreign NGOs that were on the scene. If these displaced persons were to go back to their areas at all, the Government authorities must provide them with the protection they trust.

This incident is not an isolated one.We are receiving reliable reports of moves by elements of the same tribe to attack Collo areas they claim to be theirs, such as Lul, Obang (Canal Mouth), Atar, etc. In fact in Lul area, Abanim village was burnt to ashes, several people killed and others captured. It is, therefore, clear that there is a well coordinated plan to seize Collo land by the force of arms. We are deeply concerned that the authorities are not taking serious measures to arrest these unprovoked attacks nor resolve the issues at the centre of the dispute. It will be recalled that since the late 1970s, some elements of the Dinka have been disputing the boundary between them and Collo nation claiming some areas to belong to them. The Collo had responded by writing petitions to the Regional Government of Southern Sudan at that time. We thought the matter was laid to rest when the Minister of Administration by then, Mr Hilary Paul Logali, and the Minister of Decentralization later, Mr Charles Kuot Chatim, both ruled in Collo’s favour. These elements of the Dinka brought up the issue once more in 1995 and as usual the Collo responded by addressing the authorities concerned. Again, the Collo won the case. What surprises us now is that when these elements of the Dinka revived their unfounded claims in 2004 and thereafter, nothing was done despite Collo’s legitimate demand that the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) sets up a committee to demarcate the border between the two tribes once and for all. The petitions of the Collo supported by the necessary documents in that respect were delivered to the highest authorities in the GOSS including the President and the Vice President. It is also to be noted that over the same period, the Collo were disarmed while their neighbouring tribes were not. In light of the repeated and continuous provocations in the form of unsigned seditious leaflets and now armed attacks and in view of the clear unwillingness or inability of the authorities in Government of Southern Sudan to settle the dispute peacefully, we find ourselves, as representatives of our people, with no moral authority to restrain any more those who would be forced to pay the aggressors in their own coin. Every person has a legitimate right to self-defence. It is our sincere hope that the authorities in Upper Nile State and the Government of Southern Sudan will act firmly and swiftly at this eleventh hour to address this very serious situation by putting an end to violence, bringing the perpetrators to book and resolving the border dispute for good in accordance with the borders of 1/1/1956. This is the only way to have stability and peaceful coexistence in the area. Thank you.

Signed by: Members of the Collo nation in the National, Southern Sudan and Upper Nile State Assemblies as per the attached list.

c.c. The President of the Republic of Sudan;

c.c. The President of the Government of Southern Sudan; c.c. The Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan. Members of the Collo nation in the National, Southern Sudan and Upper Nile State Assemblies who signed the petition (in alphabetical order).

1. The National Assembly:

1. Mr Ezekiel Mojwok Aba

2. Dr Lam Akol Ajawin

3. Dr Mario Arenk Awet

4. Mr Onyoti Adigo Nyikwac

5. Dr William Othwonh Awer

2. Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly

1. Mr Angelo Gwang

2. Dr Charles Yor Odhok

3. Mr Joseph Bol Chan

4. Mr Samson Oyay Awin

3. Upper Nile State Legislative Assembly

1. Mr Acwany Arop Denyong

2. Mr Gabriel Oyo Aba

3. Mr Juliano Nyawelo Dak

4. Mr Kosti Amuj

5. Mr Mahdi Khalifa Shambali

6. Mrs Martha Angar

7. Mr Mustafa Gai Lwal 8. Mr Nyilek Chol

9. Mr Peter Awol Alijok 10. Mrs Rita John

11. Mr Samuel Aban Acien

12. Mr Santino Ajang Aban

13. Mr Santino Ocai Opun

End.

DEMANDS PRESENTED BY THE COLLO REPRESENTATIVES IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, SOUTHERN SUDAN LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AND UPPER NILE STATE ASSEMBLY TO H.E. THE GOVERNOR ON 12/1/2009.

1.      The arrest of the attackers and subjecting them to trial.

2.      Formation of investigation committees on the incidents and the circumstances
surrounding them.  Such committees must include Collo as members.

3.      The protection of Collo areas with forces they trust.

4.      The naming of the counties according to the message of the Chairman of the
SPLM dated October 2004.

5.      Demarcation of the borders of counties within the State in accordance with the
borders of 1/1/1956.

6.      Taking firm measures against those who incite tribal hatred and sedition.

7.      Stopping the misuse of power and refraining from exploiting state organs to the
service of tribal ends.

8.      Disciplining the authorities of Radio Malakal for allowing the transmission through
it of provocative and seditious material.

9.      Disciplining the officer that the Governor ordered to move a force to Anakdiar
on the 9th instant for failing to execute the order.

10.      The State authorities must take serious steps so as to return the areas of the State
occupied by the Jonglei State.

11.      Taking care of the displaced persons and rendering the necessary services to
them.

12.       Compensation of all the persons affected by the recent incidents.

End

Photos:

Galwak Deng (Governor of Upper Nile, recieve Salva and Riek

Galwak Deng (Governor of Upper Nile, recieve Salva and Riek

Omar al Bashir being entertained as fighting over procession order goes on

Omar al Bashir being entertained as fighting over procession order goes on

Written by torit1955

January 15, 2009 at 8:26 am

GOSS Leadership, Please Read the Writing(s) on the Wall

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Complaints against GOSS raised by Bari community continued to to mount by the day and the likelihoods of GOSS and the leaders of this community to iron out there differences seems to be remote. Lasu Losowa is warning that if GOSS leadership fails to show leadership, the situation may sip out of hands.

GOSS Leadership, Please Read the Writing(s) on the Wall

By

Lasu Losowa

lolosowa@yahoo.com

In an earlier commentary on the Bari Community press release demanding the relocation of the capital of the Southern Sudan away from Juba, I cautioned that the grievances of the Bari should not be swept under the carpet. Now, in the Khartoum Monitor of Saturday 3, 2009 the same community has served President Salva Kiir Mayadit with an official memo asking GOSS to transfer its capital to another town of their choice in Southern Sudan. Again, I want to sound my warning to the GOSS authorities in Juba that these demands should not be treated lightly.

Dinka and Bari Conflict likely to degenerate to another Kokora War in Juba

Dinka and Bari Conflict likely to degenerate to another Kokora War in Juba

Some leaders of GOSS might think that these are just trivial issues which do not require the attention of the authorities. But let me remind them that great events normally start as small issues. In the Southern Sudan we have plenty of such small beginnings, which in the course of time culminated into great events. The calls by Equatorians for further decentralization (Kokora) of the South started in such a manner. Those in GOSS who have short memories should consult our learned lawyer, Abel Alier or better still they should speak to Mr. Makuei Deng, the Inspector General of Police, for both men were in the center of what led to Kokora.

In the late 1980s when Equatorians started complaining about Dinka domination and marginalization by Abel Alier’s government nobody paid attention. Peaceful demands for redressing the situation were met with brute force. Equatorians were harassed by the predominantly Dinka police and their political leaders and activists were arrested and detained without due recourse to law. Abel Alier’s government refused to allow any public discussion of or debate on the grievances raised by the people of Equatoria. Dinka leaders categorized Equatorians as cowards who would never wage a fight against the Dinka. People like the late DR. Justin Yac (God rest his soul in peace) had the guts and arrogance to make inflammatory statements to effect that it would take Equatorians one hundred years to get rid of Dinkas from Equatoria. Well, it did not take 100 years for Abel Alier’s Dinka dominated government to be dismantled. It is needless to restate here the unfortunate and tragic events which took place during those days of Kokora because that part of our history is now common knowledge. But the point here is that it is important to pay attention to issues in a timely manner, however insignificant they may seem, for it will not be in the interest of the South to have a repeat of Kokora.

Today, the Bari have boldly come out to ask not only for the relocation of the capital from Juba but also for non-Equatorians to leave Juba and indeed Central Equatoria. They have clearly stated the reasons why they think it would be better for the capital of the South to be somewhere else. It must also be noted here that in the recent past and even as I write this piece the people of Yei, Kaya, Yambio, Maridi, Kajo-Kejji, Tombura and Nimule  have all asked for the Dinka to be repatriated to their home areas. People in these areas have expressed similar grievances as those of the Bari against the conduct and behavior of some Dinka elements, chief among these grievances are issues relating to land grabbing, killings, rapes, harassment, domination, marginalization, corruption, destruction of crops by Dinka cattle etc., etc. These grievances were exacerbated in 2008 by the cold blood murder of three high ranking Equatorian police officers in Yambio by some Dinka elements in the SPLA and the recent killing of four young Equatorians in Juba on the eve of the New Year. This is besides the continuous daily killing of innocent Equatorian civilians in Juba and other towns in Equatoria, which killings GOSS has paid a deaf ear and a blind eye. To date, and to the dismay of Equatorians in general, the killers of the three police officers have not been brought to book.

One does not have to be a rocket scientist or a political maverick to figure out that there is a tide building in Equatoria against what they consider to be a Dinka dominated GOSS. As we all know Equatorians are generally very patient and loving people. They love their brothers and sisters the Dinka, the Nuer, the Chollo, the Anyuak, the Fertit and others in Southern Sudan. But, for them now to react the way they are reacting demonstrates very clearly that they have run out of patience and love for their brothers especially the Dinka. It is said that if you push a cat into the corner it will fight with all its might to protect itself. This now seems to be the case with the Bari in particular and the Equatorians in general. It may, therefore,  just be a matter of time before these sentiments of frustration and anger are galvanized and transformed into a solid region-wide (Equatoria) movement which will fight against the ills being perpetrated against their citizens in Greater Equatoria.

But, as stated in my previous article on this matter, the solution to the grave problems obtaining in Juba and in Equatoria does not rest on the transfer of the capital to another place or the expulsion of Dinkas from Equatoria. The solution to these problems rests on GOSS exercising leadership and adopting stern measures to protect citizens and their property. President Salva Kiir and the GOSS leadership must take the lead in speaking out against the ills being perpetuated against the citizens of Equatoria. President Kiir must act in the same way he acted when problems erupted in Warrap, Aweil and Rumbek. His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit and his government must put in place concrete and practical strategies and policies which will eliminate the problems of land grabbing, insecurity, harassment, wanton killing of innocent citizens, raping of women and girls, domination of key institutions by the Dinka and so on and so on. All of these problems are solvable if and when GOSS rises to the occasion to lead and govern. The long standing lazier-faire attitude of GOSS with regard to serious  issues of national or regional concern must come to a stop or else we can kiss the unity of our people goodbye. It would appear that the citizens of Equatoria are not happy with President Kiir’s continued silence on the issues of insecurity, land grabbing, killings, tribal domination etc. which have gripped Juba and some areas of Equatoria since the establishment of the Southern Sudan government.

If GOSS really has the ability to read, it must read the writing(s) on the wall NOW and take the necessary steps to prevent what is looming in the horizon. Another Kokora is not needed at this critical time as we prepare our people to decide their fate in the coming elections in 2009 and the referendum in 2011. Finally, it is the hope of this author that GOSS will take this piece as an honest and constructive criticism  of its performance coming from a committed member of the SPLM who wants the government to succeed in governing our people and providing them the needed protection and services.

Written by torit1955

January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Uganda: Laying Ghost and Making Peace

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Uganda: Laying Ghosts and Making Peace

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Uganda: Laying Ghost and Making Peace

Jon Greenwald

18 December 2008


Juba — “They are ghosts behind trees. You don’t see them until they come up behind you.”

Sitting in the afternoon sun of a dusty courtyard in Juba, this overgrown African village that is now Southern Sudan’s capital, a veteran humanitarian worker explained how the roughly 1,000 insurgents belonging to the Lord’s Resistance Army – the LRA – continue to defy four states and keep millions in distress in east central Africa.

The LRA is unsurpassed for violence against civilians, including killings, rapes and kidnappings of children who are turned into soldiers and sex slaves. Its leader, Joseph Kony, claims to communicate with God and fight for his Acholi tribe of Northern Uganda, but many of the crimes have been committed against those same people.

Two years ago, there was a sliver of optimism after Kony’s representatives and the Ugandan government began to negotiate peace in this town. But the process seems at a dead end. On 29 November Kony again failed to come out of the bush to sign the deal at the appointed hour — his fourth “no-show” in seven months.

Understandably, patience has worn thin among those trying to seal peace: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the special UN representative, the Southern Sudan vice president who facilitated negotiations and donors like the U.S.

Peace is still possible, but only if three truths are recognised. First, the Juba agreements are deficient in two ways. The LRA is no longer really just an issue for Northern Uganda. Since it moved operations to Sudan, established a base in the Congo’s Garamba Park and began to raid in the Central African Republic, its composition has changed radically. Probably more than half its fighters are now Sudanese. Even if Kony wants to sign – by no means certain – they probably would not let him.

Moreover, Kony and several top commanders have been indicted for atrocity crimes by the International Criminal Court. His desire to escape trial and prison in The Hague likely helped bring the LRA into negotiations, but now the threat of legal action could be keeping him in hiding. Uganda is preparing his trial by a special division of its High Court under circumstances that could ultimately persuade the International Criminal Court and UN Security Council to set aside the international indictments. But no one has adequately described terms to the reclusive Kony.

The UN and the African Union should jointly mandate a special representative to try shuttle diplomacy directly with Kony over terms for the LRA’s Sudanese elements similar to those offered his Ugandans and about guarantees for his fair trial in Africa.

Likely nothing will persuade Kony to allow his fighters to be disarmed and to submit himself to a legal process that would expose him to long prison time. The second need, therefore, is to quarantine the LRA so it cannot return to Uganda and is no longer on call if Sudan’s long-ruling National Congress Party decides to destabilise elections in Southern Sudan next year or revoke its promise to allow the South to vote on independence in 2011.

No conceivable force in the region has the capability to wipe out these “ghost” guerrillas. But they could be kept in their isolated Garamba stronghold by a screening force of AU or UN peacekeepers around that park and along the common border areas of Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic, perhaps with contributions from states like Kenya, which has Luo speaking-soldiers who can communicate with LRA fighters.

Finally, Northern Uganda is quiet – for now. The LRA never represented its people, but there are bitter feelings in the North of victimisation, disenfranchisement and marginalisation. The Juba protocols promise a new deal that the Musevini government says it will carry out whether or not Kony signs, but its record is not encouraging.

Here is where donor countries are essential. They must keep Kampala to its word and not, as Washington has tended to do, take the increasingly undemocratic Museveni at face value because of his anti-terrorism stance.

Pressure needs to be applied so a promised stakeholders conference becomes a vehicle for Northerners to share in planning and executing a reconstruction program that could otherwise become a regime pork barrel and land grab, and so a truth and reconciliation commission can reveal not only LRA but also army misdeeds in the long conflict.

If these actions are taken, the LRA will no longer be a threat, even if Kony hides from justice. Otherwise, the “ghost” soldiers will still haunt the borderlands, and one day a new insurgency is likely to arise in Northern Uganda.

Written by torit1955

December 19, 2008 at 5:17 am

Posted in Conflit Resolution and Security

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Has Attack on LRA Failed? Acholi MPs Claim UPDF Hit Empty LRA Camps

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UPDF hit empty LRA camps – MPs

Yasiin Mugerwa, Risdel Kasasira & Sheila Naturinda

The Acholi Parliamentary Group yesterday accused the UPDF of bombing deserted rebel camps as opposition grew against the military offensive launched Sunday.

Addressing a press conference at Parliament yesterday, MP Mr Reagan Okumu (Aswa, FDC) said, “We have reliable information that the UPDF attacked empty camps; the LRA had left the area as the rebels had already been alerted two days before the operation.”

Citing unnamed sources, the MP added, “They could have killed innocent civilians who were abducted because the government failed to protect them. The most unfortunate thing is the indiscriminate bombardment which is going on in Congo.”

Pushed to explain the veracity of his information, Mr Okumu said, “I am the shadow minister for foreign affairs and I have sources within the UPDF, South Sudan, and Congo and in many other countries. Whoever wants to challenge this information should come out but I once again assure you that UPDF bombarded empty camps.”

But Mr Okumu’s appears to contradict himself when he says the army bombed empty camps and at the same time claims they could have killed innocent civilians.

Mr Okumu’s statement was dismissed by State Minister for Defence Ruth Nankabirwa the operation spokesman, Capt. Chris Magezi. “That is absolutely nonsense,” he said. “The air strikes were part of our operation plan and they will remain part of that plan until we accomplish our mission,” Capt. Magezi told Daily Monitor via satellite telephone from his Dungu base in DRC.

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SOLIDARITY: L-R: MPs Reagan Okumu, Okello Okello and Akello Franca address journalists in Kampala. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA

The opposition to the war by the northern MPs is unlikely to result in a troop recall but could cost the army local support should the theatre of war return to northern Uganda. The UPDF, assisted by the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army and the Congolese army, on Sunday launched air strikes against suspected rebel positions in north east Democratic Republic of Congo following the repeated failure of LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony to sign a peace deal.

The infantry and other support troops including newly created special forces were later deployed to hunt down rebel fighters but no details of casualties on either side were available by press time yesterday.

There was also no independent information about the whereabouts of Kony who had earlier been reported by government sources to be headed towards the Central African Republic. “We do not know where Kony is,” Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa told a press conference in Kampala yesterday. “But within a few days or hours the Special Forces will be at the scene to assess the situation.”

He added that any collateral damage caused by the bombings could only be assessed after ground troops arrive at the scene and revealed plans to keep the rebels from filtering back into Uganda. “We understand the fears, but we call upon the northern Uganda leadership to assure people in the area that they are secure,” he said.

In Parliament, State Minister for Defence, Ruth Nankabirwa told MPs that all air strikes against the LRA were on target. She was justifying the decision by the UPDF, SPLA and DRC forces to attack LRA camps in Dungu . She thanked the DR Congo and South Sudan governments for allowing Uganda fighter jets to refuel on their territory.)

The Minister for Security, Mr Amama Mbabazi, said the attack on Kony was initiated by the Congolese government after his  Lords Resistance Army started killing Congolese civilians, a position that had earlier been repeated by Mr Kutesa who said the LRA had displaced about 17,000 DRC civilians, and abducted women and children. “Kony had exported the atrocities he was committing in Uganda to Congo,” Mr Mbabazi told Parliament, as the government rallied the Ms for support.

Despite the call from government, MPs from northern Uganda, which suffered the brunt of the two-decade LRA insurgency, maintained opposition to the renewed military offensive.
Reading from a joint statement, the chairman of the Acholi Parliamentary Group, Livingstone Okello-Okello (Chwa, UPC) yesterday questioned the government’s moral authority to attack the LRA over Kony’s failure to sign the comprehensive Peace Agreement when President Museveni has not yet signed the agreement in question.

“We are vehemently opposed to the joint military operation against the LRA because 99 per cent of these rebels and their wives, not to mention the children born in the bush, were abducted,” Mr Okello-Okello said. “It’s double crime for the state of Uganda to follow the abducted people and destroy them in the bush.”

He added: “To destroy thousands of lives in order to get rid of three LRA commanders is totally unacceptable. It is a crime against humanity bordering on genocide. The LRA should also exercise maximum restraint and stop looting and abducting in the DRC and Southern Sudan.

The statement called upon Uganda, DR Congo and South Sudan to halt the operation h and revert to the peace process as the only way forward. “The military option has failed to resolve the conflict for 20 years,” the statement said.

Opposition to the renewed offensive grew stronger in the day when MPs from West Nile, Lango and Acholi regions issued a joint condemnation of the attack on LRA and demanded for the resumption of peace talks.

The Greater North Parliamentary Forum statement signed by the  secretary general, MP Hassan Kaps Fungaroo (Obongi, FDC) also appealed to the government to lobby for the withdrawal of the International Criminal Court indictments against LRA commanders.

Mr Kutesa said yesterday that Kony and his commanders would get amnesty if they surrendered to the UPDF but would be handed over to the ICC if captured in combat.

Written by torit1955

December 17, 2008 at 10:04 am

Attack On LRA:STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT ON STATUS OF THE PEACE TALKS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA AND THE LORDS RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA)

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Defence Minister Full Statement to Parliament on the Military Operation in DRC

STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT ON STATUS OF THE PEACE TALKS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA AND THE LORDS RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA)

Presented by Minister of State for Defence Ruth Nankabirwa

Mr. Speaker Sir,  Hon. Members,

1. You will recall that on 26th August 2006, Government and the LRA signed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement under which the LRA were to assemble in two places, Owiny-Ki-Bul in Eastern Equatoria and Rwikwangba in Western Equatoria. On 14th April 2007, following LRA’s failure to assemble in any of the two areas, the parties agreed that LRA assembles in Rwikwangba, Western Equatoria, Southern Sudan.

2. The LRA has not, up to now, assembled. Instead, they have continued killing innocent Congolese and Sudanese citizens, abducting and forcefully conscripting into their fcrce.

3. Colleagues will also recall that 10 April, 2008 was agreed and set as the date for signing of the Final Peace Agreement. Joseph Kony never showed up on that day for the ceremony. H.E. President Museveni on his part, travelled to Juba as previously scheduled.

4. After a number of consultations, Cultural, Religious and Political Leaders travelled on appointment, to Rikwangba to meet Joseph Kony. They stayed there for a week and came back without Kony showing up. After this, the Peace Talks stalled.

5. Eventually, the Chief Mediator, H.E. Riek Machar, Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, supported the UN SecretaryGeneral’s special Envoy to the LRA affected Areas, convened a Stakeholders Meeting in Kampala on 5 November 2008. The Meeting was attended by a delegation of Southern Sudan Officials, the African and International delegates observing the Peace Process, the delegations of the LRA and the Government of Uganda, Political, Cultural and Religious Leaders and Civil Society Representatives and Uganda’s Development Partners.

During this meeting, the Stakeholders strongly urged “the LRA to desist from carrying out any further attacks, and unconditionally sign the final peace agreement before the end of November 2008” The LRA was further urged “to assemble in accordance with the Provisions of the Agreement and thereafter ensure the earliest release of children in accordance with clause 2.11 of the Agreement on Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration “)

6. After consultations that were held between the LRA, the Office of the UN Special Envoy, the Government of Southern Sudan and Uganda Government, November 29th was set as the date for Kony’ s signing of the Final Peace Agreement. H.E. Yoweri Museveni was scheduled to sign the Agreement in Juba on Tuesday 2nd December 2008. Arrangements for the ceremony were made. For example, on LRA’s request, four truck-loads of food items were delivered at the assembly area for the Signing Ceremony. 8.

7. THE SIGNING CEREMONY THAT WAS SCHEDULED FOR 29 NOVEMBER 2008

7.1 On 29th November 2008 the UN Special envoy, the Peace Talks Secretariat, Cultural, Religious and Political Leaders, the Government delegation, African and other International delegates observing the Peace Process and some representatives of Uganda’s development partners traveled to Nabanga on the way to Rikwangba, the LRA assembly area where the ceremony was scheduled to take place.

7.2 After a lot of hardships, the LRA delegation, Cultural, Religious and Political Leaders met Joseph Kony and some Members of the LRA High command. Those  who  went  for these  meetings reported embarrassing and degrading treatment by the LRA. They were subjected to body searches and many of their valuables e.g. spectacles, watches, money, mobile phones, hankies, rosaries, wedding rings e.t.c. were taken away. Some of these items were not returned. They also reported that the LRA alleged that they were not aware of the Final Peace agreement signing ceremony.

Given this state of affairs, a combined Force of UPDF, SPLA and the Congolese Government Forces (FARDC), on Sunday 14th December 2008, launched an air strike against LRA Camps in Garamba. All the attacks were on target. UPDF shall however give details later, the operation in continuing. The aim is to force Joseph Koriy to go to the assembly area and to sign the Agreement.

We are grateful for the support of the DRC and Southern Sudan that have allowed us to use the airport for refueling and as staging points for operations. The operation was agreed upon and coordinated at the highest political levels of the three countries.

We advise Joseph Kony to go to Rwikwangba Assembly Area. If he does so, nobody will attack him there. We also call on him to sign the Agreement and to release all the children, a demand he has been ignoring.

Mrs. Speaker sir and Hon. Members, I wish to conclude by assuring all Ugandans that the prevailing peace in Northern Uganda will not be disturbed.

Written by torit1955

December 17, 2008 at 9:43 am

Posted in Conflit Resolution and Security

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