Permanent ceasefire “largely” holding in South Sudan – peace monitors

South Sudan’s FVP designate, Dr. Riek Machar, President Salva Kiir and Gen. Peter Gatdet Yaka signing a then preliminary peace deal in Khartoum on August 5 2018 (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

February 5th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s ceasefire monitors, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement, Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM),  said on Monday that the country’s permanent ceasefire agreement signed in June last year by President Salva Kiir and opposition groups is “largely” holding.

This came as fighting between South Sudan army and holdout opposition troops led by the Gen. Thomas Cirilo entered its second week in Yei River state.

Speaking during the opening of the 8th meeting of the ceasefire monitoring body, Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno, the head of the ceasefire monitoring body, said ceasefire is being respected in the country despite clashes in Yei.

“Since the last meeting, the Permanent Ceasefire is largely holding, and there continue to be encouraging signs of communications and cooperation between the Parties on the ground,” Gen. Abiche said.

He said recent disengagement by the parties have been successful and soldiers are co-existing peacefully.

“We commend the Parties on recent disengagement in Bil Payam and Maridi. On 25 January 2019 CTSAMVM visited Bil Payam and met with the SPLM/A-IO leaders and civil leaders there. The area is calm and the disengagement appears to have been successful,” he said.

“In Maridi in Western Equatoria the SPLM/A-IO has moved to an area agreed with SSPDF 6th Division. The area is 7 km from Maridi and ‘ground rules’ have been agreed to allow both Parties to coexist peacefully,” he added.

Abiche however said despite progress being made in most part of the country, fighting has still continued inside jungles of Yei river states between government troops and forces of the National Salvation Front (NAS) led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo.

“Unfortunately, the Yei area in Central Equatoria continues to be of concern with continuing clashes between the SSPDF and NAS forces of Thomas Cirilo,” he said adding: “We continue to urge the office of the IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan to resolve the issue of NAS forces of Thomas Cirilo and other armed groups operating in Greater Equatoria and bring them into the revitalized peace agreement.”

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, and opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar Teny signed a permanent ceasefire agreement in the Sudanese capital Khartoum in June 2018 few months before the two could sign the revitalized peace deal in the Ethiopian capital Khartoum.