August 4, 2014 (KAMPALA) – Internally displaced people (IDPs) from South Sudan’s Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity and Central Equatoria states have expressed doubt the country’s two warring parties will reach a final peace deal, saying the chances of the latest round of talks delivering a breakthrough are slim.
- Children walk through a camp for internally displaced persons at the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the capital, Juba, on 9 January 2014 (AFP)
In a teleconference conducted from Kampala on Monday, a group of victims who have sought refuge at United Nation camps in Malakal, Bor and Juba told Sudan Tribune their suffering continued to be ignored by the government in Juba.
The UN Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) has been accommodating hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians at its facilities in conflict-affected areas across the country since a political rift in the ruling SPLM turned violent in mid-December last year, triggering tribal tensions across the country.
“Many of our children are dying daily in all camps across [the] country, but the government does not care about them, rather they mind on controlling power,” a group spokesperson said on condition of anonymity.
The group blames the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating the talks, for failing to the warring parties to the negotiating table.
“We have been putting much truth on the IGAD countries on their mediation of talks to find out an alternative ways of solving this long conflict in South Sudan, but they have failed to pressure them to ink a lasting peace [deal],” the group’s spokesperson said.
The group also slammed accusations by the government that many of those sheltering at UN camps were members of the country’s rebel faction.
“We have been living in the UNMISS camps because of our fears, but not
because we are rebels,” the group said. “We do not want the December incident repeated.”
The group’s leaders have accused IGAD member states of poor decision-making and for failing to sanction parties who sought to impose a military solution for the crisis.
The group also accuses president Salva Kiir of failing to consider the situation for IDPs sheltering inside UN camps since the genesis of the conflict last December, accusing him of punishing their children.
The group told Sudan Tribune that many young people currently under the protection of the UN were severely traumatised after allegedly witnessing mass killings by government troops in Juba at the start of the conflict.
The fighting has pitted government troops loyal to Kiir against rebel forces led by former vice-president Riek Machar.
Thousands have died and more than a million have been displaced, with peace talks so far failing to achieve a binding political settlement.
The group of IDPs is calling for an interim government to be established without Kiir in order to end the bloody conflict and restore peace.