July 30, 2014 (KAMPALA) – The chairman of the Greater Bahr el Ghazal Youth Union, Joseph Achuil, has called on youths in the region to push for the resumption of talks between president Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar in order to reach a final peace deal.
- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (L) and rebel leader Riek Machar sign a cessation of hostilities agreement in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 9 May 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
Achuil told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that youths in the Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal regions have a role to play in talking with both leaders to achieve peace in the country.
He says it is the task of all South Sudanese people to help steer the country towards peace.
The South Sudanese government and rebel forces loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar have been engaged in an armed struggle since mid-December last year when a political split in the ruling SPLM turned violent.
Achuil also warned students against using social media as a forum of hatred or to incite tensions in the country.
“You know, all of us we are very important in the Republic of South Sudan and this is the right time for us to work [together] in order to manage ourselves,” he said.
Achuil said he was disturbed over last month’s statement in which his colleagues from the Greater Bahr el Ghazal students union in Uganda claimed youth in the region supported calls for Kiir to step down.
He also maintained his position that the president Kiir was elected by the people of South Sudan and that the people of the Greater Bahr el Ghazal region had no authority to demand his resignation.
“The president was elected by the entire citizens of South Sudan; who are we to call for his resignation? Kiir is the legitimate leader,” he said.
Achuil urged students from the various communities across South Sudan to work for peace and promote unity in the nation.
He further urged South Sudanese students in Uganda to make the best of their opportunities there, despite the ongoing crisis in their homeland.
“It is [an] opportunity to your parents and it is [an] opportunity to yourself and if you misuse [this opportunity], then you will not be count[ed] as the leader of tomorrow in South Sudan,” he said.
“All students should work for peace, let us make use of [our] times constructively to implement peace for all,” he added.
South Sudan has been embroiled in conflict for more than seven months after an internal rift within the ruling SPLM turned violent.
The fighting has pitted troops loyal to Kiir against pro-Machar rebel forces, with a January ceasefire deal signed by both warring factions failing to halt the violence.
Thousands have been killed and more than 1.3 million have been displaced since the conflict erupted, with both sides trading accusations of violating the peace agreement.