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South Sudan Watch Update 54

Rebels unhappy with IGAD over Dr Machar

The SPLA-IO rebels allied to Dr. Riek Machar are not happy with the decision of IGAD made on 26 March to release Dr. Machar from house arrest with very strict condition including that does not reside in any country bordering South Sudan.  This means that he also cannot be involved in peace negotiations. IGAD also told Dr. Machar that he would have to denounce violence if his release was to take effect. The rebels were disgruntled with this decision and accused IGAD of favoring the Juba administration. They pointed to the fact that the government has violated the ceasefire agreement but nothing has been done to them. IGAD say that despite Dr. Machar’s absence from the talks he will be consulted and represented[1]

Rebels attacked

The SPLA-IO accused the government of attacking their positions in the Upper Nile and Equatoria regions. The deputy spokesperson of SPLA-IO, Col. Lam Gabriel, said in a statement that the Juba administration had launched a surprise attack on their positions on the morning of 31 March, adding that they were, however, able to repulse the government troops without any causalities. Col. Lam stated that the Juba administration was not interested in peace and called upon UNMISS to investigate the attacks which violate the ceasefire agreement.[2]

10,000 refugees enter Ethiopia

According to Legesse Driba, the program coordinator of the Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA), about 14,000 South Sudanese crossed into the Gambella region of Ethiopia fleeing insecurity in their country. The new refugees were sheltered at the Gupyel Refugee Camp. Driba insisted that the influx has put a strain on the available aid. He called upon the international community to come to the assistance of these new refugees.[3]

Gen Malong’s homes raided

Two homes belonging to Gen Paul Malong the former army chief of staff were raided by government troops who were supposedly looking for guns and government vehicles. The two located in Warawar and Malualkon were raided on Friday and Saturday respectively. Gen. Malong’s wife, Arek Ameth said that fortunately no one was assaulted during the raids though some items were taken from their shop in Warawar. This was the second raid on Gen. Paul Malong’s properties in two months.[4]

Kiir says he will concede election defeat

The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, expressed his desire to contest in the next South Sudanese elections. While speaking at a dinner party at the state house, he said that he wanted to contest when the interim period ends and peace has returned to South Sudan. He also stated that if he loses in a fair election he will peacefully concede defeat and not turn to war. At the same dinner party, he called on the opposition to accept the peace agreement and look towards attaining peace for their country.[5]

[1] Aggrey Mutambo, “Rebels reject Igad conditions for Riek Machar’s freedom”The Daily Nation, March 30, 2018, available at https://www.nation.co.ke/news/africa/Rebels-reject-Igad-position-Riek-Machar-house-arrest/1066-4365274-x3k06l/index.html

[2] “South Sudan troops launched fresh attacks on SPLA-IO positions” South Sudan News Agency, March 31, 2018, available at http://southsudannewsagency.org/index.php/2018/03/31/south-sudan-troops-launched-fresh-attacks-on-spla-io-positions/

[3] “Nearly 14,000 South Sudanese refugees fled to Ethiopia in two months: official” Radio Tamazuj, April 1, 2018, available at https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/nearly-14-000-south-sudanese-refugees-fled-to-ethiopia-in-two-months-official

[4] “Government troops raid homes of Paul Malong: family,” Radio Tamazuj, April 2, 2018, available at: //radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/government-troops-raid-homes-of-paul-malong-family

[5] “Kiir promises to accept defeat if he loses planned election” Radio Tamazuj, April 4, 2018, available at https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/kiir-promises-to-accept-defeat-if-he-loses-planned-election

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