Tag Archives: peace

In S. Sudan, churches struggle to keep role as trusted peacemakers

Wearing an immaculate white cassock, Catholic Bishop Paride Taban strides through the mud and tents of the Jebel displaced persons camp in South Sudan’s capital Juba on a recent Sunday.

The camp is hardly sacred ground: thousands of ethnic Nuer live here under United Nations peacekeeper protection in fear of Dinka soldiers outside. But Bishop Taban is here to conduct mass anyway.

“The church is to be with the suffering people, wherever in the world,” the 78-year-old bishop says. Read more…

Photo: Catholic Archbishop Bishop Paride Taban leads mass on November 9 in an airplane hangar at the UN’s Jebel displaced person’s camp outside Juba where thousands of ethnic Nuer have taken shelter from the war. By Jason Patinkin

Young men and guns: Why South Sudan’s war flamed so fast and brightly

Rebels sit in the now-emptied hospital in Malakal, South Sudan, in February. Photo by Ilya Gridneff/AP

Juba, South Sudan — Gabriel Mabior left South Sudan’s army for the same reason he joined it: he wanted an education.

Mr. Mabior signed up to be a child soldier in 1987 after being assured that a pledge to fight would give him a seat in school.

But like thousands of other boys, he was quickly yanked out of school and ended up fighting for years for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army against the government of Sudan.

Mabior, now a soft-spoken and thoughtful businessman with a proclivity for button-down shirts, feels proud of his contribution to the liberation struggle that led to South Sudan’s independence in 2011. Freedom allowed him to earn a university degree, he says, which is why he chose to fight in the first place – and achieving a degree was unlikely under the old Sudan regime in Khartoum.

But Mabior, who lives in the capitol Juba, is now frustrated that South Sudanese are fighting again instead of pursuing what he describes as the fruits of liberation and peace, like study and individual growth.

“What are you fighting for?” the former child soldier asks. “This is the time for young people to live. This is the time for peace. This is the time for education.”  Read more…

South Sudan talks resume Monday despite hostilities, recrimination

Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) government soldiers wear UNICEF backpacks as they walk along a road in Mathiang near Bor on January 31, 2014. The armed government troops had stolen the UNICEF supplies intended for schoolchildren.  Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images

In South Sudan, a cease-fire is supposed to be in force. But rebels are openly claiming to still be fighting, while independent satellite images of the torching of rebel leader Riek Machar‘s hometown of Leer confirm that government forces are also engaged in battle.  Read more…

Quick peace eludes S. Sudan leaders, despite Army victories

Women and children stand next to their tented shelters in the grounds of a church where thousands have sought refuge during the recent fighting in Malakal, Upper Nile State, in South Sudan Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/AP

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Nairobi, Kenya

The month-old civil conflict in South Sudan has claimed some 10,000 lives, with major towns razed to the ground and half a million people displaced. Amid the fighting, negotiators have been holding peace talks in neighboring Ethiopia.

In recent days government forces, supported by Ugandan troops, apparently wrested two key towns, Bor and Malakal (both important to the oil industry) from the control of rebels. Yet despite initial hopes, there are signs that a quick peace may be further away, not closer, in the world’s newest nation. One reason is a lack of command and control over an ill-disciplined military that may be reverting to its roots as a militia.  Read more…

Uhuru Kenyatta wins Kenyan election by a narrow margin

Kenyatta supporters celebrate his victory in Nairobi earlier today. Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP
Kenyatta supporters celebrate his victory in Nairobi earlier today. Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP

International criminal court indictee Uhuru Kenyatta was officially declared the winner of Kenya‘s presidential election afternoon, although his rival, Raila Odinga, will not concede defeat and a legal challenge, alleging widespread fraud, is certain.  Read more…

Uhuru Kenyatta poised for victory in Kenyan election

Uhuru Kenyatta's election would pose difficulties for diplomats. Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images
Uhuru Kenyatta’s election would pose difficulties for diplomats. Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

Deputy prime minister, accused of crimes against humanity, looks set to win presidency amid concerns about ballot.  Read more…