January 10- 2014 (JUBA) - A group of South Sudanese women this week held a peaceful march in the country’s capital, Juba, strongly voicing their concerns for peace and global intervention to end the crisis in the new nation.
- South Sudanese women dance at a festival in Juba to celebrate the country’s anniversary of independence (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
“War is never a solution to any differences. Violence produces violence and the rivals do not become the victims of their actions. It is the ordinary people who become the victims of the situation created by individuals obsessed with personal ambitions and interests”, Asunta Ajith Bol, one of the protestors told Sudan Tribune.
“Now our people are dying all over the country for no apparent reason. Why?”she asked.
Nearly a month of violent conflict in the country has claimed over 1,000 lives and displaced close to 200,000, as many expressed fears that South Sudan risks sliding back into civil war.
Peace talks between government and the rebel delegation in Ethiopia were reportedly making little progress, despite mounting international pressure on both sides to end conflict.
“If you ask anybody in this country, whether they are women like me or men like you, whether they are children, a boy or girl, small or big, weak or strong, rich or poor, they will certainly tell you that they want peace and not war”, said Bol.
“Our people need peace and the international community should take up full responsibility to make the leaders, those involved in the conflict accept peace”, she added, and encouraged both sides to resolve their differences on the table, but not through guns.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Monica Dominic Madut, a female activist from South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal state expressed fear that failure by the two sides to immediately reach an understanding would further worsen the situation.
“This situation has already gotten out of control, and our fear as mothers and wives is that if the people discussing peace in Addis Ababa don’t agree anytime soon, then this is going to get worse, which is what we don’t want”, Madut said in a separate interview.
Peace must come by all means without violence, she added.
The activist, however, said it was meaningless if both side continued fighting on the ground, despite reports that the warring parties have publicly agreed to end cessation of hostilities.
"Enough is enough. How long ago did we get independence after fighting as one people and only to return into the same fighting for no apparent reason? We lost millions to gain independence and now we want to lose more lives and destroy the little that has been made?” she asked
Meanwhile, Mary Benjamin expressed strong disappointment with the way South Sudan was being run by politicians she described as “obstinate to change”, allegedly due to their desires for power.
“Our people and this country have been reduced to the laughing stock at the international level by individuals obstinate to change. They do not see beyond their interests. They have laid a completely wrong foundation of this nation”, said Benjamin.