Kiir’s Government Accused of Violating the Permanent Ceasefire just days after Ceasefire Declaration
August 31, 2015 (Nyamilepedia) – The leader of South Sudan’s armed opposition, Riek Machar, has accused Salva Kiir’s government of violating the permanent ceasefire declared just a couple of days ago by both warring parties to the country’s conflict as part of peace agreement.
Speaking to media at a news conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the armed opposition leader said he wanted to bring the world’s attention to the recent violations to the peace agreement by Salva Kiir’s forces and allied militias, just days after the President declared a permanent ceasefire, which the Armed Opposition also did.
“We have concerns that the ceasefire is not holding, and this is because the government is unable to control its own troops,” Riek Machar told reporters in Ethiopia.
“Up to this morning they have been fighting in Unity State. They have troops that they don’t control, who are burning villages, killing civil population and all that,” said Machar.
The Armed Opposition leader wondered whether President Kiir is really in full control of his forces and allied militias fighting on his side around the country.
Kiir’s government, however, tried to play down the violation and instead blamed the rebels for attacking their positions, but according to credible reports in exclusive reports from rebel commanders on the ground and local humanitarian workers, the government had attacked a port village near the town of Leer in Unity State.
Leer is the home town of Dr. Machar and despite previous raids and destruction by the government troops, which have displaced NGOs and civil populations, the area is already known to be under rebel control.
According to local humanitarian workers in Unity State, speaking to French radio RFI, government forces attacked rebel stronghold of Rubkuoy in Mayendit county.
A rebel commander also said government forces attacked Koch county and abducted some of the women in the area while living their children behind.
It’s believed that the government is trying to takeover the areas currently under rebel control in other to have access to the local port to the area during the peace agreement.
While in Upper Nile the government has been trying to extend areas under it’s control to the western side of the White Nile before the permanent ceasefire took hold according to rebel commanders and officials in the area, the government forces are currently in areas only to the east of the White Nile.
Juba has been loading its last barges and boats with military equipment and soldiers and moving them down the Nile from Bor to Malakal in the past few days despite declarations of a permanent ceasefire, which requires both sides to stop any activities of military nature including movement of military equipment and troops.
“For the government, launching this convoy on the Nile is a serious violation of the ceasefire,” Machar told the media.
“It provokes our troops that are in control of those areas.” The opposition leader added.
Rebel commanders and their leaders are describing the move by Kiir’s forces as provocation and a clear violation of terms of the permanent ceasefire, warning such actions could endanger the IGAD peace agreement.
The Armed Opposition leader Riek Machar also questioned the commitment of Kiir’s government to implement the peace agreement and respect terms of the permanent ceasefire.
“We question the political will of the government, if the government is serious to implement the peace agreement,” Machar told the news conference in Addis Ababa.
“Is the government united behind the peace agreement or do they have divisions?” Machar added.
The permanent ceasefire is seen as the most important aspect of the agreement if the peace is to take hold in the young nation.
Monitors and Security officials from the IGAD who are tasked with monitoring the ceasefire have described the news as a serious development which they are now looking into.
Ceasefire monitors from the regional East African bloc ,IGAD, which led efforts to negotiate the peace deal, said their teams would investigate the claims.
“These are serious allegations that need verification,” an IGAD spokesman said.
The latest development have raised questions as to whether President Salva Kiir was in full control of his army, as news have been coming in that some commanders were unhappy with the signing of the peace agreement by the president.
One of those bitterly opposed to any peace agreement is believed to be the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Paul Malongm, who declared that he would rather join ISIS and other radical groups if peace is signed amid threats of sanctions from the West.
The United Nations Security Council has warned the different parties of the South Sudan conflict to implement the IGAD backed peace agreement in full and commit to all its terms, warning of tough measures including an Arms Embargo and targeted sanctions against any of the party that will violate the peace agreement.