By Denis Elamu JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
East Africa should be alert to the escalating crises
in South Sudan, which is fueling the influx of refugees and small
arms that could destabilize the region, an expert told Xinhua in an
interview on Sunday.
Jacob Dut Chol, head of political science department at Juba
University, said neighboring countries must brace for spillover of
South Sudan conflict, hence the need for them to back peace building
initiatives in the world’s youngest nation.
“The entire East and Horn of Africa region should be wary of the
spillover effect of South Sudan conflict. Already, refugees are
flocking into these countries and crossborder movement of illicit
arms is at an alltime high,” said Chol.
He regretted that ideological differences among members of the
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has
spearheaded efforts to end conflict in South Sudan, bode ill for
“When you talk about international relations, the regional interests
always vary. You may look at the East African Community (EAC) as
committed to helping support South Sudan, but you may realize that
within those countries there could be one or two that are
sympathetic to the rebels,” he said.
“And you may realize in the greater Horn of Africa that Eritrea and
Ethiopia were not very clear on support for the government. Even
Kenya was not forthcoming in its position,” Chol said.
In the aftermath of the December 2013 conflict, some neighboring
countries with security interest were sucked in the fighting and
reportedly backed different warring factions.
Since July last year, renewed fighting have spread to the once
peaceful Equatorial region and according to the UN refugee agency
UNHCR, the conflict since 2013 has forced 1.5 million South Sudanese
to flee into neighboring countries.
And in late February, the United Nations declared famine in some
parts of the country, especially in Mayendit and Leer counties of
northern Unity state, with already 100,000 people starving and 1
million on the brink of starvation.
Chol added that countries like China and the United States should
continue engaging the warring parties to end the fighting that has
triggered a humanitarian crisis.
“China has come on board to help on mediation ... China will
continue engaging at very high level ensuring that peace must come
through home-grown efforts,” he said.
“U.S. politics might change because they have a new government ...
The old government was Democrat and you might have realized the
sentiment among South Sudanese that the government of Democrats did
not help them especially Barack Obama,” he added.
The scholar however was skeptical on whether the Trump
administration with his America-first policy will consider the South
Sudan conflict a priority.
“It is unfortunate Trump is not coming as an Ideologue Republican.
So you may argue that the Trump government may not necessarily help
South Sudan but it may not patronize South Sudan compared to the
Obama administration,” said Chol.
Hike in work permit fees hampers
humanitarian aid to South Sudan:experts
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudan’s decision to hike permit fees for
foreign workers may hamper humanitarian assistance to millions of
people displaced by conflict and natural disasters in the country,
experts told Xinhua on Saturday.
The world’s youngest republic early this month increased work permit
fees for foreign workers from 100 U.S dollars to 10,000 U.S dollars.
Experts decried exorbitant work permit fees saying that they bode
ill for a country in need of massive humanitarian aid amid
escalating conflicts and severe drought.
The United Nations in late February declared famine in some parts of
the country with some 100,000 people starving in Mayendit and Leer
counties of the northern Unity state due to fighting. And another 1
million people are on the brink of starvation with also 5.5 million
in dire need of food assistance as conflict rages in what the UN
described as man-made catastrophe.
The minister of information Micheal Makuei said the work permit
increase was inevitable and wouldn’t be reversed soon as the country
needs to widen it’s nascent revenue base in face of hyper inflation
nearing 800 percent after the much depended upon oil revenue
declined due to conflict.
“Here in South Sudan, our fees for work permits were the lowest in
the region and we had to conform to what is happening in the
region,” Makuei said in the capital Juba.
Oil production reduced from over 350,000 barrels a day (bpd) to less
than 130,000 bpd.
However, Guiomar Pau Sole, United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesman told Xinhua in
an interview in Juba on Saturday that the new policy would divert
resources meant to address critical needs.
“We are deeply concerned regarding the new circular which, if
applied to humanitarian organizations, could mean that generously
donated taxpayer money is diverted from the delivery of aid to
people in dire need at a particularly critical time,” she said.
She added that “We are engaging with all relevant authorities to
request an exemption from the order for aid agencies.”
Meanwhile, Jacob Dut Chol, lecturer of politics at Juba University
told Xinhua that the work permit increase is both positive and
negative as it would help government monitor humanitarian aid
trickle down in the country.
“It is right if you look at the humanitarian operations and
donations that have come in South Sudan. But for this money it is
little that trickles down to the humanitarian work. You can argue
that about 40 percent trickles down and 60 percent goes back to
humanitarian workers,” he said.
“That means whatever goes to humanitarian work is peanuts, you see
the talk of we need money because millions of South Sudanese are
dying, and yet if you go on ground and ask exactly what people have
gotten from the money it has gone back to those countries,” he
He also said the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are living in
horrible conditions In Jonglei, Unity states and yet millions of U.S
dollars in humanitarian aid have been provided to aid agencies.
“So the government says much of this money goes to humanitarian
workers and it’s better to tax,” he disclosed.
James Alic Garang, lecturer of Economics at Upper Nile University,
told Xinhua that despite work permit in South Sudan having been the
lowest in the region, the increase may discourage international
workers and investors.
“When you raise the fee this high, one discourages international
workers or investors and that might lead to raising less revenue
than expected. Second, the country has just declared famine and
raising fees this high will feed into the external narrative that
the transitional unity government (TGoNU) is not serious about
anything, including social welfare of the people,” he revealed.
He said the work permit increase may have been motivated by the need
to raise revenue to close the budget gap since South Sudan is
He added that there are better ways for government to deter foreign
workers from entering South Sudan, especially those who take up
South Sudan has in the past tried banning foreign workers from
taking up blue collar and casual jobs arguing that majority of its
citizens were unemployed, but the policy was not enforced as it
faced criticism from the region.
“Besides, there are other ways of controlling migrant workers. These
include intense vetting, denying entry to low-skilled labor or those
with criminal records from their country of origins,” he said.
Chol also corroborated Garang when he disclosed that the war-torn
country would lose even the little humanitarian aid trickling on the
ground if the policy was implemented.
“On the other side it is wrong because a small thing (aid) is better
than nothing. If you tax humanitarian workers (10,000 U.S. dollars),
this money will not be paid by individuals but organizations. These
organizations may decide to pull out in the country and the small
aid that has been coming will be turned off and there will be more
deaths,” he said.
Chol added that government should try to get the views of
international organizations, experts, and the region to make a
better policy on work permits.
“It needs a critical review to avoid losing organizations that are
helping the country because entirely South Sudan is depending on
humanitarian organizations,” he said.
Ethiopia continues work to regain
abducted children by South Sudanese tribe
ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) --
Rescue mission to get back abducted children from
Gambella region of Ethiopia by the Murle tribe of South Sudan is
underway by Ethiopian forces, has said Negeri Lencho, Ethiopian
Minister of Government Communication Affairs.
The Minister was speaking to the press conference on Saturday in
Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, where he said six of the recently
abducted children as well as robbed cattle have been returned.
Stating that the tribe from South Sudan has repeatedly attacked
Ethiopians in Gambella region, Negeri said the government of
Ethiopia has opted to resolve the problem sustainably by working
with the South Sudanese government.
“Repeatedly, the Murle tribe of South Sudan have attacked our
citizens in some woredas (district) in Gambella region. The
government opted for resolving this in a sustainable way,” he said.
The government of Ethiopia started working with the South Sudanese
government to change the attitude of the tribe that has carried out
the attack, according to the Minister.
“The government started taking the immediate action; and security
forces, the militia working in the region have taken appropriate
action; now some of the children have been rescued, returned; so
far, six of them. And among the cattle they took away, 185, all of
the cattle have been returned and the security forces are still
taking action. Some of these Murle tribe have been arrested; and
also there were some who (were killed) in this,” he said.
UN peacekeeping chief to visit
UNITED NATIONS South Sudan (Xinhua) --
The UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping
operations, Herve Ladsous, on Friday kicked off his visit to Mali
and South Sudan with his successor, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, who was
appointed to replace Ladsous next month, a UN spokesman told
Ladsous “is travelling today to Mali for a two-day trip,” UN
spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here. “He
is expected to meet with government officials, the UN Mission (MINUSMA)’s
leadership and UN personnel.”
Ladsous, who has been the UN peacekeeping chief for six years, will
then proceed to South Sudan on March 19, where he will engage with
the government and the humanitarian and diplomatic community,
Dujarric said, adding that he is expected to address the press in
Juba, the capital of South Sudan, on March 21.
“The under-secretary-general-designate for peacekeeping operations,
Jean-Pierre Lacroix, is accompanying Mr. Ladsous on both trips,” the
On Feb. 14, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the
appointment of Lacroix, a French diplomat, as
under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations for one year.
Lacroix, 56, will assume the position on April 1, 2017 after Ladsous
steps down. Lacroix is currently director for the United Nations and
International Organizations at the French Ministry of Foreign
China trains South Sudan teachers
BEIJING South Sudan (Xinhua) --
A group of 60 teachers from South Sudan started a
training program in Beijing Friday under the China-South Sudan
education cooperation project.
The teachers are mainly from primary and middle schools, and will be
taught by specialists from UNESCO and Beijing Normal University. The
program includes classroom teaching, discussions and leadership
The education cooperation project’s main sponsor is the Chinese
Ministry of Commerce.
China will train another 200 South Sudan specialists in education
management, course development and information technology.