JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudan’s apex court has convicted four
Kenyans to nine years imprisonment and acquitted six nationals
in the long-running trial of 16 suspects accused of stealing 14
million U.S. dollars in the president’s office in 2015.
Supreme Court Deputy
Chief Justice Judge John Gatwech Lul delivered the judgment on
Monday after accused lawyers in April appealed the High Court’s
June 2016 ruling which sentenced the four to life imprisonment.
Kenyans had been working for a local IT company owned by South
Sudanese Agou Wuoi, who got sentenced to 14 years in prison
after the court found him guilty of masterminding the theft.
Agou prior to his
conviction had worked in President Salva Kiir’s office and his
company was by then contracted to supply the latter’s office
with stationery services, but later on accused some of his
associates of malice and intrigue after being axed from work.
The court despite
acquitting the six South Sudanese, sentenced other four
nationals including Agou, and demanded they refund about 5
million U.S. dollars in form of compensation for public money
The leading defense
lawyer for the suspects Kiir Chol Deng welcomed the decision for
acquitting the six, but disagreed with the verdict for
sentencing the ten.
“I agree with the
Supreme Court order to acquit the six suspects. I disagree with
the supreme court in its decision to sentence the ten suspects,”
Deng disclosed one
of their options is to apply to the Supreme Court to review its
decision, or go to the constitutional court.
He added he will
also consider going to the East African court of justice or
request president Kiir to pardon the suspects.
government at one time was forced to engage their South Sudanese
counterparts after relatives of the four accused Kenyans,
including human rights groups protested their trial and life
imprisonment sentence initially handed out by the court.
High poverty levels fuel rising
crime in South Sudan
By Denis Elamu JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua)
-- The rising levels of crime
involving armed robbery, house break in and petty theft in South
Sudan’s capital Juba and along major highways is driven by high
levels of poverty and laxity within the law enforcement
agencies, experts said on Sunday.
Since the renewed
clashes in Juba last year, there has been increasing levels of
crime hugely driven by worsening economic crisis amid hyper
inflation, leaving most civil servants, law enforcement agencies
without salaries for the past four months.
Edmund Yakani, the
executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress
Organization (CEPO) which has been monitoring crime, blamed the
worsening economic situation which has led to high prices of
food and social services for the high crime.
“From June 2017 the
incidences of armed robbery during night hours have increased by
5 percent in comparison to the period from December to March.
Breaking into NGOs office by armed robberies has increased from
one incident per month during December 2016 to 2-3 incidences
per month from June 2017,” Yakani said.
He blamed some rogue
officers from the security forces for being accomplices in the
crime wave that has forced some humanitarian organizations to
reconsider operations in certain areas.
“Areas of high
incidences of robberies became areas of low interest for NGOs to
operate in. For example the recent decision of International
Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) for closing operations in Western
Equatoria was due to the killing of their staff (driver) in
Amadi state area of Kotobi,” he said.
spokesman Brigadier Lul Ruai Koang told Xinhua that they were
acting on errant soldiers who have been involved in robberies.
“It is not a new
story. It happened some three weeks back, when a ring of
organized crime was discovered led by a Lt. Colonel. He was
arrested along with his colleagues,” Koang said.
The army spokesman
added that they have since beefed up joint security patrols
involving the police and SPLA around hotspot areas to curb
South Sudan police (SSNP)
spokesman Justine Buolo disclosed that some criminals in army
uniforms have been masquerading as soldiers.
“Robbery cases are
at times complicated, because when you investigate them, you
find that the perpetrators are not registered in the armed
forces,” he said.
Buolo added that on
the contrary the cases of robbery have reduced since August
compared to previous months, though he conceded that they
registered a recent case of armed robbery in Gudele suburb.
professor of comparative politics at Juba University, said that
most civil servants and law enforcement organs such as the
police and organized forces have not received their salaries in
the last five months which has led to laxity in enforcing the
rule of law.
“There is laxity for
(police) them to enforce the rule of law the way they used to do
it five years ago. This indicates that even if there are
criminals in the neighborhood, it is unlikely when you call 999
and police will come and rescue you because they don’t have that
will, energy, motivation and sometimes they don’t have fuel,” he
Chol also revealed
that the prevailing level of crimes are divided into small scale
crimes where young people break side mirrors of cars, and high
level crimes involving use of guns.
“There are no
economic activities in the country and therefore a lot of youth
are not getting jobs and the best way now they feel like to earn
their living is just to steal. So, all these are being factored
in because of poverty, it has reached a very high level in South
Sudan,” Chol explained.
He said that South
Sudanese have lost hope, because the peace agreement that was
signed in 2015 between the warring parties to end more than
three years of conflict is being implemented slowly than
expected and there seems to be no economic recovery.
“A lot of people
have lost their hope and have just gone the way of becoming
criminal to make ends meet,” he said.
At least 25 killed in fresh
clashes in South Sudan
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
Fresh clashes between government forces and
rebels on Monday have killed at least 25 people in northern
South Sudan, officials said Tuesday.
in Northern Liech State Lam Tungwar said rebels aligned to the
country’s former deputy president attacked Nhialdiu town in the
early hours of Monday, leaving at least 25 people dead.
“We lost 19 people
during the fighting in Nhialdiu Payam and an additional six
people died later. Among the dead were three women, six police
officers and an old man,” Tungwar 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 of the country.
A peace pact signed
in Addis Ababa in 2015 under intense international pressure was
shattered again following renewed violence between government
and opposition troops in the capital Juba in July 2016.
The conflict has
since spread to other regions, resulting in the displacement of
at least 3.5 million people, ethnic polarization and tribal
violence that has killed tens of thousands of people.
UN ramps up response to flood
crises in South Sudan
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said it
has teamed up South Sudan’s health ministry and other partners
to scale up emergency response to counties affected by the heavy
rainfall and subsequent flood.
The UN health agency
said Tuesday it has delivered lifesaving medical supplies to the
communities affected in Aweil West and Aweil North Counties of
former Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, and Maban County of former
Upper Nile State.
capacity of partners, increasing human resource and medical
supplies are vital in such acute emergencies since it increases
access to quality health care services to the affected
population,” said Evans Liyosi, WHO Representative to South
WHO will continue to
strengthen its humanitarian support in coordination with the
Ministry of Health and partners to save the lives of the
vulnerable community,” Liyosi said.
WHO said the
lifesaving health supplies will benefit 10,000 people living in
areas deeply affected by the heavy rainfall in parts Northern
Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile States of South Sudan for the next
South Sudan plans major reforms
in mining industry
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudan’s ministry of mining said
Thursday it would embark on sweeping reforms in the mining
industry to ensure sustainable exploitation of natural resources
and enhance environmental protection.
Gabriel Thokuj Deng,
Minister of Mining, said most large and small scale mining
companies operating in the East African nation are not complying
with the laws of the country, as such the government finds it
difficult to control and regulate their activities.
Speaking during a
three-day workshop on extractive industry sustainability in the
capital, Juba, Thokuj said the government seeks to amend the
Mining Act 2012 to enable it have greater control over the
activities of mining companies.
He said the reforms
are important in diversifying the economy of the oil-dependent
nation through harnessing and supporting the extractive
“You (miners) comply
with the laws; you are our brothers and our friend. You don’t
comply, I don’t want to use the word kick out, but you are not
part of us and we will revoke your license. Actually I’m quick
to do this according to the laws,” Thokuj said.
He added that the
current government policy of allocating 2,500 Square kilometers
of land as concession agreement to investors for mining purposes
would be abolished and a new policy that encourages competition
and quality would be developed.
“One of the laws
that is coming will ensure no more 2,500 km2, we will reduce
them so that it is manageable and no chaos. Let us not be driven
again by selfishness and greed,” he added
According to the UN
Environment Program (UNEP), more than 90 percent of South
Sudan’s population depend on natural resources, but the agency
has repeatedly warned that lack national of environmental
legislations and policies threatens the survival of the
country’s abundant natural resources.
Asrad Khan, UNEP
Country Manager in South Sudan, said the extractive industry is
important for development of the war-torn country because it can
help in diversifying the economy if harnessed, but unfortunately
the country’s resources are being threatened by human-induced
He urged the people
to use their resources wisely and sustainably both for the
present and the future.
Khan pledged UNEP’s
commitment to continue to engage with the extractive industry to
help in pollution reduction, leveraging innovation and emerging
technology to support the sector’s contribution to sustainable
development and peace building.
natural resources and environment in South Sudan are
increasingly under pressure as you know that in some parts of
the country, environmental degradation and depletion is taking
place and the country is facing a number of environmental
challenges from pollution of water bodies, pollution of land and
soil, wastes, loss of biodiversity, deforestation and most
importantly climate change,” Khan said.
Ugandan president meets U.S.
envoy over South Sudan crisis
KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) --
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has told the
United States envoy to the UN that he is making efforts to help
end fighting in neighboring South Sudan that has forced over 1.6
million people to flee the country.
to a State House statement issued here on Tuesday, said as a
mediator, he is trying to bring together the warring factions of
the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) together.
“The President said
there was need to unite the various factions of the SPLM and
that he was mediating talks to unite the SPLM as the Ethiopian
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn works on the wider unity of
the other parties,” the State House statement said.
Museveni was meeting
Ambassador Nikki Haley on the sidelines of the ongoing UN
General Assembly in New York.
Since fighting broke
out in South Sudan in December 2013, Uganda hosts more than one
million South Sudan refugees, according to figures by the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The east African
country says it needs more international support to be able to
cater for the increasing number of refugees from South Sudan.
Chinese hospital wins
popularity in conflict-torn South Sudan
By Denis Elamu JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua)
-- Located a stone throw away from
South Sudan’s Juba airport is the China Friendship Hospital, one
of the remaining three medical complexes in operation after the
renewed clash last July.
Many South Sudanese
have chosen to visit the private hospital manned by Chinese
medical experts, South Sudanese and some experienced doctors
from the East African region for both non-communicable diseases
and complex medical cases.
According to Ma Ning,
the director of the hospital, they handle mostly typhoid and
malaria cases, but he also takes pride in having conducted in
September the first eye operation in South Sudan.
He added that during
the violence in 2016, they treated for free many bullet wound
cases involving soldiers and civilians caught up in the fighting
between government troops (SPLA) and rebels allied to former
First Vice President Riek Machar.
“Every month we also
get some emergency cases of people without money which we
treat,” he said of the hospital’s social responsibility plan.
“Every year we
provide consultancy, medical checkup like scanning and
laboratory tests together with treatment at a subsidized price,”
Apart from Chinese
doctors, the hospital also employs South Sudanese medical
practitioners who are not working on fulltime basis, besides an
Eritrean and two Ugandans working full time.
Ma disclosed that
the hospital has increasingly gained the public trust leading to
many people suffering trauma and broken fractures coming to the
“In Juba many
hospitals close early, but we work 24 hours,” he said.
Ning said the
hospital, despite treating financially-stable people working in
humanitarian organizations, oil companies and private companies,
is basically a local hospital serving South Sudanese.
John Ladu, 24, a
resident of Tomping suburb near the hospital, said he is very
happy with the Chinese hospital as it is friendly and not very
Ning said now they
receive patients from as far as Rumbek town in northern Lakes
state and Wau located northwest of the capital.
Ma disclosed that
one of the challenges they face is the scarcity of medicine in
South Sudan, which forces them to import from nearby Uganda.
He also said there
are few eye doctors, orthopedic surgeons in South Sudan and yet
the demand remains high.
The China Friendship
Hospital was built in 2011 after South Sudan gained independence
from Sudan. The first branch located at Tomping area opened in
March 2012 before other branches opened up.
South Sudan is mired
in the ongoing violence since the outbreak in December 2013,
which forced many foreign businesses to close.