By Dr. Wesley Bokati Natana Abraham
A South Sudanese elder
August 13, 2016 (Nyamilepedia) —— Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I greet all of you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
As you are all aware, the 2013 crises which started in Juba resulted to loss of many lives and destruction of properties in Greater Equatoria, Greater Upper Nile and some parts of Bahr-El- Ghazal. However, the crises which occurred in Juba for the second time, beginning from July 7,2016 and continuous till today is largely concentrated in Greater Equatoria, resulting to loss of many lives, destruction of properties, looting and rapping of women.
As I speak here today, the government army is busy fighting, killing, rapping, looting and aerial bombarding our people in Greater Mundri counties at Bari, Medewu, Bangolo, Karika, Lozo, Lanyi, ‘Buagyi and Jambo areas. They are also committing the same crimes and atrocities in Central and Eastern Equatoria States, particularly at Lanya, Lasu, Katigiri, Pageri, Moli,Nimule, parts of Torit and Juba Nimule road. Same crimes and atrocities have been committed in areas such as Maridi, Yambio and Tambura among others.
Ladies and gentlemen, the humanitarian situation in many parts of Greater Equatoria is getting worse every day. As we gather here today, many people in Greater Equatoria and Upper Nile ( particularly in Greater Mundri Counties, Lanya, lasu and Nimule areas among others) have been displaced. Women, children and elderly persons are sleeping in the bushes without food, shelter, clothing and medicine. There is urgent need for humanitarian assistance to save the lives of our people but quick access to these needy areas have not been easy to the humanitarian workers.
I condemn all these atrocities in the strongest terms as it is a violation of human rights, international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflicts.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to make the following suggestions as a way forward to resolve the current crises in South Sudan
- That SPLA/M IG, SPLA/M IO, and other parties who are signatories to the peace agreement must avoid any split within their parties, as this will affect the signed peace agreement and its implementation.
- SPLA/M IG, SPLA/M IO and other parties who are signatories to the peace agreement must recommit themselves to immediate ceasefire and speedy implementation of the signed Peace Agreement, beginning with;
- Total demilitarization of Juba
- Deployment of Joint Integrated police to Juba town as per the signed peace agreement.
- Stopping operationalization of the twenty eight States and forming a committee to look into this matter as per the IGAD Communiqué
- Establishment of cantonment sites for all IO forces in Equatoria and other parts of South Sudan and provision of all needed logistics for them.
- Reconstitute the parliament with full participation of all parties who are signatories to the peace agreement and allow the Equatorians to exercise their democratic right to choose a Speaker of their choice without fear, manipulation and intimidation.
- Reconstitute/establish all institutions of governance as stipulated in the signed Peace Agreement
- Start reform process of all institutions of governance
- Allow and support deployment of a regional force to Juba with intervention and protection powers so as to stabilize security and facilitate quick return of the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar back to Juba to assume his responsibilities and continue with the implementation of the signed Peace Agreement.
- Remove military from all roadblocks and check points in the Country and replace them with police, so as to allow speedy and timely delivery of humanitarian serves to our need suffering people, facilitate free movement of goods and people in and out of the country.
- Lift the state of emergency and allow people leaving the country to go without unnecessary security investigation and clearance.
- Release all individuals who are now arrested and accused of having connections with SPLA/M IO and order the security forces to stop further arrest, torture and killing of civilians or looting their properties.
- All those who have lost their properties be compensated as soon as possible, so that they can rebuild themselves and start a new life.
- Support and work together with United Nations Mission in South Sudan, so as to effectively implement the Security Council Resolution being passed yesterday.
I hope, these suggestions will contribute positively to stop the war and smooth implementation of the signed peace agreement and move the country forward to a lasting peace and sustainable development.