S. Sudan National Security in ‘Critical’ State, Says African Union
The African Union (AU) has warned national security in South Sudan is at a critical state with the nation’s fractured peace deal having done nothing to calm violence in the country.
A cease-fire was agreed back on August 26, but the terms agreed in the deal have had little effect on the continued conflict between the government and rebel forces. International bodies have condemned both parties for failing to implement the peace deal and prolonging violence in the country.
Rebel no-show at first peace meeting
The first peace meeting held by internationally backed ceasefire monitors took place on Friday. The agenda focused on a single topic: the August 26 peace deal. But rebel leaders failed to turn up for the meeting amidst continued violence in much of the country.
AU Commission Chief, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, warned that all parties must attend the meetings set up by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), if the peace deal has any hope of materialising.
Meanwhile, international supporters of the peace deal – including Britain, Norway and the US – have voiced concerns that the peace deal is on the verge of falling apart entirely.
“Each day, the fighting and abuses continue, and an already grave humanitarian situation grows worse,” said a joint statement released last week.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his government insist they are committed to a peace deal, blaming the continued violence on his former deputy, and now rebel leader, Riek Machar.
Machar and his supporters rely on a similar dialogue, however, accusing the president and his forces of attacking innocent civilians. The war – which broke out in December 2013 – quickly turned ethic, pitting the president’s Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer group. Thousands have since been killed and nearly 2 million have fled their homes to escape the conflict.
Investigations have revealed evidence of ethnic massacres, widespread rape, torture and the recruitment of child soldiers – amongst other grave human right violations.