The Intergovernmental Authority of Development (IGAD) has come out publicly to condemn the ongoing violence in South Sudan which seems to be escalating by day. In a statement the IGAD Executive Secretary, Ambassador (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim, expressed grave concerns over the spiraling violence which has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis in the country for many years, and has called on the international community to act with immediate effect and put pressure on both parties to come to a truce.
“ACT NOW TO PREVENT CATASTROPHE”
“The conflict has also seriously disrupted economic activity and food production with imminent risk of serious famine. In this respect, the Executive Secretary calls on the international community to act now to put pressure on both parties to stop the war and prevent a deeper catastrophe from unfolding in South Sudan,” he said, adding that the recent incidents are particularly alarming as they involved deliberate targeting of civilians in massacre proportions.
Maalim also urged the Sudanese government and the rebels, led by Riek Machar, to demonstrate their commitment to the IGAD-led mediation process saying it was the only viable means of resolving the conflict.
SUDAN CRITICIZES IGAD’S APPROACH
Last week, the government of Sudan, from which South Sudan gained her independence in 2011, sharply criticized the role of IGAD in the ongoing peace talks terming the approach “ineffective” and urged the body to adopt a different approach.
The State Minister at the Sudanese foreign ministry, Kamal Al-Din Saeed, in a statement before the parliament, had described IGAD’s approach to negotiations between the warring parties in South Sudan as “traditional” which doesn’t take into consideration the special nature of the country, and maintained that it would fail to resolve the crisis.
WHITEHOUSE CONDEMNS HORRIFIC KILLINGS
Just a day after The United Nations Mission in South Sudan issued a statement condemning the massacre of hundreds of civilians in South Sudan, the White House also come out on Wednesday of last week to criticize the horrific mass killings.
Through the spokesman Jay Carney, the White House denounced the ongoing massacre of hundreds of civilians in the world’s youngest nation terming it an “abomination” and called for a ceasefire.
“We are horrified by reports out of South Sudan that fighters aligned with rebel leader Riek Machar massacred hundreds of innocent civilians last week in Bentiu,” White House spokesman Carney said in a statement.
“STACKS OF BODIES” FOUND
“Images and accounts of the attacks shock the conscience,” the statement read in part, continuing, “stacks of bodies found dead inside a mosque, patients murdered at a hospital, and dozens more shot and killed in the streets and at a church — apparently due to their ethnicity and nationality — while hate speech was broadcast on local radio”. The statement added that President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar must make it clear that such attacks targeting innocent civilians were unacceptable.
The United Nation had on Monday of last week announced through a statement that rebels had slaughtered hundreds of civilians when they took control of a strategic oil-producing town (Bentiu) last week. The rebels are reported to have separated groups of people who had sought refuge in churches, mosques and hospitals by their ethnicity and nationality targeting members of the ethnic Nuer group who did not support them, along with South Sudanese people from other ethnic groups and Darfuris from Sudan.
Last week, armed youths who had masqueraded as peaceful protesters forced their way into a UN base in the town of Bor, and opened fire, killing dozens of civilians who had sought refuge in the premises.
ETHNIC VIOLENCE IN SOUTH SUDAN
Political tensions broke out in South Sudan following the sacking of Deputy President Riek Machar by President Salva Kiir in July last year and eventually the world’s youngest nation descended into an ethnic war in December. Mr Kiir hails from the Dinka tribe while his former Vice-President Mr Machar is from the Nuer community.
Since then over a thousand people are reported to have been killed and scores injured as well, a situation that has seen thousands’ of more people escape the war torn nation to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.
In January this year about 20,000 people were reported to have fled to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, an influx in the camp that increased its population to about 130, 000 people.
Disturbing photos of dozens of lifeless bodies continue to make rounds on social media, portraying the horrific scenario in South Sudan. Let us pray that this madness will come to an end sooner rather than later.