January 13, 2014 (JUBA) – Governors from South Sudan’s Greater Equatoria region have agitated for a quota system in which people are recruited into the army and security organs from all regions to "discourage future ethnic coups, mutinies or rebellions".
- Eastern Equatoria state Governor Louis Lobong Lojore speaking at the Equatoria conference in Juba, January 10, 2014 (Larco Lomayat)
The call was part of the resolution reached by the three governors of Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria states during an emergency conference organised on the current crisis in the capital, Juba.
The event, held on 10 January, also urged the country’s leaders to adopt laws to punish anyone involved in the politicisation and misuse of the army and other security organs.
“We strongly denounce the use of tribal loyalties to achieve or maintain political power that tend to foster tribal hegemony,” stipulates one of the resolutions.
The one-day conference, which brought together the three governors, also resolved to mobilise Equatorians for the protection of the territory, its people and their property.
Nearly a month of violence in the country has left more than 1,000 people dead and tens of thousands displaced in its worst-ever violence outbreak since it seceded from Sudan in July 2011.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir largely blamed his former deputy, Riek Machar for an alleged coup attempt, while the latter says it was a move to silence opposition within the country’s ruling Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Talks are currently underway in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa under the mediation of regional leaders from the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to break the impasse between the rebels and government.
The Equatorian leaders, however, expressed support for the mediation process in Addis Ababa and urge South government of and the rebels led by Machar, to cooperate with the IGAD mediators to achieve immediate solution to the current crisis.
The further proposed the formation of the Equatoria High Committee to be involved in the peace process in Addis Ababa, where cessations of hostilities between South Sudan’s warring parties dominates the agenda.
STALLED TALKS RESUME
Negotiating teams representing the South Sudanese government and rebels resumed face-to-face talks in the Ethiopian capital on Monday.
The resumption of talks, which stalled last week amid disagreement over the terms of a ceasefire, followed a meeting between regional mediators, the US envoy Donald Booth and Machar at an undisclosed location inside South Sudan in a bid to convince him to sign a ceasefire agreement.
"We engaged him [Machar] for over three hours in trying to move him toward agreeing to a cessation of hostilities agreement”, Booth told reporters in Addis Ababa on Monday.
Direct talks are due to continue on Tuesday, with IGAD mediators expressing hopes that a ceasefire deal could be reached by end of the week.