Mounting Concerns Over Rival Political And Military Factions In South Sudan



On Monday, Mr. Kiir declared a “unilateral
ceasefire and cessation of hostilities,” at 6:00
PM local time, a gesture which was
reciprocated by Mr. Machar, who ordered his
forces to stand down.
On Thursday last week, rival factions of South
Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and Vice President
Riek Machar in the presidential compound as the
world’s youngest nation were to celebrate the 5th
anniversary of its independence together. This celebration
follows a protracted political and military crisis, between
Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar, which rocked the young country.
A firefight between rival leader’s forces in Juba erupted
again on Thursday night. The fighting spread through the
city as shelling began between rival leaders’ forces.
According to a Reuters report, a health ministry source
claimed that at least 272 people had been killed since the
violence began. The violence intensified over the weekend
to involve heavy artillery, tanks, and helicopters.
On Monday, Mr. Kiir declared a “unilateral ceasefire and
cessation of hostilities,” at 6:00 PM local time, a gesture
which was reciprocated by Mr. Machar, who ordered his
forces to stand down.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, presidential spokesman
Ateny Wek Ateny stated, "The president talked to
Machar...they have talked about controlling their forces in
an attempt to salvage what has remained of the peace
agreement."
The strained relationship between Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar
began in December 2013 after Mr. Kiir accused Mr. Machar
of plotting a coup. This came two years after the state
negotiated its independence from Sudan in July 9, 2011.
Both leaders have been accused of being complicit in
human rights abuses that have led to the deaths of
thousands.
The international community was involved in South Sudan’s
independence intervened in the situation with United
Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calling on the
Security Council to impose an "immediate arms embargo"
on South Sudan.
The US and India are evacuating their non-essential
nationals from the country. The Indian External Affairs
office has warned its nationals not to travel to the country.
The violence in Juba has left two Chinese peacekeeping
forces dead.
According to the U.N.'s mission in South Sudan, at least
36,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Juba,
and are in need of urgent assistance.
The ceasefire finally deescalated the violence. However,
concerns mount whether the violence in Sudan could lead
to another civil war as it is an indication of how serious the
divide is between rival leaders.
Netsanet Belay, Africa Director, Research and Advocacy
of Amnesty International, an international human rights
organization, recommended to African governments that “
The latest horrific bloodshed in South Sudan demonstrates
the urgent need for African leaders gathering in Kigali to
take steps not only to resolve such conflicts but also to
tackle their root causes.”
The 27th AU Summit will be held in Kigali, Rwanda on July
18, where African countries will be laying out steps to
tackle, among other challenges, the problem of armed
conflict that is facing the continent.

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