By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
November 26, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan opposition group, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), condemned a recent massacres allegedly carried out by the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU) in Equatoria region under President Salva Kiir’s leadership.
- Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) jump off the back of a truck while on patrol in the capital, Juba, following the December 2013 outbreak of violence (Photo: Reuters)
The group in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune said the recent wave of massacres carried out against innocent civilians in Equatoria’s Kalipapa village, Pukuka village and the armed clashes in Mogi and Salori areas surrounding Torit town were perpetrated by SPLA soldiers.
“We hold President Salva Kiir responsible for the recent massacres in Equatoria” said Hakim Dario, the PDM chairperson.
Dario said the massacres follow the inflammatory speech of the President against Equatorians, made on the 19th of September 2016 in Juba.
The group urged the international community and the US Government to condemn TGONU, President Kiir and his tribal backers of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).
“We call on Salva Kiir to resign to allow a more inclusive TGONU to be formed in a more inclusive ARCISS implementation” Dario added.
PDM welcomed the visit and confirmation by the United Nations Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng of an eminent genocide in South Sudan. The group supported recommendations Dieng forwarded to the Security Council.
Recommendations include imposing an arms embargo on South Sudan, establishing a hybrid court, strengthen UNMISS capacity to protect, monitor, investigate, document and report incidences against civilians, widen targeted sanctions against South Sudanese individuals inciting ethnic hatred and pressure the TGONU to provide necessary humanitarian access.
It also request the UN panel of experts to report on individuals inciting ethnic violence on social media and use its leverage to stop the international and regional banks facilitating financial incentives that are driving the conflict.
The group further expressed concern over reports of renewed waves of people fleeing Eastern and Central Equatoria to camps in Kenya and Uganda.
UNHCR recent reports recorded 44,000 new refugees in the first two weeks of November 2016 alone.
PDM expressed dismay over reports that internally displaced persons and refugees who have managed to get to relative safety in refugee camps across the border are now facing food shortages, lack of clean water, inadequate shelter and non- food items.
“They are being robbed a second time, of a right to life with dignity,” it said.
Of the USD 649 Million budget for the UNHCR 2016 South Sudan Regional Situation appeal, only 26% has been funded.
It requested urgent donation towards the deficit UNHCR South Sudan Regional situation appeal budget for life saving support to the 1.25 million South Sudanese refugees, and 1.73 million internally displaced persons.
Since South Sudan slide back into conflict in December 2013 tens of thousands have died and over 2.6 million South Sudanese displaced, of which over 1 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
Some 1.4 million are internally displaced, and of them 200,000 civilians are taking refuge in UNMISS protection-of-civilian sites (PoC) across the country, including in Juba, the capital city.
Furthermore, a total of 5.1 million people in the country are in need of assistance.
DEPLOYMENT OF JAPANESE TROOPS
PDM said it is encouraged by the response of the Japanese government in strengthening the mandate of their contingency joining the UN peace keepers in South Sudan.
Japan in a prompt response has deployed 130 Japanese troops who arrived Juba on the 21st of November, with the remaining of the 350 to follow soon.
It further called for a speedy deployment of the agreed 4,000 protection force with a strengthened mandate, increased capacity and revised deployment locations, given the increase in ethnically motivated atrocities in Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria.
PDM also urged the SPLA-IG, SPLA-IO and other military groups on the ground to cooperate with the regional protection force in the planning and implementation of a successful cantonment strategy, as part of their contribution to avert genocide.
It appealed for immediate engagement with all heads of military forces on the ground to agree on a cantonment strategy and facilitation of its implementation.
PDM further called on the UNSC, AU, TROIKA, IGAD and the International Community that they ‘can and must’ do more than report on and condemn the increasing wave of ethnically incited atrocities in South Sudan that are building up into a genocide.
“We call on all South Sudanese communities inside the country to reject President Kiir and his government’s ethnically divisive incitement and atrocities, and join us in calling for their resignation with immediate effect”.
It urged all military groups to cease hostilities and give chance to a political solution that speaks to all people of South Sudan.
The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) says it is a popular grassroots Movement formed by concerned South Sudanese in the country and the Diaspora; in response to the political crisis and fast deteriorating economic, humanitarian and security situation in South Sudan, amid heightened ethnic polarization and devastating conflict in the country, encouraged and abated primarily by President Salva Kiir’s divisive Government policy, incompetent, oppressive and corrupt leadership.