SOUTH SUDAN’S CONTINUED CONFLICT
By Paul Ndiho
The government of South Sudan has directed all of its institutions to comply with the resolution of the United Nations Security Council for the deployment of a regional Protection force in Juba. The announcement comes amid new calls for aggression against the government from former First Vice-President Riek Machar.
The security situation in Juba and other parts of South Sudan is tenuous after former First Vice President Riek Machar, and his allies ordered their forces to regroup for “armed resistance” in an apparent attempt to topple President Salva Kiir’s government. The announcement follows the collapse of the transition government of national unity, once headed by President Kiir and Machar.
Although the two men signed a shaky peace deal a year ago, fighting has continued since Machar fled the country in July. He is now living in Khartoum, in neighboring Sudan.
South Sudan is facing a mountain of challenges, including deepening humanitarian crisis that has claimed hundreds of civilian lives and forced 2.5 million citizens from their homes. Appearing VOA’s Africa 54 news program, Stephen Parkuol, Member of the Political Bureau, Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement – In Opposition said that declaring war was a sentiment shared by many people in South Sudan.
South Sudan’s government has asked Sudan and other nations in the region not to let Machar launch a new rebellion, after he threatened a return to the battlefield unless his demands to revive a peace deal were met. President Kiir fired Riek Machar in July from his First Vice-president post in violation of the peace agreement that gave both men equal powers. He then named former opposition negotiator Taban Deng Gai as first vice president.
“It is unacceptable to the peoples of South Sudan to even contemplate, let alone be threatened with, a return to armed conflict. Threatening to return to war, my predecessor has made clear he places his own political ambitions above the government’s ambitions for peace and security.”
The United States is strongly condemning recent remarks by Machar for a return to conflict against the government of President Kiir.
“We find it inexcusable that he would continue to promote armed resistance,” Kirby told reporters. “It indicates a lack of concern for the well-being of the South Sudanese people, many of whom continue to struggle just to survive and just as much want to see peace.”
In September, “The Sentry” an initiative of the Enough Project, Not on Our Watch and other partners released a report accusing both Mr. Kiir and Riek Machar of benefiting financially from the continuing war and have effectively ensured that there is no accountability for their human rights violations and financial crimes.
The report says, that the pair unlawfully acquired wealth, as well as extensive commercial holdings in both public sector and oil services operating in South Sudan. Their immediate families lived luxuriously outside of South Sudan, and hold significant stakes in companies that operate in South Sudan’s most profitable commercial sectors.