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IGAD special envoy refutes S. Sudan rebels’ allegations

January 20, 2018 (JUBA) - The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) special envoy for South Sudan, ambassador Ismail Wais, has refuted as “misleading” and “irresponsible” allegations made by a member of the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) loyal to ex-first vice-president, Riek Machar.

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President Salva Kiir pose with the IGAD FM after a meeting held at the South Sudanese presidency in Juba on 13 Oct 2017 (ST Photo)

The SPLM-IO deputy military spokesperson, Lam Paul Gabriel had, in a statement issued on 15 January, accused IGAD and Troika nations (United States, Norway and Britain) for allegedly being responsible for violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement in Bieh state.

The IGAD special envoy, however, requested the party responsible to withdraw the statement and urged it not to indulge in such act in the future as it is unfounded and diverts attention of the public from the core issues of attainment of peace and security in South Sudan.

According to Wais, a meeting was held on 17 January, with the chairperson of the Ceasefire and Transitional Arrangement Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM), Major General Ibrahim AbdulJelill in the South Sudan capital, Juba.

“Following this meeting, the IGAD special envoy recalled the statements issued by the chairperson of the IGAD council of ministers, the Troika and jointly by the AU [African Union] and UN [United Nations] all of which pointed to the callous violations of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access (CoHA) signed in Addis Ababa on December 21, 2017 at the High Level Revitalization Forum,” said IGAD in a statement issued on 17 January.

It added, “The special envoy said in all of these statements, the signatories have been called upon to desist from actions that contravene the agreement”.

The CTSAMM, according to Wais, has been closely monitoring the developments on the ground since the coming into effect of the CoHA and doing its assessment and verification tasks with a view to ascertain and identify those armed groups and military commanders responsible for the violations.

Violators of the ceasefire agreement, he further stressed, shall be identified, held accountable and will face all consequences thereof.

In recent weeks, South Sudan’s warring parties have repeatedly traded accusations of violating the humanitarian cessation of hostilities, which is a confidence-building measure before the talks on the implementation of a permanent ceasefire.