By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
March 23, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - The youth wing of the SPLM/SPLA-in-Opposition are demanding that the proposed stabilisation force to monitor the South Sudanese conflict consist of those outside the East African regional bloc, IGAD.
The youth, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, claimed the creation of parallel forces in addition to the existing United Nations troops would turn the new nation into a “war zone”.
"We condemn this in the strongest terms possible and we want to say that as youth of this beloved nation we are not ready and we will never and ever be ready seeing another Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia being created at our watch", partly reads the statement.
In their 13 March final communiqué in the 25th extraordinary summit in Addis Ababa, IGAD heads of state resolved to deploy to South Sudan an unknown number of what they called Protection and Deterrent Force (PDF). These forces would be selected from four countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi starting next month to protect oilfields and other "vital infrastructures" in the country.
"The IGAD planned so-called ’stabilisation force’ or ’deterrence force’ carries no meaning other than plan to colonise the South Sudanese people and exploit resources of the nation under the pretext of protection of civilian and vital infrastructure", the youth statement stressed.
The SPLM/SPLA youth league further claimed the involvement of troops from the IGAD member countries would not only regionalise the conflict, but also create a parallel force, which would undermine UN roles contravening its Security Council resolution to deploy the additional 5,500 forces in South Sudan.
"If they [IGAD] at all decided to undermine the UNMISS roles, then we propose to both IGAD and its Partners to only deploy troops from Western part of Africa and Southern part of Africa", said Puot Kang Chol, a member of the SPLM/SPLA youth wing.
“If IGAD pays a deaf ear to the voice and interest of the South Sudanese people and insists to deploy forces from East Africa, then the deterrence force shall only be comprised of from Ethiopia and Sudan,” he added.
The SPLM-in-Opposition have constantly questioned the neutrality of some of the IGAD member countries on the South Sudanese conflict, especially after Uganda deployed a contingent of its army (UPDF) to fight alongside forces loyal to President Salva Kiir.