South Sudan govt, rebel leaders told to tame unruly troops

Tuesday November 22 2016

The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (JMEC) chairman Mr Festus Mogae in South Sudan. PHOTO | JOSEPH ODUHA

An African Union peace mediator has challenged South Sudanese leaders to use various platforms to reform their fighters to work for peace.

The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (JMEC) chairman, Mr Festus Mogae, said in Juba on Tuesday that the unruly soldiers were further denting the image of the war-torn country.

A former president of Botswana, Mr Mogae was appointed by the Inter-Governmental Authority and Development (Igad) head of states in 2015 to chair JMEC which is charged with the implementation of the August 2015 South Sudan peace agreement.

His remark came after multiple reports from the United Nations on continuous breakdown of the ceasefire agreement by both the government and rebel fighters.

Mr Mogae underlined the severe humanitarian situation and persistent violence perpetrated by the warring factions as the greatest obstacles to the peace implementation.

“Almost daily, we receive reports of violence from around the country, that seem to remind us of the enormity of our task and the very fragile nature of peace in the country,” he said.


“In our last meeting, our primary concern was the immediate restoration of the ceasefire agreement and I am dismayed to report no evidence of meaningful progress in that regard,” he added.

Mr Mogae revealed that the fighting in Equatoria region was characterised by gross human rights violations by both the government, the rebels and other armed groups.

He said the South Sudan war had become a burden to the international community as well as the continent at large.

Earlier on, the East African Community warned that the conflict in the young nation could spark instability in the whole region.

Some countries such as Ethiopia and Sudan have already closed doors to the South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar after he declared a fresh war with President Salva Kiir following the July fighting.

READ: Diplomats condemn Machar's call for war in South Sudan

ALSO READ: South Sudan neighbours further isolate rebel leader Riek Machar

Dr Machar was denied entry by both Ethiopian and Sudanese authorities on Monday and was forced to return to South Africa where he had been seeking medical treatment.

However, Mr Mogae urged President Kiir to implement his declaration of amnesty to the rebels, including Dr Machar.

READ: President 'pardons' South Sudan rebels

He urged the warring factions to use dialogue and the laid down channels in addressing grievances instead of resorting to violence.

Peace and security, Mr Mogae noted, were crucial in achieving economic stability and general development in the young nation.