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BREAKING: SPLM-IO advance team scheduled to donate blood to hospitals in Juba

A leaked itinerary of the SPLM-IO advance team currently in Juba show a scheduled visit by all 150 members of the delegation to the blood bank there to donate blood to the hospital – Saakam has learned.

Continue reading “BREAKING: SPLM-IO advance team scheduled to donate blood to hospitals in Juba”


WestJet Airlines bans Emmanuel Jal for life after threatening to ‘eat’ one of their air hostesses

South Sudanese Canadian and former child-soldier Emmanuel Jal has been banned for life from boarding WestJet flights after he claimed he had a ‘licence to eat humans’ and threatened to ‘eat’ a member of the crew mid-flight if he was not given more food.

In the statement published on the website of the Canadian low-cost carrier and circulating across all major international airports, WestJet lamented the on board behaviour of the former child-soldier, saying that WestJet flights are not to be confused with airborne feeding centres. The carrier, the statement added, is a reputable carrier in the business of flying passengers from one point to another – and no one has shown that level of starvation before in their flights.

“We understanding that the person in question had starved for many years when he was a child, but – to clarify some confusion that he may have – WestJet is not the World Food Programme (WFP) and the food we serve aboard is more than enough to get our normal passengers to their next destination where they can buy and eat as much as they can in the many restaurants when they arrive at their destination.”

The air hostess who was attending to Mr. Jal at the time, has been admitted to an undisclosed hospital for further psychological and physical analysis. She is said to have been traumatized and in a state of shock after the experience.

Although her conditional is not life threatening, the threat to be eaten by a scary-looking person is enough to leave a nasty, life-lasting unrepairable scar on her confidence, experts say.

A few hours prior to the release of the statement, Emmanuel Jal posted a video on his Facebook page – much to the dismay of the family of the victim – calling the encounter ‘funny’.

It is yet unclear whether the victim and her family, or the Canadian carrier will pursue further legal measures against Emmanuel Jal.

No statement or fundraising appeals to pay for the extra sandwich has yet been made by Emmanuel Jal or any of the many organizations he represents.

On his Facebook fan page, messages of solidarity have started to pour in. Some fans are pleading with him not to attempt to walk for thousands of miles to another country (like he did when he was a child-soldier) now that he is persona non grata with WestJet and affiliates.

Others believe WestJet’s ban is a bit too harsh for a silly and a not-so-funny joke by someone like Emmanuel Jal who has a long and sad history of starvation. According to some, he cannot be blamed for getting accustomed to being feed every time he says he wants food.

“Emmanuel Jal is the victim here,” one fan said.

Here is the video

Top 10 Saakam Stories 2014

The top 10 stories

Research into “Do they know it’s Christmas in Africa” stirs debate

A group of UK-based pop singers and researchers are raising funds for an expedition to Africa to finally answer the question “Do they know it’s Christmas” that, for decades, has been haunting the conscious of the West, usually around the festive season of Christmas.

According to the researchers, the much-needed funds will be used to facilitate the acquisition of entry visas for the group, vital supplies such as food, water and toiletries, ebola-protection suits; and communication hardware such as satellite phones and backup power supply and generators for the duration of the expedition.

Funds have started to flow in, but the group is already reporting difficulties in finding the embassy of Africa in the UK. They have asked their online community and those who visited Africa recently to advise them on how and where to apply for an entry visa for Africa.

According to the group, “after we land in Africa and communicate our coordinates back to our Mission Control Centre in London, we shall seek to make contact with the locals. We shall then carry out of exploratory expedition under the burning sun to determine if anything really grows there..”

Using the lyrics of Band Aid serial best-selling hit song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, the pop singers and researchers will seek to address some of the facts documented in it.

[part of the lyrics]

It’s hard, but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear

Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there
Are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life
Oh, where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow
Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

The researchers have also prepared a questionnaire with pictures of a Christmas tree, snow, wrapped presents under a Christmas tree, a chimney, and Santa Claus. According to them, how Africans answer those questions will determine for a part whether they know of have experienced the feeling of Christmas before.

However, not everyone is pleased with what the researchers will find.

A representative from Band Aid, a charitable trust comprised mostly of British and Irish musicians and recording artists who have used the question to sell millions of records every year for the last 30 years, said the question is too big and broad for a group of self-funding researchers using unconventional ways to answer.

But others believe Band Aid’s reaction to distance itself from these pop singers is purely out of fear that an affirmative answer to the question may ruin their chances of ever selling and making millions out of an old and insulting stereotype of Africa.

The group plans to arrive Africa before Christmas – that is if they find address of the embassy of Africa to issue the visas.

Editor’s Note:

Here are some links you may find interesting
– Ebola survivor Will Pooley calls Band Aid ‘cringeworthy cultural ignorance’

– Celebrity Musicians Can’t Feed the World

– ‘We got this, Bob Geldof, so back off’

Embassy of Africa (Where to find us)

Handshake ban could jeopardise South Sudan peace prospects: rebels

The handshake ban is Kiir's attempt to avoid shaking hands with Machar - rebels
The handshake ban is Kiir’s attempt to avoid shaking hands with Machar – rebels

The handshake ban issued by the South Sudan cabinet as a precaution to contain the spread of Ebola virus is – according to the rebels – nothing but a cheap political game to undermine the ongoing peace negotiations, and an attempt for the President to avoid shaking the hands of rebel leader Riek Machar (for the second time) in the event that a final settlement is reached to end the crisis in the country.

In May this year, the two antagonists Pres. Kiir and rebel leader Machar strategically avoided eye contact and (in an almost hostile way) declined to shake each other’s hands as the world watched them symbolically exchange signed documents of an agreement that was intended to that kind of ‘end hostilities’.

Indeed, the document meant very little as hostilities in all fronts raged on even after the highest ranking representatives of God – the bishops – specifically requested all stakeholders to cease.

However, the rebels are adamant that this latest move to ban handshakes is a calculated move that has little to do with spread of Ebola but rather, it is meant as another excuse to renegade from the deal that would see the former Vice-President come out of the bush straight to seat and mansion of the country’s first Prime Minister.

President Kiir has gone on record to say that he had been forced to shake the right hand of the left-handed rebel leader, and if he had the choice, he would prefer not to.

No Ebola cases have been reported in the country so far, but it appears the country has already put in place measures to tackle a fear that has not materialized yet, while other preventable and solvable disasters continue to rip apart the 3-year-old nation.

Recently, South Sudan added USA, and the European region to their list of countries considered to be Ebola high-risk, and passengers arriving from these region will be subjected to extra screening.

The rebels said they are not ruling out raising a complaint with IGAD – the regional body overseeing the talks -, or pulling out from the talks should the government of South Sudan continue play games.

For more, about our sources, click here.

South Sudan adds USA, Europe and Brazil to ‘high-risk’ Ebola Countries/Regions

Screening of potential Ebola virus passengers arriving from the USA, Europe and Brazil/South America
Screening potential Ebola-affected passengers arriving South Sudan from USA, Europe and Brazil/South America

South Sudan has announced it has added the US, Europe and Brazil to its list of countries and regions with the highest risk of importing Ebola to the country, and passengers arriving the South Sudan from these places will be subjected to intensive screening and possible quarantining for a period of 48 hours to 21 days.

The US, Europe and Brazil join other West African countries categorized as high risk sources and importers of the deadly virus.

This announcement comes after cases of the deadly virus were reported in these countries. The USA just joined the top-10 countries where live was lost as a result of the virus.

Temporary quarantine centres have been setup close to border-points such as the airport in Juba where high-risk importers normally enter the country. Screening personnel have been mandated and equipped with light military gear to ‘politely’ detain anyone for up to 21 days should they suspect the person of any likelihood ‘to contract the Ebola virus’. 21 days, experts say, will determine for sure if the foreigner was an Ebola transporter.

A health official working with the National Security Service told reporters that the country has its hands already filled with a wide range of problems caused by South Sudanese themselves and the country cannot afford to deal with another that is foreign in its origin.

Statistically, more people have died of (or affected by) Ebola in the USA, Europe and Brazil than in South Sudan, or East Africa. With the death of the dog of the nurse who contracted the virus in Spain, it can be conclusively stated that more animals have been claimed by the virus in Spain than in South Sudan.

However, the minister of health has argued those arriving South Sudan to cooperate with the authorities. He said this is only a precautionary and temporary measure to ensure Ebola is not among the other unchecked commodities – good or evil- that travellers transport from one place to another.

Foreign aid, humanitarian food supplies can still be flown into South Sudan from these countries as Ebola – it has been established – does not get transmitted that way.

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