Feb 10, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — The leadership of SPLM/SPLA in Opposition, under the former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, has declared a full scale war as an alternative to end the conflict in the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan.
According to Dr. Oyet Nathaniel Pierino, the rebels’ National Committee Chairman for Political Mobilization, the armed opposition has declared Greater Equatoria, comprising of Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria as a military zone until the incumbent regime is removed from power.
“From the 10th February, 2015 Equatoria region is effectively declared a military zone until the current regime is changed” Oyet said in a press statement seen by Nyamilepedia.
According to Oyet, the former head of political science department at the University of Juba, all civilians in the region must not carry arms or wear uniform within this period.
The SPLM/SPLA [IO] has declared Government forces and their means of subsistence in the region to be eminent targets from their forces, effective from the minute of their press release.
“ All government business including elections in all areas under the reach of pro-democracy and reforms forces are null and void.” Read the Press Statement.
The armed Opposition calls upon their sympathizers in Juba and elsewhere in the country to defect as soon as possible, declaring that “the time for change is now not tomorrow”. Dr. Oyet reiterates that the defectors will be soon instructed on where to assemble.
“ We call upon our supporters in government institutions, organize forces and all those who cherish reforms and progress of our country to defect the regime of Salva Kiir, you will be told where to go.” The statement reads.
“The time for change is now not tomorrow South Sudan will never be the same again. The opportunity to achieve a sustainable and prosperous future for everyone is here. The government of Salva Kiir and his cohorts must be removed at all cost without delay.” Dr. Oyet remarks.
Since the beginning of the crises, Juba has been a ticking bomb, comprising of supporters and militants of both sides. Many defections and minor clashes have rocked Juba since December, 2013.
The oppositions accuse Salva Kiir administration of having hijacked and sold the independence and sovereignty of South Sudan, which attained its independence from Sudan in July, 2011.
“Kiir has sold the independence of South Sudan to foreign agents and brought shame to South Sudanese who are made to bleed because of bad politics of the regime and those who want to build a patrimonial state.” Reads the rebels press statement.
Last week, the neighboring Uganda, which intruded in the conflict from its onset, announced extending a loose agreement with Juba to maintain its forces in South Sudan for another 4 months contrary to January 23rd, 2014 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.
War for Federalism and Reforms:
According to Dr. Oyet, the Addis Ababa and Arusha Peace talks have squashed their demands for political and governance reforms, which the opposition believes are major factors in this conflict, and instead replaced them with unfavorable power sharing deal.
“The demand for political and governance reforms and justice for the victims of genocide have been thrown out of the peace talks and replaced by unacceptable scrambling and speculation for power sharing and the unification of infamous SPLM party which is synonymous with the suffering of South Sudanese today” Reads the statement.
“Where is federalism, where is justice and accountability for the victims of genocide.” wonders the political scientist!
The Opposition also emphasizes the need for the African Union to release their reports on South Sudan conflict to expedite the peace talks and accountability process.
“Even the report by AU Commission of Inquiry has been shelved in an effort to protect a regime well known for loss of its legitimacy. Political venders have now taken the peace process hostage.” Oyet said.
“ This is an insult to millions of lives who perished for the love of South Sudan and her people since the struggle for independence was launched in 1955” Dr. Oyet continued.
According to South Sudan government spokesman, Michael Makuei Lueth, the African Union should not release the report to prevent peace talks from collapsing.
Hon. Makuei believes that if the AU reports mention individuals on both sides of the conflict for possible prosecution, the peace process may collapse or slow down.
The rebels, however, decry possible attempt by AU to protect the culprits in the current regime of Salva Kiir.
The African Union Commission of Inquiry, led by the former Nigerian President Oluṣẹgun Mathew Okikiọla Arẹmu Ọbasanjọ, was formed in mid 2014 after the IGAD states and governments disagreed on the root causes of South Sudan conflict.
The Opposition believes that the leadership of President Salva Kiir has targeted ethnic group(s) and continues to exterminate members of Nuer, Equatorian, Shilluck, Pertit, Balanda, Murle, among other minority communities.
“The continued disposition and conduct of government of President Salva Kiir and his cohorts still demonstrate that Kiir is not for any peace and unfit to rule the country. Relentlessly he continued to kill our people.” said the former lecturer of Juba University-turned rebel.
“In Juba people are being beheaded in their houses, we condemn in strongest term possible the continued government policy of targeting and killing the members of Nuer, equatorians, pertit, balanda, shilluk, murle and other members of minority communities. We urge UNMISS to investigate and bring culprits to justice” The statement continued
Dr. Oyet believes that this declaration is final, and it will remain in place until Salva Kiir is removed from power.
“Equatoria region will remain a military zone until all the just demands for reforms under federal arrangement and justice and accountability are met.” Dr. Oyet said.
In other reports, the three governors of Equatoria, accompanied by three other governors from Greater Barh el Ghazal have traveled to Addis Ababa to meet IGAD mediators for their demands to be considered in the future peace agreements.
The governors, who agree with the rebels on demand for federals systems, support the government’s call for the incumbent vice president to be the First Vice President in the proposed Transitional Government of National Unity, however, it is yet to be verified if the Equatorian Governors will form a separate bloc in the upcoming peace talks to negotiate their demands.