South Sudan leaders agree to end clashes

L-R: Vice President Riek Machar,  Gen Simon Gatwech Dual, South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

What you need to know:

Fighting broke out in South Sudan after First vice president Riek Machar was ousted from his party.

Leaders in South Sudan on Tuesday reached an agreement to end the ongoing violence that is threatening the peace process.

The agreement comes after South Sudan President Salva Kiir convened a meeting following the latest outbreak of violence between two factions of the  Sudan People’s Liberation Army / In Opposition (SPLA/IO) party - one loyal to Dr Riek Machar, the vice president of South Sudan, and another led by Gen Simon Gatwech Dual.

At least 32 people were reported dead in the clashes that broke out on Saturday, just days after Machar’s rivals in his SPLA/IO said they had ousted him as party leader and head of its armed forces.

A press release signed by the South Sudan minister of presidential affairs, Dr Benjamin Barnaba Marial, stated that the president called for the immediate unification of the command of the forces that are involved in the fighting.

“[The presisident also] directed First Vice President Dr Riek Machar Teny and Vice President Hussein Hussein Abdelbagi Akol to present their list of nominees for the unified command to him [president],” he said.

Dr Barnaba also said Mr Kiir directed the SPLA/IO forces under the command of Dr Machar and the breakaway forces under Gen Gatwech to observe a reasonable distance in order to safeguard against any further violence.

According to the press release, Mr Kiir also asked the Joint Defence Hoard, the Joint Transitional Security Committee and the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission to visit the training centres and cantonment (military garrison or camp)  under the supervision of the National Transitional Committee to ensure that there is peace.

“The Presidency strongly directs for the immediate cessation of hostilities between the SPLM/AIO forces under the command of Dr Riek Machar Teny and the breakaway SPLMA/IO forces under the command of Gen Simon Gatwech Dual,” Dr Barnaba said.

He added: “The Presidency calls for calm in Magnis and discourages any interference on the ongoing implementation of the peace process. Furthermore, the Presidency encourages the parties to adhere to the spirit of peace, reconciliation and healing.”

We were unable to reach the other parties involved in the said agreement.

Lt Col Gabriel Lam Paul, the SPLA/IO spokesperson, could not be reached on his known mobile phone number. He also did not respond to our WhattsApp messages.

However, a source close to the SPLA/IO told this newspaper that all the parties agreed to the latest arrangements and promised to speed up the process.

“Dr Riek Machar and the other participants were all happy and said they were ready to speed up the peace process and promised to send the list of their nominees immediately,” a source said.

Reconciliation

Mr David Amuor, the South Sudan Embassy spokesperson in Kampala, told Daily Monitor in a phone interview yesterday that all efforts were being made to reconcile the two factions.

“Under the pact, all the forces from different factions must go back to their barracks and get amalgamated after the training with the national peoples defence forces of South Sudan,” Mr Amour said.

Mr Amuor said the integration of different forces into the national army is on course, though there have been delays.

He said at regional level, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) council of ministers are also working with their heads of states to ensure that the peace process is boosted so that total peace can return to South Sudan.

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