28th May 2020
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Rome Declaration violated, says mediator

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Sunday, May 3, 2020

Some of the displaced people from Mukaya, Yei County. Photo: facebook/John Bida.

A mediator between the government of South Sudan and its armed opposition groups has called for a stop to the recent violence in Central Equatoria State, saying it poses a threat to the Rome-led peace process.

 

The Community of San’t Egidio started mediating between the government and agreement hold-out groups known as the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance or SSOMA, in September 2019.

It includes armed and non-armed groups that did not sign the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.  Prominent members are former army generals Paul Malong Awan Thomas Cirillo Swaka and Pagan Amum.

In January this year, SOOMA leaders signed the Rome Declaration with the government of South Sudan.

However, the Rome-based Church leaders say recent violence in the Yei area poses a threat to the peace process.

The armed clashes were reported in Mukaya Payam of Yei County late last month, displacing hundreds of civilians to Yei town.

Observers say government forces targeted forces of the National Salvation front-a member of the SSOMA.

But the SSPDF denied engaging in clashes in the area, saying civilians fled due to the presence of the army dpoyed there recently.

In a statement on Friday, the Community of Sant’Egidio says the armed clashes represent a violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of 2017 as well as the Rome Declaration.

The mediators are now calling on the actors in the peace process to exercise greater control over the forces on the ground so that they comply with the agreements.

We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, made even more necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

“The South Sudanese people have suffered far too much: stop the weapons on the ground and stop the suffering of the people.”

They also called for immediate implementation of the Rome Declaration, which they say represents a concrete hope for peace and reconciliation for the country.

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