South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has appointed UN-sanctioned army commander Reuben Malek as new Deputy Defence Minister. President Kiir announced Gen Malek’s appointment on the state television on Monday evening. General Malek was blacklisted by the UN Security Council for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in 2015 under his command in the troubled Upper Nile State.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir has appointed a pre-transitional period committee which is tasked to prepare for the formation of a unity government due for May next year. The committee is expected to start its mandate as soon as it is setup by the President. It is unclear where the committee will be based. The pre-transitional period is mandatory following the recently signed revitalized comprehensive peace agreement between the warring parties.
The United Nations refugee agency on Tuesday awarded the prestigious Nansen Award to a South Sudanese doctor who runs an overcrowded hospital with a dimly-lit surgical theatre and no regular supply of general anaesthesia. Adaha’s Maban hospital in the South Sudanese town of Bunj serves more than 144,000 refugees from Blue Nile state in neighbouring Sudan, UNHCR said.
Years of brutal civil war in South Sudan have left at least 382,000 people dead, according to an estimate in a new US State Department-funded study that far surpasses an earlier figure issued by the United Nations and points to the horrors of an often-overlooked conflict. In March 2016, U.N. officials estimated that the conflict had killed about 50,000 people, and for years, a more accurate death count has been missing as a metric to measure the bloodshed, even as the conflict raged on. Experts say an accurate death toll can be a critical tool for policymakers.
Prominent South Sudanese academic and activist Peter Biar Ajak remains detained at the National Security Service (NSS) headquarters. Ajak, a Harvard educated South Sudanese academic, activist and chairperson of the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum, was arrested by the NSS at Juba International Airport and has since then been denied access to a lawyer. The reason for his arrest remains unknown. Recently, calls for his release have swelled again. On Thursday 27, President Salva Kiir has ordered the release of all PoWs and political detainees, in line with the revitalized peace agreement. It remains to be seen what will happen to Peter Ajak.