January 12, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudanese youth leaders in the diaspora community affiliated with the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have urged their country’s leaders to seek a peaceful resolution to the current political crisis.
- Agel Riing Machar (second from right) with the concerned group for restructuring of the SPLM youth league on 22 March 2012 (ST)
The SPLM Youth League in Sydney, Australia has condemned the ongoing conflict “in the strongest terms possible”, saying they are “deeply saddened” by the events unfolding in the country.
In a statement issued from Sydney, a copy of which was obtained by Sudan Tribune, league chairman Isaac Maper Akec said the conflict had already cost too many lives.
The league has called on anti-government elements to continue talks without preconditions to bring an end to what it described as a “senseless war”.
“We are deeply saddened by this conflict and condemn it in the strongest terms possible. We are calling for all those involved in this war to immediately halt and completely cease hostilities in order to spare the lives of our citizens and to help those who are already displaced and disadvantaged by this senseless war”, the statement, signed by the league’s executive members, said.
“We are a nation too young and quite diverse to afford any war with ourselves. Any loss of a citizen [whether it] is it a soldier or civilian is directly crippling our nation in many ways resulting in complete despair and failure of nationhood”, it adds.
Akec said the ongoing conflict was at risk of rolling back any progress made since South Sudan gained independence from the north in a 2011 referendum vote.
“We have seen what we built up in several years destroyed in days; villages and towns burned, health facilities, banks and markets looted and destroyed completely, all but effectively dragging our nation back a few years. We would like to remind all the parties involved in this conflict that this is a country very much loved by her citizens and are willing [to] achieve meaningful political, social and economic progress in the absence of violence”, the statement said.
“We need peace and unity, democracy and sound nation building initiatives not wars. We are proud of our diversity and do not want people who engage in distorting and exploiting our diversity to gain their personal ambitions”, the statement adds.
The SPLM Youth League called on delegates on both sides to focus on finding lasting solutions to their political grievances that are in the country’s national interest, as well as engaging citizens in tribal reconciliation and healing.
“If your disagreements stemmed from ways of improving this nation and the livelihood of her citizens, you can for sure agree on stopping more casualties as the first sensible thing to do if you are real nationalists”, the statement said.
The league has also urged the UN and wider international community to continue to support efforts aimed at bringing peace and stability to South Sudan.
Violence erupted in the South Sudan capital, Juba, on 15 December after clashes broke between members of the rival Dinka and Nuer tribes in the presidential guard, quickly spreading to other regions.
Peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, between representatives of president Salva Kiir and former vice-president-turned rebel leader Riek Machar stalled last week amid disagreements over the release of political prisoners in detention.
Rebels said they won’t sign truce unless all senior political figures detained in connection with the alleged coup attempt in Juba are released.
Kiir, however, has rejected the demands, saying that political detainees should answer the charges in court as required under South Sudanese law.