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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
South Sudan parties urged to make peace implementation ‘inclusive’

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan’s peace monitors on Monday called on warring parties to develop effective and inclusive ways to engage local population in the implementation of a revitalized peace agreement.

Augostino Njoroge, deputy chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), urged the National Pre-Transitional Committee to champion the responsibility of uniting the war-affected communities to promote healing and reconciliation in the country.

“It is evident that the huge responsibility bestowed upon you requires the collaboration of regional and international actors. This behooves you to develop an effective and transparent mechanism to bring on board those important partners,” Njoroge said in a statement issued in Juba.

On Sunday, the JMEC inaugurated the first meeting of the National Pre-Transitional Committee in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, to discuss the formation of the next transitional government.

The 10-member committee is required to submit monthly written reports to the chairperson of the Reconstituted JMEC, the parties and other stakeholders.

“Experience has shown that a failure to secure the requisite financing for such crucial institutions can severely undermine and ultimately stall implementation,” said Njoroge.

President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO), agreed to the final peace deal mediated by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African bloc.

South Sudan’s conflict erupted in 2013 after forces loyal to Kiir and his former deputy Machar engaged in combat.

A 2015 peace agreement was violated in July 2016 when rival factions resumed fighting in the capital Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

Millions of South Sudanese civilians have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

World Health Organization official for Africa visits South Sudan

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti begun a four-day official visit to South Sudan on Saturday.

Moeti will hold discussions with South Sudan President Salva Kiir, other senior government officials and stakeholders on matters related to the country’s health agenda, the WHO said in a statement issued in Juba.

During the Oct. 20-23 visit, Moeti will also meet key partners to discuss on how to address the bottlenecks, gaps and opportunities in the health sector and advocate for joint resource mobilization, the statement said.

This is the first visit by the WHO regional director to South Sudan since she was elected in February 2015.

Riek Gai Kok, South Sudan’s health minister, said Moeti’s visit will build on the current momentum to strengthen collaboration with the government and with the international community in supporting the country’s health agenda.

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Aid agency facilitates release of 24 detainees in South Sudan

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday it facilitated the release of 24 people detained in relation to the conflict in South Sudan.

Francois Stamm, head of delegation for the ICRC in South Sudan, said in a statement that the number includes 16 detainees who were released on Friday.

“We offered our services to all sides of the conflict, and confirmed our readiness to act as a neutral facilitator for the release of detainees as requested,” Stamm said in a statement issued in Juba.

He said this week marked the first releases of prisoners supervised by the charity and following the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in which parties to the conflict agreed to free detainees.

He said ICRC’s task in the latest facilitation was to ensure that all detainees were handed over voluntarily and that they had the opportunity to confidentially share their concerns.

Early this month, the government also released 20 political detainees acting on presidential directive, but the main rebel group the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) disclosed that none of these belonged to their group.

SPLA-IO instead urged the government to release some of their key members including Dong Samuel Luak, Aggrey Idro and James Gatdet Dak, the former spokesman of  rebel leader Riek Machar.

The trio were among SPLA-IO members arrested in Nairobi last year and extradited by Kenyan officials to Juba and remain incarcerated at the National Security Services’ blue house.

The charity said it regularly visits detainees in the places where they are being held in order to monitor their conditions and treatment.

South Sudan’s warring leaders recently signed a revitalized agreement to end the conflict that has worsened the poverty in the world’s newest country.

South Sudan’s conflict that is entering its fifth year since it erupted in 2013 after forces loyal to Kiir and his former deputy Machar engaged in combat.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

Millions of South Sudanese civilians have sought refuge in neighboring countries as the conflict rages on despite attempts by international players to end it.

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South Sudan peace monitors see positive progress in peace implementation

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan’s peace monitors said on Friday there has been a positive reduction of fighting across the country since the warring parties signed a revitalized peace deal on Sept. 12.

Thomson Fontaine, deputy chief of staff of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), said they based their evaluation on the body’s monthly report to measure the parties’ commitment to the deal in accordance with the implementation matrix.

“In the evaluation, the report notes some progress in implementing certain pre-transitional tasks as well as outstanding or missed tasks,” Fontaine told Eye Radio in Juba.

He expressed confidence that despite some key pre-transitional period tasks not being met within the specified time frame, both parties are in good faith and that the parties will work together.

“I must say that we have seen a remarkable decline in the level of hostilities and violence across the country,” Fontaine said.

“We will ultimately be in a situation where we see a country that is free of conflict but we are certainly moving in the right direction,” Fontaine said.

President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-opposition (SPLA-IO) last month signed the final peace deal mediated by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

South Sudan’s conflict erupted in 2013 after forces loyal to Kiir and his former deputy Machar engaged in combat.

A 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

Millions of South Sudanese civilians have sought refuge in neighboring countries as the conflict rages on despite attempts by international players to end it.

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South Sudan building first national boxing team for Tokyo Olympics

By Julius Gale JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The South Sudan Boxing Federation (SSBF) has embarked on massive talent search in a bid to build the country’s first national boxing team which is expected to represent the world’s youngest country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The SSBF has partnered with the African Boxers Empowerment Initiative (ABEI) to build the capacity of aspiring boxers in the war-torn country.

SSBF Secretary General Martin Obonyo Hakim told reporters on Thursday that the east African nation would be hosting its first-ever amateur boxing competition from Oct. 26-28 aimed at spotting talented male and female boxers to join the national team.

Hakim said the initiative also seeks to nurture skills of boxers as South Sudan prepares to make its first appearance in the boxing category at the Tokyo summer Games.

“This tournament shall also be taken as the springboard to select our national boxing team that will eventually continue to prepare in training to represent South Sudan in the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020,” Hakim said.

South Sudan became the 206th member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in August 2015.

The world’s youngest nation made its first ever Olympic appearance at the Rio 2016 Games, represented by three athletes.

           

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