‘Hunger Catastrophe’ for South Sudan Kids

Beneficiaries waiting in line to collect their ration at a food-distribution taking place at the UNMISS-compound in Malakal, Upper Nile State, South Sudan (May 25, 2014) Photo: Jacob Zocherman/IRIN

The General Court Martial has granted bail to two ministers of the Rwenzururu kingdom who were arrested and detained in connection with the recent attacks on the three districts of Kasese, ailment diagnosis Ntoroko and Bundibugyo.

The released officials include the Rwenzururu Prime Minister, Noah Nzaghale and Murema Yolamu, Native Administration and chairman veterans Rwenzururu.

They appeared before the general court martial seating at Kitumba Kabarole district headquarters on Saturday to answer charges of murder, attempted murder and other offences committed during the Rwenzori attacks on government institutions.

Court presided over by Chairman Maj Gen Levi Karuhanga, heard that the accused persons were directly involved in the recent July 5 attacks in Bundibugyo and Kasese which resulted into death of over 92 people and scores displaced.

The Defence Counsel Capt Ronald Iduli said, according to the constitution of Uganda, the accused deserved bail.

The bail followed an application that was filed by the defense lawyer seeking their release.

The duo and the other suspects will re -appear in court on August 5, 2014, in Kasese where the court martial will seat.

Nzaghale and six of his Ministers were among the suspects, produced before the UPDF General Court Martial in connection with the July 5 attack in Kasese District.

The other Ministers were; Balikurungi Joshua(Security), Murema Yolamu, (Native Administration), Muliro Jackson (Language Development), Mberemu Elisha (Deputy Minister for Security), Katya Aganatya Muhindo, in charge of (Culture) and  Nyakango Thembo Elly,  Minister in charge of Kyatenga Regional affairs.

The public court which sat at Rwenzori Square in Kasese Municipality Tuesday this week, slapped on the ministers and others 12 counts of murder contrary to Section 188 and 189 of the Penal Code Act Cap120, and 4 counts of attemped Murder contrary to Section 204 (a) of the Penal Code Act Cap 120.

Steven Ainganiza 
Two United Nations humanitarian agencies have called for action to stop a potential famine in South Sudan which they said is being allowed to happen, rx just as it occurred in Somalia and the Horn of Africa three years ago.

“The world should not wait for a famine to be announced while children here are dying each and every day, ” said Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “We all have to do more, and quickly, to keep more children alive.”

Mr. Lake and World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin visited with displaced families seeking shelter at a UN base in Malakal, in the Upper Nile state of South Sudan.

The agency heads said they fear a repeat of famines in other parts of the world, where early warnings of extreme hunger and escalating malnutrition went largely unheeded until official famine levels were announced.

“WFP, UNICEF and our partners here on the ground have been working tirelessly to bring assistance,” said Ms. Cousin. “But if we are to rapidly expand our operations and save more lives, then we need more resources, and the international community has to act now.”

Nearly one million children under five years of age in South Sudan will require treatment for acute malnutrition in 2014, according to the UN. In addition, one out of every three people in the country, the equivalent of 3.9 million people, is estimated to be dangerously food insecure.

An estimated 1.5 million people have been uprooted in fighting that started with a political impasse in mid-December 2013 between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.

At a press briefing in Geneva, WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs said that the situation was particularly worrying for displaced people who have not been able to plant crops this year.

If the world fails to provide the help needed right now to accelerate and scale up life-saving food and nutrition efforts, UNICEF estimates that 50,000 children could die from malnutrition in the course of this year.

In addition, the children are at further risk from insufficient health care and access to safe water and sanitation facilities, according to the UN.

Also speaking out about the dire humanitarian situation was the Security Council, which expressed grave concern in a press statement about “the catastrophic food insecurity situation in South Sudan that is now the worst in the world,” as well as deep alarm that the crisis in South Sudan may soon reach the threshold of famine as a result of continued conflict, civilian targeting, and displacement.

The 15-member body urged all UN Member States, who together pledged more than $618 million in new funding for both South Sudan and the region in May at the Humanitarian Pledging Conference in Oslo, to swiftly fulfill those pledges and to increase their commitments.

The Council, in a separate press statement, strongly condemned the series of attacks launched on 20 July by armed youth and opposition forces, and the 23 July attacks by Government of South Sudan forces, as they fight for control of Nassir Town in Upper Nile state.

“The members of the Security Council expressed deep regret at the lack of progress towards peace and reconciliation in South Sudan,” the statement added.

“They reiterated their full support for the mediation efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and urged all parties in South Sudan to immediately cease hostilities in accordance with the signed cessation of hostilities agreements, and to resume comprehensive and inclusive peace talks.”

Pat Larubi/UN News Centre


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