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South Sudan’s continued offensives in Central Equatoria condemned

Civilians hiding in the jungle as they flee gunshots in an undisclosed locaion in South Sudan (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

May 6, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s continued military offensives against holdout opposition groups have been condemned as violation of a ceasefire agreement signed in November 2017 between the government and opposition groups in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The 2017 Cessation of Hostility Agreement (CHA) states that all the parties to the seven-year-old conflict silence their guns as talks for a revitalized version of a 2015 peace agreement was in progress between the government and opposition groups.

However, as parties were preparing to sign the agreement in September 2018, several opposition groups walked out of the talks on the basis that the government was being favored by the IGAD mediation and that agreement do not address the root causes of the civil war.

Some opposition groups including the SPLM-IO and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) signed the agreement while others such as National Salvation Front (NAS) led by General Thomas Cirilo and People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) led by Dr. Hakim Dario pulled out.

The non-signatories to the agreement – with the exception of PDM – early this year signed the Rome Declaration for the recommitment to the 2017 ceasefire agreement in a talk mediated by Sant Edingo Community in Italy.

In a blow to that agreement, government forces and their SPLM-IO counterparts and peace partners attacked several holdout opposition bases in the country’s Central Equatoria state sparking warnings from the International community as well the mediators in Italy.

In a statement, the National Alliance for Democracy And Freedom Action (NADAFA) led by Dario on the ticket of PDM condemned the government and SPLM-IO actions in violating the cessation of hostility agreement and the Rome Declaration urging the international community to condemn the government and hold perpetrators to account.

“In the wake of continuing non-observance of the UNSEC imposed arms embargo on South Sudan by both Sudan and Uganda, South Sudan NADAFA condemns the combined SSPDF and SPLM-IO forces uncalled for attack on the National Salvation Front (NAS) defensive positions in Central Equatoria, and calls on the UN, EU, and AU to unreservedly condemn this grossly flagrant violation of agreements and declarations the R-TGONU are a party to,” the statement signed by Dario partly read.

The statement said the attacks mostly targeting innocent civilians in the Central Equatoria county of Yei “are committed in flagrant violation of the CoHA of 2017 and of the Rome Declaration with the non-signatory SSOMA parties.”

“The attack on NAS constituted a threat and a rejection to the EU’s Declaration of 30th April 2020 – (7575/20) on South Sudan and which undermines the EU’s Council support for the peace process facilitated by the Community of Saint’Egidio to foster an inclusive dialogue with the non-signatories of R-ARCSS 2018.”

The statement denounced the “flawed provisions and stipulations of[1]R-ARCSS’s for power sharing between largely two ethnic communities in South Sudan, which excludes the interest of Equatoria and its more than 2.6 million people from effective participation in peace-making and political decisions in the country. There are ethnic domination and hegemonic drivers underlying the silent declaration of war on Equatoria by SSPDF and SPLM-IO forces, who are bent on forcing sole political control of the country under the failed SPLM hegemonic and corrupt leadership in the country.”

“There is unlikely to be peaceful resolution of the conflict in South Sudan without territorial power sharing between the Peoples of greater Upper Nile, Equatoria, and Bahr al Ghazal regions of South Sudan, at a minimum in a Federal Transitional Government to lead a People’s Constitutional Convention process to realize a constitution of our new social and political covenant for peaceful co-existence.

“The Alliance, NADAFA calls upon the regional and international community to stand with the people of South Sudan in their quest for a democratic and transparent Constitution-Making process that is people-driven and which puts the people first, not the R-TGONU Executive appointees of SPLM to lead the constitution making process.”

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