Africa ExPress Special Correspondent
Juba, 12th July 2016
On Monday 11th July 2016, in view of the deteriorating situation in South Sudan and in particular in Juba there were emergency meeting of both the UN in New York as well as of IGAD Council in Nairobi.
The IGAD Council meeting held in Nairobi was also attended by the Troika representatives of USA ( Ambassador HE Nic Hailey), UK ( High Commissioner HE Robert Godec), Norway (Royal Norwegian Charge D’Affairs HE Vebojen Heines ); the Head of the EU Delegation to Kenya ( HE Stefano Dejak); Deputy Head of Mission Embassy of Italy to Kenya and Representative of the IGAD Partner forum ( Ms Angela Loi).
Following the meeting the IGAD Council issued the following statement:
- Condemns in the strongest terms the eruption of fighting on 7th July 2016 between the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army(SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition ( SPLA – IO) in Juba and the huge loss of life and casualties as well as the destruction of properties that still continues unabated
- Further condemns the targeting of the UN compound and attempts to prevent civilian population from getting protection
- Urges President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Dr Reik Machar to assume responsibility and take immediate measures to prevail upon the respective military leaders and stop the fighting that continues unabated in Juba and may soon escalate to other areas of South Sudan
- Underlines the importance of the leaders assertion of the command and control of their respective armed forces and passing of continuous messages to the general population for calm and reconciliation.
- An immediate cease fire
- Re-opening of the Juba International Airport to be protected by UNMISS
- Immediate return of all armed forces and weapons to their barracks
- Opening of humanitarian corridors
- Urgent revision of the UNMIS mandate to establish an intervention brigade and increase number of troops from the region to inter alia secure Juba
- Accountability of those responsible for the breakdown of law and order; and
- Immediate implementation of the security arrangements as enshrined by the ARCSS ( IGAD Plus Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan)
Late on Monday 11 July 2016, friends and colleagues in Juba started to report that they could hear announcements on the streets of Juba of cease fire this was later officially confirmed by Brigadier General Lul Ruai, the spokesperson for the SPLA who read the Republican Order No 17/2016 signed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on SSBC .
Today, 12th July 2016 the UN Security Council plans to meet and discuss recent events in South Sudan . It is of particular relevance that in preparation for the UN Security Council meeting the Secretary General Banki Moon is lobbying for the imposition of an immediate arms embargo, additional targeted sanctions on leaders and commanders blocking the implementation of the Peace Agreement, and the fortification of the UN mission in the South Sudan which has in fact been the target of attacks during recent events.
Thought the ceasefire in Juba is most welcome the reality is that the IGAD Plus Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan ( ARCSS) (also known as the Compromised Peace Agreement) is in tatters . This time the armed conflict was not limited to Juba, almost simultaneously armed clashes were reported in Wau, Torit, Bentiu, Lainya, Yei, Kajo Keji. Though it is not possible to that there was a deliberated coordination it is clear that there is widening of the conflict throughout South Sudan. To address the situation that is now developing in South Sudan, there will be a need to seriously consider the meaningful inclusion and participation of Civil Society in the peace process. The previous attempt of involving Civil Society in discussion held in Ethiopia was very poor and farcical
Juba, a city barely recovering from the horrific events of December 2013, is once again left wounded, in mourning and fearful that the perpetrators of the recent violence will use the lull to re-arm and regroup. Today the people of South Sudan are left with many unanswered questions that can be summed up with the one universal question – WHY ?
Civil Society Organisation are once again left to pick up the pieces, Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation ( CEPO) , South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission and others are calling for national mourning as a means not only to mourn the dead but also to regroup to fight for the only fight worth fighting Peace For South Sudan. Peace for the Children of South Sudan.