Attempted coup in South Sudan

Salva Kiir learned nothing from Nelson Mandela. He does not have the finesse to nature the great country. Riek Machar is not helping thing either, for in him we have a man who not only fought Garand relentlessly at times but also switched sides (between Khartoum and Juba and)  countless times during the liberation struggle.

I hope that these people will stop the fighting and think ahead. SS has great natural and human resources but suffers from poor leadership just as Kenya.


Heavy gunfire and explosions have been heard throughout the night in the South Sudanese capital Juba.

Local media said the fighting was between rival factions of the presidential guard and focused around their military barracks.

Heavily armed troops are now patrolling Juba, and army spokesman Col Phillip Aguer told the BBC the military was in full control.

The UN expressed concern and appealed for all sides to show restraint.

President Salva Kiir is expected to make a statement shortly.

South Sudan formally split from Sudan in 2011, after decades of conflict. But the oil-rich country is ethnically and politically divided, with many armed groups active.

Tensions have been particularly high since President Kiir dismissed his entire cabinet, including his deputy Riek Machar, in July in an apparent power struggle.

Mr Machar had indicated he planned to contest the presidential elections in 2015.

Mr Kiir is from the Dinka community, which is the largest in South Sudan, while Mr Machar is from the Nuer, the second-largest. Some Nuer have complained about Dinka political domination.

UN concern

The fighting in Juba reportedly broke out overnight, and intensified in the early morning.

The Paris-based Sudan Tribune said the clashes began when one mostly Nuer unit of the presidential guard became suspicious of deployments of a group of mainly Dinka guards.

There were reports of continuous gunfire and the sound of explosions.

State TV channel SSTV was off air and the city’s airport has been closed.

The situation had reportedly calmed by mid-morning, but heavily armed troops were seen on the capital’s streets.

One resident who lives near the presidential guard barracks told the BBC that many people had sought refuge at a Catholic church.

Col Aguer said the army was “establishing the facts about the identity of those who started the fighting”.

“The military intelligence is gathering information. As soon as the situation is cleared, the government will come up and the army will make a statement about what it was,” he said.

Hilde Johnson, the UN’s special representative in South Sudan, said she was “deeply concerned” about the fighting and urged “all parties in the fighting to cease hostilities immediately and exercise restraint”.

“I have been in touch regularly with the key leaders, including at the highest levels to call for calm,” she said.

The UN mission in Juba said earlier that staff there were under lockdown.

The UK and US embassies in Juba urged their citizens via Twitter to stay indoors and exercise caution.

The US statement to citizens said it had suspended all routine services amid “reports from multiple reliable sources of ongoing security incidents and sporadic gunfire in multiple locations across Juba”.

The US embassy also denied rumours that Mr Machar had taken shelter there.

In a second statement, the US said embassy staff had spoken to a range of officials and concerned parties “in order to urge calm, restraint, and a settling of differences through a peaceful political means rather than through violence”.


By Mzee Posted in kenya

3 comments on “Attempted coup in South Sudan

  1. Ladies and gents, this is called ‘Home-grown African solution for African problem’! My foot, can you still hear me please? I am laughing my head off about Museveni and my ribs are aching!!! Heheheheheeee!!! Uhuru Kenyatta, the real njamba and muthamaki, where you at? We got bedroom bullies in town or is it region!!?? You are learning from the best!

    I will come for you, Museveni warns Machar

    President Museveni


    President Museveni travelled to Juba where he has asked former vice president now renegade Riek Machar to call a ceasefire or face the wrath of Igad members

    Kampala-President Museveni yesterday flew to Juba where he warned South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar to embrace a ceasefire suggested by that country’s government or face “defeat” by the regional forces.
    “We gave Riek Machar four days to respond (to the ceasefire offer) and if he doesn’t we shall have to go for him, all of us. That is what we agreed in Nairobi,” he told reporters in Juba.

    Foreign Affairs ministry spokesperson Fred Opolot yesterday acknowledged that he had been briefed about the stern position adopted by the Ugandan President but said: “The warning must be in line with the position taken by IGAD.”

    IGAD member states include Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti.
    Mr Opolot said the President’s visit was part of IGAD effort to end the fighting that broke out on December 15 as a power struggle but has now turned tribal.

    On Friday, leaders from the IGAD countries held special discussions on the fighting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi and resolved that the warring parties immediately cease hostilities and embrace dialogue.

    However, critics have questioned the language used by President Museveni, saying he has “overstepped” his position as President of Uganda.

    “What Museveni is doing is not good for Uganda. It will cause us problems. Let him encourage the warring parties to dialogue but not take a one-sided view,” Aswa MP Reagan Okumu, the former Shadow minister for foreign affairs, said yesterday.

    President Museveni visited Juba amidst reports that the White Army, a militia composed of Nuer youths reported loyal to Dr Machar, were planning to attack Bor, the capital of Jonglei, which was recaptured by government forces on Friday.

    President Kiir, who sacked Dr Machar in July, accused him of starting the violence in a move to seize power – an allegation first denied by Machar. However, Machar has since retreated into the bush and acknowledged he is leading rebel fighters.

    Meanwhile UPDF yesterday entered Heglig, the Khartoum-controlled territory and evacuated 110 Ugandans who were rescued from Jonglei.

    They landed at Entebbe Airbase at 3pm. Mr Opolot said Khartoum government had cleared UPDF to rescue Ugandans from Heglig.

    Meanwhile, an envoy of the Government of South Sudan yesterday said they will not free three key prisoners, whose release Dr Machar, had set as a precondition for talks.

    At a press conference at the country’s mission in Kampala, Amb Samuel Luate Laminsuk said his government would not offer any concessions to Dr Machar. It, however, would accept him back if he put down his guns and drew to the discussion table.

    Dr Machar told the media last week that he particularly wanted the release of suspended SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum, before dialogue with Salva Kiir’s government. But Amb Luate said the government had released two of the 10-arrested former ministers, and was considering releasing more.

    “Some political detainees will not be released because they were implicated in other activities, before the coup,” Amb Luate said. These detainees are the former finance Minister, Mr Kosti Manibe, former cabinet affairs Minister, Mr Deng Alor and Pagan Amum.

    This creates a sense of uncertainty as to what direction the impasse will now take, especially as the four-day deadline given by IGAD for the start of talks between the Government and Dr Machar’s forces, expires today.

    Explaining why there would be no concession ahead of talks, the ambassador said: “Riek Machar is a Member of Parliament and is the vice chairperson of the SPLM. He has not been dismissed from these posts…You can only concede to someone from a different organisation.” He added the Dr Machar should come back home and have dialogue with the government.

    UPDF welcome

    Asked to deny or confirm whether the UPDF was actively involved with his government’s forces in combatting the rebels, Ambassador Luate said: “I have no idea whether Uganda is fighting in South Sudan.”
    However, he later said that UPDF’s welcome in South Sudan “depends on whether they (UPDF) want to evacuate people in one day or to go on and evacuate in other states”.

    Status since conflict started

    South Sudan government says it has fully recaptured the town of Bor and was in the final stages of recapturing the town of Malakal.

    The government also says it is turning its troops to retake the town of Bentiu, which is still in rebel hands.The government says it has shut down 20 to 25 per cent of Oil Production in Unity State, but that in Upper Nile State, oil production was still at 100 per cent.

    The current impasse is traced from what the South Sudan government calls an attempted coup on the weekend of December the 15, which the government has blamed on Dr Riek Machar, who was sacked as VP in July 2013. Machar denies there was ever a coup attempt.—Museveni-warns-Machar/-/688334/2129754/-/qri656/-/index.html


    • Igad leaders buried their heads in the sand

      Ethiopian Minister for Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom reads communique of the Extra Ordinary Session of the Igad Assembly of Heads of States and Governments on the situation in South Sudan at the Kenyan State House in Nairobi on the 27th of December, 2013. The statements issued by the leaders and the resolutions arrived at cannot augur well for the country. Instead of addressing the real issues and thereby tackling the genesis of the crisis, they buried their heads in the sand. PHOTO/FILE


      Igad leaders recently concluded an impromptu special session meeting convened to explore ways to halt the conflict unfolding in the Republic of South Sudan (ROSS), which left a great deal to be desired.

      The statements issued by the leaders and the resolutions arrived at cannot augur well for the country.

      Instead of addressing the real issues and thereby tackling the genesis of the crisis, they buried their heads in the sand.

      They failed to strike a balance and hence squandered an opportunity to show neutrality—the only way to mediate.

      One need not be a rocket scientist to know that, to preserve their peer’s damaged reputation, they castigated Dr Riek Machar as the aggressor.

      They did not condemn President Salva Kiir’s killing of Nuer and other communities, the sole act that sparked the war spreading from Juba to other parts of South Sudan.


      Dr Machar himself is in hiding because he knows what his fate is likely to be in the hands of President Kiir, the ever vengeful guerrilla fighter, who has refused to morph into a statesman.

      Unless Igad and the East African Community are suffering from memory loss, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Juba and Khartoum was not built on threats and taking sides with the principal antagonist.

      The Kenya Government, save for its petty internal politics, should have sent Mr Kalonzo Musyoka to fix that problem because he is among the people who ensured the CPA’s conclusion.

      He is alive to the reality that threats of violence in such a delicate situation would beget more violence.

      Not a single Igad leader condemned the unlawful arrests and detention of SPLM leaders, whose only offence was to seek to enjoy the political freedoms and rights to choose and be proud of their choices.

      Their resolution to oppose the “unconstitutional removal of a democratically elected government” was a thinly-veiled threat directed at Dr Machar. That is not the language register of conflict resolution and diplomacy.

      Did they care to find out why Dr Machar, a scholar, would call President Kiir a dictator and then flee to the bush?

      The mediators’ conclusion that Dr Machar and his group are guilty of the alleged coup plot is contrary to the opinion of experienced conflict analysts.

      The Igad and EAC leaders failed to tell the world their opinion of a “democratically elected ruler”, who uses brutal, naked military force to assassinate, arrest, detain, torture, and kill political opponents over a political disagreement.


      Dr Machar was actively involved in the creation of the world’s youngest state and for anyone to even dream of hounding him out of government, just because he rejected excesses, is unconscionable.

      Instead of rhetoric at a time of great human rights violation by the state, answers to the following critical questions should be sought:

      Why has war broken out and threatened to engulf such a young nation? How do we stop it immediately?

      Who are the parties involved, and how can similar wars be avoided?

      Let one Igad club member stand up and tell Africa that, by pushing for reforms within SPLM, Dr Machar and his colleagues acted unconstitutionally.


    • Home grown African solutions to African problems, but do I say!!!

      South Sudan peace talks stall as Kiir maintains tough stance on detainees

      By AFP

      South Sudan’s government and rebels were locked in fierce battles across the country as peace talks in Ethiopia appeared to flounder.

      A rebel spokesman indicated that there would be no imminent truce in the country unless the government freed a group of top allies who were detained after the fighting began more than three week ago.

      The two sides have been holding peace talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, but the rebel delegation signalled that the chances of an immediate truce being agreed to was slim because the anti-government side wanted its detained allies freed by Juba.

      “Our colleagues must be released so that they come and participate,” rebel spokesman Yohanis Musa Pauk told reporters in Addis Ababa.


      “You cannot go to negotiations while there are some people being detained. You need to release them so that they now have a positive role in the negotiations.

      “We are just waiting for the release of our detainees, when they release them very soon we will sign the cessation of hostilities agreement,” he added.

      The government is currently holding 11 of Machar’s allies, many of them senior figures and former ministers, but has been under pressure from Igad– the East African regional bloc which is trying to broker a truce — as well as Western diplomats to release them as a goodwill gesture. (READ: US urges Kiir to release political detainees)

      The government, however, appears to have so far resisted the demands and maintains the detainees should be put on trial for their role in what the president says was an attempted coup.

      The rebel spokesman accused the government of “lying” to Igad over the detainees by sending mixed signals, and asserted that the rebel side was acting in good faith.

      “We came here for peace, not just for talks, we came here to sign an agreement,” he said.


      Military officials officials from both sides meanwhile said that a major battle for control of Bor, capital of Jonglei State and situated just north of the capital Juba, was still raging.

      Fighting was also taking place in the oil-producing Upper Nile State, while the rebels said more troops previously based in Juba had defected from the government side and could launch an assault on the capital.

      “Our forces are coordinating themselves,” rebel spokesman Moses Ruai Lat said, adding anti-government fighters were preparing to strike at Juba and Malakal, capital of Upper Nile State.

      The spokesman for the national army, Philip Aguer, only confirmed that fighting continued to rage around Bor.

      The fighting began on December 15 as a clash between army units loyal to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and those loyal to ex-vice president Riek Machar, and has escalated into war between government troops and a loose alliance of ethnic militia forces and mutinous army commanders.


      Thousands of people have already been killed, UN officials say, while more than 200,000 have fled their homes — many of them seeking protection from overstretched UN peacekeepers amid a wave of ethnic violence pitting members of Kiir’s Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer tribe.

      The humanitarian situation in South Sudan has continued to deteriorate.

      Atrocities have been committed by both sides, and the UN has said it will investigate crimes against humanity thought to have been committed.

      “We’ve got an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe… on top of a situation where we were already aiming to help 3.1 million in South Sudan,” Lanzer added.

      “It is a really critical period for the country. Hostilities just have to end.”

      According to the latest UN figures, 200,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, with more than 30,000 fleeing the country altogether, mainly to neighbouring Uganda.


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