The Rendon Group Snapshot – 23 February 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on February 23, 2015

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(23FEB15)

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

The tumultuous peace process in South Sudan

 

Children from the Cobra Faction militia wait to be demobilized in Pibor, South Sudan on February 10, 2015 Source: CSM

This week’s snapshot focuses on the tumultuous peace process in South Sudan between the government and rebel factions.

News Summary of events during the week of 16FEB-22FEB

  • 16FEB: South Sudan government and rebel forces are both recruiting children as young as 13 to fight in the country’s civil war, a rights group said Monday in a report rejected by the government. (AFP)
  • 16FEB: The Sri Lanka Air Force is to deploy an aviation unit under the charge of the United Nations helicopter deployment in South Sudan, the Ministry of Defense said on Monday. (XIN)
  • 16FEB: South Sudan’s government on Monday threatened to silence journalists if they broadcast interviews with rebels involved in the civil war. (AFP)
  • 17FEB: Sudan will resume negotiations with southern rebels on the conflict in the southern border regions of Blue Nile and South Kordofan within two weeks, said Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman. (XIN)
  • 17FEB: Warring forces in South Sudan battled Tuesday in the oil-rich Upper Nile state, the defense minister said, claiming insurgents were trying to capture a key town ahead of peace talks. (AFP)
  • 18FEB: A British aid worker in war-torn South Sudan was shot dead late on Tuesday in the capital Juba, colleagues said. (AFP)
  • 18FEB: South Sudan’s army and rebels fought heavy battles for a third day Wednesday with scores of casualties, the defense minister said, a day ahead of a planned restart of peace talks. (AFP)
  • 19FEB: South Sudan reiterated its commitment to negotiating a comprehensive peace deal with the armed movement led by former Vice President Riek Machar. (XIN)
  • 19FEB: The U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon says he is looking into ways that perpetrators of widespread human rights abuses in the South Sudan conflict can begin to be held accountable. (AP)
  • 20FEB: East African leaders on Friday called for immediate permanent cease-fire in South Sudan and urged warring factions in the conflict to honor agreements which had been reached and signed to ensure sustainable peace. (XIN)
  • 21FEB: An armed group in South Sudan has abducted at least 89 boys in a northern state near Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state, according to a Unicef statement on Saturday. (AP)

 

Sample of Twitter handles regarding South Sudan

  • @D_Wlkr – David Walker, Researcher on social development issues (inc. gender, protection and violence) and knowledge-policy linkages at the Overseas Development Institute, London.
  • @RJConsults – Rachel Jones, Editor/Stringer Coordinator, VOA’s South Sudan in Focus Global Citizen, International Media Consultant
  • @petermartell – Peter Martell, AFP’s East Africa + Indian Ocean news editor. Northumberland to Nairobi via Yemen, Eritrea, South Sudan and places in between.
  • @LefkowHRW – Leslie Lefkow, Deputy Africa director at HRW. Following Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and S. Sudan.
  • @adambemma – Adam Benna, Multimedia journalism trainer/mentor. #Mediadev journalist. Documentary producer and #Pressfreedom advocate.

 

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding South Sudan

Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch

“Despite renewed promises by both government and opposition forces that they will stop using child soldiers, both sides continue to recruit and use children in combat. In Malakal, government forces are even taking children from right outside the United Nations compound.”

–       Group: South Sudan Military Still Recruiting Children, AP, 16FEB

 

Aimee Ansari, South Sudan Country Director, CARE, US-based aid agency

““We’re cautiously optimistic. This isn’t the first cease-fire signed by the conflicting parties but we’re hoping it’s the last.”

–       South Sudan’s Warring Factions Sign New Cease-Fire Deal, WSJ, 02FEB

 

Augustino Ting Mayai, South Sudan analyst at The SUDD Institute

“Restoring peace in South Sudan remains tenuous, as the rival groups, the rebels and government, are increasingly becoming less committed to a peaceful resolution of the violence. Attempts by regional and international bodies to stamp out South Sudan’s raging violence during the last year have proved futile. Given a platform to table their grievances, negotiate, and resolve the crisis, the warring parties ubiquitously offer a theoretical catechism of peace but actively resort to undertakings that demonstrate a pursuit of military victory. A strategic remedial response to the conflict that has been identified thus far is the institution of a comprehensive transitional government, estimated to last 3 years.”

–       Embattled for Legitimacy, GoSS and the 2015 Elections, The SUDD Institute, 06JAN

 

Harry Verhoeven, Professor at Georgetown University

“Most of their adult life, they have not been in government, they have been in the bush.  Violence … is the default.  There is just no trust. These people have very long resented each other.”

–       Without Pressure, business as usual for South Sudan’s ‘bush’ leaders, Reuters, 11FEB

 

Dr. Mohamed Hassan Saeed, Sudanese political analyst

“It was easier to resolve the (border) issue before the separation (of South Sudan) as it is not logical to recognize establishment of a country before determining its borders.  Failure to agree on determined borders harms the interests of both countries, prevents the communication between the two peoples and hampers the trade movement along the borderline.”

–       Sudan, South Sudan end talks without tangible progress, Xinhua, 10FEB

 

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to South Sudan

1. South Sudan’s Military Still Recruits Children: HRW

Media: Associated Press

Byline: RODNEY MUHUMUZA and CHARLTON DOKI

Date: 16 February 2015

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — South Sudan’s military and rebel forces are recruiting children despite assurances to the contrary, Human Rights Watch said Monday, citing children and parents interviewed last month.

The country’s military has enlisted boys as young as 13, often by force, in Upper Nile state, the rights watchdog said.

The allegations were strongly denied by two senior South Sudanese officials who said standing orders forbid the army from recruiting children.

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2. South Sudan calls off elections, seeks to extend presidential term

Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 16 February 2015

South Sudan has called off elections due to be held in June and its cabinet plans to ask parliament to extend President Salva Kiir’s term, a government spokesman said.

Government spokesman Michael Makuei said the proposal to extend Kiir and parliament’s terms in office will be presented to lawmakers on Tuesday and he was confident it will be approved.

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3. South Sudan Warns Media Not to Publish Rebel Interviews

Media: Voice of America (US)

Byline: N/A

Date: 16 February 2015

JUBA — South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei on Monday warned media groups and journalists that they will face harsh punishment if they publish or broadcast interviews with rebels inside South Sudan.

Makuei issued the warning after United Nations-run Miraya FM aired a pre-recorded interview with an official who defected from President Salva Kiir’s administration when South Sudan plunged into crisis in December 2013. He has made similar warnings at least twice in the past, and said the government will punish anyone who ignores the repeated cautions.

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4. British aid worker killed in South Sudan

Media: The Guardian (UK)

Byline: Sam Jones

Date: 18 February 2015

A British aid worker was killed on Tuesday night in Juba, the capital of conflict-riven South Sudan, the Foreign Office has confirmed. The victim, who has not been named, is understood to have worked for the Carter Center, the NGO set up by the former US president Jimmy Carter.

A spokesman for the South Sudanese government said the man appeared to have been deliberately targeted as he returned to his compound in Juba.

“It has been confirmed that a British staff member in the Carter Center was killed, a crime we condemn in the strongest terms possible,” Ateny Wek Ateny told the AFP news agency.

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5. Dozens of boys said to be abducted from South Sudan displacement camp

South Sudan child soldiers

Media: Los Angeles Times

Byline: Robyn Dixon

Date: 21 February 2015

Dozens of South Sudanese boys, some as young as 13, were recently kidnapped by an armed group in South Sudan as they prepared for school exams, UNICEF reported Saturday.

UNICEF did not say what group had abducted the boys from a displacement camp, but the kidnappings reportedly took place in an area controlled by government forces and allied militias. Several days ago, the rights group Human Rights Watch accused government forces of recruiting child soldiers in the same area.

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