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

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora