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South Sudan Watch Update 24

Rebels accuse government of recruiting refugees

The deputy spokesperson of the armed opposition faction led by Riek Macher, Lam Paul made a claim that the Juba government was recruiting civilians and students from the refugee settlements in Northern Uganda. Lam Paul further claims that an officer from the South Sudanese prime ministers’ office intercepted a group of 63 South Sudanese refugees being moved from Uganda to South Sudan  . The armed group also pointed fingers at the government for attacking civilians. The Juba administration has not made any comments with regards to these claims.

Dialogue committee seek continental support

Figure 1 South Africa’s Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa receives members of South Sudan’s national dialogue committee in South Africa, July 2, 2017 (ST photo)

The steering committee of the national dialogue is looking to engage the regional and continental leaders to make the dialogue and peace process successful. A delegation from the committee travelled to South Africa to meet with Riek Macher to get his perspectives on the dialogue, they planned to meet with the South African president Jacob Zuma and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa. The delegation that went to meet Riek are also hoping to get him to return to South Sudan and meet with the other parties of the dialogue face to face. Other high level meetings are planned to meet with the exiled leaders in Kenya, Ethiopia and other East African countries.

Riek turns down the National Dialogue consultation

Despite the high optimism steering the dialogue committee delegation that went to South Africa to meet with Riek Macher, the rebel leader declined to meet the group that went to see him citing the need to stop the war as the first priority before the dialogue can take place. The co-chair of the committee said that despite attempts by South Africa’s deputy president to get Riek at the discussion table, he turned them down. The ANC of South Africa however welcomed the dialogue idea and showed support towards it. However many observers regard Machar’s refusal to meet the delegation as a denial of the legitimacy of the national dialogue.

As a response to this, Salva Kiir told Angelo Beda to continue with the consultations saying that the people of South Sudan and the nation cannot wait for those advocating for war.

Aid workers abducted

A group of unknown gunmen abducted eight foreign and local aid workers from outside a UN protection site for civilians in Juba. The UN mission in South Sudan said workers of a private company who were working for an NGO were abducted while they were drilling water. The abductees were released two days later after negotiations with security services. These abductions demonstrate how bad the security situation in the country is.

The security forces however have decided to increase deployment along the Juba – Bor road so as to combat the abductions and killings that have plagued the country and especially that area. The decision to increase deployment is to make it more secure for the workers and the returnees from the refugee settlements to make it into the capital city.