Daily Archives: July 14, 2017

UN Considers New Base in ‘Nightmare’ South Sudan Region

YEI, SOUTH SUDAN � The United Nations on Thursday said it is considering putting a peacekeeping base in South Sudan’s troubled Yei region, saying the city has gone through a nightmare in recent months. It would be the first such expansion since civil war began in 2013.

I can see the prosperity that was once here, the peacekeeping mission’s chief, David Shearer, told residents on his first visit. But stories of rape, killings and abductions are common in what has become one of South Sudan’s most volatile cities.

Growing ethnic violence

The U.N. warned of growing ethnic violence there after bodies with bound hands were found late last year. In May, a U.N. report said pro-government forces killed 114 civilians in Yei between July and January, brutally raping girls and women in front of their families.

Three months ago, 37-year-old Suzanne Minala was abducted by rebels on the edge of Yei and held for 30 days. Raped and beaten nightly, the mother of two said she returned home to find four of her relatives had been killed in her garden. She suspects it was government soldiers.

The government doesn’t want to hear about crimes because they kill people, Minala told The Associated Press, rubbing a scar on her wrist where she had been bound.

Since the fighting reached Yei a year ago, 70 percent of the population has fled. Remaining residents say it’s like living in a prison. The city is under government control but surrounded by opposition forces, and both have restricted access to food and aid.

We can’t go out, one community leader, Ali Ecsss, told the AP. Residents said some who go beyond a few miles outside the city never return.

Breadbasket of South Sudan

It is a cruel tragedy of this war that South Sudan’s breadbasket, a region that a year ago could feed millions, has turned into treacherous killing fields, said Joanne Mariner, Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser.

The U.N. said a peacekeeping base will come to Yei only if local movements are unrestricted. At a meeting last week with humanitarian workers, Yei’s governor said he would open the roads. Aid workers and the U.N. have repeatedly noted that despite such promises by government officials, restrictions remain in many parts of the country.

Humanitarians will have to work with the country’s national security service in order to ensure their safety, said Goodwin Ale, a field officer with the interior ministry.

The U.N. has several peacekeeping bases in South Sudan, where tens of thousands have been killed in the civil war. More than 200,000 civilians still shelter in the bases after the U.N. took the unusual decision to open their doors shortly after the conflict began.

Nearly 2 million other people have fled the country, creating the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.

Source: Voice of America

Police arrests suspects during patrols on R24 and R21

Last night, Thursday 13 July 2017, four suspects were arrested in a crime intelligence driven operation as part of an integrated effort to foil follow-home robberies and other crimes in the area of the O R Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) and surrounding clusters.

Last night’s operation was conducted by a multi-disciplinary team from Head Office Crime Intelligence, the Gauteng Provincial Trio Task Team and other stakeholders and they notched up another victory against criminality in the area.

The team received information regarding suspects allegedly involved in the recent spate of robberies.

During patrols on the R24 and R21, a suspicious vehicle was identified and followed at about 20h00. When the members attempted to stop the vehicle the occupants fired on them.

The members returned fire and disabled the vehicle causing it to come to a halt on the R21 North outside the airport just before the Atlas Road off-ramp.

Four suspects were arrested and three unlicensed firearms were recovered. The suspects will appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court soon on charges including attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

The investigations are continuing and there is a possibility that the suspects could be linked to other crimes.

These arrests and seizure of firearms come shortly after three other successes during which three suspects were arrested, five unlicensed firearms recovered and a large consignment of drugs were recovered.

The team’s integrated effort and commitment in arresting the suspects is highly commended. The prevention and investigation of crime in and around the airport remains a priority for this multi-disciplinary team.

The safety and security of passengers and visitors to OR Tambo International Airport and our communities remains of paramount importance to all stakeholders involved, including the SAPS. This multi-disciplinary intervention will continue.

Source: Government of South Africa

President Jacob Zuma calls upon South Africans to use Mandela Day to intensify fight against poverty

Let’s use Mandela Day to intensify fight against poverty

President Jacob Zuma calls upon South Africans to use Mandela Day on 18 July to take forward the fight against poverty.

The Nelson Mandela International Day marked in honour of the world icon and late President Nelson Mandela, will this year observed under the theme #ActionAgainstPoverty.

President Zuma added that the collaboration of various stakeholders to fight and alleviate poverty in the country has been commendable and called on the sectors of society to continue working with Government, in amongst others to fight poverty, inequality and unemployment as to improve the living conditions of especially the poor and the working class in the country.

Too many of our people live in poverty in spite of progress that government is making in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment. As guided by the National Development Plan’s vision for rural revitalisation, inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, we must work together to intensify poverty alleviation programmes and initiatives to ensure that our people receive basic human needs, especially food production to ensure access food. The people of South Africa are also encouraged to be actively involved in various initiatives that would change their lives and uplift their communities out of poverty, said President Zuma.

The President encourages all to promote food gardens for households, support for cooperatives, SMMEs and other initiatives that will help alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life.

Government runs effective poverty alleviation programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), which has since 2014, created more than two million work opportunities towards the attainment of the target of six million work opportunities by the end of March 2019. Of the work opportunities created, more than a million have been taken up by the youth.

During 2015/2016, more than 61 000 work opportunities were created through environmental programmes such as Working for Water, Working for Wetlands, Working on Fire and Working for Ecosystems. More than 60% of the beneficiaries were young people. Other initiatives such as the National Youth Science Corps (NARYSEC); Community Works Programme (CWP), SMME’s support and financing will be intensified to address unemployment.

We believe that South Africans and young people in particular have greater opportunities to change our environment and communities for better, help us grow our economy and contribute each and on their own to the prosperous country that Tata Madiba lived and died for. The youth must be inspired and groomed to be agents of change in fighting for freedom from poverty, inequality and unemployment, said President Zuma.

Government is also now through the social grants reaching close to 17 million people, mainly older persons and children.

In honour of Madiba, South Africans are encouraged to engage in meaningful and constructive community work by dedicating themselves to improve the lives of poor people and uplift the lives of those in need, to build a united and more caring society for a better life. Let us individually and collectively continue to make a difference in addressing the most pressing challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, said President Zuma.

Source: Government of South Africa

JACK MA TO TEAM UP WITH UN AGENCY HEAD TO SPUR YOUNG AFRICANS IN BUSINESS

GENEVA, July 13 (NNN-Xinhua) — Chinese Internet entrepreneur Jack Ma is to team up with the United Nations (UN) trade and development agency head Mukhisa Kituyi in co-hosting meetings in East Africa to promote entrepreneurship and small business among young people.

Ma is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, China’s e-commerce giant. Ma is also special advisor of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for youth entrepreneurship and small businesses.

He will land in Africa for the first time later this month on his new mission, UNCTAD said in a statement on Wednesday.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Kituyi and Ma are to share entrepreneurial insights with African youth and small businesses during a visit to the region between July 19 and 21 that will include stopovers in Kenya and Rwanda.

The UN agency said the goal of the tour was to “empower young African young entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

Ma was appointed UNCTAD special advisor in 2016.

The first meeting will take place at the University of Nairobi where Ma and Kituyi will hold a “conversation” with 500 young business leaders to be followed by a meeting with the local press.

On July 21, they will talk to young people in the Rwandan capital of Kigali before meeting with political leaders.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

UN envoy calls on Security Council to further support fight against terrorism in West Africa, Sahel

Amid rising terrorism and violent extremism in West Africa and the United Nations envoy for the region called on the Security Council to further support national and Regional efforts to combat this “serious threat”, including strengthening the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

The efforts of the region’s States towards broader development, increased investment, improved infrastructure and job creation are being undermined by factors of insecurity both traditional and new, warned Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWAS).

Terrorism and violent extremism, which aggravate humanitarian crises and erode the integrity of the region’s States, have exacerbated traditional threats in West Africa and the Sahel region, which includes Mali, Mauritania, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Nigeria and Niger and Chad.

These factors, combined with climate change, youth bulge and unemployment and unchecked urbanization constitute veritable push factors underpinning the surge in irregular migration and human trafficking, he explained to the Council.

In the Sahel, the envoy continued, instability in Mali continues to spread into north-eastern Burkina Faso and western Niger, as evidenced by the recent deadly attacks in the border areas between these three countries. In the Liptako-Gourma region, which links Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, the past month has been marked by an intensification of terrorist activities and violent extremism, including coordinated cross-border attacks on border crossings.

The leaders of those three countries met in Niamey on 24 January, and announced the formation of a multinational security force. The announcement came in the context of ongoing discussions on the operationalization of the G5 Sahel Joint Force (FC-G5S), an initiative that also includes, in addition to Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, Chad and Mauritania. He called on the Security Council to further support the national and regional initiatives of the Sahel States against violent extremism and terrorism.

Turning to the situation in the Lake Chad Basin, Mr. Chambas said that despite the remarkable efforts of the Multinational Joint Force against Boko Haram, recent attacks demonstrated that the terrorist group remains a serious threat to the region. The mode and sophistication of these attacks, he added, suggest that the terrorist group has benefited from reinforcements.

The attacks, the UNOWAS chief stressed, have devastating humanitarian consequences in the Lake Chad Basin, where 5.2 million people, many of whom are displaced, are in a vulnerable situation.

At the same time, the threats posed by extremists and terrorist groups should not obscure other traditional threats to security in the region, such as the rise of inter-communal tensions in several countries, including clashes between herders and farmers. Also of concern is the intensification of smuggling, cross-border crime and human trafficking in areas where State structures are scarce.

This insecurity, he said, also extends to the Gulf of Guinea, where piracy is increasing.

In view of these threats, he considered that the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel presents an effective multidimensional response to streamline efforts and reduce duplication between the various initiatives in the Sahel.

In that context, Mr. Chambas said he is ready to continue working with the States of the region to strengthen justice, the rule of law, security reform and national reconciliation.

Source: UN News Centre