January 30, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan government and the Cobra Faction of its rebel South Sudan Democratic Movement/Defense Army (SSDM/A) on Thursday signed an agreement on cessation of hostilities to end nearly three years of rebellion.
- Bishop Paride Taban (C) appluads as the signing of a peace deal between South Sudan government and SSDM/A Cobra Faction rebels in Addis Ababa, January 30, 2014 (Photo: Moses Lomayat)
The deal, inked in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, followed a week of negotiations between the two parties under the auspices of the Church Leaders Mediation Initiative (CLMI) on Jonglei peace dialogue chaired by Bishop Paride Taban.
It followed the 6 January unilateral declaration of ceasefire by South Sudan army (SPLA), which SSDM/A, Cobra Faction led by David Yau Yau, accepted as a way of creating conducive environment for meaningful peace negotiations between the two parties.
Rev. Canon Clement Janda led the government delegation while the SSDM/A team was headed by Gen. Khalid Botrous.
The agreement, Bishop Paride said in a statement, aims at bringing peaceful and durable solution to the conflict that made the rebel group resort to armed option.
“The agreement will come as a result of the Unilateral Declaration of Ceasefire by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army on January 6, 2014 that was accepted by the SSD/MA, Cobra Faction as a way of creating a conducive environment for meaningful peace negotiations between the two parties,” partly reads the statement.
The engagement in negotiations, it stressed, seeks remedies to the conflicts in Jonglei and between other parties for a comprehensive peace deal in the country’s largest state.
According to Bishop Taban, the cessation of hostilities agreement between the warring parties will enable peace in the communities affected by the conflict, providing an urgent need for reconciliation in not only in Jonglei, but the entire country.
The two parties, as part of the agreement, also agreed to unite to realise the vision of a stable region where communities live and coexist in peace and harmony with one another.
Yau Yau rebelled against South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) after the April 2010 elections when, as an independent candidate, he lost his campaign to represent Gumuruk–Boma constituency in Pibor county at Jonglei state assembly.
In 2011, however, he joined the SPLA, but rebelled again in April 2012. After an increase in violence in Pibor county, the army announced it was suspending the civilian disarmament campaign in the area to focus on nullifying the rebellion.
The new deal comes a week after government and rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM in Opposition) signed a ceasefire agreement in the Ethiopian capital to end over a month-old fighting in the world’s youngest nation.
The long-awaited agreement on cessation of hostilities came after South Sudan’s government agreed to release 11 political figures, initially held in connection with last year’s alleged failed coup attempt in the country’s capital, Juba.
Seven of the detainees were released on Tuesday, but seven others face treason charges.
Fighting broke out in mid-December between President Salva Kiir government army and forces loyal to his ex-deputy, Riek Machar, leading to more than 1,000 deaths and displacing half a million people in the country’s worst-ever outbreak of violence.