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May 2015 - Posts

Endorsement of AKol Aguek Ngong for Bor County presidency

BY: Gabrial Pager Ajang

I do not in any way want to inject politics into Bor County Community elections (USA) but I will be remiss if I don’t make a statement or an endorsement.  The three sister Counties have been built upon relations not politics. And it is through mutual and exclusive relations set forth by subsequent and current leaders that compelled me to make this statement. Our collective history indicates that we have never engaged in pettiness and divisive politics. We do not put each other down but we build one another up. Famine and war disasters have hit our counties and we withstood them. At time of famine in late 1960s, our paramount chief Ajang Duot said that girls will be given free; there would be no dowry payment. We have never injected toxic politics into three sisters’ counties. I personally ask members to rise above hatred and build healthier community. Development of South Sudan starts in counties. A more developed Bor County would mean a peaceful and prosperous Twic East, Duk, Awelrial, and Mandari counties. And this would mean a more peaceful and stable South Sudan. Stability begins with well-developed infrastructures, build hospital-clinic and schools in 79 counties not Juba.

Therefore, in this campaign for Bor County presidency, I personally thank, the incumbent, Mr. Mabior Achiek Chaw for his commendable leadership in the past years. I do think it is an immense respect to you from the members to honor you with such job.  I also thank and recognize, Mr. Michael Ayuen Agook for expressing his willingness to lead Bor County community in the United States. I do have nothing but respect for all of you.

However, the challenges and demands of this time warrant merited skills of leadership. Bor Town has been reduced to ashes and evident of these are scattered across the county.  With these dire situations of Bor County, I endorse Akol Aguke Ngong for Bor County Community presidency in the United States.  He possess expertise that would allow him to explore and pioneer new avenues for Bor Community reconstructions, development and advancement, and builds better relationship with neighboring counties such as mandari, Awelrials, GPAA (Pibor) and three sister counties.

Akol holds master degree in Public Administration from HARVAD UNIVERSITY, Kennedy School of government and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont. He is currently working as Assistant Director of Admission at the University of Vermont. I want to stress that it is another thing to graduate from the University with higher degree but it is more dignified for the same University to trust you and accepted you as director of their students. The University of Vermont trusted Akol and placed him on its Honorary List. Now, at the University of Vermont students coming from all walks of life apply for Akol Aguek Ngong Scholarships. I do and ask supporters of Mabior and Ayuen to reconsider their positions in this campaign and vote for Akol.

I do think a man with such expertise and experiences can be permitted to lead this great community of an endearing legacy. I do believe that Akol have been prepared and formidable candidate for this job. He will rally University of Vermont and Harvard University communities, and American friends to build and develop Bor County. I have worked with him on classified and non-classified documents. And in the course of tasks, he had demonstrated leadership in the following manners:

He appreciates the need to assume the role of leadership with respect to that responsibility; 

He sticks to a task and see it through regardless of difficulties encountered;

He ability to reach logical conclusions and make high quality decisions based on available information; skill in identifying educational needs and setting priorities; ability to evaluate critically programs and issues.

He had an ability to perform under pressure and during opposition; ability to think on one's feet;

He does have a clear vision about progression of own life and career, as well as where the organization should go;

He had an ability to motivate others; the capacity to move people to action, to communicate persuasively, to strengthen confidence of others, to change behaviors;

He had a well-established value system which has been tested in various ways in the past

Finally, I do acknowledge that we have professionally disagreed in numbers of issues and agree over other issues and still endorse him today. Hence you do need to like him to vote for him.  You do not need to like his programs to vote for him either. The tasks of this time require his leadership. The challenges of this time require his tools and skills that he acquires from the finest Universities in the United States to lead Bor County Community. The ruin city warrants his experiences. I ask members from the Midwest and across this nation to vote for Akol Aguek Ngong on May 23rd-24th 2 2015, Des Moines, Iowa.  I will ask my own Mother Abanydit, (Abany Kucha Tiir) who recently came from Australia to vote for him, ONLY, if the electoral commission allows her to vote in this election.

U.S. Condemns Violence in Sudan "Statement"

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

Press Statement

Jeff Rathke
Acting Deputy Department SpokespersonOffice of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 8, 2015

The United States is gravely concerned about the continuing fighting in Sudan’s Darfur region and Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Actions by the Sudanese government and armed opposition groups, especially following the return of some elements of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), have displaced countless civilians this year and exacerbated an already serious humanitarian crisis.

We urge the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), all other armed groups, and the Government of Sudan to cease hostilities, to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular with regard to the protection of civilians, and to ensure safe, timely, and unhindered access for aid organizations as called for by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

A political solution is essential to attaining sustainable peace in Sudan. We urge Sudanese government and opposition leaders to take the bold steps needed to secure peace for all Sudanese. Years of fighting have made clear that there is no military solution to the conflicts in Sudan.

We condemn the recent attacks against the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) peacekeepers in Kass, South Darfur state. The UNSC has made clear that UNAMID is authorized to defend itself against attacks, as occurred in this incident. We call on the Government of Sudan to bring the perpetrators of such violence to account and to take all necessary action to prevent future attacks. The Government of Sudan has the responsibility to defuse tensions in the area and prevent future attacks on UNAMID personnel.

South Sudan refugees search for missing loved ones

By: Emmanuel Igunza

"Maybe one day when there is peace in South Sudan, I will finally see my brother again," says David Dak Chak.

Towards the end of 2013 he was offered a job as a Red Cross worker, but fighting broke out just a few weeks later and, with his brother, he had to flee from the volatile town of Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state.

But they got separated and that was the last time he saw his younger brother.

Mr Dak Chak moved to neighbouring Jonglei state with his mother not sure of the whereabouts of his brother.

"I was almost giving up on everything, and then in January I heard that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team was here in Old Fangak, I went there and introduced myself.

"As I was waiting, they handed me a photograph album, and I just couldn't believe it when I saw my brother's picture in it."

As he recounts the story, he is clearly emotional and did a joyful jump at the memory.

It turned out that his brother had fled to neighbouring Ethiopia, and was living in a refugee camp just across the border.

Mr Dak Chak wrote to his brother in January and when I visited Old Fangak, the ICRC had good news for him: His brother had replied.

The ICRC then arranged a phone call and the two brothers spoke for the first time in more than a year.

Mr Dak Chak was happy to learn that his brother was continuing with his secondary school education.

The photograph album where he had spotted his brother is a collection of pictures of people seeking to be reunited with their families.

It has been nicknamed the refugee Facebook and copies of it are in circulation in refugee camps inside South Sudan and in neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

The same day that Mr Dak Chak spoke to his brother on the phone, 15 other people also discovered the whereabouts of their loved ones.

Nyangai Keek Gulong Gatyang was among the first people to arrive at the ICRC centre in Old Fangak to view the book.

After scouring the pages, the mother of six could not hide her joy after recognising her husband.

They had been separated since December 2013, when her husband travelled from Malakal to the capital, Juba. He was not able to return as fighting broke out and he had to find refuge in the UN camp in the city.

"I never lost hope but right now I don't know even know what I can tell him when I see him again," she tells me.

"Life has been very difficult supporting six children on my own. But just knowing that he is alive gives me so much happiness and hope of living again."

The ICRC says at least 90,000 people have benefitted from the programme in getting in contact with missing relatives.

The service has moved online for those living in the diaspora.

"The web page will allow South Sudanese people living abroad in places like the US, UK, Australia, Canada and France to look for relatives displaced by the violence," says the ICRC's Marc Studer, who is heading the project.

But the harsh reality is many more will never find out what happened to their loved ones.

Last year, the International Crisis Group estimated that the number of those killed in the fighting could be around 50, 000 but warned that the figure could be much higher.

Much of northern South Sudan has remained inaccessible during the conflict and this has made it very difficult to count the number of dead.

Some local NGOs, like Naming the Dead, are trying to compile a list of those killed, so that people are not forgotten.

The conflict in South Sudan began in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir announced that he had overcome an attempted coup.

Over the next few days, a large number of civilians from the Nuer ethnic group of former Vice-President Riek Machar were killed in Juba.

Nuer military units deserted and rallied to a new rebel army - led by Mr Machar.

They, in turn, carried out massacres of civilians in Bor, Bentiu and Malakal.

Despite a number of efforts to secure a peace deal, the conflict has still not ended and last month there was a flare-up in the fighting.

There will no doubt be more stories of separation in the future and not all of them will end with a happy reunion.