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Kiir apologizes to Wau people for South Sudan five-year war

President Salva Kiir speaks in Rumbek town on 28 February 2019 (SSPPU Photo)

March 5, 2019 (WAU) – President Salva Kiir asked for forgiveness from Waw’s inhabitants on Tuesday for “mistakes and suffering” committed by the state during the civil war and called to coexist peacefully.

Kiir resumed his Peace Tour in the Greater Bahr el-Ghazal after short interruption on Monday to receive Eritrean President and Ethiopian Prime Minister who were in Juba. After being in Eastern lakes, Western Lakes, Gok, Tonj states during the last week, he paid a visit to Wau State on Tuesday.

In a speech he delivered in a public rally held in Wau city, the President apologized to the people of Wau state for the years of war and the past mistakes that dragged the nation into mass destruction.

Kiir said the same SPLM that struggled for the independence of South Sudan was the same party that went into conflict with itself and later on caused consequences on the people of South Sudan.

“You the people of Wau, I want to apologize to you, I have to apologize to you because what had happened in 2013 and 1016 is what brought you at this point of suffering and it was the SPLM that was struggling for the independence of South Sudan is the same party that went into war with itself on power struggling,” Kiir said.

The civil war "is what brought you suffering and I have to accept this, as the head of state, though I did not do anything. I find myself mistaken because if it is my party that brought the problem to my people,” he further said.

In 2013, the power struggle between South Sudan President and SPLM chairman with his former vice-president and SPLM deputy chairman led to the eruption of fighting in Juba and the whole country.

Also, the clashes resumed in July 2016, after the signing of a peace agreement and Machar return to Juba.

President Kiir also urged the people of Wau which is known for its ethnic diversity to coexist in peace and abstain from revenge attacks.

“We have to work to reward our people with something good such that our people go back to their normal life," he said.

"I want to tell you that Wau is our home headquarters and even though we got many states, Wau is our headquarter. I want to tell the tribes in Wau, the Luo, Jeing, Fretit and all their neighbours, you were staying in peace without fighting, I want you from now to impress in this peace,” Kiir said.

The inhabitants of Wau are mainly Dinka and Fertit, as the town lies on the tribal boundary between these two ethnic groups. Furthermore, minorities belonging to the Luo, Jur Modo/Jur Beli, Balanda Boor/Balanda Bviri, and Nuer peoples are also in Wau.

The President further warned people against revenge attacks, stressing that nobody has to take the law into his hands.

“There are many people who have died during this conflict, but you those who lose your relatives, don’t revenge, I don’t want anybody revenge,” he said.

"It is time for peace and forgiveness," he added.

He called on holdout armed groups outside the town to return home and espouse peace. He further urged the peace signatory groups to stop recruiting soldiers ahead of the security arrangements implementation stressing it is a violation of the peace pact.

On the same vein, he called on those who are still at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites in Wau to return to their homes since people are in peace now.

“We have people in UNMISS protection sites, please let them come out, nothing could harm them, there are some people who are telling these people not to come out but who will kill them if they come out,” Kiir asked.

According to the latest update released by UNMISS on 4 March, there are only 115 displaced persons in the PoC of Wau.

On the issue of cattle keepers and farmers, Kiir warns cattle keepers to control the movement of their cattle and not to destroy farms areas.

On the issue of the poor condition of the road, Kiir said since he comes by road, he is aware of the road condition and that he had already signed an agreement with the Chinese government to start construction of roads and to be paid in crude oil.

(ST)