South Sudan’s opposition urge solution to contentious issues ahead of unity gov’t formation



(Xinhua/NAN) South Sudan’s main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), on Wednesday urged parties to the conflict to resolve outstanding issues pending the formation of a unity government slated for Nov. 12.

Mabior de-Mabior, the Chairman of SPLM-IO National Committee for Information and Public Relations, said this in Juba.

The chairman said that amicable solution to outstanding issues was key to facilitate the formation of a unity government in the world’s youngest republic.

“The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-opposition (SPLM-IO) would like to state for the record that a coerced peace will never prevail in South Sudan.

”Also, forming the transitional government of national unity under a false pretext that we shall discuss the outstanding issues as a unity government is a mockery of justice,” Mabior said in a statement.

He said the outstanding issues include the implementation of the transitional security arrangements and the number and boundaries of states.

The Pre-Transitional National Committee, a body overseeing the implementation of the deal, said it’s making efforts towards implementing fundamental provisions that will pave way for the formation of an inclusive government as stipulated in the peace deal.

Signatories to the fragile peace agreement on May 3 agreed to extend the formation of the transitional government by six months following delays in the implementation of the pact over unresolved issues.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir sacked his deputy Riek Machar leading to fighting among soldiers loyal to both leaders.

The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions both internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in 2015 collapsed after renewed violence in July 2016 forcing Machar to flee the capital Juba.

In September 2018, the warring South Sudanese parties also signed a revitalised peace deal, in which Machar will take up one of the four vice presidency positions in the transitional government. (Xinhua/NAN)


Edited by Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide


Navy flags off OKUN ALAFIA II to intensify territorial waters security



The Nigerian Navy on Friday flagged off OPERATION OKUN ALAFIA II (Calm Water) to ensure that the country‘s waters remain safe and free from criminals.

Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, during the ceremony on board NNS UNITY, in Lagos said that the exercise would enhance human capacity development.

Daji said that the 30 days exercise which would be in three folds was also to ensure that the backwaters was safe.

“We have been conducting series of exercises at the command level. The purpose of OKUN ALAFIA II is in three folds; one, to consolidate on the gains of the previous operations.

“Western, Central and Eastern Naval Command to have handshake at sea, so that criminals from the west to central and vice versa does not have the leeway to do that,” he said.

“We are carrying out operations in our backwaters to ensure that those that are already at sea does not have the freedom to be terrorising people in the backwaters.

”Every activity that is taking place at sea, the ultimate goal is on land and the benefits.

“Within the creeks, the channels and the adjoining land areas, the operational basis and the forward operational bases will be conducting clearance operations to take the battle to the criminal hideouts,” Daji said.

The FOC reassured the public that the command was ready to provide necessary conducive environment for legitimate businesses on the waterways.

He urged members of the public to freely divulge credible information to get rid of criminals in their localities.

Some of the evolutions conducted include, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS– Opposed Boarding), Fleet Maneuvers, Communication Drills, Medical Evacuation (MEDEVA), Lowering and Recovery of Boat.

A total of eight ships, two helicopters and a detachment of Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service (SBS) participated in the Exercise.

The ships include: NNS PROSPERITY, NNS EKUN, NNS NGURU, NNS EKULU, NNS OSUN, NNS OSE, TUG RIMA and TUG CDR UGWU as well as two NN helicopters and a detachment of NN SBS.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the command had earlier engaged in exercises and operations such as OPERATION JUNCTION RAIN; EXERCISE SWIFT RESPONSE; EXERCISE ATEGUN ALAFIA; EXERCISE OKUN ALAFIA I and TREASURE GUARD II.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
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Military intensifies operation against economic sabotage in South-South



The Defence Headquarters says the military is intensifying efforts toward curbing crude oil stealing and economic sabotage in Nigeria’s South-South geo-political zone.

The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, made the disclosure in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

Enenche said that the Nigerian Navy Ship, `Delta’ on June 10, discovered a newly-constructed illegal refining site around Bennett Island in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.

He explained that the site had five ovens, five coolers and eight surface metal storage tanks cumulatively laden with about 943.3 barrels of product, suspected to be crude oil.

Enenche said that no arrest was made because the perpetrators fled on sighting a patrol team.

“Same day, the team located another illegal refining site around Uwakeno Community in Warri South LGA.

“The site had four ovens, four coolers, six surface metal storage tanks and two dug-out pits cumulatively laden with about 10,000 litres of products, suspected to be illegally refined AGO and 440.2 barrels of stolen crude oil.

“The storage facilities were confiscated and the site has been ear-marked for swamp buggy operation,” he said.

Enenche said that the Navy patrol team also intercepted a large wooden boat laden with about 70,000 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO in six metal storage tanks along Benin River in Warri North on June 13.

He said that efforts were ongoing to convey the boat and content to the Naval Base.

The coordinator said that the Navy Ship, Pathfinder patrol team located an illegal refining site around Isaka and Alakiri general area during the week.

He said the site had reservoirs laden with about 1,257 barrels of crude oil, adding that the site was dismantled.

According to him, Operation Calm Waters and Operation Swift Response made seizure of foreign parboiled rice as well as the arrest of boats involved in smuggling during the week.

Enenche also recalled that on June 8, operatives of the Joint Border Drill, intercepted an abandoned truck at Agbaragba Market in the Ikom LGA of Cross River, loaded with 410 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice.

“The rice was suspected to have been smuggled in from Cameroon.

“Accordingly, the bags of rice and vehicle were evacuated to Mfum Border Post for onward movement to Government Warehouse in Calabar.

“Meanwhile, on June 12, the combined teams of OSR and Nigeria Customs Service Strike Force raided a make-shift warehouse at Ishiet in the Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom and confiscated 305 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice.

“The bags of rice were evacuated to Nigeria Customs Warehouse in Uyo for further action.

“The Chief of Naval Staff congratulates the troops for their professionalism and efforts in curbing economic sabotage within the maritime environment.

“Equally, the high command of the armed forces of Nigeria congratulates the troops and urges them to remain steadfast and focused as they sustain the fight against economic sabotage,” Enenche said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
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Iran slams South Korea for blocking oil money




Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Monday denounced what he called South Korea’s “obedience” to the United States to freeze Iran’s oil money.

“South Korea’s blind obedience to the United States and it’s move to use United States unilateral sanction pressures as an excuse are not acceptable,” the Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

“They have no right to block the Iranian nation’s assets,” said Mousavi at his weekly press conference.

Iran has taken necessary and legal measures to unblock the money, he said.

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnaser Hemmati said Wednesday that South Korean banks are “preventing” Iran from using billions of dollars of its oil money to buy food and medicines.

Iran has announced that South Korea was in arrears on payment of about 7 billion United States dollars for oil from Iran before the United States President Donald Trump’s administration reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil industry in November 2018.

South Korea was the biggest client of Iranian gas condensate with 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) on top of 100,000 bpd of crude oil, but the country stopped the imports under United States pressures.

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Roundup: COVID-19 spreads quickly in South Asia, Thailand records zero new case




COVID-19 spreads quickly in South Asia as India’s total cases reach 332,424 and Bangladesh’s cases exceed 90,000, while Thailand reported zero new case and no new fatality on Monday.

India’s federal health ministry on Monday morning said 325 new deaths due to COVID-19 and an additional 11,502 positive cases were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 9,520 and total cases to 332,424.

So far 169,798 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

Bangladesh confirmed 38 more fatalities from the COVID-19, bringing the country’s death toll to over 1,200.

Nasima Sultana, a senior Health Ministry official, said in a briefing in Dhaka that “3,099 new COVID-19 positive cases and 38 deaths including 32 men and 6 women were reported in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh.”

The number of confirmed infections in the country totaled 90,619 while fatalities stood at 1,209.

The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 1,017 within one day to 39,294, with the death toll adding by 64 to 2,198, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference on Monday.

According to him, 592 more people had been discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 15,123.

Afghanistan reported 761 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, taking the country’s total to 25,527, the country’s Ministry of Public Health confirmed.

“Within the past 24 hours, 1,551 tests were conducted, and 761 were positive COVID-19 cases,” the ministry said in a statement.

Up to 478 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in February, an increase of seven within the past 24 hours. Out of the total infected people, 5,090 have recovered.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 26,420 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 490 more infections on Monday.

The DOH said in its bulletin that the number of recoveries further climbed to 6,252 after 298 more patients have survived the disease.

The death toll increased to 1,098 after 10 more patients have succumbed to the viral disease, the DOH added.

Malaysia reported 41 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the total cases to 8,494, the Health Ministry said.

No new death has been reported, leaving the total deaths at 121.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who coordinated the implementation of restrictive measures, said in a separate press conference that preschools and kindergartens will be allowed to operate from July 1 onwards.

South Korea reported 37 more cases compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Monday local time, raising the total number of infections to 12,121.

The daily caseload moved between 30 and 60 for the past 15 days. Of the new cases, 13 were imported, lifting the combined figure to 1,346.

No more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 277. The total fatality rate stood at 2.29 percent.

Thailand reported zero new case of COVID-19 as well as no new fatality as the country moves toward further easing restrictions on high-risk business and leisure activities.

Thailand on Monday also saw a total lift to the night curfew.

Although the number of confirmed cases has dropped, the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin on Monday reminded everyone to wear face masks every time they are outdoors.

The Ministry of Health reported no cases in New Zealand, 24 days since the last new case was reported in the country.

The combined number of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand was 1,504, including 1,154 confirmed cases, and the death toll stood at 22, and the number of recovered cases was 1,482.

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