News / Africa

South Sudan Ex-VP Backs Agreement to End Violence

FILE - South Sudan's former vice president Riek Machar
FILE - South Sudan's former vice president Riek Machar
Peter Clottey
Former South Sudan vice president Riek Machar says groups demanding the immediate cessation of hostilities are “jumping the gun,” insisting representatives of the two warring factions holding peace talks in Ethiopia need to agree on the mechanisms to end the conflict.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called for the prosecution of perpetrators of human rights violations in South Sudan, and some observers are calling for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators.

Machar also says he backs the prosecution of those who commit gross human rights abuses and crimes against humanity in South Sudan’s ongoing conflict.  He blames President Salva Kiir for the ongoing conflict.

“Salva Kiir should go to the ICC,” said Machar.  “He has targeted one ethnic group.  He has embarked on ethnic cleansing resulting in the Juba massacre.”                   

The violence in South Sudan erupted after President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, accused former vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup.  Macher, who is in hiding, denied the accusation.

“There was no coup d’état,” said Machar.  “I am committed to a democratic process.  It is Salva Kiir who did not want the democratic process in the party, nor does he want to go for the elections in 2015...  There was no plan at all for a coup.”

  • Displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile, prepare to sleep in the open in the town of Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A young displaced boy rests on the wheel arch of a water truck while others fill containers from it, at a United Nations compound on the outskirts of Juba, the South Sudanese capital.
  • Yared, 2, is held by mother Madhn who fled from the town of Bor a few days ago, as she receives medicine for her child at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical tent at a United Nations compound.
  • Displaced people gather under a mosquito net tent as they flee from fighting between the South Sudanese army and rebels in Bor town, 180 km (112 miles) northwest from capital Juba December 30, 2013.
  • A soldier from South Sudan's army stands guard in Malakal in the Upper Nile State of South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A young displaced girl carries a bucket of water back to her makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in the Jebel area on the outskirts of Juba.
  • The U.N.'s top humanitarian official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, assesses the situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, Unity state, South Sudan, Dec. 24, 2013. (UNMISS)
  • A pirogue packed with passengers arrives at a dock after crossing a waterway near the town of Malakal, seen from an airplane over South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • U.N.'s top humanitarian official in the country Toby Lanzer, left, makes a visit to assess the humanitarian situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, in oil-rich Unity state, in South Sudan, Dec. 24, 2013.

Member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union and other international human rights groups have demanded a cessation of hostilities in South Sudan’s conflict.

But, Machar says measures including monitoring systems would have to be agreed upon by the two parties in order to ensure both sides adhere to the ceasefire calls.

“The two teams are in Addis [Ababa], they have not yet agreed on an agenda,” said Machar.  “Normally, cessation of hostilities is agreed upon and a monitoring system for verification is also agreed upon.  So those who are demanding it are jumping the gun.  The negotiating teams need to agree on it.”

There are news reports that forces loyal to Machar are marching towards South Sudan’s capital, Juba.  But, Machar says troops from the national army have also been heading towards areas under his control.

“There are troops that are allied to Salva Kiir that are marching northwards in an attempt to capture Bor.  So, we definitely would match them and we would march southwards,” he said.

The African Union has called on both sides to create the space to enable humanitarian agencies to provided assistance to the victims of the violence.  Machar says he agrees with the call.

“The areas which are under our control are open for humanitarian access so that people are served.  We have said that publicly, that we would give access to all the humanitarian workers so that they can provide services to the people,” said Machar.

Clottey interview with Riek Machar, South Sudan's former Vice President
Clottey interview with Riek Machar, South Sudan's former Vice Presidenti
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Comment Sorting
by: Elkasheef Hassan from: canada
January 07, 2014 12:25 PM
It is important to remember your old conflict with you brother to the north .Fighting has never help any one. Just stop. All dying in the war can develop the farms and roads the hospital the school this industry .do you think leaders are there to kill or to lead the nation to prosporety?

by: Anonymous
January 06, 2014 7:14 AM
God be with s.sudan to make paece agreement.
In Response

by: Waraba martin from: Kampala
January 07, 2014 3:15 PM
Macher; whatever u do will be done to u and ur whole generation.

In Response

January 06, 2014 8:16 PM
Dr.Machar and Kiir people are dying, please go for ceasefire and mechanism should be UN forces between your forces till you two leaders agree on what you want to be done. I'm so shame of my country for now. The present of Uganda force in the front-line helping SPLA is un acceptable. It seem M7 is promote ethnic cleansing. There are 63 ethnic groups in S south Sudan and 62+M7 are fighting one ethnic, no that is a big embarrassment to Uganda. However, the main aim should be peace Dr. Machar otherwise you are losing your population to vote for you indirectly if your thinking of election.

by: Kuer Keer from: Australia
January 05, 2014 10:58 PM
O n my behalf those people who are they problen course should be hold accountable and they have face justice.
In Response

by: philip from: Juba
January 07, 2014 4:36 AM
I believe that this is more than a senseless war between tribes which immensely contributed to the freedom of the people of S. Sudan. it pains me so bitter to see same people whom we struggled for their dignity, peace and prosperity are dying innocently because of power struggle and personal interests. I believe even if the conflict is centered on Nuer Vs Dinka as it seems yet no side will ever finish up the other. However people will at the end come to settle the issue on the table. So why wasting our human resources in vain?
As for the above comments, the issue is not what happened after the first bullet but the issue is why the first bullet by one tribe related army personnel in Juba in the first place. Justice must be provided if the international community is genuine in S. Sudan's future sustainable peace. Because peace prevails where there is justice and so does the war and insecurity where there is no justice. Therefore, i support the IGAD brokered peace and most importantly the idea of ICC intervention to investigate and find out the perpetrators.
Mr. Machar and Mr. Kiir should rewind the history of the people of South Sudan. The political power is one and half year away to be given not through bloodletting but through the vote of very people whom you are killing- they are the one who owns that power. The few who will survive will definitely look for the leader whose hands are bloodless, the power will be given to somebody who cares for the welfare of the governed and not for himself.

by: Dave from: Canada
January 05, 2014 1:41 PM
Politicians in S. Sudan make all us to feel a shame to belong to country. we know more about killing one another than it is to develop our country. Someone may be a PhD holder but stull thinks and acts like uneducated person. Child mortality among the Nuer and Dinka peopleis at 46%, copared to only 13% in Equatoria region. Human life in these areas is work nothing. Someone.can even kill youin the class in front of a teacher and other pupils, in the market etc without shame or fear of the law.

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