South Sudan: Rebels warn civil war could break out again
Rebels in South Sudan have warned that the country’s bitter civil war could break out again if plans to implement a power-sharing transitional government aren’t delayed for six months.
The country’s largest rebel group, which is led by former vice-president Riek Machar, is demanding more time to integrate its troops into the national army, settle ongoing border disputes and resolve other issues unresolved since a peace deal was signed last year.
Rebel group sends out warning
Speaking to reporters in Juba on Tuesday, deputy chairman of Machar’s rebel group, Henry Odwar, warned that failing to address its concerns would be a disaster that could lead to a break down in the peace deal – as happened in 2016 when the country’s previous peace process fell apart.
Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny has accused the rebel group of holding the peace process hostage. However, Machar’s rebel group accuses Kiir’s government of not respecting the timetable set out by the peace deal signed in September last year. The deal stipulated that rebel soldiers would be integrated into the national army, the number of states and borders in the country would be revised and security arrangements would be put in place to guarantee the safety of Machar and other key members of the rebel group.
The group says these issues haven’t been addressed and that authorities aren’t providing the necessary funds to implement new security arrangements. It’s demanding a six-month delay on plans to form a transitional government to buy time for these issues to be resolved.
Featured image: By Jason Patinkin (VOA) – http://www.voanews.com/a/government-soldiers-leave-juba-before-rebel-leaders-return/3286194.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56846864