Monday, 06 April, 2020


S.Sudan rebel leader Machar sworn in as vice president

Riek Machar Riek Machar Multimedia · User Galleries · News
Bennie Garza | 25 February, 2020, 10:17

The last time Kiir and Machar clashed, an estimated 380,000 people perished and almost two million were displaced in a wave of terror and starvation which subsumed the country from December 2013 to October 2018. 'Major step forward' "This is a major step forward, if indeed they form the government as they say", Alan Boswell, a South Sudan expert with the International Crisis Group (ICG) told AFP.

"These are changes which will bring peace".

Parties had been unable or unwilling to agree on the terms for the formation of a transitional government, in line with the revitalised peace agreement of 2018.

Kiir has said his forces would be in charge of Machar's protection as a special VIP protection force is still undergoing training.

Resolving issues such as unifying the armed forces, the return of refugees and economic reforms are critical to long-lasting peace, said James Okuk, a senior researcher at the Juba-based Center for Strategic and Policy Studies.

When the deal fell apart in July 2016, the capital was plunged into a brutal battle between their rival armies and Machar was forced to flee on foot.

The rivals started out as president and deputy at independence in 2011 but Kiir sacked Machar in 2013 and later accused him of attempting a coup against him, sparking a war characterised by ethnic bloodshed between Kiir's Dinka and Machar's Nuer communities.

Kiir said the new government will be formed on Saturday and he will appoint Machar as his first vice-president, or top deputy, on Friday.

Kir and Machar had been under increased pressure from the region and the United States to come to an agreement and create a government.

"We will not take this country back to war".

Another politically potent issue has been the number of states and their boundaries.

"We must forgive one another and reconcile", said Kiir.

Last week Kiir, in a surprise move, conceded ground and dropped his earlier position of maintaining 33 states against that of the opposition to revert to 10 states.

However, even if the unity government is formed, the United Nations report highlights the massive challenges facing the country - which only achieved independence in 2011 - going forward.

Some 380,000 people have been killed during the years of civil war.

The panel delivered a damning indictment of "predatory and unaccountable elites" and the suffering of civilians after six years of conflict.

"We have suffered enough, and we need to have some rest in our country, the Southern Sudanese have been displaced for decades since the war against the North and the government of [former President Omar al-] Bashir", he said.

The two were known as the co-guarantors for the South Sudan peace mediation by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), meant to safeguard the 2018 peace deal.

Across the country, local ethnic conflicts far removed from the national peace process left 531 dead between February and May 2019 alone, and fighting continues today against holdout rebel groups in the Equatoria region, the report said.

"Corruption has made several officials extremely wealthy at the expense of millions of starving civilians", said the report, which found that millions of dollars in tax collections had been diverted and disappeared.

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