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South Sudan Watch Update 56

Boma state in need of help

Thousands of people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Boma state of South Sudan after fleeing their homes out of fear for their lives. Majority of those in need are women and children affected by the battle between rebels of Dr. Riek Machar and government troops. The clash which government troops blamed on the rebels left ten people dead and seven injured. The governor of the state David Yau Yau has appealed to humanitarian aid to rescue these people.[1]

AU chairperson meets Dr. Machar

The chairperson of the African Union, Mousa Faaki Mohamed met with the leader of the SPLA-IO, Dr. Riek Machar in Pretoria, South Africa on Thursday 12 April to discuss the South Sudan peace process.

The two men discussed the high-level revitalization process, the challenges affecting it and the roles of the various partners, including Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union.

The IGAD plus countries, which include Algeria, Chad, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa, were added to the process to add strength to IGAD.

SPLA-IO expressed gratitude for the meeting in a statement that was released by the director for information, Puok Both Baluang, that said they looked forward to the results of the discussion adding that this peace process is the only way that a lasting peace will be attained in South Sudan.[2]

USA urges IGAD on ceasefire violations

The United States of America is mounting pressure on IGAD to release four reports on ceasefire violations in South Sudan and punish those responsible for the violations.

The Donald Trump administration gave strict notice to Salva Kiir to stop violence in the country and invested in a body called the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) to monitor and report on the ceasefire violations.

CTSAMM was placed under IGAD but has not been able to release the information on the ceasefire because it does not have the mandate to act without IGAD.

Civil society leader in South Sudan Peter Biar Ajack, criticized IGAD as reluctant to act to suppress ceasefire violations that have been happening since December 2017 when the latest ceasefire was signed.[3]

Rebels release seven aid workers

Rebels belonging to the SPLA-IO on Sunday released seven aid workers that they had held in their custody for almost three weeks. The seven were held in the Equatoria region after they were ambushed and taken captive. The rebel deputy spokesperson, Paul Lam Gabriel, said that the aid workers were being held because some of them were suspected of being government spies sent to spy on rebel positions. The seven were released to a U.N. delegation in a town near the Ugandan border and the Ugandan police were present to witness.[4]

Malong’s rebel group to join IGAD peace talks

The former army chief of staff’s newly formed rebel group, the SSUF applied to join the IGAD led peace revitalization forum along side other rebel movements and the government of South Sudan. In a statement that they released, the SSUF informed the public that they made the application to join the revitalization on 10 April 2018. The SSUF also added that they are not interested in solving the country’s problems with war.[5]

200 child solders released by rebels

A group of child soldiers were freed from the rebel groups says UNICEF. According to a statement by UNICEF, this was the second group of child soldiers to be released. The first was in February this year, when children were released in Yambio town and were later returned to their families or were taken to UNICEF supported care centers. UNICEF said that the continued release of child soldiers could see about one thousand children being released from rebel groups. UNICEF said that 207 children were from both the South Sudan National Liberation Movement as well as the SPLA-IO.[6]

IGAD postpones peace talks

IGAD, which is taking lead on the South Sudan peace revitalization forum, postponed the talks that were supposed to take place this month in Addis Ababa.  No reason was given for the postponement.

The revitalization talks are meant to bring together all the stakeholders in the South Sudan peace process so as to come up with a solution to bring the lasting peace that has eluded South Sudan since 2013.[7]

[1] “Thousands in need of humanitarian aid in Boma state: Official,” Radio Tamuzaj , 13 April 2018, available at https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/thousands-in-need-of-humanitarian-aid-in-boma-state-official.

[2] “Machar and AU chairperson discuss S. Sudan peace deal,” Sudan Tribune, 13 April 2018, available at http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article65171.

[3] “US Presses Regional Bloc to Act on South Sudan Cease-fire Violations,” Voice of America, 13 April 2018, available at https://www.voanews.com/a/united-states-presses-regional-block-to-act-on-south-sudan-cease-fire-violations/4347176.html

[4] “South Sudan rebels say they have freed seven aid workers,” Reuters, 15 April 2018, available at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southsudan-aid/south-sudan-rebels-say-they-have-freed-seven-aid-workers-idUSKBN1HM0QV?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29&&rpc=401

[5] “Malong’s ssuf officially applies to join IGAD-led peace talks as part of opposition alliance,” Nyamilepedia, 16 April 2018, available at  http://nyamile.com/2018/04/16/malongs-ssuf-officially-applies-to-join-igad-led-peace-talks-as-part-of-opposition-alliance/

[6] “UN: Over 200 more child soldiers freed in South Sudan,” aa.com, 18 April 2018, available at https://aa.com.tr/en/africa/un-over-200-more-child-soldiers-freed-in-south-sudan/1121575

[7] “East Africa bloc postpones talks on South Sudan peace deal,” Reuters, 18 April 2018, Available at https://www.reuters.com/article/southsudan-unrest/corrected-east-africa-bloc-postpones-talks-on-south-sudan-peace-deal-idUSL8N1RV3P3?rpc=401&

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