October 23, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s former vice-president, Riek Machar, said the ongoing peace initiative between the government and the Jonglei-based rebels of David Yau Yau will remain faulty unless members of other concerned communities in the state are seriously involved in the process.
- South Sudan Vice-President Riek Machar speaking to population in Walgak, Akobo county, on February 17 2013 (ST)
Rebel leader, David Yau Yau, reportedly refused any inclusion of members of the Dinka Bor and Nuer communities in the government’s negotiating team with his rebels, accusing the two communities of allegedly being rivals to his Murle ethnic group, which constitutes the majority of the rebels fighting force.
Yau Yau who commands a rebel group in his home county of Pibor since 2010 refused to heed to the renewed general amnesty offered to him and his forces by the president of the republic, Salva Kiir Mayardit, and on Sunday launched a deadly attack on the populations of Twic East County, killing 79 and wounding 88 others.
Dozens of houses were burnt to ashes and tens of thousands of cattle raided during the Sunday morning raid.
Machar’s press secretary, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune that the former vice-president condemned the brutal attack on the civilian populations in the area.
He also called on the rebels to accept an inclusive peace process with the government that should also involve members of the other neighbouring communities in order to consolidate and sustain the desired resolution to the conflicts.
The former vice-president, also the current first deputy chairperson of the South-ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), paid condolences to the bereaved families of those who lost their lives in the attacks by the rebels.
SPLM SHOULD SUPPORT ABYEI UNILATERAL REFERENDUM
Responding to the situation over the fate of Abyei referendum due this month, Machar said the ruling party in South Sudan should stick to the initial proposal by the African Union (AU) for the people of Abyei to exercise their self-determination’s referendum this month.
However, in a joint communique on Tuesday in Juba, South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his Sudanese counter-part, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, reiterated their commitment to pursue the formation of a joint administration for Abyei inclusive of Dinka Ngok and Misseriya, prior to the conduct of referendum in the area.
Government of South Sudan’s spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth, on Wednesday in a statement broadcast on the state-run SSTV, warned that his government will not be part of a unilateral conduct of referendum by Dinka Ngok in Abyei.
Machar however said it was unfortunate for the two governments of South Sudan and Sudan to go back to the outdated proposal of a joint administration between Dinka Ngok and Misseriya tribes, saying this old idea has already been superseded after the killing of the Dinka Ngok chief, Kuol Deng Majok by the Misseriya a few months ago, as well as by the AU proposal presented by President Thabo Mbeki, which urged for the conduct of the referendum in October.
He further explained that in accordance with the ruling by the court of arbitration in The Hague, a specific area of Abyei was demarcated for the nine Dinka Ngok chiefdoms, excluding the Misseriya.
Machar who led the SPLM delegation to The Hague court in July 2009 on Abyei file pointed out that any Misseriya member who continued to live in Abyei after the court ruling should be considered a mere trader who no longer have the right to participate in the Dinka Ngok referendum.
He said as a result of the court ruling, a piece of Abyei land was already cut out to the side of the Misseriya tribe and that was what they should have gotten from Abyei, leaving the Dinka Ngok alone to conduct the referendum.
The SPLM, he stressed, should not let down the people of Abyei who have empowered and entrusted the party to negotiate on their behalf since the time the CPA was negotiated.
A unilateral referendum by the people of Abyei in their territory per the court ruling should be conducted and respected as the will of the people, he said.
He encouraged that the Dinka Ngok should go ahead with the conduct of the unilateral referendum in the next few days and the result should be declared by 31 October 2013.
The former vice-president also commended the presence of the UNISFA forces on the ground in Abyei to ensure the security of the voters.