EDITORIAL: South Sudan falling apart before our eyes

Wednesday July 26 2017

Displaced South Sudanese women walk towards the

Displaced South Sudanese women walk towards the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Malakal on January 13, 2014. PHOTO | FILE | AFP  

By The EastAfrican
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South Sudan is heading into the political abyss. The country is disintegrating before our eyes as it sinks into unstructured fighting in various states.

The international community should now wake up to the horrors in South Sudan, where new ethnic militias are emerging to fight each other and use rape as a weapon of war.

The latest report released by Amnesty International chronicles widespread rape where in some instances assailants mutilate women’s private parts with knives after raping them, leaving them to suffer a slow death.

Men have not been spared in the now widespread revenge attacks, where some have been sodomised, while others have been castrated or tortured with needles.

Amnesty International chronicles gruesome acts committed against citizens of South Sudan by government soldiers.

All these are happening while the world appears to have forgotten South Sudan, and regional states are too divided to come up with a workable solution to end a civil war that has gone on for almost four years, claimed over 60,000 lives and left over four million displaced — two million are displaced within the country and another two million have fled to neighbouring Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan.

What started as political differences between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar in December 2013, has now morphed into a free-for-all war of survival in the face of a collapsed economy, high unemployment among the youth and famine caused by many years of war.

In the past two weeks, fighting has intensified in Upper, Bentiu and Unity States, Keji-Keji in Yei along the border with Uganda and Imatong town, near the border town of Nimule, where both parties continue to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with abandon.

Yet partner states of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) appear to have given up on South Sudan.

The August 2015 peace agreement cannot be implemented, while the country is in no shape to hold elections in 2018 as per the agreement. If the world does not come to the rescue, South Sudan is likely to turn into another Somalia where ethnic militias will dismantle the country into small enclaves.

The people of South Sudan are hoping that the fact-finding mission by Igad that begins work on July 24 will revive commitment by the region and the international community to come up with workable solutions to stop the war.

It is now obvious that the experiment common in Africa of forcing warring parties to share power has failed miserably in South Sudan.

Igad continues to insist on the implementation of the August 2015 peace agreement, which both parties agree is dead and cannot be implemented in its original form since more armed groups have emerged, fighting for reasons far removed from what sparked off the civil war in 2013.

It is time the international community accepts that President Kiir and Dr Machar will not work together, and comes up with a completely new political solution that involves all the stakeholders