February, 10, 2016 (JUBA) – The Dinka government of SPLM-Juba is spending millions of dollars on helicopters even after peace was signed. The latest information show that in 2014, Juba buy three (3) MI-24 Helicopters from Russia. In September 2015, the Dinka government also spending $35 millions dollars more on helicopters.
South Sudan government, it said, has three operational Mi-24 helicopters, procured in 2014 at a total cost of nearly $43 million, and was used in military operations against the armed opposition forces, which prolonged the conflict.
“As at mid-September 2015, the Ministry of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs was requesting final payment from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for four additional attack helicopters at a total cost in excess of $35 million and was actively pressing the Ministry for the payment of at least two, and likely three, other contracts for other military materiel and related equipment, totaling some $50 million,” partly reads a section of the report, presented to the world body’s Security Council last month.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and over two million displaced in the 21-months old conflict sparked off by disagreements in South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM).
A report by the African Union Commission of Inquiry into the South Sudan conflict accused both sides involved in the war for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ex-Nigerian leader, Olusegun Obasanjo headed the five-member commission.
According to the UN panel of experts, the armed opposition faction, through the office of its chairman, Riek Machar continuously sought to procure and obtain arms from numerous sources, albeit with comparatively limited success. It also confirmed that the opposition received ammunition, arms and other items like uniforms from the Sudan.
Both President Salva Kiir and the armed opposition leader, the panel said, qualify for sanctions for maintaining command responsibility for their respective forces in the war.
“..[the two] sides have consistently engaged in actions and policies meeting all eight criteria described in the resolution as grounds for the imposition of targeted sanctions”, said the panel, stressing that most acts of violence committed during the war, including the targeting of civilians and violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, were directed by or undertaken with the knowledge of senior individuals at the highest levels of government and within the armed opposition.
WORST HUMANITARIAN SITUATION
Concerns were also expressed on the humanitarian situation in South Sudan’s Unity state, which, the panel stated, reflected the devastating results of the “Government’s systematic attacks against its own citizens in order to deny the opposition a support base, resulting in egregious human rights abuses, including forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and conflict-related sexual violence, massive population displacements, the destruction of livelihoods and food crops and the raiding of cattle”.
It said the security and humanitarian situation in the greater Equatoria region, in particular Western Equatoria State, also deteriorated significantly following initial clashes in May and June 2015, with tens of thousands displaced owing to the violence.
According to the UN panel of experts, the National Security Service (NSS) and the military intelligence within the South Sudanese army (SPLA) have been involved in the arbitrary arrest and detention of individuals suspected of supporting the opposition.
Initially, most of those arrested or detained were Nuer, observed the panel’s report.
“In recent months, however, Equatorians have increasingly become targets as political opposition against the Government has grown in the greater Equatoria region”, it said.
4 MILLION FOOD INSECURE
Meanwhile, aid humanitarian agencies say nearly four million people are facing severe food insecurity, an increase of 80% over a 12-month period. This, it said , was due to obstruction of humanitarian access is also widespread, with parts of Unity, Upper Nile and Western Equatoria States, among others, entirely blocked to humanitarian relief.
Reports also indicate UN personnel in South Sudan face regular attacks, harassment, are detained, intimidated and threatened. Since the adoption of resolution 2206 (2015) on 3 March, the UN panel said, South Sudan government has committed at least 450 violations of the status-of-forces agreement, including assaults against UN personnel and restrictions on the movement of peacekeeping patrols and its other operations.
At least 43 humanitarian worker have reportedly been killed since mid-December 2013.