Possible change of capital will take time

JUBA, 23 February 2011 – The official spokesperson of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin yesterday announced that the possible relocation of the capital will not happen overnight.

Dr. Marial who is also the GOSS minister for Information explained that the committee handling the matter has just begun its work. He said that a number of issues have to be considered carefully before the decision can be made.

The minister also clarified that Juba is still one of the cities being considered. He explained that the process may take 5-10 years to complete. He also said that in the event that the capital relocates from Juba then the city will still remain as a commercial hub. He cited several examples in Africa and elsewhere to demonstrate that the establishment of a new capital does not have kill the old one.

Dr. Marial also reported that the process will be executed with utmost care for the benefit of the entire country. He said that technical experts will be involved in the process to ensure that the new capital meets the expectations and needs of the new country.

“Beware of private universities”, cautions higher education minister

JUBA, 23 February 2011 – The minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Joseph Ukel yesterday warned the public to exercise caution when seeking admission in the private universities operating in the South.

H.E. Ukel explained that some of the institutions are not approved by the ministry. He cautioned that any courses offered by such institutions as well as the certificates awarded will not be recognized by the government.

He reported that the ministry is currently in the process of accrediting the private universities and invited the members of the public to consult the ministry when in doubt about the credentials of any private university.

The minister also announced that the ministry will establish constituent colleges and campuses of the five public universities in all states of Southern Sudan in an effort to expand the reach of the institutions and facilitate access to higher education.

He also reported that the ministry will review the courses offered by the universities to make them more market-driven. He also said that the ministry will pursue specialization amongst the institutions where one university may only offer a limited number of courses to avoid duplication and enhance quality.

Company to grow corn in Mundri

JUBA, 23 February 2011 – The minister for Agriculture and Forestry in the Government of Southern Sudan, H.E. Dr. Anne Itto Leonardo, accompanied by senior officials from the ministry on Saturday paid an inspection visit to Geria Agricultural Scheme in Mundri, Western Equatoria state.

Dr. Itto and the accompanying delegation witnessed the signing of a contract between the Muru community and Were Holding Company Limited. Mr. Simon Siddiq Alexander, the head of the committee supervising the community land in Madiba area, signed for the community while Mr. Aggrey Edri Ezbon, the Executive Director of Were Holding Company signed on behalf of the company.

The scheme plans to use the twenty-five-kilometre square piece of land to produce corn over a period of sixty-six-years. Under the terms of the agreement, the area will have seven percent of the agricultural output, and gain educational support from the scheme. The signing ceremony was also witnessed by the state minister for Agriculture and Forestry and a number of senior officials from the Government of Southern Sudan.


Sacks of corn produced in Mundri.

The delegation later inspected the Ambalabi Agricultural Scheme and Farmers’ Training Centre on the Yei River bank in Mundri East. The scheme owned and administered by Dr. Legesey Kunene is engaged in vegetable and fruit production. Dr. Kunene briefed the delegation on the challenges the farm faces key of which is transport of the produce to market centres such as Mundri, Juba and Lui.

Dr. Itto commended the work the centre is doing in building the capacity of the famers and raising awareness on the importance of agriculture for the economy. She promised to organize to dispatch young university graduates to be attached at the centre in order to gain practical experience.

Reported by Gabriel Lawrence

25,000 students registered in Southern Sudan universities

JUBA, 22 February 2011 – Estimated 25,000 students are registered in the Southern Sudan universities, the minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Joseph Ukel has said.

The minister also reported that nearly 80 percent of the students and staff members in the Southern universities which used to operate from Khartoum have been repatriated to their original locations in the South. The universities include University of Juba, University of Upper Nile and University of Bahr el Ghazal some of whose colleges were based in Khartoum.

H.E. Ukel also said that GOSS will take up and support four universities created by President Al-Bashir during his campaigns for the presidential elections last year. The minister identified the universities as University of Eastern Equatoria, Torit; University of Western Equatoria, Yambio; University of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Aweil; and University of Unity State, Bentiu.


H.E. Ukel (left) addresses the forum accompanied by H.E. Dr. Marial (right).
[Photo: Matata Safi]

The minister also reiterated the government’s commitment in supporting university education in the country. He affirmed that the government pays for the tuition and accommodation fees for all the students in public universities. He also underscored the role that education will play in the development of the new country.

He also reported that the government is facing several challenges in its efforts to develop higher education sector in the country. He identified some of these challenges as lack of inadequate physical facilities such as laboratories, libraries and workshops. He also said that the national government has taken over the physical assets of the University of Juba which used to be in Khartoum. He reported that negotiations are ongoing to get them back. He expressed hope that the assets will be restored to the university and brought to the South.

H.E. Ukel also explained that the ministry is currently developing the Higher Education Act to govern tertiary education in the country. He also said that the ministry is harmonizing the curricula of the various courses and faculties. Admitting that the education systems are still far from being perfect, he asserted that the ministry is working to remedy this situation.


Mr George Garang (left), Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information takes notes during the forum.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

The minister also announced that the universities will open on 15 May 2011. He said that in the ministry will use the time between now and then to prepare for the opening. It will also process the pending intakes during the period. He appealed to qualified Southern Sudanese in the Diasporas to come back home and participate in nation building by teaching and researching in the Southern universities. He also called on the international community to support the sector through appropriate technical assistance.

The minister made these remarks when he addressed the weekly media forum hosted by the GOSS Ministry of Information in Juba today.

Media laws to be enacted soon

JUBA, 22 February 2011 – The minister for Information, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, today announced that the media laws will be enacted soon, preferably before the declaration of statehood on 9 July 2011.

Dr. Marial reported that the draft laws were withdrawn and reviewed to address certain concerns of some members of the industry. He emphasized that all stakeholders in the sector, including the government, are keen to get the legislation.

The minister also reiterated that GOSS is committed to the freedom of the press. He was responding to enquiries of the journalists into an incident in which the Citizen Newspaper offices were reportedly invaded by alleged security officers. He reported that he has spoken with the editor-in-chief of the publication and assured him of the government’s commitment to the freedom of the press. He also said he has consulted with the minister for Internal Affairs and obtained his assurance that the ministry was not involved in the raid.

“Freedom of expression is our priority as a government and we expect that all our organs will comply”, he said.

The National Legislature endorses referendum results

KHARTOUM, 21 February 2011 (SUNA) - The National Legislature, chaired by its Chairman and Speaker, Ahmed Ibrahim El-Tahir, Monday endorsed the final results of the referendum of South Sudan.

The Presidency of the Republic affirmed in a statement read over by the minister of Presidency, Gen. Bakri Hassan Salih, its respect to the choice of the people of the South and reiterated its acceptance to the result that was handed over by the National Legislature.

The minister of Presidency said that the Presidency in its second meeting on February 7, 2011 announced its respect to the choice of the people of south Sudan and renewed its determination to go ahead in the way for sustainable peace and development.

The Presidency explained that the vote for separation in North Sudan reached 85% in North Sudan and 99% outside Sudan, while it reached 99.5% in the South, explaining that that the South has opted for separation to meet its aspirations.

The minister said that self-determination has been demanded in each dialogue between the North and South Sudan since the Conference of Juba in 1947 and that the national governments in Sudan had been reluctant to adopt that option under various pretexts. The minister explained that the referendum was a decisive historical development and that the Presidency confirms its full acceptance and recognition to the result of the free voting process.

It is to be noted that the National Legislature has agreed on a proposal by the Chairman of the National Congress Parliamentary Caucus, Dr. Ghazi Sallahuddin on the ground that the National Legislature took note of the statement of the President of the Republic that the result of the referendum is separation based on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the articles 219,220 and 222 of the interim constitution.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National Legislature, Ahmed El-Tahir, affirmed that with the Referendum on self-determination of Southern Sudan, the Sudan has fulfilled all its commitments. He explained that the coming phase necessitates establishment of cordial relations between the two states and forgetting the bitterness of the past.

Workshop calls for greater community involvement in education

JUBA, 18 February 2011 – A workshop on the role of education in peace building in fragile nations has underscored the need for greater community involvement in education systems of emerging states.

Speaking at the closing of the workshop at Juba Grand Hotel, the minister for Education in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Michael Milli Hussein, said that the greater involvement of communities would leverage the efforts of the government and development partners in nurturing the nascent education sector in Southern Sudan. He said such involvement would enhance the impact of the sector on national development in general and peace building in particular.


H.E. Dr. Hussein addressing the media.
[Photo: Emmanuel Gai Maker]

The minister also announced that the findings and resolutions of the workshop will be incorporated to the Education Sector Strategic Plan which is currently under development. He also said that this plan, once completed, will also be integrated to the national development blueprint.

He also reported that the workshop brought together leading minds and organizations in the education sector from GOSS, state governments and ten donor organizations. He appealed to the donors to continue supporting the sector to enable the ministry to make education accessible to all the people through formal and non-formal programmes.


Some of the participants during a group discussion.
[Photo: Emmanuel Gai Maker]

Ms Kerstin Tebbe, the Education Coordinator for the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) said that peace building efforts in Southern Sudan will succeed better if the education sector needs are addressed in a way which is sensitive to the conflict dynamics in the country. She said that this workshop was the first step towards the development of a long-term partnership between the education sector stakeholders to facilitate peace building in Southern Sudan.

Reported by Gisma Shaban Suleiman

Report of the Southern Sudan 2011 Taskforce

JUBA, 18 February 2011 - H.E Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) and Chair of the Southern Sudan 2011 Taskforce (SS2011TF) presented a report of the work of the taskforce to the All Southern Sudanese Political Parties Leadership Forum on 16 February 2011.

Please, click here for the complete report.

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot 

SPLM Political Bureau meeting communiqué

JUBA, 18 February 2011 – The SPLM Political Bureau Meeting was held in Juba from 12th -16 February, 2011 to discuss the referendum results and congratulate the people of Southern Sudan as well as the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) in conducting a peaceful and successful Referendum in the history of Sudan and Africa. In the meeting, the road map for Southern Sudan was also among the items discussed. The meeting adopted the following recommendations:

1. The new state shall be named the Republic of South Sudan;
2. The currency shall be named the South Sudan Pound;
3. The current GOSS flag, which originally was the SPLM flag, be the flag of the new state.

On security issue, the meeting condemned the criminal acts committed by insurgency groups against innocent civilians in Malakal, outskirts of Bentiu and recent killings at Fangak. The bureau also salutes and pays tribute to the family members and relatives of the fallen martyrs of the SPLA and other organized forces who perished in line of duty defending the civilian populations in the affected areas. The bureau also called on the NCP and SAF to immediately disengage from sponsoring and reinforcing insurgency groups in the South in the interest of peace between the North and South.

Click here for the complete communiqué.

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot

President Kiir meets EU delegation

JUBA, 17 February 2011 - The President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit today met the European Union (EU) delegation led by the EU Special Representative for Sudan Ms. Rosalind Marsden in his office at Presidential Guest House, J-1.

The meeting detailed on the outstanding issues of the CPA and security developments in southern Sudan. The EU Special Representative for Sudan Ms Marsden told the press after the meeting that the main purpose of the EU delegation meeting with President Kiir was to express the strong support of the EU for southern Sudan.

Ms. Marsden said EU welcomes the successful outcome of the referendum and that the EU wants to develop a very close and long term partnership with southern Sudan. She also pointed out that the EU will soon send a large number of technical experts from Brussels to look for possible areas of support among which are the basic services and the security sector.

By Thomas Kenneth

NGOs to support agriculture in Southern Sudan

JUBA, 17 February 2011 – Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Southern Sudan have expressed readiness to support agriculture in the country.

Speaking during a visit to Dr. Anne Itto, the minister for Agriculture, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), yesterday representatives of the NGOs said that they are interested in bolstering food security in the new country through improved agriculture. They decried the current situation where most of the food is imported from the neighbouring countries.

The NGOs suggested that the country should adopt new farming methods and tools to enable the local farmers to produce good qualities and quantities of food for the country and for export. One of the NGOs, International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC) pledged to provide improved seeds to the farmers to ensure high yields.

Similarly, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) promised to support the farmers with skills and other materials to enable them to be self-sufficient. ADRA emphasized that initiatives to improve agricultural production should be executed in time for the rainy season so that the farmers can benefit optimally.

Dr. Itto thanked the NGOs for their support. She underscored the importance of food security and reported that the government is working to enable the farmers to produce at least three tons of food this year so as to reduce the dependence on food aid.

The minister also urged the private sector to join hands with the government and its developmental partners to support food production in the country. She emphasized that agriculture is the backbone of socio-economic development in the country. She said that the need to improve food production is now even more urgent given that Southern Sudan will become an independent country in just a few months.

Education can contribute to sustainable peace in Southern Sudan

JUBA, 16 February 2011 – Education can play a pivotal role in nurturing and sustaining lasting peace in the fragile new states which are emerging from conflict like Southern Sudan, educationists said today in a workshop in Juba.

Participants at the Consultative Workshop on Education and Fragility – Southern Sudan sponsored by the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) were unanimous that a thriving education sector can bolster peace building efforts in a new state.

According to the Mr. Joel Reyes of the World Bank, there exists a significant relationship between education and sustainable peace in any country. He explained that education in Southern Sudan should be enhanced to enable the new country to reap its benefits in peace building. He proposed that Southern Sudan should seek to address issues affecting the quality of and access to education so as to deepen its influence.

Dr. Utem Watba from the Ministry of Education, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) explained that the workshop will enable the ministry to understand where the sector is and how it should move forward especially in light of the expected statehood.

The two-day workshop which is being held at the Juba Grand Hotel aims to provide in-country support in Southern Sudan to local stakeholders to further define education strategies which can mitigate fragility in different domains and to ensure that education contributes to efforts to ensure long-term peace and stability after the referendum.

The workshop will also seek to develop a consensus about how conflict impacts education sector in Southern Sudan; identify key conflict dynamics in Southern Sudan; analyse how education plays a role in key conflict dynamics in Southern Sudan; and to generate ways on how education could address the key conflict dynamics in Southern Sudan by incorporating appropriate strategies in the education sector plan.

The workshop was opened by the GOSS minister for Education, H.E. Dr. Michael Milli Hussein.

Reported by Emmanuel Gai Maker

South Sudan will not share its wealth with the North

JUBA, 16 February 2011 – The new independent state of South Sudan will not share its wealth with the North. Instead, it may give some grants to the North to help it to seal its budget gaps just like any other philanthropic donor.

According to the GOSS minister for Peace Building and CPA Implementation, H.E. Pagan Amum, current wealth sharing arrangements will cease after the declaration of statehood on July 9 this year. He said that discussions are ongoing on the nature of grants the South may extend to the North but asserted that it is in the interest of the South that the North remains stable and viable.

The minister also expressed confidence that the North will not object to the ending of the wealth sharing arrangement. “The reality is that South Sudan will not share its wealth; the North has no choice but to accept that fact”, he said. He also explained that the North will only get what the South chooses to give it under the former’s own terms.

H.E. Amum said that the North has shown willingness to support the new state in terms of capacity building and training. He said that discussions are underway to develop suitable frameworks for this support. He explained that provision of scholarship for South Sudanese students in Northern institutions of learning may be one avenue of such support.

He also explained that the two states will launch their own new currencies. He reported that GOSS is working on its own currency which will be called the Pound. He also said that current currency in circulation in South Sudan will be bought back by the Central Bank of Sudan.

The minister also reported that South Sudan will use new oil mining technology to ensure efficiency and boost production. He said that the technology used at the moment leads to the loss of most of the oil. He also said that the new country will seek different routes to the sea to enable it to export its oil directly. Some of these may include Mombasa and Lamu in Kenya as well as ports in Djibouti and Democratic Republic of Congo. In the meantime, he clarified, that oil will continue to be exported through the North.

The minister made these remarks yesterday when he addressed journalists during the weekly media forum organized by the GOSS Ministry of Information in Juba.


South Sudan will not be a failed state

JUBA, 15 February 2011 – H.E. Pagan Amum, the minister for Peace and CPA Implementation, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) today reiterated that the soon-to-be sovereign South Sudan will not be a failed state. He denounced the prophets of doom peddling this view and asserted that the country will be one of the most peaceful and prosperous societies in the region and beyond.

H.E. Amum cited the prompt conduct of the peaceful referendum as a critical pointer to the fact that South Sudanese and their government mean business. “We are united and confident about what we want and how to get it”, he emphasized. He also appealed to the international community and any other doubtful segments of society not to underrate the resolve of the people of South Sudan for peace.


H.E. Amum and General Lagu at the forum.

He emphasized, however, that the country need not go on holiday after the successful referendum. He explained that like a student, passing one stage implies that the country has now moved up to a higher class and is facing new challenges which it must address.

H.E. Amum also said that the people of South Sudan will defeat the mischievous acts of their enemies. He said some of these acts include support for militia groups which are wrecking havoc in some parts of the country. He reported that GOSS has a clear strategy of dealing with this menace. He said that one of the strategies is healing, inclusion and reconciliation. He explained that those who respond favourably to this olive-branch will be embraced warmly. But he also warned those who are hell-bent to cause chaos in the new country that South Sudan has the means to defend itself and will defeat its enemies.


The Undersecretary and other senior Ministry of Information officers at the forum.

The minister also said that the government is determined to deal with the LRA menace in parts of Western Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal states. He said that this “pain” cannot be tolerated any longer and reported that the government will deal with the matter conclusively.

H.E. Amum also reiterated that the government is keen to enforce the rule of law in the country as a means of facilitating peace and prosperity in its territory. The minister made these remarks when he addressed local and international journalists during the weekly media forum organized by the GOSS ministry of Information. The forum was also attended by the veteran freedom fighter, General (Retired) Joseph Lagu. It was chaired by the Advisor to the Minister of Information, Mr. David Nok Marial. Senior ministry officials led by the Undersecretary Mr. George Garang and Director General for Information, Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak were also in attendance.

This article was updated on Feb 15, 2011

GOSS prioritizes healing and reconciliation

JUBA, 15 February 2011 – The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) is prioritizing the healing and reconciliation of the people of Southern Sudan who have been traumatized by several years of war, subjugation and discrimination, H.E. Pagan Amum, the GOSS minister for Peace and CPA Implementation has said.

Addressing journalists during the weekly media forum hosted by the Ministry of Information, the minister explained that Southern Sudan is emerging “broken” from these many years of turmoil and needs healing to root out the dominant culture of violence.

“We are in a transition moving from the past stage to become free and building a peaceful and prosperous society”, he said. He recounted the history of the liberation struggle and emphasized that the cost of freedom has been very high. “People killed and enslaved throughout the years of resistance are more than ten million”, said he.


H.E. Amum addressing the forum accompanied by the Advisor to the Minister of Information.

He said that the government is working to build peace and heal the society as well as remove the culture of violence. “We need to follow the process of holistic healing”, he said adding that the focus should not just be on the physical infrastructure but more on the human resource.

“For us to be here today in this state is a miracle; we were nearly destroyed”, he said. He appealed to all the people to contribute to this process. He also appealed to the media to use their influence to build peace in the country.

The minister explained that many lives have been lost as a consequence of this trauma even after the peaceful referendum. He cited the murder of the GOSS minister for Cooperatives and Rural Development last week as well as the killing of twenty-two people in Malakal and 197 people in Fangak as some of the incidents triggered by this psychological trauma. He said that the government is doing its best to ensure that such incidents do not occur again. He called on all the people to support this initiative.

This article was updated on Feb 15, 2011

WFP to continue supplying food to educational institutions

JUBA, 15 February 2011 – The World Food Programme (WFP) will continue to supply food items to the educational institutions. Particularly, it will deliver food to Lakes state and Malakal teachers’ training college which is currently facing food shortage.

This was announced by the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. George Justin Achor after a meeting with the head of the WFP and state officials today at the ministry headquarters in Juba.

Mr. Achor said that the meeting also discussed the extension of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the ministry and the WFP which expired on 31 December 2010. He said that the MOU is now ready and will be signed tomorrow.

The Undersecretary assured all the people concerned that food shortage in the educational institutions will now be a matter of the past. He thanked the WFP for its support and cooperation in ensuring that there is adequate food for the students.

In another event yesterday, the ministry received a delegation from UNESCO with which it discussed pertinent issues relating to education in an independent South Sudan. During the meeting, the ministry emphasized that it is committed to providing education opportunity for every child in South Sudan. To achieve this, it will need to construct more classrooms and schools; recruit and train more teachers; harmonize curricula; print adequate learning materials including textbooks; promote alternative education for the people who missed the opportunity earlier in life; and build the capacity of the managers of education systems in the country. UNESCO promised to support select training programmes through short courses and other capacity building processes. A follow-up meeting on this will be held next week.

Reported by Gisma Shaban Suleiman

This article was updated on Feb 15, 2011

North-South border demarcation begins on Sunday

JUBA, 15 February 2011 – The demarcation of the North-South border is set to begin this Sunday, the GOSS minister for Peace and CPA Implementation, H.E. Pagan Amum has said.

H.E. Amum said that the technical committee undertaking this process will table its action plan tomorrow. He also said that only twenty percent of the border is contested. He clarified, however, that all the borders will be mapped out including the contested areas which he said are all in South Sudan.

The minister also announced that a joint team of the SPLM and NCP will meet in Abyei on Friday and report back to the Presidency on a suitable action on the future of the area. He clarified, however, that the position of the SPLM is that the people of Abyei be given an opportunity to decide whether to return to the South or remain part of the North. H.E. Amum also said that the SPLM will continue to engage the NCP to resolve the other pending issues of the CPA.

He also disclosed that the party will split into two with an independent entity for each state. He said that the interim chairman of the party in the North is Malik Agar while Yassir Arman will serve as the secretary general until the party elects a new office. He also said that the party will be registered afresh in the South according to the constitution of the new country. He said the possibility of a change of name of the entity in the south has not been discussed but emphasized that the party will deal with the matter if and when it arises.

This article was updated on Feb 15, 2011

South Sudanese migrants hold independence party in TA Park, Israel

JERUSALEM, 15 February 2011 - Over a hundred south Sudanese migrants held a party in Tel Aviv’s Lewinsky Park on Monday to celebrate the coming independence of South Sudan, set to become Africa’s newest country on July 9.


The party took place in front of a stage set up in the middle of the park, near the local library and police station. The migrants waved Israeli and South Sudanese flags – the latter identical to the flag of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, which fought for decades against the north – and danced to a reggae band. A break-dancer spun in circles on the pavement following a blessing given by a South Sudanese priest reading from the New Testament.


One of the organizers of Monday’s rally, 29-year-old Sunday Chagkouts, told The Jerusalem Post that he and his soon-to-be countrymen were celebrating because “we have been fighting for this for more than 50 years. People are very happy and very confident of what the future will bring for us.”


Decked out in a brilliant, almost blinding white silk suit, Chagkouts, from the Upper Nile state of South Sudan, said he expected that he “and many other Sudanese in Israel and around the world will start going back to help build our country.” He added that there could be violence due to disputes over the demarcation of the border, but he was very optimistic about the country’s future.


Fighting between northern and southern Sudan has gone on for over half a century and turned it into one of the more battle-scarred countries in Africa. The first civil war, from 1955 to 1972, left an estimated half a million people dead, while the second, from 1983 to 2005, cost the lives of anywhere between 2 and 5 million who died from the fighting, disease and war-related famine.


William Akon, 25, from the city of Aweil in Southern Sudan, was beaming throughout the entire celebration Monday because, in his words, “I am very, very happy that this [independence] has happened after a very long time. It’s what we have been longing for and what so many of us have given our lives for.”


In Israel since 2007, Akon related the story of a harrowing journey from country to country since being kidnapped from his family home 17 years ago by a pro-government militia. He said he was able to flee three years later, moved to Khartoum, where he lived for six years, before arriving in Egypt, where he worked for seven years before making his way to Israel.


“I’ve been gone so long that my parents wouldn’t recognize me if they saw me,” he exclaimed. “I plan to go back though, at some point soon, and hopefully my parents will be able to come here as well.”


Akon added that he hoped to study for a degree in Israel, although he couldn’t afford the tuition. He said that he and many other Southern Sudanese hoped their new government would have friendly ties with Israel.


“The North sees Israel as an enemy, but we don’t,” he explained. “We hope that people from South Sudan will be able to come to Israel and have good relations with Israel and the Israeli people.”

By Ben Hartman 

This article was updated on Feb 15, 2011

Foreign diplomats commend the people of South Sudan for peaceful referendum

NAIROBI, 12 February 2011 - The Government of South Sudan Liaison Office to Kenya organized a thanksgiving party for diplomats from Kenya and the region to celebrate the successful completion of last month’s referendum.


The event held at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi brought together diplomats from Sudan, Kenya and South Sudan. Among the dignitaries from the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) were H.E Amb. Michael Majok Ayom, Principal Liaison Officer to Kenya and H.E Telar Deng, Legal Advisor to the president of South Sudan.


Sudanese ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Amb. Bedheredin Abdallah, has congratulated the people of South Sudan for the peaceful and transparent process during the referendum and promised that the North will continue to cooperate with the new State to ensure a peaceful coexistence and build strong diplomatic relationship.


H.E. Telar Deng addresses the event as Amb. Mayom looks on.


GoSS Principal Liaison Officer to Kenya, Amb. Majok Ayom, thanked the international community, in particular IGAD member states and the Kenya Government for their role in mediating and guaranteeing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. He in particular commended the government of Kenya for the roles played by former president, Daniel arap Moi, and the current one Mwai Kibaki.


He also praised the astute leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Omar el Bashir for maintaining the peace accord and initiated peaceful coexistence among the people of Sudan. He reiterated the commitment by Southern leaders to expedite reconstruction and the provision of services to the people of South Sudan.


Former CPA mediator Amb. Daniel Mboya said the new dawn of independence, which provides Southerners the opportunity to determine their destiny and develop as one people.


On his part, Telar Deng, legal advisor to the President Kiir, called upon the people of South Sudan to be focus on development of New State. He said that for the South to have effective leadership, politicians should put the country’s interests above their pursuits for power. “Our people expect more from us, and we can only deliver on those expectations if we unite to address their foremost challenges,” he said.


By Mabior Mayom

This article was updated on Feb 14, 2011

Internal Affairs minister meets top security organs, reviews security situation

JUBA, 14 February 2011 - In a bid to review the security situation in Southern Sudan, the Minister for Internal Affairs Lt. Gen. Gier Chuang Aluong has met with senior officers from the three security organs under his Ministry.


In his keynote address on Thursday, Lt. Gen. Gier called on security organs to immediately review their respective departments to conform to the security status of an independent state rather than an autonomous region within another state. “Southern Sudan is now an independent state as confirmed by results of the just concluded referendum exercise. With these changes, it’s important that the security organs reflect these changes in their activities and programs”, he said.


The Minister also called on security organs to do more to “protect citizens and their property” as a mandate of the security organs. Lt. Gen. Gier also decried “harassment” by security forces against citizens particularly in Juba and other areas across Southern Sudan. However, the Minister added “that some criminals disguised themselves as police officers in order to harass citizens”. He called on the police to bring these criminals to justice.


Lt. Gen. Gier Chuang further said that incidents of criminal activities committed in the name of the police and other security organs are tarnishing the image of security organs among international human rights organisations and the media. “Some of these negative reports really damage the image of security organs and eventually erode the confidence of Southern Sudanese in the police and other organised forces. We need to protect the image of security organs through our actions”, the Minister added.


He further called on the security organs to work together as a team in order to achieve the overall responsibilities of protecting citizens and their property.


The briefing was attended by the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Acuil Tito Madut, the Director General of Prisons Service, Gen. Abel Makoi Wol and Commissioner of Fire Brigade Service, Gen. Aru Maan Chot and other senior officers from the three departments. The Internal Affairs Minister will hold individual meetings with the respective units under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.


By John Agou Wuoi

This article was updated on Feb 14, 2011

Elders laud peaceful referendum

JUBA, 11 February 2011 - The Elders have commended Sudanese leaders for the smooth and orderly conduct of the South’s referendum on self-determination in January, the official results of which were announced this week. The Elders praised the authorities, in particular the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, for overcoming significant logistical challenges to ensure a successful voting process.

Chair of the Elders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, said:
“This referendum was a remarkable expression of hope by the people. I was very moved by their determination to vote; some walked for days to do so.” He added: “Everyone who took part should be praised for ensuring that voters were able to exercise their rights freely. I applaud the people for their peaceful participation and their remarkably high turnout to vote.”

Women's and children's rights activist, Graça Machel, said:
“The people of Southern Sudan voted for secession because they believed that it will lead to a better, more secure future. It is now up to the leaders in the South to manage the immense expectations of the people for better schools, healthcare and infrastructure and greater economic opportunities, especially for women and youth.”

Former US President Jimmy Carter who, along with fellow Elder and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, led The Carter Center's observation mission for the referendum, said:
“While the world will join the people of Southern Sudan in celebrating the birth of Africa’s newest country, we should not turn away from the North where challenges of poverty, conflict and human rights abuses remain of great concern.

“The Elders also want to draw attention to the need to resolve the status of the Abyei area and the popular consultation processes in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.”

Former Algerian foreign minister Lakhdar Brahimi said:
“Sudanese leaders from the North and South have the responsibility to ensure that there is an orderly transition in the coming months. The immediate priority is to resolve post-referendum issues such as on citizenship, security, oil, currency, debts and liabilities.

“The common interest of both North and South is to establish and develop strong, fraternal cooperation at all levels. The rest of the world should help them effectively to achieve that objective.”

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said:
“While they will now go separate ways, North and South Sudan will remain mutually dependent on each other for their prosperity, stability and development.

“Without peace in the North, the South will not be able to address many of its development challenges. At the same time, development in the South is a prerequisite for economic and political stability in the North.

“We thus call on the international community, and particularly the neighbouring countries, to support the efforts of both sides to work together for the benefits of their citizens and the region at large.”

This article was updated on Feb 14, 2011

Internal Affairs Minister orders immediate investigation into minister's death

JUBA, 9 February 2011 - The Minister of Internal Affairs Lt. Gen. Gier Chuang Aluong has said the sudden death of Minister of Cooperatives and Rural Development, Jimmy Lemmi Milla who was shot dead in a cold blood on Wednesday morning in his office “was not politically-motivated but an isolated criminal incident”. He added that the preliminary investigations indicate that the killing of the Minister may have been motivated by “disagreement over private family matter”.


Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Gier also ordered an immediate investigation in to the death of the late Jimmy Lemmi Milla who was shot dead by Emmanuel David Lagu, a former driver and brother-in-law to the late Minister. Both the late Minister and Emmanuel are members of Pajulu ethnic group.


The investigation will be headed by Director of Public Prosecution, Filberto Mayuot Mareng and assisted by Director of Criminal Investigation of Southern Sudan Police Service, Maj. Gen. Ajang Reech Gak and three others. The committee is expected to submit its report to the Minister with immediate effect.


The Internal Affairs Minister added that his ministry with other security organs will immediately beef up security measures to ensure safety of ministers and other VIPS.


Meanwhile, the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit has declared a “three-day mourning period during which the national flag will be flown at half-mast on all buildings and locations starting Thursday 10th February 2011”.

By John Agou Wuoi

This article was updated on Feb 14, 2011

“Minister’s killing not political”, asserts internal affairs minister

JUBA, 9 February 2011 – H.E. Gier Chuang Aluong, the minister for Internal Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) has asserted that the killing of the Cooperatives and Rural Development minister was not a political assassination.

Addressing the press this afternoon in the company of his Information counterpart, H.E Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the minister explained that this was a criminal act whose motivation is not yet established given that the assassin was a former driver of the minister and a relative.


H.E. Gier (right) addresses the media accompanied by H.E. Dr. Marial (left).
[Photo: Matata Safi]

H.E. Gier explained that the assassin broke into the minister’s car in the parking lot, took a gun, went upstairs to the minister’s office and killed his bodyguard before shooting the minister thrice killing him instantly. He explained that the killer had not been suspected because he used to work there and was considered a member of the ministry.

The minister also clarified that the assassin was arrested as he fled and refuted reports that he shot himself. He is now under lawful custody while investigation into the motive of the killing is ongoing. He also explained that the killer attended national services in 1986, way before the CPA.

He called on the people to remain calm as the security agents delve deeper into the matter. He also assured the people that security in the country is under control and that there should not be any cause for alarm.


Madam Awut reading the condolence message from the GOSS President.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

H.E. Dr. Marial reinforced his colleague’s statement and explained that this is an isolated incident which should not be used as a basis of generalization. He explained that security matters are delicate and complex and that even the most protected personalities, including the pope, have been accosted in spite of their elaborate security detail.

Meanwhile, the GOSS President, H.E. General Salva Kiir Mayardit has sent a message of condolence to the bereaved family and the entire country. The President has also declared a three-day mourning period during which the national flag will be flown at half mast on all buildings and locations starting tomorrow, Thursday 10 February 2011. The condolence message was read to the media by H.E. Awut Deng Acuil, the GOSS minister for Labour and Public Service.

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot

This article was updated on Feb 14, 2011

GOSS Cooperatives minister, H.E. Jimmy Lemi Milla is dead

JUBA, 9 February 2011 – The Government of Southern Sudan regrets to announce the death of its minister for Cooperatives and Rural Development, H.E. Jimmy Lemi Milla.


The late H.E. Jimmy Lemi

The late minister was shot dead this morning in his office by a certain Emmanuel David Luga, a member of the Pajulu ethnic group. The killer is a former driver and brother-in-law of the late minister.

The President of the Government of Southern Sudan, H.E. General Salva Kiir Mayardit and the entire GOSS leadership expresses deep sorrow over the assassination. Click here to read the condolence message from President Kiir.

This article was updated on Feb 14, 2011