Wednesday, August 10, 2016

South Sudan Former Detainees Welcome Deployment of Regional Force
Former cabinet affairs minister and G-10 team leader Deng Alor with former justice minister, John Luk Jok, after their arrival at Juba Airport on 1 June 2015 (Photo Moses Lomayat)

August 10, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudanese former detainees, a group of non-armed politicians, who form a separate bloc in the conflict, have welcomed a regional initiative to deploy troops to the country.

The group comprising senior members of the divided governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), urged the region and the global community to take immediate steps so as to avert the situation from deteriorating further.

“We, the SPLM Leaders (Former Political Detainees) welcome the decision of IGAD-plus, the African Union (AU) and their international partners to provide a Protection Force to stabilize the security situation in our country, South Sudan, protect civilians, pacify the spoilers and provide an enabling environment for implementation of the Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS),” partly reads their statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

“We urge all parties and stakeholders to fully support and cooperate with this Regional Protection Force. We further urge the Region to effect their decision with speed,” the group said in the statement signed by former finance minister, Kosti Manibe.

It argued that any delay in translating this regional initiative into action will run the risk of being undermined by new dynamics in a fast evolving situation on the ground that could render it irrelevant.

“Commendable as it is, the failure of this initiative will not only condemn the people of South Sudan to more suffering but also render the much hallowed slogan of “African Solutions for African Problems” meaningless as the slogan would have been proven to be no more than an empty rhetoric.”

The statement continued: “Besides stabilizing security, protecting civilians and creating an enabling environment for implementation of ARCISS, we are convinced that this initiative, if effected, will create an environment conducive for healthy political dialogue that has been missing; it will remove the all-pervasive element of fear prevailing now, thereby lead to restoration of freedom of speech and association; these in turn will enhance the transition to democracy and good governance that we all yearn for.”

The intervention, according to the group, is not sufficient condition to implement the agreement but that the military aspects of intervention need to be taken into account in case of resistance by “the spoilers.”

The military initiative, they added, has to ensure that all local forces are cantoned in their camps and barracks outside the main urban centres, pending screening and reorganization with the help of the Region and the International Community.

“We believe that a political programme or roadmap for sustainable peace and stability should be the end-state, and this should be achieved by an all-party roundtable to be convened as soon as possible inside or outside South Sudan as appropriate,” it said.

“We urge IGAD and the international community to remain true to their commitment to bring permanent peace and stability to South Sudan,” the statement added.

President Kiir’s government accepted deployment of a protection force with yet to be negotiated mandate.


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