SOUTH SUDAN: Government Cancels Independence Celebrations

JUBA JULY 1, 2016 (CISA) – The government has cancelled July 9 Independence Day celebrations due to economic crisis.

“We decided not to celebrate the July 9 Independence Day, because we don’t want to spend that much,” Michael Makuei, the minister of information, told reporters on June 28 adding.  “We need to spend the little that we have on other issues.”

Makuei however said the day will be observed normally public holiday without funfair and military parades and that President Salva Kiir will just issue a statement to address the people of South Sudan, AP reported.

Makuei indicated that previous years’ celebrations usually cost a budget amounting to 10 million South Sudanese pounds to cover the event.

“If we can get that amount, if we have this amount, we prefer to use it for addressing our concerns, our problems in the economy, issues of payment of salaries and so forth,” he added.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the economy is in ruins as a result of the civil war with inflation at almost 300 percent and the currency falling by 90 percent this year.

According to the UN, tens of thousands have died since war broke out in December 2013 forcing two million from their homes and leaving five million in need of help. More than 160,000 civilians are now in UN-guarded camps across the country, down from a peak of more than 200,000 last year.

Rebel leader Riek Machar returned to the capital in April as part of a peace deal that saw him become vice president, forging a unity government with President Kiir.

But fighting continues between numerous militia forces as just last week more than 40 people died during days of fighting in the town of Wau, the information minister said, with aid agencies warning of dire conditions for more than 10,000 people sheltering at a UN base there.

South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011, following a referendum that passed with 98.83 percent of the vote.

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