Home | News    Wednesday 30 April 2014

Top UN officials meet rebel leader Machar at secret location

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April 29, 2014 (JUBA) – The UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, met with South Sudan’s former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar at an undisclosed location on Tuesday following the recent wave of ethnic violence in the country.

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South Sudanese rebel leader talks to UN officials during a meeting at an undisclosed location on 29 April 2014 (Photo: Isaac Alebe Avoro Lu’ba/UNMISS)

Pillay was accompanied by the UN special envoy for the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng. The pair were tasked with carrying out investigations on behalf of UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon and are also met with president Salva Kiir during the two-day visit.

Pillay confirmed the meeting with Machar following her return to the capital, Juba.

She said discussions during the 35-minute meeting, which took place under a tree in a village, had centred on recent violence in Unity state capital Bentiu in which civilians were reportedly massacred by Machar’s rebel forces after they retook the strategic town from government troops loyal to Kiir.

“[We] gave him the concerns of the secretary-general [Ban Ki-Moon] about protection of civilians,” she said. “We received assurances from him that he himself is investigating human rights violations that occurred in Bentiu and is also concerned about the protection of civilians here.”

The human rights chief said that Machar had conceded he “found it difficult to be in the situation where he is”, also noting that a stack of books in front of Machar during the meeting included one about a failed state.

“I welcome the fact that he is thinking in terms of a political solution to the problem,” she said. “He wants to be assured that the president of South Sudan will keep to his word and then they could resume the cessation of hostilities agreement,” she added.

ETHNIC ATTACKS

Dieng, who also accompanied Pillay to meet displaced people at the UNMISS base in the Jonglei state capital Bor, said it was extremely shocking to see how traumatised most of them were.

Dozens of civilians died after the base was attacked by an armed pro-government mob, reportedly angered by celebrations inside marking the fall of Bentiu.

More than 200 civilians were reportedly killed and over 400 wounded at a local mosque after Machar-aligned rebels took control of Bentiu from government forces last week.

The UN claims that rebels deliberately targeted civilians, who had taken shelter at the mosque, based on their ethnicity and nationality.

It has also alleged hate messages were broadcast on the radio after the town’s capture inciting violence and rape.

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UN special envoy for the prevention of genocide Adama Dieng (L) and UN high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay at a meeting with South Sudan’s former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar on 29 April 2014 (Photo: Isaac Alebe Avoro Lu’ba/UNMISS)

The latest wave of violence reflects an increasing ethnic dimension to the conflict, pitting members of Kiir’s Dinka tribe against those of Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.

MACHAR WARNED

Dieng said Machar had been warned of the consequences of human rights abuses by his troops in the field.

“We did drew the attention of Dr Machar that we hope that he will really call to order his commanders in the field, those who are overseeing attacks,” he said. “We made it very clear that it is important to remember that in most of the armed conflict in Africa those who did not listen to the call to cease hostilities to bring peace ended before the courts.”

Dieng said his comments referenced the threat of prosecution in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and that he had specifically cited the cases of former Liberian former president Charles Taylor and Sierra Leonean warlord Foday Sankoh during the discussions.

“I mentioned to him that accountability be addressed,” said Dieng. “He did mention that he is investigating his own people, but at the end of the day what is critical is that the hostilities have to be ceased and that both leaders come together so that the people of … South Sudan won’t be betrayed,” he added.

Dieng said the UN Mission in South Sudan’s (UNMISS) decision to open its gates to civilians seeking protection was a first in its history and had been pivotal in preventing South Sudan suffering a repeat of the Rwandan genocide which occurred 20 years ago.

Pillay and Dieng arrived in Juba on Monday amid growing international concern about a wave of atrocities committed by both rebels and government forces since political tensions between Kiir and Machar erupted in Violence in mid-December.

The high level visit coincides with the resumption of peace talks between the warring parties in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Progress has so far been slow, with a ceasefire agreement signed on 23 January failing to stem the violence.

The violence, which has also stoked ethnic tensions in the country, has killed thousands of people and more displaced more than a million, many of whom have taken refuge at UNMISS bases or fled to neighbouring countries.

CALLS FOR ONE MONTH OF CALM

Meanwhile, Toby Lanzer, who heads UN humanitarian efforts in South Sudan, has called on all parties to the conflict to observe a month of tranquillity this May to ensure a safe environment for civilians.

Speaking on behalf of Lanzer at a press briefing in New York on Tuesday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said a ceasefire “would enable people to be safer and move freely, without fear of violence” while carrying out their daily activities, including cultivating crops and tending their livestock.

It would also help guarantee a safe passage for those wishing to travel to other countries.

“Lanzer also said that while the only way to reverse this crisis and its grave humanitarian consequences is to find a political resolution to the conflict, he added that one month of tranquillity this May is a tangible step that will have an immediate impact on the lives of millions of people,” said Dujarric.

The more than four-month-old conflict has put 7 million people at risk of food insecurity across the country, the world body says.

(ST)

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  • 30 April 11:56, by Bentiu son

    The UN high commissioner for human rights,Navi Pillay,the UN special envoy for the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng and UN secretary General Ban Ki-Moon should notice that Nuer tribe are not escape-goat for world to conspiracy or lobbying against them.How comes,UNMISS,UN General Assemble,UNSC,n Human Right Watch keep silence whenever Juba brutal regime massacred Nuer in South Sudan,

    repondre message

    • 30 April 12:06, by Bentiu son

      On 16-19/12/13 about 17,613 innocent Nuer were brutally massacred by painful regime of Salva Kiir in Juba at mid of all diplomacy missions,UN personals and Human rights watch activists.Moreover,on 17/4/2014,about 150 Nuer civilians under UNMISS protection got killed and 273 wounded in Bor. Furthermore,on 23/4/14 about 300 Nuer civilians were cowardly killed in Gerger by Government soldiers/SPLA

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      • 30 April 12:17, by Bentiu son

        while coincidentally about 220 Nuer boys/girls who were in Training Center at Mapel were massacred by Salva Kiir militias mercilessly.All those atrocities were done by Salva Kiir’s Dinka militias and their hired mercenaries UPDF of Uganda,M23 of Congo,JEM/SLM of Darfur rebels,SPLA-N n SRF of South Blue Nile and South Khordofan States’rebels funded by Salva Kiir against entire Nuer Society.

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        • 30 April 12:31, by Bentiu son

          I do wonder,why UNSC,UNMISS,Human Right Watch making more noises when those Darfurian rebels got killed in combat action by rebels while they are wrongly meddling into our own affairs by sided with Slava Kiir’s militias/SPLA against freedom fighters or SPLA in Opposition under populist Dr Machar Teny.If anyone of them got killed,then a blame must go to Salva Kiir n Museveni who hired them as

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          • 30 April 12:41, by Bentiu son

            vision-less,mission less,and valueless mercenaries whom left their courses of struggle in Sudan and Congo to fight for money against South Sudanese rebels led by Dr Machar.Well, let investigation takes it course about those 200 Darfurians whom were murdered the day before by fled SPLA soldiers of Salva Kiir as to blame it to rebels who fought for their rights of democracy,good governance,federalis

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            • 30 April 18:17, by Toney Toney Matot

              Bentiu Dog,
              the tribal war you had been advocating for will turn as an ugly one should the Dinka responded as you wish. Dinka have been ignoring your intended war towards them with assumption that it is misunderstanding among the leaders but not Nuer and Dinka. it is very clear that the war Nuer is fighting was meant for Dinka.

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            • 1 May 09:20, by mathem jech amer

              Bentiu son
              What about 860 Nuer malitias killed during their attack on Renk, is it not a war crime?

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      • 30 April 12:58, by Zeki

        Bentiu Son
        You are too confused, those killed in Juba where not Nuer alone it was all tribes including foreigners that were leave in Juba City, it was not massacre they were killed by cross fire went fighting erupted in residential areas.
        TELLING LIES WILL NOT HELP YOU, YAA BILIT.

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        • 30 April 13:36, by Letigolight

          ZEKI,
          You need to know that the primary responsibility for the protection of civilians lies with the government; And to conclude that people in Juba only died from cross fire is to deny genocide already committed by the Kiir government at Gudele, Bor Un camp and recently in Mapel;
          You are advised, denial of attrocities committed by the government can only fuel vengence one day; I AM EQUATORIAN

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  • 30 April 12:47, by Zeki

    My thank goes to Adam Dieng for his seriousness in this matters, Riek Machar need good lesson from ICC/HUGE.
    That is good move mrs Pillay/Adam keep it up hold Riek accountable, government forces didn’t killed any civilians I am sure because I witness during all these crisis.

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  • 30 April 13:17, by Majongdit

    I am happy with UN and International efforts for peace and genocide prevention in South Sudan. The problem is not Nuer, but the greedy leader Riek Machar. Riek has a whole stack of books in front of him when he has none in heart. And still, he cannot win this war. The Dinka have controlled themselves since the beginning of the conflict. The Nuer have had their phase, and Dinka May likely respond.

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  • 30 April 14:38, by Akot Deng

    its time wasting for so caall Dr.Riek to regretted the imposed situation on him does it mean that fightinng , fighting is the last option, why not to look for other means to preserve his ruptation instead of commiting succided which has been encourage by careless individuals.

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  • 30 April 15:04, by philipdit wol

    I hope with this bondle of Book Riek Machar should not run mad, becuase there is no time for him to arrange operation system and Reading of the Book at the same time.

    repondre message

  • 30 April 15:49, by hellonearth

    (Tick-Yual-Kath) That is Kiir Salva will be killed by rebels after the achievement of the
    independence from the Sudan. "Prophet earlier prophesied that
    withdrawal of the South Sudan from the rest of Sudan will not bring permanent peace and security into the region”.

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    • 1 May 07:09, by Frak Cho

      Dr. Riek Machar, with all the education he obtained got nothing to do with human dignity. My first time to hear Dr.Riek got sense of regret after this UN human right visit. Dr.Riek should understand that Dinkas wherever they are, have not responded to Dr. Riek’s Nuer-men drummers of ethnic war demand.Riek Machar knows this!!

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