26th October 2020
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Conflict persists in Equatoria despite ceasefire deal – RJMEC

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Market place in Kimba Payam, Morobo County, Central Equatoria, on May 20, 2015 | Credit | Hagen Berndt

South Sudan peace monitoring body has affirmed that the armed conflicts in Equatoria region have persisted and resulted in several deaths and displacement of civilians despite an existing ceasefire agreement.

The revitalized Joint Monitoring and Verification Commission says the clashes are largely between the SSPDF and National Salvation, as well as between SPLA-IO and NAS.

There have been reported fighting throughout last month in Lirya and along the Juba – Nimule road, and other clashes around Morobo and some parts of Yei River.

“These actions are violations which undermine both the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed in Addis Ababa in December 2017, and the Rome Declaration of January 2020,” says Amb. Augustino Njoroge in a statement issued Tuesday.

CTSAMVM is said to have tried to verify and investigate the clashes, but it still faces challenges due to a lack of communication with and access to NAS field commanders.

The outgoing chairperson of RJMEC said there are worrying indications that these conflicts have resulted in increased sexual gender-based violence, in particular rape.

“I join with the IGAD Assembly in reiterating the appeal to all the parties concerned to address these issues as a matter of urgency,” he stated.

However, Amb. Njoroge welcomed reports of the arrest and trial of 49 SSPDF soldiers in Central Equatoria.

In July, the SSPDF said it had established a court-martial to try those accused of rape, looting, killing and destruction of property of civilians in Lasu, and Yei.

CTSAMVM also reported that there were 12 Sexual Gender-based Violence investigations underway involving cases in Juba, Yei area, Magwi and Leer.

In the statement to the parties, RJMEC called on the parties to implement all measures to prevent sexual violence and other violations, and ensure due process for perpetrators.

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