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The East African : July 14th 2014
10 WHAT NEXT FOR CEASEFIRE DEAL? Ugandan army is in South Sudan to stay, says President Salva Kiir The a≥≥ival of ≥egional fo≥ces was supposed to pave the way fo≥ the withd≥awal of UPDF By BARBARA AMONG Special Correspondent tions for the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from the country, which potentially complicates an already protracted search for a settlement to the eight-month old conflict. As countries contributing troops E to the Igad-sponsored deterrent force begin to make good on their commitments, President Kiir said during the Independence Day celebrations on July 9 that the Uganda People’s Defence Force will only leave South Sudan after permanent peace has been achieved. This is at variance with an earlier understanding with regional countries that the arrival of regional forces would pave the way for the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from the conflict. An Igad force, which is sup- posed to replace the Ugandan army, started deploying in South Sudan a fortnight ago. Rwanda last week confirmed it had completed deployment of a battalion of 800 peacekeepers in Malakal town, in Upper Nile State, some 650km from Juba, the capital of South Sudan, while Ethiopia, which deployed the first contingent of 90 troops, is expected to send in an additional 700. “Rwanda has completed deploy- ment of a battalion of 800 officers and men in South Sudan,” said Rwanda Army spokesperson Brig Gen Joseph Nzabamwita. The deployments by Igad and the UN form part of an international effort to help end the eight-month conflict that has ravaged parts of the world’s youngest nation, killing thousands of civilians and displacing over 1.2 million people. The force arrives at a time when the peace negotiations in Addis Ababa have stalled amid growing anxiety about the fate of a shaky ceasefire deal signed by the warring parties. Reports by various monitoring Ugandan soldiers and police patrol the streets of Kampala on July 3. Pic: AFP groups indicate that there is a rapidly deteriorating political, security, and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan resulting from the violence caused by the country’s political and military leaders. Uganda deployed its troops in South Sudan to fight alongside the South Sudanese military. President Kiir has defended the deployment, saying Ugandan troops had been deployed via a “sovereign agreement” and would remain in the country until their mission was achieved. President Kiir lashed out at Igad, which is mediating the peace process, saying it has been ineffective in holding the rebels to account for violations of the ceasefire deal. He wondered why they did not attend the Independence celebrations. “I don’t know why Pagan Amum and Deng Alor did not come. They said when we met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last month that they would attend the Independence celebration,” the Sudan Tribune quoted President Kiir saying. Pagan Amum is the suspended secretary general of SPLA party and Deng Alor is the suspended Second vice president of South Sudan. They were among former 11 detainees now in Addis Ababa. The president told the small crowd that was in attendance: “I would have asked the Igad leaders if they had come; how long our IGAD FORCES The regional force is expected to be a neutral and deterrent force that will secure vital installations including oil fields. It is expected to provide protection for Igad Monitoring and Verification team and also protect civilians under threat of physical violence. It will also replace Ugandan troops that have been standing between forces would continue to remain in trenches in the light of these violations by the forces loyal to Riek and his group.” The remarks have raised con- cerns about President Kiir and his government’s commitment to the peace process given that the rebels, led by the former vice president, have demanded the withdrawal of Ugandan troops as a precondition for further progress in the peace negotiation. Also regional governments, Ethi- opia, Sudan as well as the US and UN have demanded Uganda’s withdrawal from South Sudan, saying it would regionalise the conflict. Uganda’s continued stay would mean Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda, which is also charged with monitoring activities of forces in the war torn country, would report on Uganda to Igad, of which Uganda is a member. How Uganda would be handled by the regional bloc is the big ques- Riek Machar and the government in Juba. The 25,000 regional troops will, however, form part of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The UN troops are 7,000 on the ground but expected to increase to 12,500 with a new mandate under chapter seven of the charter of the United Nations. tion. Already, Uganda is not part of the peace negotiations in Addis Ababa because it took sides in the war. It has, however, been participating through the Heads of State Summit. Though it has earlier said it would withdraw and pave the way for Igad forces, Uganda now says it will maintain its presence in South Sudan as long as the government requests it. “Uganda’s position is very clear; we have a military and security agreement with the government of South Sudan and if they request that there is a need for military help from Uganda, we shall stay and help,” said International Affairs Minister Okello Oryem. According to Mr Oryem, there will be clearly marked boundaries between Uganda and Igad forces. UPDF, he said, may withdraw to its old position east of the Nile or stay in Juba as per the agreement with President Kiir’s government. mbattled South Sudan President Salva Kiir has set new condi- The EastAfrican NEWS JULY 12-18,2014 Leade≥s, ≥ebels to blame fo≥ famine By TREVOR ANALO The EastAfrican THE OUTGOING chief of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde Johnson, has said that the nation’s ruling elite and rebels are responsible for the looming “man-made” famine in the country. At a news conference in Juba on the eve of the country’s third Independence anniversary, Ms Johnson, whose three-year term as head of the mission ended last week, termed South Sudan’s worst famine a manmade disaster. “It is because of a manmade conflict. And if it comes, it will be a manmade famine,” she said. She blamed warring President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar for plunging the world’s youngest country into a “cycle of ethnic killings,” warning that South Sudan “has been set back decades.” Government and aid agencies have warned a third of South Sudan’s population of 12 million will be on the edge of starvation by August, as fears of an impending famine loom. More than 1.5 million people have fled their homes since fighting broke out last December, 100,000 internally displaced are camping in UN bases across the country, and 400,000 have sought refuge in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Sudan. According to Unicef, 250,000 children are at risk of severe malnutrition and about 50,000 under five will die this year unless they are treated. Ms Johnson said the whole lead- ership of the SPLM, whether in “government, in the bush, in Addis or Nairobi” is collectively responsible for the crisis. Her scathing attack on the SPLM leadership may put the UN peacekeeping mission on a collision course with Juba, which has in the past accused Ms Johnson of taking sides when the conflict broke out. But she dismissed this accusation saying her loyalty rested with the people of South Sudan. “I was criticised by both sides. So I think I did something right [on her decision to let in civilians fleeing the violence in UN compounds],” she recently told The EastAfrican.
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