March 15, 2017 (JUBA) – The leader of the National Salvation Front (NAS), a new rebel group, wants South Sudan’s peace process to be re-started.
- Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirino Swaka, the ex-SPLA deputy chief of general staff for training (youtube photo)
Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, in a letter addressed to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation claimed the peace process initiated after August 2015 “has clearly failed, resulting in the current tragedy”.
“NAS is ready to actively participate in any new initiative,” Swaka wrote.
“Without this, NAS might find itself in a situation where it has no other choice but embark on a military campaign to dislodge the regime in Juba,” the letter adds.
Similar calls for the re-start of South Sudan’s peace process have, in the past, been made by other armed groups like the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by Riek Machar.
The Sudanese army general who quit his position last month announced on Monday that he had formed a new anti-government rebel group, as pressure continues mounting on the regime in Juba.
Lt. General Swaka, formerly deputy head of logistics, resigned after he accused Kiir of turning the country’s military into a "tribal army."
The military, police and other security branches, he said, heavily recruited from among the Dinka, Kiir’s tribe.
Swaka was one of three top military officials who quit in February amid accusations of tribalism, nepotism, corruption and other abuses leveled against Kiir’s government.
In a statement on Monday, Swaka said NSF "is convinced that to restore sanity and normalcy in our country” and Kiir “must” leave.
The chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), Festus Mogae has renewed the need for inclusivity in the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) in order to stop the war and avert further spread of famine.
Speaking during a plenary meeting at the Crown Hotel in Juba on Wednesday, Mogae told the JMEC Plenary in Juba that this was a defining moment in the East African nation.
“Whether by design or default, a war is being waged around this country and the security and humanitarian situation continue to deteriorate. How do we stop the fighting? How do we stop innocent people dying of starvation? And how do we ensure that the interests and concerns of all South Sudanese communities are fully represented and considered? Peace, relief and inclusivity,” he told the plenary session.
In his speech to officials from government, United Nations, China, European Union and the Troika trio of U.S., UK and Norway, the former president of Botswana pointed to the interconnection between fighting, starvation and the death of innocent civilians.
Rival parties in South Sudan signed a peace agreement in August 2015 and formed TGoNU in April 2016. However, fighting erupted in July 2016 forcing the former First Vice President and leader of the SPLM-IO, Riek Machar to flee the young nation.