December 28, 2013 (JUBA) – The United Nations Secretary General has welcomed Friday’s regional summit held on South Sudan’s ongoing crisis, but warned against continued violence, attacks and human rights abuses in the country.
- African leaders at the IGAD heads of state and government meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya on Friday, December 27, 2013 (Photo: Larco Lomayat)
Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leaders met in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi and appointed a mediation team to work with South Sudan government and opposing parties on reaching a cease fire, ensure release of the country’s detained politicians and push for peaceful dialogue.
At least two of the 11 South Sudan’s political leaders, held in connection with a failed coup attempt were released on Friday. Authorities also hinted on the possible release of the remaining detainees, with the exception of three facing corruption charges.
“The United Nations stands with the people of South Sudan and will continue to do everything within its means to protect civilians at risk and provide necessary humanitarian assistance”, Ban Ki Moon said in a statement.
He however stressed that all violence, attacks and human rights abuses “must” end immediately, adding that those responsible would be held accountable.
Media reports say IGAD leaders were considering the release of political prisoners and a power sharing deal as a possible solution to South Sudan’s political crisis.
On Thursday, Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn visited the 11 detained senior political leaders accused of having a hand in what the government said was a failed coup attempt, two weeks ago.
Violence broke out in the South Sudan capital, Juba on 15 December between rival factions within the national army - the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
The United Nations says more than 500 people were killed in the violence and over 40,000 displaced. The world body said is urgently requires $166m to address the needs of those affected by the conflict.
Meanwhile, the IGAD leaders at the summit in Nairobi condemned any attempts to seize power by force in South Sudan.