By Mabior Philip www.borglobe.com
Juba (Borglobe)...the is in a hot pursuit of the rebel leader George Athor, who is cowardly in hiding, the army spokesperson Kuol Deim Kuol said, in a bid to bring security under control as the independence vote nears.
In a press conference yesterday at the Minister of Information’s regular press forum, Kuol disclosed that the army attacked the infamous rebel hideouts at Payakyak in Jonglei’s Khorfulus County mid this month, killing 39 rebel soldiers. The rebels, however, managed to kill 2 army soldiers in the shoot-out.
“I can tell you, we want to arrest him alive or kill [George Athor]”, he stressed, as he described the military’s might as enough to deter off aggression against the vote. “We are pursuing them and the problem is that the area is becoming swampy”.
George Athor rebelled against the Government of after losing Jonglei state gubernatorial seat in the last April’s general elections, unlawfully claiming that the vote was rigged.
The Undersecretary, Bior Ajang of the Ministry of SPLA Affairs, which is charged with designing the SPLA policies and handling administrative issues, said Athor will be tackled militarily in protecting the referendum.
“Fighting him to either get hold of him or kill him is what can help the people of southern Sudan ”, Bior said during the briefing. “I am opposing the idea of not fighting him to allow people go for the referendum”, he added.
Recently, a white plane was arrested in Falouj in Khorfulus County in Jonglei state, where George Athor is twisting his life in the thick bushes. Athor’s third in command, the former commissioner of Pigi County , was captured in the plane. The plane belonged to . The SPLA said it was the evidence that some circles in the north were arming criminals in the south to disrupt regional peace.
In a related development, Kuol said the army attacked the hideout of Kul Chaar, another leader of rebelling armed men in Unity, killing five of his soldiers and capturing some guns. He is now running towards Heglig north of the state, where they are always accommodated by the SAF, he said.
Gatluak Deng, according to the official military statement, is under treatment in Khartoum , after running from the SPLA for his life on foot, which caused his feet to swell. Duop Gatluak, also leading armed gangs, was wounded by the SPLA and he is now in hiding, according to the army spokesperson. “With unity of the SPLA and security organs, we are tracking down these criminals”, Kuol said.
By Mabior Philip www.borglobe.com
Juba (Borglobe)...at least 16 were confirmed dead, seven wounded, and 3 others went missing in the wake of a fresh disarmament exercise last week in Jonglei’s Akobo County , in which 240 illicit riffles were collected from the civilians.
In a press briefing yesterday at the Minister of Information’s regular forum, the official spokesperson of , Kuol Deim Kuol, said eleven of the deceased were SPLA soldiers and the five were civilians. The missing three are considered dead, he said.
Multiple disarmament exercises have been going on in the state since 2006. The fresh exercise is being conducted at Keikwin, a village between Akobo and Waat in the state, where armed youths fled the area for Ethiopia in protest of the disarmament early this year.
Kuol said the SPLA’s disarming forces, having been resisted in the process, withdrew to Walgak for reinforcement.
Disarmament is equally being carried out in Unity, Warrap, and Lakes states ahead of a sensitive 2011 vote that will split the already volatile Sudan into two.
Despite the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement five years ago, the situation remained tense and volatile in Southern Sudan due to presence of illicit arms at the disposal of the civilians.
According to Community Security and Small Arms Control, at least 1,800 people were killed, 280 wounded and 340 abducted in armed skirmishes last year.
South Sudan , having just emerged from one of the complicated elections in the country, is gearing up for an independence vote slated for January next year.
Analysts warn that the vote may be derailed unless the government of the south comes to its heel to settle armed cattle rustling and rebellions.
LARGE quantities of drugs stolen from public health units are sneaked into Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Yoweri Museveni has disclosed.
The President said new research showed that Government drugs are sold in private shops, while big consignments are sent to the turbulent neighbouring countries for fat sums of money.
He said the racket of thieves, that involves unscrupulous health workers and businessmen, had been taking advantage of the instability in neighbouring countries to do business in medicines meant for Ugandans.
Addressing residents of Kirerema trading centre, Namutumba district in Busoga, Museveni, implored the wanainchi to arrest and take to the Police, or report to the nearest authorities, any person found selling Government drugs. The President is currently touring Busoga region to promote the Prosperity-for-All programme.
“Since you know them, I am giving you authority to arrest and report those involved, so that we deal with them,” he said
Museveni also made an impromptu visit to Nsinze health centre IV in Nsinze sub-county to assess its drug stocks.
Patients at the centre complained that they were not getting adequate treatment due to shortage of medicines.
He cautioned persons who have been stealing drugs to desist from the practice or the long arm of the law would get them.
“A bull that wants to die licks an axe,” he quoted an old-time precautionary adage.
Later, the President visited Sulaiman Muyinda, a commercial farmer in Kirerema III village in Bulange sub-county.
Muyinda grows three acres of pineapples, mangoes, groundnuts and oranges.
The President commended Muyinda for his efforts and promised to get him a pick-up truck to ease his transport.
He also donated sh10m to the 30-member Bukadde Magezi farmers’ group to be used as a revolving fund (New Vision).
JUBA Sudan, Aug 24 (Reuters) - South Sudan plans to bring home 1.5 million displaced southerners from the north in time to vote in an independence referendum in January, according to government documents.
The south is widely expected to choose to split from the north in the poll after a 2005 peace accord ended a two-decade long civil war and gave southerners the right to determine their own future by plebiscite.
The war drove 4 million people from their homes and the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management is targeting 1.5 million southerners in the north they say want to vote at home under a plan dubbed "Come Home to Choose".
"(The southern government) has taken up the challenge to organise the repatriation program for internally displaced persons wherever they may be in the northern states," according to ministry documents seen on Tuesday.
Half the proposed 60 million pound ($25.4 million) price tag is allocated for transport by truck, train, bus and boats traveling up the Nile. The other half is earmarked to cover logistics such as en route feeding and security.
Official voter numbers are not known for the referendum that will decide the future of Africa's largest country. Southerners living outside the semi-autonomous region will be able to vote once they prove their southern origins.
But some southern officials fear displaced voters in camps in the north are at risk of having their votes manipulated -- either by coercion or corruption -- and say they are very keen to install referendum voters in the south before polling day.
Aid agencies, however, are concerned about the impact of returnees on the humanitarian effort in the south.
In one of the poorest corners of the world, tribal conflict and bad harvests have to led to widespread hunger and internal displacement. The United Nations say it has already fed some 4 million southerners in 2010, almost half the region's population.
Plans for the referendum have long been delayed by squabbling between the north and south parties who signed the 2005 accord and voter registration has yet to begin.
The south's ruling party says the plebiscite must take place no later than Jan. 9, 2011.
(Editing by Opheera McDoom and Angus MacSwan)
BBC's World Olympic Dreams travelled with Team GB and Chicago Bulls basketball star Luol Deng as he made an emotional return to Southern Sudan, the place of his birth, for the first time since he was forced to flee 20 years ago.
Footage will be available at bbc.co.uk/2012, with special programmes also available on BBC Radio 4's World Tonight, World News America and BBC World Service from 25 August 2010.
The documentary focuses on Deng (described as one of Barack Obama's favourite sportsmen) as he is reunited with his fellow Southern Sudanese while also covering the plight of a country trying to recover from the ravages of a long and bloody civil war.
It also looks at the forthcoming referendum which will decide whether Southern Sudan chooses independence from the north and becomes Africa's first new country in 20 years – the hopes and fears of the people – as well as interviews with some of the area's political figures.
BBC Sport news correspondent Tim Franks accompanied Deng and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on the trip that took him from the refugee camps of North West Kenya to the very heart of his homeland.
Deng, who was forced to flee the country aged five to Egypt and then Britain, talks about his return to his homeland, the first time since he fled 20 years ago:
"This is what I always say – I'm Sudanese.
I can't get it out of me. I mean, I know I'm gone for 20 years, I was five. But I really feel like I'm going home.
"I've seen both sides of the world. I was a refugee and I had nothing and now I own a lot of money and I'm known. I'm one of the best paid athletes so I mean luck has a lot to do with that."
Deng reacts to the overwhelming reception of the Southern Sudanese people, who sing his name and welcome him home as a hero.
"I want all of you guys to know this: I know today you guys are welcoming me, but I want all you guys to know this and believe it – that you could be here, standing here. I just want you to know that everyone of you guys is capable of being somebody special.
"Maybe you'll be the president of this country and one day you're going to lead us. You're going to lead us and we're going to have a great country."
Deng visits a refugee camp, Kakuma in North West Kenya to talk to those who fled Southern Sudan (including the "Lost Boys") about whether they will return for the referendum.
As it transpired, a number of them have already returned to Southern Sudan only to be sent back by their parents who feel the facilities at the camp are better than those available in their homeland.
"I just thought it was important for me, coming here first to see what it is like. I know UNHCR are doing a great thing in taking refugees from all over but, once you walk in here, it's a different story. And all you can do is think how do you help?
"It's kind of tough to hear. I said it many times, it's luck. These guys really had no choice, these guys had no one to go to. Not only can they not go home, they have nothing in Sudan. And the tough part is they're on their own."
He visits the house in which he was born, where he hid under the bed with his brother as bullets flew across the room as well as the school his Foundation has rebuilt after it was destroyed during the war.
"I'm happy that at least something is started, but you can still see it still needs a lot of things to be done and hopefully we can continue to fund the school and do things slowly."
As his trip comes to an end, Deng reflects on what he has seen and his hopes and fears for the future of his homeland.
"If we become our own country are we ready for these refugees to rush here? When I was in Kakuma and talking to some of those guys what really scared me was a lot of them said: 'If we go home, it's going to be worse than Kakuma.'
"To be honest with you I couldn't tell them to go home right away. I feel like Sudan is a beautiful country, but I don't know if these guys would have it better right now living here or being in Kakuma."
"It means a lot to me. It's a little overwhelming. I know it took 20 years for me to come home, but my whole experience, my whole feeling is so different now. I've never been in a place where I can walk down the street and I actually feel home, I don't feel like a refugee. I'm speaking my language, I'm seeing my own people."
His father Aldo, a former MP, who was imprisoned after Deng fled with his mother and siblings but survived, welcomes his son's return.
"This is for me a comfort. To see your children come home and embrace their countrymen, to see for themselves the problems, you feel proud. It is excellent for us."
Stephen Tut, the editor of Sudan Post Magazine, maintains that war is imminent come the referendum as the clash will begin once again over natural resources.
"Maybe the North will not like the South to go because, to them, the South is the basket bread for the Arab world. The danger is what comes after the referendum, it could be war. The war is imminent come the referendum.
"Until now, the things which were supposed to have been done have not been done. The natural resources that are supposed to be shared between the North and the South are not being shared equally."
Despite the obvious poverty and lack of development, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin (South Sudanese Information Minister) maintains that a lot has been done since when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005.
He also defends spending on defence above other infrastructure developments.
"If you can imagine that this agreement was signed on 9 January 2005 and, from that time up to now, the things that we have done are amazingly surprising to everybody. In these five years we have had to have a new constitution for the whole country, we had to establish government structures, legislature and judicial system.
"Definitely we will be on time. We are running late, but I think we can make it. I think what we have done in five years is, in fact, one thousand times much more that what was done since 1899. Look at this town (Juba) we are in. This place was just a wild place. Today, there is an office where you can sit with a chair and a bit of electricity running. We have done that. When we came in in 2005 we had only 200,000 children going to primary schools. Today we have two million children going to primary schools. Give us our peace and our stability and I think we can do more.
"If you look at our budget in 2005 we had to allocate something like 40 per cent of that money for our army. Not because we are ambitious and want to build some huge army - no. We here have a guerrilla army that we wanted to transform info a modern, small army efficient to do the job it is supposed to do."
The documentary will play out on the following programmes:
Thursday 26 August
Radio 4 – World Tonight, Crossing Continents (repeated on BBC World Service from 2 September)
26 August-2 September
BBC London 2012 website
World News America
10 O'Clock News
World Olympic Dreams, which launched on 27 July 2010, is following 26 individual stories featuring 46 athletes from around the world as they strive to turn their hopes for Olympic success at London 2012 into a reality.
The films that form the project have been collated through the BBC's worldwide reporting network, with correspondents in each of the countries featured providing the relevant footage.
Viewers are given a real insight into each of the athlete's unique stories and very different personal circumstances while they all work towards the same goal of Olympic success: personal training regimes; coaches; diet; family; friends; their likes and dislikes; and the sacrifices they all have to make.
The programme is based on the BBC's London 2012 portal – bbc.co.uk/2012 – where two new films will be uploaded each month. The site also contains features such as Q&As and blogs as well as the athletes personal social media sites, where users will be able to interact with the athletes.
BBC Sport news reporter Matthew Pinsent fronts the series and will be bringing regular updates and reports on each of the 26 stories.
A selection of pictures from the trip are available from bbcpictures.com.
The Associated Press
CAIRO -- Egypt's antiquities department announced Wednesday the discovery of a 3,500-year-old settlement in a desert oasis, showing the existence of vibrant desert trade routes that stretched from the Mediterranean down into Sudan from the early days of the Egyptian civilization.
The settlement at Umm el-Mawagir in Egypt's Kharga Oasis, more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) south of Cairo, has been excavated for the past year by a Yale University expedition, whose initial findings suggest it was an administrative post with massive baking facilities, possibly to feed local troops.
"The amount of bread production was pretty amazing," said John Darnell, head of the expedition, citing discoveries of ovens, bread molds and storerooms at the site, far out of proportion to its size.
"It's probably a good bet they were basically baking enough bread to feed an army, literally," he said.
The site was home to a few thousand inhabitants and also includes remnants of mudbrick buildings, similar to those used for administrative purposes in the Nile Valley to the east, suggesting close contact between the two regions.
The settlement sheds light on ancient Egypt's Second Intermediate Period (1600-1569 B.C.), when the Egyptian pharaohs were trapped between the Hyksos invaders of Asia in the north and a Nubian kingdom in the south. The oases and their trade routes were likely key to the survival of the Egyptian kingdom.
The ancient routes stretched from the Darfur region in Sudan through the oases and the Nile Valley up to the ancient Palestine and Syria, with long caravans of donkeys bringing wines, luxury goods and wealth along with them. It would at least be 1,000 years before the camel made its appearance.
"The oases were large well watered nodes along major Egyptian caravan routes that had traffic coming in from all over the known world," said Darnell, contrasting their importance in antiquity to their relative isolation in modern times.
"2,000 years ago these (oases) were major trade emporia where you would have been passed everyday by caravans bringing in much more exotic material than you could find in Kharga Oasis today," he added.
The discovery is part of Yale University's 18-year Theban Desert Road Survey which seeks to rediscover the old trade routes and ascertain the level of interaction between the peoples of the Nile and the Sahara Desert in ancient times.
Discoveries over the last several years, have increasingly highlighted the importance of the oases in ancient Egypt. Finds such as the "golden mummies" dating from a 1,000 years later discovered in 1999 in Bahariya Oasis indicate these communities' wealth and prosperity.
A 34-year-old Sudanese who lived in Bugibba died tragically at around noon after falling about three storeys while carrying out construction works at a block of flats in Triq San Mikiel, St Julian’s.
An inquiry is being held by duty magistrate Audrey Demicoli (Times of Malta).
23-06-10 Sudan's government is reported to be exploring for oil in the war-torn Darfur region, which, if successful, could halt a threatened renewal of one of Africa's bloodiest civil wars.
The secessionist south is expected to vote for independence in a 2011 referendum, part of a 2005 peace agreement that ended 21 years of war in which an estimated 2 mm people have died. But since most of Sudan's oil fields are in the south, the Arab regime in the north cannot afford to let it do so -- unless Khartoum finds its own oil.
The Paris Web site Africa Energy Intelligence reported that the government was concentrating on two key zones in the northern areas it controls -- Darfur in the west and the Red Sea zone in the east.
Images from the Quickbird Satellite indicate that no strikes have been made. But the eastern drive is headed by the Red Sea Operating Corp., a consortium grouping the state-owned Sudapet, the China National Petroleum Corp., Petronas of Malaysia, Express of Nigeria and two Sudanese firms.
Global Witness, the international watchdog group, reported that images from the Landsat satellite showed a grid pattern of seismic activity by oil companies stretching 315 miles across Darfur's desert in the northwest near the Libyan border that began in September 2009. Other images showed oil exploration camps and large storage depots, the non-governmental organization reported.
Several firms have oil concessions in Darfur, Global Witness said. These include the Great Sahara Petroleum Operating Co., a consortium of Saudi Arabian, Yemeni, Sudanese and Jordanian firms.
Government officials said in January that Khartoum wants oil companies to develop a new oilfield in southern Darfur and is planning to offer the zone to investors.
"Were oil to be discovered, it could actually prod the conflicting parties to come to some kind of agreement so that there would then be a basis for exploiting it, and, we would argue, necessarily sharing it in an equitable way," said Global Witness official Mike Davis.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 that ended 21 years of war between the Muslim Arab-dominated north and south, whose population is largely Christian or animist, is generally seen as a "precedent... for sharing oil as a basis for making peace."
The 2005 pact gave the south a measure of autonomy until the future of the country is determined in the referendum set for January. But Khartoum cannot afford to relinquish the south because that will mean being cut off from the region's oil fields. Khartoum depends on the revenue the region produces.
The south, too, is active on the oil front -- trying to find an alternative route to get its oil to market since the only pipeline there runs northward to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. One option that has gained some traction is a new pipeline southward through Uganda to Kenya's Indian Ocean ports of Lamu or Mombasa.
The Japanese, the second biggest buyer of Sudan's oil after China, has offered to build such a pipeline for $ 1.5 bn. Under the 2005 agreement, the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement agreed that if a majority vote for independence in the referendum, the south will secede so long as at least two-thirds of the registered electorate participates in the poll.
President Omar Beshir warned earlier this month of an "explosive situation" if the south, as expected, chooses independence. The rivalry between north and south has been heating up in recent weeks, with violent clashes reported along the border zones. There have been reports of government troops seeking to take control of some oil wells.
Sudan has oil reserves estimated at the equivalent of 5 bn barrels. It produces around 500,000 bpd, of which 400,000 bpd is exported.
Darfur, an arid desert region in western Sudan, has been devastated since 2003 by a civil war, separate from the north-south conflict. This one is between the government and Darfur tribes who claim Khartoum has neglected the region and is conducting a war of attrition against then.
The United Nations estimates 300,000 people have died and 2.7 mm have been driven from their homes.
By JON GAMBRELL
The Associated Press
LAGOS, Nigeria -- Police believe unknown gunmen killed a Nigerian gang leader accused of helping rig the 2007 election in the nation's oil-rich and violence-wracked southern delta, authorities said Wednesday, though officers have yet to find his body.
Gunmen ambushed Soboma George, leader of the feared Outlaws Gang, on a busy street Tuesday night in the oil town of Port Harcourt, Rivers state police spokeswoman Rita Inoma-Abbey said. Inoma-Abbey said the gunmen fired at George, and killed one woman and wounded another during a running shootout.
However, George himself could not be found after the shooting. Inoma-Abbey said investigators believe either the gunmen or George's own gang members spirited him away after the shooting. Eyewitnesses "are all pointing to him being killed," Inoma-Abbey said.
Late Wednesday, Inoma-Abbey said George's brother confirmed to police that the gangster had died, though his body remained missing.
Armed paramilitary police officers in armored carriers now sit at busy intersections in an attempt to stop the violence from spreading, she said.
But this isn't the first time the oil-rich region plagued by gangs and militant attacks thought George died.
In 2007, investigators believed George died during a gangland war, burned to death inside a building. However, he later emerged alive. Locals say he routinely moves through the city in extravagant armored cars without being stopped by police, even though he escaped prison in 2005 while awaiting trial on a murder charge.
Tuesday's shooting comes as Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, girds itself for a presidential election that could take place as early as January. In Rivers state, gang leaders serve as muscle for politicians in the ruling People's Democratic Party, terrorizing potential voters, stuffing ballot boxes and interfering with vote counting.
Analysts and human rights groups say the gangsters remain on the payroll of the state government, reaping millions of dollars of oil money while the majority of Nigerians earn less than $1 a day. George apparently received the largess of 2007 election money, sparking a gang war between him and militant Ateke Tom.
There also are murky ties between criminal gangs, political profiteers, oil thieves and the militant groups fighting foreign oil companies in the delta since 2006. The region's main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, once issued a statement about George's welfare during the 2007 fighting.
While a motive for the shooting remains unclear, the attack could spark further violence in a city where Royal Dutch Shell PLC and other foreign oil firms have expatriate workers.
In a February 2007 interview with The Associated Press, George himself warned politicians against ignoring gangland fighters.
"If you don't feed a lion, he will be angry," he said.