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Kiir signals full-scale disarmament in Independence Day speech

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Thursday, July 9, 2020

Salva Kiir, President of South Sudan on July 1, 2020. PHOTO: Facebook/South Sudan Presidential Press Unit

The government will soon initiate a full-scale countrywide disarmament exercise and communal dialogues to end the circle of communal violence, President Salva Kiir has said.

Kiir stated that the ongoing violence in Jonglei, Warrap and Lakes threatens to reverse the gains made in the revitalized peace agreement.

South Sudan has been engulfed in heightened communal violence since 2010. The acts of violence subsided after the advent of political-military violence in 2013.

The parties signed a peace deal in 2018 to restore peace and security in South Sudan.

“I can confidently say the phase of political violence is now behind us,” Kiir said in a statement.

But of recent, several states have been rocked by ethnic and inter-communal violence, notably Jonglei, Lakes and Warrap.

Local officials blame the conflicts on cattle raids, revenge attacks, and land disputes.

They also accuse government officials of reportedly fueling the inter-communal violence and not uniting people across the boundaries.

The UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan recently said some political leaders have been supplying weapons to cattle herders to commit crimes.

In Geneva, the Human Rights Commission stated that the nature of the intercommunal conflicts has been evolving in recent years, taking on an increasingly militarized character with military-style tactics and military-grade weapons.

The body underlined the importance of ending the circle of retaliatory violence by holding those responsible to account and promoting peace-building between individual communities.

It stressed that for peace in South Sudan to be durable, the government must act promptly.

“Our success in ending political violence is now threatened by a different sort of violence; an inter-communal conflict that is raging in different parts of our country,” President Kiir said on eve of the Independence Day on Wednesday, July 8.

The President asserted that he will not allow the declining phase of political violence to be provoked by inter-communal violence.

“We shall pursue a multi-layered approach to resolve this problem once and for all,” he proclaimed.

Kiir announced plans to conduct a country-wide disarmament exercise, alongside inter-communal peace dialogue.

“The government in the coming days will initiate inter and intra communal dialogue so that we can address the root causes of these fightings both between and within our communities.”

Kiir called on chiefs and local leaders to cooperate with security forces task with removing illegal guns from the hands of civilians.

“I hope our citizens who are not authorized to bear arms will heed the call for disarmament and voluntarily surrender their weapons to security forces tasked with the exercise.”

He cautioned those bearing arms against resisting peaceful disarmament.

“For those who will not heed this call, the government will be left with no option than to forcibly remove these weapons from their hands,” Kiir warned.

“The government hopes this will not be the case,” he continued.

The President added that, after the disarmament, the government will strengthen security institutions and those administering justice to better enforce law and order.

“These steps will help create an improved environment for safety and security which will, in turn, enable us to deliver services and promote development across the country,” Kiir concluded.

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