Reports: Women in Sudan
Women - Chapter of A19 Sudan report
NIF Rule - Return to the Harem
Rape in War
Extrajudicial Killings, Torture and Arbitrary Arrest
The Ramadan Martyrs' Families
Women and Law
The Morality Police
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Facing intense international pressure, war-ravaged South Sudan on Sunday agreed to the deployment of a 4,000-member regional protection force approved last month by the United Nations Security Council.
Sunday's decision by President Salva Kiir, who in August rejected more peacekeepers, came a day after the 15-member Security Council visited the capital, Juba, to press senior officials for approval of the new force.
In a joint statement, the Transitional Government of National Unity of South Sudan and members of the United Nations Security Council agreed that humanitarian and security needs of the South Sudanese people must be priority.
South Sudan’s government has committed to permit the free movement of members of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in conformity with its mandate to protect civilians.
“To this end, the Transitional Government of National Unity commits to devising a plan with UNMISS by the end of September 2016 on concrete steps to remove impediments to UNMISS’s ability to implement its mandate, including reviewing procedures related to movement of UNMISS and streamlining bureaucratic processes,” read the statement.
South Sudan government and United Nations members agreed to “work in a fresh spirit of cooperation to advance the interests of the South Sudanese people, particularly their aspirations for justice, liberty, and prosperity.”
The new regional force, designed to protect civilians in the capital, would bolster the more than 12,000 peacekeepers already in the region.
The visiting Security Council envoys on Saturday also toured a U.N. refugee camp in the capital, where tens of thousands of civilians have lived in squalor and fear during nearly three years of fighting between forces loyal to Kiir and rebels trying to drive him from power.
Afterward, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power called the Security Council visit "extremely important...because it's our chance to see the human consequences of the failure of political leaders to bring peace back to their country."
Fighting erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, when government forces loyal to President Kiir began fighting rebels led by the president's former deputy, Riek Machar.
The two sides signed a peace deal in August 2015 that elevated Machar to first vice president. But the shaky accord broke apart in July, when Kiir loyalists and fighters backing Machar fought a four-day battle in Juba that killed at least 300 people and wounded hundreds more -- most of them civilians.
Machar has since fled the country. But analysts say his civilian supporters continue to be targeted, along with what Ambassador Power described Saturday as "a huge surge in sexual violence against women" who leave the crowded Juba refugee camp to gather firewood or other family necessities.
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A "false" Facebook post on South Sudan's First Vice President Riek Machar account caused the death of 272 people following renewed fighting among rival forces.
The country's embassy in Nairobi claimed James Gatdet, an official in the joint administration allegedly told Machar's army - through an update on the account - that he had been detained by President Salva Kiir forces at the palace.
Ambassador Chol Ajongo said it is this information that led the army to respond, causing the fighting in the capital Juba which entered its fifth day on Tuesday.
"On July 8, 2016, the SPLA-IO forces Spokesman James Gatdet, Press Secretary of Dr Riek Machar created and spread rumours that their leader Dr Riek Machar Teny was under arrest," Ajongo said at a press briefing.
"This was false, because Machar was attending a security briefing meeting with President Kiir, Vice President James Wani and other senior government officials at the J1 (presidential palace)," he said.
"Sudan's People Liberation Army In Opposition forces proceeded to attack the government forces at J1 at 4.15 and killed many innocent soldiers," he said.
Ajongo said that after the post was published on Friday, a member of Machar’s troops forced his way into the palace.
But he was denied access leading to a confrontation between the officer and security at the gate, the tiff causing injury of a security officer.
"One of the officers came into the palace and wanted to force his way through the doors to where the meeting was taking place. He was denied access to the building. He then shot the officer and the fighting broke out," the envoy claimed.
The Ambassador said the “falsehood” was spread when Machar was attending a security meeting with Kiir and other top government officials.
Ajongo, who was posted to Kenya in June, said: "President Kiir protected Dr Machar’s life until 11.40pm when he personally arranged for armed security escort to take him back safely to his residence in Jebel Kujor area."
He accused Machar-allied forces of pursuing conflict despite the agreement signed in August 2015 that drafted a power sharing agreement.
"Anti-peace elements within the SPLA-IO have totally disregarded peace and decided a return to war," he said.
He said the SPLA-IO were roaming the streets at night while heavily armed and without clear purpose, and refused to stop at check-points. He also said they shot at vehicles including one of the United States of America Embassy in Juba.
The Ambassador said Juba International Airport reopened on Tuesday and further dismissed calls by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) to send peacekeeping forces to the nation.
"They (Igad) should tell whether the troops will be imposed on us or an invasion on our sovereign country," he said.
On Monday, ministers from the regional bloc held a special summit in Nairobi after which senior official Tedros Adhanom urged all parties to engage in dialogue instead of violence.
He also fronted the possibility of sending Africa Union peacekeeping teams to the clash-torn country, which did not get the chance to celebrate its fifth independence on Saturday.
The renewed fighting started on Friday near State House when former rebel leader Machar Kiir were having a meeting.
The fighting has since led to deaths of 272 people, including civilians and displaced thousands of others.
The Kakuma refugee camp is expected to receive more refugees as Kenya opens its border with South Sudan.
"There are no new arrivals so far. But we are closely monitoring the situation with the Kenya Directorate of Refugee Affairs," said UNHCR-Kenya spokesman Duke Mwancha.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for an arms embargo against South Sudan and appealed to the UN Security Council to target sanctions against those involved in the fighting.
Thousands have been displaced by the standoff in Juba and are sheltering at two UN bases, a World Food Programme compound and other areas.
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