JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, said on Tuesday
three of its subcontractors have been detained by military
authorities in Pagak, the headquarters of the rebel group SPLA-IO
led by South Sudan’s former first vice president Riek Machar.
Timothy James Irwin,
UNICEF Spokesman in South Sudan said the three individuals
working for Montrose, an organization contracted by UNICEF to
carry out education surveys in Mathhing, near the border with
Ethiopia fled the area on July 6 along with other humanitarian
actors, and were detained in Pagak upon arrival.
the release of the three UNICEF subcontractors who were detained
by military authorities in Pagak on Thursday July 6 are ongoing.
Together with partners, UNICEF is seeking to establish the exact
location of the contractors, their state of health and to secure
their freedom,” Irwin said.
Last week, fresh
clashes erupted between government- backed troops and SPLA-IO
fighters in the rebel stronghold despite declaration of a
unilateral ceasefire by the country’s leader.
The latest violence
forced humanitarian organizations operating in the area to
evacuate 25 aid workers.
UNICEF appealed for
the release of the individuals who it said were working to
improve the lives of children in South Sudan.
Agel Machar, a
spokesman for the SPLA-IO splinter group under the current first
Vice president Taban Deng Gai blamed the pro-Riek forces for
abducting the aid workers, denying allegations that its forces
broke the ceasefire by attacking the rebels.
Lam Paul Gabriel,
deputy spokesman of SPLA-IO denied detaining the three aid
workers, arguing that the abduction is done by pro-government
troops with intention of tarnishing their image.
“We have been
protecting all aid workers who have been in Pagak for all these
years. So how can we abduct people helping our own civilians?
These accusations are not true,” Gabriel told Xinhua by phone.
South Sudan has been
embroiled in more than three years of conflict that has taken a
devastating toll on the people.
According to the UN,
South Sudan has become a hostile environment for aid workers to
operate with at least 79 aid workers killed since the civil war
began in 2013.
In March, gunmen
killed six aid workers on a road linking the capital, Juba to
the Eastern state of Boma.
Humanitarian Law, intentional attacks against humanitarian
relief personnel may constitute war crimes.
South Sudan seeks help to
tackle armyworm invasion
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudan on Thursday appealed to UN
agencies and development partners to offer technical and
financial support to assist in combating an outbreak of fall
armyworms which is spreading rapidly across the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security told journalists in
Juba that the crop-eating pest has already affected 166,000
hectares of farm land, 500 of which were destroyed completely.
Adingo said the
government initially provided 588,000 U.S. dollars to purchase
pesticides, warning that the fund will not be enough to roll out
a nationwide armyworms control program to contain the outbreak.
He said additional
financial and technical support is required from UN agencies and
development partners to enable the government to strengthen
control and surveillance of the pest.
“If this outbreak
continues to spread into the northern parts of the country where
large scale agriculture is taking place now, we are afraid there
will be a very big destruction to us because this will increase
the threat of food insecurity,” Adingo said.
The war-torn country
last month declared an outbreak of armyworms in the southeastern
parts of the country, but the worms have now spread into the
bread basket region of Equatoria and parts of Barh El Gazel.
“The ministry of
agriculture and food security is appealing to development
partners such as FAO, UNDP, WFP and others to commit both
technical and financial support for us to carry out this noble
task,” he added.
The fall armyworm
has devastated many countries in Southern and Eastern Africa.
According to the
Food and Agriculture Organization, the fall armyworm can cause
extensive crop losses of up to 73 percent depending on existing
conditions and is difficult to control with a single type of
pesticide, especially when it has reached an advanced larval
The outbreak poses
another threat of food insecurity after a UN-backed report
released last month said famine has eased in the war-torn East
African country after massive humanitarian response , but warned
that the number of food insecure people remains worrying.
The Integrated Food
Security Phase Classification update by the government, the FAO,
UN Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme, said the food
situation remains dire as the number of people struggling to get
food increased from 4.9 million in February to 6 million, the
highest level of food insecurity ever experienced in South
“We import food from
outside because few people this year are able to cultivate. So
this outbreak of armyworms will cause more problems unless
something is done to stop it,” said Gorge Tadu, team leader of
South Sudan’s emergency fall armyworm control program.
South Sudan urges unifying
victory over Uganda in football qualifier
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
South Sudan is hoping to beat Uganda in Friday’s
African Nations Championship (CHAN) football qualifiers in Juba
in a bid to unify the war-torn country, the head of football
association said Thursday.
Michael, the newly elected head of the South Sudan Football
Association (SSFA), urged South Sudanese to rally behind the
bright stars as they face Uganda cranes before the return leg in
Kampala on July 22.
“The citizens should
come closer to football and use it as a tool to reconcile
especially the youth. We need peace and harmony to improve
football in the country,” he said.
Amin disclosed that
their players were already in good mood in the camp and have
mustered the strategy from the technical staff.
“We are ready for
the match, we visited the players today and they really showed a
lot of morale. The Bright Stars will win the game tomorrow,” he
The CHAN was
initiated by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) which
allows only players in domestic leagues to participate.
The recent power
wrangles within the SSFA had threatened to halt football
development in South Sudan until fresh elections were ordered
this year after FIFA and CAF intervention.