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Before there’s a genocide: The slaughter in South Sudan must stop

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Before there’s a genocide: The slaughter in South Sudan must stop

Post by chiki on Wed Apr 23 2014, 20:59

Before There’s a Genocide: The Slaughter in South Sudan Must Stop

Written  by Justine Fleischner and John Prendergast


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Emre Rende/Reuters

Hate radio; butchered men, women and children; ethnic revenge—the tragedy of South Sudan’s civil war grows worse by the day. More international action is needed to bring it to an end.


On the dusty roads of Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state, piles of dead bodies pulled from a local hospital, church and mosque lay baking in the hot sun. Last week, opposition forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar recaptured the strategic town. His undisciplined force—made up of defected ethnic Nuer soldiers and Nuer tribal militias, often referred to as White Army—quickly sought revenge for previous ethnically motivated attacks against Nuer by government forces.
In a move reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide, some of the opposition leaders took control of the local FM radio station and broadcast hate speech, encouraging the targeting of men, women, and children based on their ethnicity. The death toll is believed to be over 400. United Nations reports suggest that FM radio also was used to encourage young men to rape women from other ethnic groups.

Mass atrocities occurred last week in government-held areas as well. In Bor, the state capital of Jonglei, 200 armed men in civilian clothing stormed the U.N. base where over 5,000 civilians —mostly Nuer women and children—had sought refuge. The U.N. peacekeeping battalion of Indian soldiers fired warning shots, but failed to halt the angry mob. Over 50 civilians were killed and 100 injured.

Although the attackers in Jonglei were dressed in civilian clothing it is unlikely, as some reports suggested, that this was just a peaceful protest by government supporters who were provoked when the Nuer in the camp celebrated the rebel victory in Bentiu.

In response, the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF), which intervened at the outset of the war on the side of the government, has set up a perimeter around the U.N. base in Jonglei to prevent any further attacks. The UPDF has stepped up where the Government of South Sudan has failed to protect civilians.

Revenge has been a primary motivation for the targeting of civilians. What began as a political dispute between the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, a Dinka, and his former deputy, Riek Machar, a Nuer, has become a devastating civil war.

Last July, Kiir dismissed his entire cabinet, including Machar, in a power struggle within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). In November, Kiir dissolved all internal party structures, setting the two men on a collision course. On December 15, a dispute between rival factions within the elite Presidential Guard set off a wave of violence across Juba that quickly split along ethnic lines. Nuer were targeted and killed by Dinka soldiers in Juba and Machar’s house was leveled by government tanks. Nuer militia quickly mobilized to take revenge on the Dinka for the killings in Juba, and both sides subsequently have perpetrated horrible massacres.

Both China and the United States, the two most influential countries in South Sudan, have an interest in an end to the conflict. Khartoum seems particularly eager to see which side gets the upper hand and will likely do whatever is necessary to maintain its important stake in the pipelines carrying South Sudanese oil to Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

Uganda has intervened on the side of the Government of South Sudan, including providing air support to overtake opposition forces. It also has been accused of using cluster bombs, which were banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008, ratified by over 100 countries.

The hard work of sorting out a political settlement—a transitional administration, justice and accountability, national reconciliation, and transparency for oil revenues—needs to include civil society and will be time-consuming. In the meantime, prospects for an immediate ceasefire agreement might be strengthened by the use of sanctions, the deployment of a regional security force, and deeper diplomatic engagement in advance of negotiations set to resume in Addis Ababa next week.

Sanctions could provide a powerful tool, if they are multilateral and if they are deployed, to pressure both sides back into serious negotiations. Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama announced targeted sanctions against individuals who undermine the peace process, but no one has yet been named. Many South Sudanese government and opposition leaders hold U.S. or Canadian citizenship. They also have houses and bank accounts in Kenya, Ethiopia and other nearby states, and those assets should be targeted and frozen if connected to officials implicated in war crimes or the obstruction of the peace process.

A regional security force supplied by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) should be deployed as quickly as possible to provide safe zones for civilians and create corridors for humanitarian access across government and rebel held areas. Because Uganda’s presence is rejected by the opposition, the regional force should involve Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya and other willing states.

The negotiations in Addis Ababa will be contentious, but international leverage can be increased though tough targeted sanctions, accountability measures, a regional force that protects civilians, and deeper diplomatic engagement.  If these talks fail, escalating violence and certain famine await the long-suffering people of the world’s newest country.

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Re: Before there’s a genocide: The slaughter in South Sudan must stop

Post by LizzyNY on Wed Apr 23 2014, 21:45

I can't imagine being involved with this on a daily basis. It is so discouraging that, given a chance to build a new nation, free from the rule of Sudan, the people of South Sudan cannot make it work. My heart goes out to the victims of all this horrible violence and the people who are trying to bring an end to it.

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Re: Before there’s a genocide: The slaughter in South Sudan must stop

Post by Mazy on Wed Apr 23 2014, 23:51

Horrific massacre in South Sudan; hundreds killed

April 23, 2014
Rick Moran

"Piles and piles of bodies" was the way the UN described the scene in the South Sudanese city of Bentiu. The government claims 400 civilians were ethnically cleansed by rebels allied with former Vice President Riek Machar.

Indeed, according to this report in the Washington Post, the rebels made no secret of their desire to massacre people not of their ethnic background:

Born in 2011, South Sudan came to be with the help of the United States out of the rubble of a Sudanese civil war. A split between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar triggered fighting between their forces in December. Since then, an estimated 1 million people have been driven from their homes, about 800,000 of them internally displaced and another 200,000 refugees driven into into Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan.

But these killings were, in some ways, different from those that have come before. The rebels made no secret of their plans. A local radio station featured rebel commanders warning certain ethnic groups, everybody but the Nuers, that they were coming for them, calling on the other groups to rape the non-Nuer women.

People had sought refuge in places of worship and healing. But as has been the case in other towns, there wasn’t any after the killing began on April 15.

The killers, identified by the United Nations as forces of the Nuer-led “Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition Army” led by former vice president Machar, went from place to place, from mosque to church to hospital, separating people by ethnicity and religion and shooting the ones left behind.

The people spared were mostly from the Nuer community. But not all of them made it. Some Nuers who hid were shot, too, according to reports. “Several Nuer men, women and children were killed for hiding and declining to join other Nuers who had gone out to cheer” the rebel forces, said the U.N. report after the killings.

“It’s the first time [in South Sudan] we’re aware of that a local radio station was broadcasting hate messages encouraging people to engage in atrocities,” the United Nations’ Toby Lanzer, who was in Bentiu on Sunday and Monday, told the AP by phone. “And that really accelerates South Sudan’s descent into an even more difficult situation from which it needs to extract itself.”

Observers on the ground say it may get a lot worse.

Lanzer reported that thousands of civilians from several ethnic groups streamed to the U.N. peacekeeping base in Bentiu because many believe more violence is coming. “The base now holds 22,000 people — up from 4,500 at the start of April — but can supply only one liter of water per person per day. Some 350 people must share one toilet.”

“The risk of a public health crisis inside our base is enormous,” he said.
About all the rest of the world can do - short of sending in troops to physically protect the population - is make witness to the disaster. Since that will never happen, the rebels will continue their efforts to ethnically cleanse the oil-rich region and seize it for themselves.

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This is just so heartbreaking I cannot believe it.

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Re: Before there’s a genocide: The slaughter in South Sudan must stop

Post by chiki on Thu Apr 24 2014, 10:11

It's horrible. I read an article about how this and CAR conflict remind to the rwandan conflict.  I do hope this time the UN will be able to find a solution before it's too late. It's embarrassing that after 20 years we are at the same point.

There's a campaign in Twitter trying to focus the atention on South Sudan. If someone wants to participate, just send one or some tweets using the hastag #ListenToSouthSudan.
And there's a great opinion article about the massacre and the conflict by James Copnall in Al-Jazeera. I don't post it here, we have enough pain for today, but if someone wants to read it, I really liked it.

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Re: Before there’s a genocide: The slaughter in South Sudan must stop

Post by Mazy on Fri Apr 25 2014, 00:38

Thank you so much Chiki for this information it helps to have a place to aim our tweet at. Many times I send the @BarackObama and @JohnKerry just to let them know that people do know whats going on.

I know what you say:
I don't post it here, we have enough pain for today, but if someone wants to read it, I really liked it.
I know you could post many more like me. It is getting so I receive a minimum of 10-12 alerts in each alert. I get for Darfur, Syria, Ukraine, South Sudan. Then I get Amnesty International, Human Right and so many other that I have to be My George alerts don't get lost in the crowd.

There is always petitions to sign, now we have election season coming up. Sometimes I think George what did you get me involved in? this all started with just him. But Chiki yesterday was a hard day, hearing all that I prayed and sorry to say I went to bed. This is how I felt, then I think how they must have felt whaile that was going on. I believe God took those victims straight to heaven, not that makes it better.

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Re: Before there’s a genocide: The slaughter in South Sudan must stop

Post by party animal - not! on Fri Apr 25 2014, 22:14

Finally, RyanBoyette back on twitter:


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Re: Before there’s a genocide: The slaughter in South Sudan must stop

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