JUBA, 29 July 2021 – Continued and worsening violence threatens a fragile peace deal in South Sudan, according to international monitors.
The Djibouti-based IGAD (Inter-Governmental Agency for Development) deployed the monitors after parties to the conflict agreed a ceasefire.
Unfortunately, government forces and armed opposition groups have continued to violently clash in several parts of the country, according to IGAD monitors.
Some of the worst clashes and violations of the ceasefire between the parties have been committed in Central Equatoria State, where government forces are fighting running battles with the armed wing of the National Salvation Front (NSF).
IGAD monitors have called on South Sudanese authorities to do everything to maintain training camps in place and to everything to ensure ” the graduation of trainees and the formation of a unified national army”.
The statement suggests that most of those to be blamed for the gradual relapse into war are trainees who have left the training camps or have deserted ahead of the delayed graduation of members of the new unified South Sudanese army.
The formation of a new national army is an important requirement under the revitalized peace deal in South Sudan.
Recruits from rival sides in the ongoing violence in South Sudan have been accused of leading attacks in Upper Nile State and in Central Equatoria State where both have recruits in training.
“We remain concerned that if this situation continues, there are risks to implementation of the revitalized agreement – especially the ceasefire,” said Teshome Gemechu Aderie, chairperson of the security monitoring body abbreviated CTSAMVM.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former arch rival, Vice-President Riek Machar concluded a deal in September 2018 to help end the country’s five-year civil war.
They formed a government of national unity in February 2020.
Efforts to ensure the success of the ceasefire and peace deal have seen the leader of the powerful Catholic Church, Pope Francis, kiss the feet of representatives of the warring factions.
Last April, the United Nations Security Council warned that the peace process was unraveling and that if nothing was done the country could see a relapse into civil war.