News / Africa

South Sudan Warring Factions Ink Truce as Fighting Rages

Opposition negotiator Hussein Mar Nyuot (R), shown here with Mabior de Garang (L) at the first round of peace talks for South Sudan in Addis Ababa in January, says the warring sides have agreed to a "month of tranquility" starting May 7.
Opposition negotiator Hussein Mar Nyuot (R), shown here with Mabior de Garang (L) at the first round of peace talks for South Sudan in Addis Ababa in January, says the warring sides have agreed to a "month of tranquility" starting May 7.
John TanzaPhilip Aleu
— Negotiators for the South Sudanese government and rebel forces have signed a one-month truce, an official said Monday, as the two sides continued to fight for control of two towns in the oil-producing north of the country.

A spokesman for the opposition, Hussein Mar Nyuot, told South Sudan in Focus from Addis Ababa -- where peace talks for South Sudan resumed last week -- that the two sides agreed to stop fighting for one month to allow hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians to move to safer areas, tend to their livestock and plant crops.

The  proposed "month of tranquility", which will begin May 7, would also allow aid agencies to get much-needed relief supplies and food to parts of the country that have been inaccessible because of the fighting, Mar Nyuot said.

The two sides also pledged to recommit to the cessation of hostilities agreement, which has been repeatedly violated sinceit was signed at the end of January.

The opposition signed the one-month truce agreement because, "We are very concerned that our people are suffering," Mar Nyuot said.

South Sudan in Focus was unable to reach government officials for comment.

The U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, called last week for what he called a month of tranquility. He said a truce is essential to allow farmers to plant and cultivate their crops, people to "move freely, without fear of violence," and aid agencies to get relief to the more than one million South Sudanese who have fled their homes.
 
"The conflict which broke out in mid-December has put a staggering 7 million people are at risk of food insecurity across the country," Lanzer said in a statement released April 29.

"April and May are the time to plant. April is behind us; only May is left to enable people to prepare their fields and try to ensure that they have a harvest at the end of 2014," he said.
 

More fighting in Bentiu


As the two sides inked the agreement, fighting continued in Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, and in Nassir, in Upper Nile state. Oil exports are the backbone of the South Sudanese economy, and Unity and Upper Nile are South Sudan's two main oil-producing states.

Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesman Philip Aguer said government forces retook control of both towns on Sunday after a day-long battle.

But, he said, fighting erupted again in Bentiu Monday when opposition forces launched an offensive to recapture the regional capital.

"There is fighting now around Bentiu and we are confident that the SPLA will control the situation,” he said.
Civilians flee from renewed attacks in Bentiu, Unity state of South Sudan, April 20, 2014.Civilians flee from renewed attacks in Bentiu, Unity state of South Sudan, April 20, 2014.
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Civilians flee from renewed attacks in Bentiu, Unity state of South Sudan, April 20, 2014.
Civilians flee from renewed attacks in Bentiu, Unity state of South Sudan, April 20, 2014.


But James Gatdet Dak, a spokesman for opposition forces led by Riek Machar, said government forces were pushed out of Bentiu on Monday.

"Today, at 9 a.m., our forces launched a counter-attack and flushed out the government forces. So it is the opposition forces that are now in full control of the town," Gatdet said.

In a video posted by Lanzer early last month, the U.N. humanitarian official said Bentiu is one of three regional capitals in South Sudan that have been almost completely destroyed during more than four months of fighting in the country.

The video, which contains graphic images, is available here.
 

Opposition launches counter-attack in Nassir
 

Gatdet said opposition forces have also launched a counter-attack in Nassir, but have not regained control of the town.

The fighting in both towns follows hard on the heels of a visit to Juba by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who, during his brief stop in the South Sudanese capital on Friday, called on both sides to immediately stop fighting.

The U.S. diplomat was able during his visit to convince South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to agree to meet with Machar, but the opposition leader is reportedly getting cold feet about a meeting.

On Monday, Kerry warned of sanctions and other "consequences" if South Sudan's government and rebel forces do not commit to talks aimed at ending the conflict in the young country.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bol from: Bor
May 05, 2014 11:16 PM
Hussein Mar Nyuot was a senior official in the state of Jonglei, he is a fool all the so-called rebel leaders are all fools including their leader Riek Machar with a Phd that South Sudanese have been demanding his dissertations to peruse and to know the man behind that so-called Phd, but the college in England in which guy is claimed to have studied his doctorate is not even doing South Sudanese any favour either.

Some of us who are very doubtful of Dr Riek Machar always wonder aloud if at all Riek Machar does have a doctorate in mechanical engineering for goodness sake!

Yes, our people need to grow their food, but what was this armed rebellion about? Sometimes when branded by the Dinkas as the most stupid community in South Sudan, they say the Dinka looked down upon them; but the truth remains.

Only a few Nuers act like grown up, but majority starting with Riek Machar, Mar Nyuot, Peter Gadet are not that different from their so-called illiterate "white army"

What happened in Juba on 15/12/2013, if it were Dinka; there wouldn't have this war. But our Naath stage a coup and when they failed, they want convince the whole world that was no coup.

Why did Riek Machar and his minions ran away from Juba and declared himself the rebel leader the next day? What different does it makes? Denying a failed coup while at the same time waging an open armed rebellion?

Since when have the Nuers been the smartest people in South Sudan to fool anyone?

The problem the mediators and the international community do not factor into their mediation is: Riek Machar is serial rebel and all his rebellions always end up killing innocent people and looting other people's properties.

Everybody wants peace, but Riek Machar to walk the street of South Sudanese as their leader would be a tall order. How much money would be used to protect him? He is going to be shot no doubt about it and the Nuers will rebel again.

The US and the mediators are just pushing that Riek Machar meets with Kiir, but they do not that peace is simply possible with other Nuer like the innocent "nuer white army" and other South Sudanese, but some people like Riek Machar who has tried to bring South Sudanese people down twice, by killing them and looting their properties!

And would want to rule the same people he has always armed rebel about, just seems un workable. Is he going to be staying in his house without visiting South Sudanese states?

Another war will start again as long as Riek Machar will be part of South Sudan's future government .The Guy is going to be killed and Nuers will rebel again. The mediators should also factor in that one, if at all they want a lasting in peace in South Sudan.

The man is seriously hated. People do not want Riek Machar to get away with this second crime. Human forgiveness has its limits.

In Response

by: Anonymous
May 10, 2014 2:41 PM
@Bol. Indeed your are the biggest FOOL. Your so call kirr has licked our A** at last. More will follow. Keep watching stupid din**!

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