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South Sudanese refugees in Uganda condemn renewed violence in Juba

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In this photo taken late Friday, July 8, 2016 and released by the UNMISS, villagers huddle for safety from the fighting between buildings near the UN base and compound in Juba (AP Photo)
July 14, 2016 (JUBA) - The Nuer community in Uganda have condemned renewed fighting in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, between two rival forces from Friday and Monday, describing it as violation of the August 2015 peace agreement.

The community members said the recent violence in the country is likely to increase more suffering for local citizens and places the country to uncertain future or “great danger.”

They also blamed the international community in general and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in particular, that mediated the peace process, for not monitoring its implementation and putting pressure on violators.

Stephen Bar, chairman for the Nuer community in Kiryandongo resettlement camp in Uganda, told Sudan Tribune that what had happened in South Sudan this week was threatening the peace agreement.

"This indicator shows the collapse of long lasting peace agreement that was almost to be implemented, we put all [the] blame on…UNSC, IGAD, AU, TROIKA and JMEC," he said.

He criticized the chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) for not playing an effective role in safeguarding the peace deal.

The failure to demilitarize Juba city before arrival of first vice president, Riek Machar, and the delay in establishing contentment areas of the opposition’s SPLA-IO forces in greater Bahr El Gahzal and Equatoria regions is a setback to peace.

They also accused the SPLA forces allied to president Salva Kiir of allegedly starting the war in Juba and of targeting civilian sites who took refuge in UN camps.

"We blamed the government of president Salva Kiir’s forces, for using heavy artilleries shelling and helicopters attacks, which has resulted into the death of 8 civilians and wounded 65 others," Bar said.

Koang Gatwech, a senior adviser for Nuer community in Uganda, has also blamed the international community for allegedly watching the crimes being committed by government and failed to act immediately.

"The targeting of two SPLM/SPLA-IO officers by military intelligence and national security by the government of president Salva Kiir on 2th-5th July 2016 at the hand of JMEC, with in the same month on 7th two arrival forces clashed at Gudelle Checkpoint the area of Lou clinic and resulted into death of five Soldiers from government side, JMEC and others partners without quick intervention," he said.

He said the fights between president Salva Kiir bodyguards and first vice president unit forces during a meeting conducted on Friday, 8 July, in presidential palace of J1 was a total failure of leadership in the country.

"The losses of life on our dear sons from both sides, as well as fighting continued up to checkpoint Jebel Kujur which is a cantonment site of SPLM/SPLA-IO is a clear violation of peace," he added.

The group also added that the failure to commemorate the fifth anniversary of independence of the country was regrettable to the South Sudanese people.

"Instead to celebrate the joyful day we were trapped into conflict, this has made us all unhappy with current situation which includes ethnicity [based] targeting," he said.

(ST)

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