The SPLM Former Detainees (FDs) group Tuesday has condemned the visit of the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai to Jonglei, accusing the government of violating the ceasefire agreement brokered by the IGAD mediators.
- South Sudan first vice president Taban Deng Gai arrives in Bor May 9, 2017 (ST)
In a statement released in Juba, the FDs condemned in the “strongest terms” the violation to the cessation of hostilities by the warring parties in the country, stressing that the two sides have the obligation to observe the humanitarian truce.
“It is only by doing so that some modicum of confidence and trust can be built to serve as a basis for meaningful discussions at the next round of HLRF (High-Level Revitalization Forum) talks in February (2018),” the statement reads.
The statement, which is signed by the former finance minister Kosti Manibe, further said they are disturbed by open and flagrant contempt and disregard the first vice president showed towards the implementation of the ceasefire agreement.
“We are particularly perturbed by the open and flagrant contempt and disregard that First Vice President (FVP) Taban Deng Gai by and indeed the regime of President Salva Kiir Mayardit is showing towards the 21st December, 2017 CoH (Cessation of Hostilities) Agreement by moving a large contingent of SSDF (South Sudan Defence Forces) from Juba to Jonglei in broad daylight and in full view of all and sundry,” the group protested in a statement in a January 15, 2018.
The group expressed appalling that the Government, through its spokesperson, Minister Michael Makuei has shamelessly come in the open to announce this violation while at the same time trying to justify it as an innocent and harmless visit by the FVP to his constituents.
It further questioned the basis on which the first vice president moved into the region, citing lack of constituents requiring him to go for a visit.
“He has never contested elective office in Jonglei, therefore has no constituents to visit in Jonglei. He is going as a state official, at the head of a combat force.
“We cannot accept that FVP Taban Deng Gai can be allowed to violate the terms of CoH, move troops and war equipment and indeed conduct warfare with impunity;
neither can we accept that the FVP can use the troops and other resources of the Government while the rest of the Government holds itself absolved of responsibility.”
“Whether as a signatory to the CoH Agreement in his own right (SPLM-IO/Taban) or as part of TGoNU, FVP Taban Deng Gai is bound by the terms of the Agreement and should be held responsible for its violation as required by the terms of that Agreement”, the group emphasised.
The SPLM-IO Monday condemned the position of the IGAD countries and the TROIKA saying Gai is touring Jonglei region with a green light from the two bodies adding they are indirectly contributing to the bloodshed in South Sudan.
The FDs called on the IGAD and TROIKA to put the necessary pressure on Juba government to immediately halt movement of troops that have been moved into Jonglei recently with the intention of attacking and capturing “Akobo and two surrounding areas”.
They further called to investigate reported violations immediately once it is received. Also, they suggested that the ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) makes public any denial of access by the warring parties besides publishing the the findings of its investigations without delay.
“Delaying the release of CTSAMM investigation until a balancing act has been committed by the other party represents no more than a nuisance message and sends the unfortunate message of comparing a mountain to a molehill, thereby encouraging impunity”.
The former detainees further suggested imposing sanctions on those who are responsible for these violations.