December 27, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan on Friday released two of the 11 senior members of its ruling party (SPLM) held in connection with an alleged failed coup attempt in the country, two weeks ago.
- Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta meeting South Sudan’s political detainees in Juba December 26, 2013 (Photo: Larco Lomayat)
The state-owned SSTV said Peter Adwok Nyaba, an ex-minister for higher education and Deng Deng Akon, who served as director in the former vice-president’s office were released, but gave no details on the other detainees.
Their release comes a day after Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian prime minster Hailemarian Desalegne visited the detainees in the capital, Juba.
The two leaders, sources told Sudan Tribune pressed for the release of these politicians to bolster the ongoing peace efforts, seeking an end to the violence that led to nearly 1,000 deaths and displaced over 50,000 civilians.
Salva Kiir, the South Sudanese president blamed his former deputy Riek Machar of instigating the incident, an allegation the latter has denied.
Since then, however, there have been several regional and diplomatic efforts in search for peace and stability in the new nation.
On Friday, regional leaders under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) hinted on the possibility of a power sharing agreement in South Sudan during a meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya.
President Kiir on Friday accepted immediate cessation of hostilities in what is seen as a positive signal to progress in talks being brokered by regional leaders.
AU WARNS PARTIES
The African Union, in a communiqué issued Friday, welcomed South Sudan government’s commitment to an immediate cessation of hostilities, calling on Machar and other parties to make similar commitments.
The continental body, however, warned that it would consider taking further measures, if hostilities were not ceased within four days from its communique.
It also condemned what is described as the “bankrupt” and “opportunistic” ideology of ethnic and religious sectarianism, and urged all parties to refrain from steps that will inflame the conflict further particularly along ethnic and sectarian lines.
The AU called on all humanitarian actors to act quickly and provide all necessary assistance to all civilians and specifically calls on the government of South Sudan and all armed groups to open humanitarian corridors and ensure protection of civilians.
The UN has issued an appeal for $166m to address the humanitarian needs of thousands affected by the worst-ever conflict in the country’s post-cessation era.