News / Africa

Released S. Sudan Political Detainees Hope to Jump-Start Peace Talks

The seven detainees from South Sudan, shown here with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, after they were released to his custody, will be a third party at peace talks for South Suidan, along with pro- and anti-government negotiators. The seven detainees from South Sudan, shown here with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, after they were released to his custody, will be a third party at peace talks for South Suidan, along with pro- and anti-government negotiators.
x
The seven detainees from South Sudan, shown here with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, after they were released to his custody, will be a third party at peace talks for South Suidan, along with pro- and anti-government negotiators.
The seven detainees from South Sudan, shown here with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, after they were released to his custody, will be a third party at peace talks for South Suidan, along with pro- and anti-government negotiators.
Andrew Green
— Seven former political detainees from South Sudan will take part in peace talks for the country as a "third party," alongside negotiators for President Salva Kiir's government and opposition forces, including loyalists to former vice president Riek Machar.

One of the seven, former South Sudan Justice Minister John Luk Jok, told reporters in Addis Ababa on Thursday that the former detainees, all of whom are members of South Sudan's ruling SPLM party and were detained shortly after violence erupted in Juba on Dec. 15, want to jump start the talks so that peace can be restored in South Sudan.

"The suffering is too immense," Luk said. "Children are dying, women are dying and suffering. People are in the bush. People are in the United Nations camps, with barely anything to depend upon.”

Another former detainee, one-time Cabinet Affairs Minister Deng Alor said that because the seven understand the origins of the conflict in South Sudan, their input will be a big help to the negotiations.
Former South Sudanese Minister of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor KuolFormer South Sudanese Minister of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor Kuol
x
Former South Sudanese Minister of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor Kuol
Former South Sudanese Minister of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor Kuol
“Because... this conflict started in the party, it started in the SPLM -- the SPLM political bureau -- it’s an issue of a lack of democracy within the party,"  Deng said.

Luk said the former detainees were invited to participate in the talks by the South Sudan government and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating the talks.

IGAD organizers were not on hand to explain how the detainees would be integrated into the talks. But a spokesman for the anti-government side, Lul Ruai Koang, said the presence of the seven as a third party will  make the negotiations more complicated.

"They are saying they are going to take part in the talks. I do not know what issues they are going to negotiate on and with which party," he said.

Former South Sudanese Justice Minister John Luk JokFormer South Sudanese Justice Minister John Luk Jok
x
Former South Sudanese Justice Minister John Luk Jok
Former South Sudanese Justice Minister John Luk Jok
The seven detainees-turned-negotiators were held for more than a month before they were released last month to the custody of the authorities in Kenya.

Four SPLM leaders, including former Secretary General Pagan Amum, remain in prison.

The government has said it plans to charge them and three others, including Machar,  who are either in hiding or outside the country, with treason for launching what the government has said was a coup. All of the detainees and political figures who are in hiding or have fled South Sudan deny having anything to do with an alleged coup bid in South Sudan.

Anti-government negotiators threatened to boycott the second round of peace talks, which got off to a halting start this week, unless the political detainees were freed. They dropped their boycott threat when IGAD mediators promised them that the seven former detainees would be allowed to travel to the talks from Nairobi.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
February 14, 2014 5:47 PM
If the Kiir faction had any sense of decency by now they should have stopped making coup claims or threats to prosecute those they held on coup allegations. It has been very widely debunked that there was a coup attempt but a scheme by Kiir ,friends and allies to frame opponents and thus eliminate them from positions as they pose a threat to his project to cling to power based on regional models he wishes to copy from some of his mentors.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid