June 16, 2014 (JUBA) - The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) has strongly condemned what it described as the continued and flagrant violations of the cessation of hostilities agreements as well as the widespread atrocities and abuses reportedly committed by South Sudan’s warring parties on innocent civilians.
- A general view of a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (Photo courtesy of the African Union)
The AUPSC, in a communique issued Monday, reiterated its concern over the dire humanitarian situation prevailing in the new nation, citing failure of warring parties to live up to their commitments
The Council "Expresses its deep concern that, in spite of the commitments made by the Parties, both the Government and the SPLM/A in opposition have failed to meaningfully move forward the peace process and bring an end to the senseless killing of innocent civilians".
In a statement released Monday, the rebels claimed that their fighters led by Maj. Gen. Gabriel Tangiye captured two tanks and 7 vehicles, two of which were mounted with two heavy artillery pieces at Guom village 24km north of Nasir in Upper Nile state.
The military spokesperson of the rebel SPLM-in opposition, Lul Ruai Koang, said the military equipment were “abandoned” by government troops “deserting defensive positions”.
“Insiders say the latest wave of desertions were prompted by salaries delays, lack of reinforcements, and food rations,” he added.
The AUPSC, however, demanded that the warring parties immediately stop fighting, fully implement their commitments and display the required political will to advance the political process.
"In this respect, Council welcomes the communiqué adopted by the 26th Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the situation in South Sudan, held in Addis Ababa on 10 June 2014", stressed the Council’s statement.
The "Council reiterates its readiness, upon recommendation by IGAD, to immediately take targeted sanctions and other measures against any party that continues to undermine the search for a solution to the conflict and fails to honor its commitments".
It further emphasised the need for the peace process to be inclusive in order to facilitate a lasting solution to the crisis, stressing the need for all the parties to refrain from any action that may undermine the search for inclusivity.
The second round of South Sudan’s peace talks between the government and the opposition, initially scheduled for Monday in the Ethiopian capital, has been postponed after the warring parties reportedly raised separate demands.
Last month, the first round of talks saw both president Kiir and rebel leader Machar sign an agreement, which shed a greener light on possibly ending nearly six-months of conflict on the country.