SUDAN WATCH: MSF responds to violence in Bentiu, Unity State, S. Sudan (Update 1)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MSF responds to violence in Bentiu, Unity State, S. Sudan (Update 1)

MSF in place to respond to violence in Bentiu, Southern Sudan
From MSF (Doctors Without Borders) Monday, 26 April 2010:
On Saturday morning, following an appeal from the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Bentiu, Unity State, Southern Sudan, the international medical organisation Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) mobilised a medical team to evacuate three patients suffering from gunshot wounds. The patients were severely wounded during protests in Bentiu which occurred on Friday, following local radio announcements of the winner of the governorship race in Unity State.

The patients were stabilised by MoH staff in Bentiu hospital before being transferred to MSF medics who evacuated them by plane to the MSF run surgical hospital in Leer, Unity State, 110 km south of Bentiu. In Leer hospital a surgical team, which was on standby, received and operated on the patients for their life threatening conditions.

“Our surgical teams have been on standby in Southern Sudan for eventualities such as these.” said Ross Duffy, MSF head of mission, “It was fortunate for these patients that we had a plane in the vicinity and were able to respond quickly. Our surgical and logistical teams, in collaboration with the MoH, remain prepared to respond to any emergencies.”

In recent weeks MSF has strengthened its existing surgical capacity with additional surgeons and anaesthetists as well as pre-positioning surgical equipment and materials in key locations.

The emergency medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working in Sudan since 1979. The organisation currently has permanent projects in Red Sea State, Northern Darfur, Western and Central Equatoria, Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal, Warrap, Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile States and the transitional area of Abyei. MSF also runs emergency projects in other areas. MSF is an independent and neutral aid agency that serves all people based on medical need, regardless of tribe, race, political or religious affiliation.
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Wednesday, 21 April 2010:
(Blue Nile) – The National Elections Commission has denied media reports of elections irregularities in Blue Nile and Unity states.

The Sudan Tribune earlier reported that NEC officials from Bentiu, Unity state are complaining of harassment from security officers of the candidate for governorship in the state Taban Deng.

It was alleged that the officers had stormed NEC offices, forcing the officials to declare Taban as the winner.

In Blue Nile state, SPLM and NCP candidates are both claiming victory over the governorship seat, accusing each other of doctoring results in their favor.

However, NEC chairman of the technical committee, Alhadi Mohamed Ahmed has disputed such reports.

[Alhadi Mohamed Ahmed]:“All information published about the Blue Nile is completely untrue, now there is a committee by NEC meeting with Malik Agar and the high elections committee for Blue Nile, no result is out because the monitoring process is still continuing and the work, but this work needs great efforts, today I was speaking with Bentiu, they are working, I talk with the chairman of the high elections committee in Bentiu, we don’t have any problem, I mean not any talk is true i was talking this morning with officials in Bentiu, they were working, the high committee is counting and other works, there are tension hear and there, but the issues are moving well.”

Al-hadi urged citizens to rely on official announcement from the NEC and not rumors.

[Alhadi Mohamed Ahmed]: “We can’t rely on anything that is said. If there is forgery just present evidence, I can’t talk about anything without prove. Who has come out and said there is forgery in such a polling center and presented evidence to NEC, and we didn’t take action? That will mean failure from our part. But till now nobody has launch an official complain claiming forgery in any center. These talks, these are just newspaper rumors. I can’t listen to such talks and say it is true. The media is open for every one, but not everything said in the media is reliable.”

Media reports have indicated several elections violations in Blue Nile and Unity States.
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Monday, 26 April 2010:
(Khartoum) – The independent candidate for the governorship of Unity state, Angelina Teny, says she vehemently rejects the results of the elections in Unity state.

A media spokesman for Angelina Teny, Yohanis Musa Pouk, addressed a press conference in Khartoum on Saturday.

[Yohanis Musa Pouk]: “At around 4 o’clock [on Friday] Taban declared on the state’s local radio station that he was the winner. The announcement was not made through the National Elections Commission but through one of the radio announcers. He declared that Taban won the elections and said that was the announcement coming from the NEC. Following that announcement, our people went to the street collectively and spontaneously in a non-violent manner because nobody told the people of Unity state that there was going to be any announcement of the results. They went out spontaneously and found themselves together going to the radio station to inquire about the source of the news. They were surprised by soldiers from Sudan People’s Liberation Army who fired live bullets randomly at the moving crowd and instantly two people were shot dead. One is called Choul Ruai from Koch county and the other is called Gadwich. We were not able to get his second name. Four people were hospitalized and there were other people who sustained minor injuries.”

Pouk said the people of Unity state will never accept Taban Deng as a governor.

[Yohanis Musa Pouk]: “We are seeing that it is impossible as we are going towards the year 2011 that Taban will be the governor of Unity state. Nobody in Unity state has this in mind and nobody will accept it, but this issue will not end in one day. No citizen would be able to vote for Taban. Those who voted for him are those working in the government: ministers, wives of the ministers and those in the assembly who are with him, in addition to the votes that were rigged. No ordinary citizen will ever accept that Taban should continue in power. This is not the end of it; let’s not think that this is the end of everything and that the results have been announced, no. we don’t believe in these results because they are neither “free nor fair” and we are waiting for what will come from Juba - not from Bentiu.”

Pouk claimed that according to the statistics he had received from various constituencies, Angelina Teny won 68,000 votes while Taban Deng won 44,000 votes.
Angelina Teny

Photo: Angelina Teny. Source: Sudan Tribune report, Monday, 26 April 2010 - Angelina Teny says will not accept "rigged" and "untrue" election results - excerpt:
April 25, 2010 (JUBA) – Several political parties whose candidates also contested for the governorship position in Unity state have joined Angelina Teny in disputing the results, saying Taban’s victory was not based on the actual results reported by their respective agents from all the centers which ballot papers were counted.

They have called on the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Abel Alier to intervene and correct the situation.

The parties in a joint released statement said there were widespread rigging in the polling process and called for a re-count of the ballot papers.

An official close to Mrs. Teny’s campaign team said she may consider challenging the results legally in the court of law and win the case.

Mrs. Teny is the current state minister of Energy and Mining in the Government of National Unity in Khartoum and wife of the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
Related reports

SPLM lauds election of Malik Aggar as Blue Nile State Governor
From Sudan Tribune, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 by Ngor Arol Garang:
April 26, 2010 (WUNROK) - Pagan Amum, Secretary General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and his deputy for northern Sudan Yasir Arman have lauded election of the Malik Agar as new governor of the northern state of Southern Blue Nile (...)

Journalist arrested by security operatives in Bentiu, Unity state
From Sudan Tribune, Monday, 26 April 2010 by James Gatdet Dak:
(JUBA) – A local journalist working as correspondent for Sudanvotes and Bentiu FM radio station has been (...)

Three people killed following Taban Deng declared win in Unity state
From Sudan Tribune, Saturday, 24 April 2010 - excerpt:
April 23, 2010 (Khartoum) - Three people were killed and two others were wounded when protests were staged in the state capital Bentiu by supporters of Angelina Teny who has formally lost the race for governor in the oil-rich state.

Earlier today, the local Radio FM station in Bentiu announced that the local electoral committee declared the incumbent governor Taban Deng Gai as the winner in the tight and highly tense race. The National Elections Commission (NEC) expressed fury over what they saw as a premature move by the local electoral officials.

The NEC chairman Abel Alier said that this was not coordinated with the head office in Khartoum. He phoned Teny, wife of south Sudan’s vice president Riek Machar, to say that no final results have been released noting that the NEC is in the process of looking into the alleged inflating of figures in favor of Taban Deng by the electoral office in Bentiu before it could make the decision on who won the race.

But later in the day the NEC officially announced that Deng garnered 137,362 of the votes against 63,561 for Teny.

The chairman of the local electoral committee in Bentiu, Michael Mayul, on Friday rushed to announce Deng as the winner in a move seen by some as a way to try to avoid the verification of figures by the NEC team in Khartoum.

Preliminary results had shown that Angelina Teny got more than 68,000 votes while Taban Deng got over 44,000. The recently alleged inflated figures for Taban have more than tripled his previous votes counted by additional 56,000.

Teny had earlier warned that the electoral committee in Bentiu was under pressure by Deng to inflate his votes figures and announce him the winner.
Taban Deng locally announced winner in Sudan’s Unity state
From Sudan Tribune, Friday, 23 April 2010:
April 23, 2010 (BENTINU) – News just broke out from the local Radio FM station in Bentiu, that the incumbent governor Taban Deng Gai has been announced as winner by the head of the local electoral committee in Bentiu, before NEC committee carried out their verifications (...)
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More related reports (added here on Wednesday, 28 April 2010)

BREAKING NEWS: Angelina Teny’s campaign team leader arrested in Unity State
Sudan Tribune - Wednesday 21 April 2010:
April 22, 2010 (BENTIU, Unity State) – Angelina Teny today (Wednesday) told Sudan Tribune that her team leader was arrested in front of the State High Elections Committee’s office in the presence of senior ranking officers and the team sent today from Khartoum by the National Elections Commission (NEC) headquarters...

BREAKING NEWS: Taban Deng seizes NEC office in Bentiu, refuses to accept defeat
Sudan Tribune - Tuesday 20 April 2010 - copy in full:
April 20, 2010 (BENTIU, Unity state) – The incumbent caretaker governor of the oil-rich Unity state has refused to accept defeat in the gubernatorial elections, threatening the State High Elections Committee to declare him the winner irrespective of results.

The overall results received by the electoral body in the state have shown that his main challenger, Angelina Teny, is far ahead of him by more than 24,000 extra votes.

An official close to NEC office in Bentiu who spoke on condition of anonymity told Sudan Tribune that governor’s security officers had controlled the NEC’s branch office and were conducting forceful dialogue with the electoral staff, threatening them to declare Taban as winner.

He said senior officials in the state were consulting with the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit to intervene and allow for the free and fair announcement of the gubernatorial results in the state.

“Taban Deng Gai should be told to accept defeat in a democratic and peaceful atmosphere,” the official added.

The gubernatorial candidates were scheduled to sign for the elections results today (Tuesday) in the NEC’s office during which losers were expected to accept defeat before announcement of the winner.

State officials across the country were also making consultations to respond to the situation and avoid any resort to violence until the issue is resolved peacefully. (ST)

Unity state’s Angelina Teny leads in preliminary gubernatorial election results
Sudan Tribune - Saturday, 17 April 2010:
April 16, 2010 (BENTIU, Unity state) – An independent candidate for gubernatorial position in the oil-rich Unity state is said to be leading by wide margin in preliminary counts as polling centers in the state’s nine counties slowly report in their respective results...

Unity state’s gubernatorial candidate reports widespread irregularities
Sudan Tribune - Monday 12 April 2010:
Speaking to Sudan Tribune from the state’s capital, Bentiu, Teny accused the SPLA Maj. General Dor Monyjur in particular for blocking her agents from inspecting the ballot boxes in order to make sure that they were empty...

Gubernatorial candidate campaigns against corruption in Bentiu
Sudan Tribune - Wednesday 24 February 2010 by Ngor Arol Garang:
February 23, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — An independent gubernatorial candidate in the southern state of Unity, Angelina Teny has embarked on her electoral campaign in the area with a strong focus on fighting against corruption saying it cripples development and stability of any country...

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