Ex-South Sudan deputy army chief prevented from leaving Juba

Former South Sudan commander of Riverine Forces General James Gai Yoach Dong [Photo by SSBC]

Former South Sudan commander of Riverine Forces General James Gai Yoach Dong [Photo by SSBC]

JUBA – Former South Sudan deputy chief of General Staff for Riverine Forces General James Gai Yoach has been prevented from leaving Juba for the Sudanese capital Khartoum by members of the country’s National Security Service (NSS), the Sudans Post has learned.

The former senior army commander who is no longer in the active service was seen being taken out of the airport by men in NSS closes and was told to return to his residence in the capital Juba.

“We saw General James Gai Yoach being taken out of the Juba International Airport’s departure hall. He was taken out by men wearing clothes of the National Security Service and his passport was taken,” an eyewitness told Sudans Post this evening.

One source said the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit is suspicious of the former rebel commander who has a long history of rebellion. There are currently speculations that he has the intention to return to bush, but which are not confirmed.

Several contacts to General Gai could not be successful, but sources have said that the former rebel General who abandoned Dr. Riek Machar Teny in 2016 was returned by the NSS to his residency in Juba but his passport remains confiscated.

Trump told to arrest South Sudan war criminals

Photo: South Sudan former army chief, Gen. Paul Malong Awan and Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak

Photo: South Sudan former army chief, Gen. Paul Malong Awan and Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak

WASHINGTON – A Washington-based watchdog has urged the United States to arrest, former South Sudan army chiefs, General Paul Malong and General Gabriel Jok Riak who have been described by the group as war criminals.

The Sentry, a subsidiary of the Enough Project detailed in a report seen by Sudans Post how South Sudan army generals have been involved in killings and looting of the country’s resources.

The report said some of those generals started off as privates in the early 1980s, during the outbreak of the 21-year civil war. With time and experience, they climbed the military power ladder, making them household names.

They include Oyay Deng Ajak, Gabriel Jok Riak, James Hoth Mai, and Paul Malong – each of whom held the position of South Sudan army chief of staff between 2005 and May 2020.

Others are Salva Mathok, Marial Chanuong, Johnson Juma Okot (current CDF), Bol Akot, Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang, Johnson Olony, Garang Mabil, and David Yau Yau.

Despite the little pay in the army, the leaders – according to a report by an anti-corruption campaign group – have illegally amassed wealth over the years.

The investigative report by The Sentry suggests that the military big names have been using the conflict to get rich, as they encouraged starving soldiers to choose patriotism over salary.

Making a Killing: South Sudanese Military Leaders’ Wealth, Explained, looks at the commercial and financial activities of the aforementioned leaders who linked to major instances of violence both before and during the civil war.

“Documents reviewed by The Sentry indicate that they exploited their positions of power to empty the state’s coffers and weaken its institutions with little accountability for this corruption or for the human rights violations they perpetrated,” partly reads the report issued on May 27, 2020.

Being politically exposed persons or PEPs (the laws of the land do not allow constitutional post holders to run personal businesses), the leaders use close allies and children, including minors to run business activities.

“Many of these men share personal or commercial ties with President Salva Kiir, who regularly intervenes in legal proceedings targeting his staunchest friends and allies,” it continues.

Kiir himself has been named in several reports as one of the leaders who have stolen millions of dollars from public coffers.

He reportedly uses his family members and friends to run multi-billion dollar businesses in and out of the country.

The report found that lack of oversight and limited transparency in the security sector help the men to steal from public coffers.

400 South Sudanese students protesters sadly brutalized by Ethiopian police

File: South Sudanese students in Zimbabwe

File: South Sudanese students in Zimbabwe

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – At least seven South Sudanese students are nursing wounds after they were reportedly brutalized by Ethiopian police during a protest at the South Sudan embassy in Addis Ababa on Thursday, the Eye Radio reported.

The students demanded their coronavirus incentives the Ministry of Higher Education approved in April.

The $3 million is meant for South Sudanese students on government scholarships in Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, India, China, Botswana, Cuba, Serbia, and Zimbabwe.

There are more than 400 students on government scholarships in Ethiopia.

$64 dollars every ten days

One student said both the embassy and the South Sudanese students students had agreed to offer $64 each student every 10 days to cover for food, water, and electricity bills, among other needs.

But Ayiik Mabior says the students received those funds twice and then the embassy went silent after two weeks.

“We have very disappointed to face such harassment linked by our government official,” Ayiik Mabior, representative, said  via telephone from Addis Ababa on Friday.

“We never thought such kind of things would come from them because they were the very people who lectured us about the incentives.”

Forceful strike

This situation forced more than 200 students to go on a peaceful strike demanding their incentives.

But they ended up being beaten by the Ethiopian Federal police.

Mabior claimed the education attaché at the embassy called for the police when they started protesting peacefully.

“Our feeling as students in general about what happened yesterday is that. It’s so sad,” Mabior continued.

He says the Ethiopian police whipped them as they could not communicate effectively due to language barriers.

National Salvation Front commander “not dead” after 2 days of deceptive speculations

Photo: National Salvation Front (NAS) deputy chief of staff for logistics Gen. Khalid Ono

Photo: National Salvation Front (NAS) deputy chief of staff for logistics Gen. Khalid Ono

JUBA – A senior National Salvation Front (NAS) commander has denied that he has been kill saying he is still alive.

In an interview with al-Manara, a online Arabic newspaper, and seen by Sudans Post, General Khalid Ono Loki, the deputy chief of staff for logistics of the Cirilo-led movement denied that he  and his three bodyguards have been kill.

Gen. Ono confirmed that he is well and performing his revolutionary tasks assigned to him with all energy and vitality.

The National Salvation Front (NAS) commander called upon the people of South Sudan not to be drifting behind this cheap propaganda that has been launched from time to time by the anti-National Salvation Front enemies which are the real goal behind this rumor.

‘Brutal regime’

On the other hand, the senior National Salvation Front member Gen. Ono reiterated his call to the people of South Sudan to rise up against this brutal and oppressive regime that is based on corruption, nepotism and favoritism.

‘Revolutionary organization’

In this regards, he appreciates the role of the leadership of the National Salvation Front as a revolutionary organization that has a great role in changing the political situation in our country through its clear political stances towards addressing the root causes of the conflict in the County.

On May /12/2020 an unknown source had published a rumor that the body of Gen. Khalid Ono Loki and his three bodyguards had been recovered in the Uror County Jonglei State.

Sudan, South Sudan to send militias to Libya to rescue General Khalifa Haftar

File: Members of Mathiang Anyor militia group

JUBA/KHARTOUM – The United Arab Emirates has requested the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of Sudan, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, and South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, to send military reinforcement to Libya to back warlord Khalifa Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli.

According to a well-informed source, Dagalo, aka Hemetti, agreed to send two armed factions to the north African country, within the efforts of the United Arab Emirates to save its hand in Libya, Khalifa Haftar. For his part, the source said, Kiir asked for one week to decide on the issue.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the United Arab Emirates promised to send financial and military support to Hemetti in return for dispatching his forces to Libya.

Thousands of Sudanese mercenaries are currently fighting in several fronts in Libya with many have been killed. The mercenaries are sharing their photos and videos on Facebook from Sirte and southern Tripoli fronts claiming “We are here to free Libya from terrorism.”

Sudan has denied the participation of any Sudanese forces in the ongoing fighting in Libya.

Sudan’s Radio Dabanga reported in July 2019 that Hemetti had sent around 4,000 RSF troops to Libya to protect oil installations in the oil crescent region in order to allow forces loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar to concentrate all their power on the Tripoli attack.

Also in the same month, Aljazeera disclosed documents that prove Sudan had used its airspace to transport hundreds of mercenaries recruited by Hemetti to Libya.

The United Nations Panel of Experts on Sudan reported early this year that Darfur fighters are fighting for Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Libya as mercenaries as they aim to strengthen their military might by earning money and weapons through Libya.

The involvement of the United Arab Emirates in Libya and Sudan’s affairs has deepened with the recruitment of Sudanese nationals as mercenaries fighting in Libya and Yemen.

An Emirati firm called Black Shield has entrapped hundreds of Sudanese nationals by offering jobs in the UAE as security guards for hospitals and malls, but finally they ended up fighting in Libya.

As fighting continues in southern Tripoli, warlord Khalifa Haftar has suffered great losses, especially after the loss of seven coastal cities in around seven hours.

The UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord is now mobilizing forces to attack the last two strongholds of Haftar in western Libya, Tarhuna city and Watiya airbase. With the collapse of these two strategic locations, the fighting would move to Sirte and Jufra airbase in central Libya.

South Sudan: Kiir’s family linked to corruption in a new report

File: South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit

WASHINGTON — At a time when South Sudan’s government most needs to generate resources for urgent public health-related challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic, one of its promising revenue streams is beset by mismanagement and corruption.

The Sentry’s latest investigative report reveals how South Sudan’s promising gold-dominated minerals sector is riddled with corruption involving President Salva Kiir’s relatives and inner circle, military leaders, and other high-level officials.

Published today, the report further exposes illegal mining now underway in Eastern Equatoria state, where the governor has ties to numerous mining businesses, as well as the Ministry of Defense’s involvement in problematic mining licensing deals.

“Untapped and Unprepared: Dirty Deals Threaten South Sudan’s Mining Sector” warns that, without strong reforms, abuse in the minerals sector could spur the same kind of resource-driven violence that plagued the petroleum industry throughout civil wars fought on South Sudanese soil dating back to the 1980s.

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “Through close relatives and allied government officials, President Salva Kiir is linked to dozens of mining companies in South Sudan.

The president’s core network has used its control of the minerals sector to consolidate its grip on South Sudan’s state revenues and natural resources.

If South Sudan’s people are to benefit from the country’s mineral wealth, including lifesaving healthcare urgently needed in the face of a global pandemic, financial institutions should take immediate steps to identify and monitor the bank accounts of those in power, their business networks, families, and inner circles.”

The Sentry further established that Kiir’s close associates and lower-level ministers have held shares in no fewer than 32 South Sudanese companies established to extract minerals.

The government has yet to disclose crucial information about their ownership structures, activities, or open applications for licenses, undermining public scrutiny of a sector already at heightened risk for corruption and raising questions about who benefits from South Sudan’s mineral wealth.

Sophie Lombardo, Investigator for The Sentry, said: “Without swift action, South Sudan’s mining sector may fall into the same traps as the oil sector, which has helped drive war in South Sudan for decades. Military interests abound, either through joint ventures with private investors or companies controlled by the Ministry of Defense.

The Sentry’s investigative findings reveal opaque and questionable deals that raise significant concerns about secret off-budget revenues within an institution marred by a history of abuse.”

J.R. Mailey, Investigations Director at The Sentry, said: “Today, widespread corruption, mismanagement, and poor oversight in the mining sector are intertwined in a vicious cycle. Individuals linked to criminal activities have received numerous mining licenses, as have companies with little technical or financial capacity, raising serious questions about how licenses are granted.

The mineral sector in South Sudan is still in its early development stage, however, so the implementation of critical reforms can deliver enormous benefits for the future of the country. Policy action is needed now, such as the creation of a regularly updated public online register disclosing the beneficial ownership of mining sector businesses.”

Report highlights:

Although South Sudan took welcome steps to reform the mining sector in 2012, some government officials, their relatives, and their close associates have fostered a weak regulatory environment susceptible to exploitation.

Memoranda and articles of incorporation reviewed by The Sentry reveal that politically exposed persons–both President Salva Kiir’s close associates and lower-level ministers–have held shares in no fewer than 32 South Sudanese companies established to extract minerals.

Kiir’s daughter partly owns a company with three active mining licenses. A company with three mining licenses lists former Vice President James Wani Igga’s son as a shareholder.

Ashraf Seed Ahmed Hussein Ali, a businessman commonly known as Al-Cardinal who was placed under Global Magnitsky sanctions in October 2019, reportedly owns the company currently holding the most mining licenses. In the gold-rich region of Kapoeta, state government officials have issued licenses independently of the central government, a probable violation of South Sudan’s Mining Act that has allowed illegal mining to take place on land previously allocated by Juba to other companies.

South Sudan’s military has developed problematic mining interests in an effort to address budgetary shortfalls.

Key recommendations from the report:

South Sudan government:

Create a public register disclosing beneficial ownership. Key company ownership information remains inaccessible to the public. A regularly updated public online register would promote good governance and serve as a vital accountability tool for anti-corruption advocates, civil society, and political parties. Moreover, such a move would encourage legitimate investment and demonstrate the government’s commitment to building a more transparent system.

Conduct a retroactive audit of the mining sector. Numerous red flags in South Sudan’s mining sector highlight the country’s susceptibility to state capture. In order to assess the effectiveness of the process of awarding licenses to technically competent, legitimate enterprises, the Ministry of Mining should hire an independent external party to retroactively audit all mining companies currently operating in South Sudan.

The ministry should further investigate the beneficial owners of mining companies and determine whether politically exposed persons have unfairly profited. As an example, independent audits have been required prior to resuming certified exports following the moratorium implemented as part of the government-led Kimberley Process initiative to clean up the diamond trade.

United States government:

Issue responsible investment reporting requirements. The US Department of State should encourage responsible engagement in South Sudan’s mining sector by implementing investment reporting requirements for US persons. Much as it did in Myanmar, the agency should require companies to file publicly available reports detailing their due diligence, community engagement, human rights, anti-corruption, and environmental efforts within their operations and policies.

Issue a public advisory listing typologies and enhanced due diligence measures. Building upon the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)’s two anti-money laundering (AML) advisories referencing political corruption in South Sudan, the United States should consider issuing an update or a separate advisory sharing with financial institutions the latest methods and trends used to launder the proceeds of illegal mining and the extractives industry.

Expand US sanctions authorities. South Sudan’s conflict dynamics have evolved significantly since then-US President Barack Obama issued EO 13664 in 2014. The US president should issue a new executive order, or amend EO 13664, to provide additional authorities for targeting illicit financial activity.

Update sanctions designation criteria to include family members. The current order should be amended to permit the designation of individuals who are the spouses or dependent children of (i) any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to EO 13664 or (ii) any South Sudanese person blocked pursuant to EO 13818.

Target captured business sectors. A new executive order should limit or prohibit US persons from conducting business with foreign persons who are active in key sectors of South Sudan’s economy that are captured by regime elites, including the mining and oil industries. Business prohibitions or requirements to report publicly on due diligence measures could emanate from this effort.

United Kingdom and European governments:

Issue a public anti-money laundering advisory to financial institutions warning about the extractives industry’s corruption risks. The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and relevant national authorities across continental Europe should issue public AML alerts or advisories on corruption in the extractives sector, citing the risks of laundering the proceeds of corruption in oil, gold, and other natural resource sectors requiring licenses.

In order to assist financial institutions in updating their customer due diligence and ongoing monitoring frameworks, an advisory should include typologies and red flags identifying methods that bad actors could use to siphon illicit funds out of South Sudan. These advisories would complement the alert issued by the NCA in February 2020 on illicit money flows related to South Sudanese political corruption.

AU to prioritize South Sudan, Libya conflicts in 2020

File: AU flag

JUBA – President Cyril Ramaphosa has identified the ‘‘intractable conflicts’’ in Libya and South Sudan as a focus for South Africa when it will be chairing the African Union (AU) this year.

He said these conflicts ‘‘need the intervention of those who are able to assist African countries to find solutions’’, adding ‘‘in some cases these interventions seem to be driven by ulterior motives’’.

South Africa has been part of peace efforts in both countries for several years now as part of the AU high-level committee on Libya and high-level ad hoc committee on South Sudan.

President Ramaphosa addressed South Africa’s heads of mission to African countries on Tuesday ahead of the AU heads of state summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, next week, where he is expected to take over from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as AU chairperson.

This year is also the final year of South Africa’s two-year non-permanent membership on the UN Security Council.

President Ramaphosa, who has been facing a host of domestic challenges including slow economic growth and power cuts, told the diplomats chairing the AU was not his job alone, but they had to make it a team effort and drive South Africa’s goals in the countries where they were based.

He outlined South Africa’s strategic objectives for the year as promoting its ‘‘values, interests and continental and domestic objectives’’; supporting economic development and integration on the continent; advancing gender equality; driving the implementation of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative to support the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); strengthening co-operation between the AU and UN and promoting peace and security.

The AU’s theme for the year is ‘‘Silencing the guns’’, a goal that was set out by former AU commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in 2013 as part of the continental body’s long-term plan, Agenda 2063.

President Ramaphosa spent a large part of his speech talking about economic development on the continent, which he said should be supported by peace efforts.

‘‘Africa’s youthful population is impatient for change and the creation of more economic opportunities.’’

He added the AfCFTA presented ‘‘unprecedented opportunities for development’’, as this would create the largest common market in the world with a population of more than a billion people.

Meanwhile, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor issued a stern warning about attacks by militants affiliated to the Islamic State (IS) in the northern Mozambique province of Cabo Delgado.

This ‘‘has raised concerns about an IS presence in new territories where it has drawn allegiance from local militant groups’’, she said.

‘‘We should be worried, given that the attacks on Mozambique point to the presence of IS in the (Southern African Development Community) region.’’

Pandor said Africa should find ways to deal with extremist violence and mentioned the ‘‘increased military presence’’ in Africa of France, the US, China, Russia and Turkey as concerns.

She warned that, while South Africa had numerous international obligations this year, its challenges on the domestic front were ‘‘the sternest test since the dawn of the democratic dispensation in April 1994’’.

‘‘We are fighting off the possibility of a credit rating downgrade but also, we have the duty to revive a sluggish economy even as we push back a high unemployment rate in the face of continued private sector job shedding.’’

A credit rating downgrade would weaken the country’s capability to address social inequality and create conditions for social cohesion, Pandor said.

She mentioned the electricity challenges and repair of state-owned enterprises as further problems, as well as the ‘‘intermittent attacks’’ on foreign nationals.

S. Sudan, Sudan disagree on terms of joint force in Abyei

File: Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

JUBA – The governments of Sudan and South Sudan have disagreed on how to deploy a joint force for the disputed region of Abyei, a South Sudan defense ministry official said.

This comes a week after an attack on Kolon village in the disputed region by Arab militia men killed over 30 people and left 24 people wounded.

15 children were also abducted by the Arab raiders also.

The government in Juba announced that it was forming a joint Sudanese-South Sudanese committee to investigate the incident but later on said it prefer an independent joint UN-AU investigation.

President Salva Kiir had also discussed the deployment of joint forces in the area after residents complained that the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) failed to protect them during the attack.

However, this afternoon, a senior South Sudan defense ministry said the two countries deferred on the terms of the joint force deployment saying Sudan was willing to include civilian officials in a security patrol force they said would be deployed in Abyei.

We have disagreed. The Sudanese government want civilians only to be added to their force,” the unnamed official said was quoted by the independent Nyamilepedia.

He however said efforts were under way to convince the Sudanese government because there was “a need for deployment of joint force in the area and get out the UNISFA.”

Jonglei: Many killed as Murle armed raiders attack Akobo

File: South Sudan troops

AKOBO – Heavy clashes have been reported in Akobo after a group of armed men from the Murle community reportedly carried out a vicious attack on the Lou Nuer’s villages in Akoba and other surrounding areas, killing five people and wounding dozens, the Minister of Information for Bieh State, John Daniel Bol said on Friday.

“Large scale attack launched by Murle armed men on Central Akobo county’s headquarters, Buong, claiming innocent lives of five people.

“The attack took place at round 7: am and continued until 10 :am. The attackers were repulsed, with most of the cattle recovered. The authorities of Bieh state received reports last week that numerous Murle armed youth left their home areas for attacks on Bieh,” said the Minister of Information for Bieh State, John Daniel Bol.

Daniel stated that there is an ongoing state of panic that the armed men from the Murle community would launch another attack on various parts of the state after today’s attacks

“There is also fear that there will be another deadly attack to follow in other parts of the state according to these reports. Thus, the county commisioners and brigade commanders must strengthen security in all counties to protect civilians across the state so that they do not live in fear.”

The state officials strongly condemn the incident and call on the relevant authorities in Pibor to put an end to such hostile acts.

“As state authorities, we condemn these acts of Murle armed men and urge the administration in Pibor to bring this to a halt. Last, but not least, we condole the death of the five young men who lost their lives today in the process of defending the county headquarters from total destruction.”

The official further said that Bieh state has been the target of numerous attacks by armed youth from the Murle community since July last year, that sometimes results in the abduction of children, cattle raiding and loss of innocent lives.

White House releases image of Donald Trump during Iran attack

File: President Trump is seen showing little expression with his arms crossed in the image

WAHSINGTON – The White House media relations released an image on Wednesday showing U.S. President Donald Trump during the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) attack on the U.S. forces at the ‘Ayn Al-Assad Airbase in Iraq.

In the image released by the White House, President Trump can be seen sitting with several members of his cabinet in the war room, as they watched the IRGC missile strikes.

A photo from the Situation Room shows President Trump meeting with his security team Tuesday night after Iran launched missiles at Iraqi bases. Pictured around the table are White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, national security official Keith Kellogg, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, chairman of the and Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, and Director of National Intelligence Joseph McGuire.

The U.S. President’s press office released a memo shortly after the IRGC’s attack on Tuesday evening, indicating that Trump would be releasing a statement the following morning.

In Trump’s statement the following morning, he vowed to impose new sanctions against Iran, while also pointing out that no U.S. forces were harmed during the IRGC attack.

File: President Trump is seen showing little expression with his arms crossed in the image

The Iranian Army issued a statement on Thursday that warned the U.S. against launching any retaliatory attack against the Islamic Republic. They vowed to deliver a ‘crushing’ response to any attack launched by the U.S. against the Iranian forces

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