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IGAD orders S. Sudanese forces to vacate civilian areas

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November 11, 2019 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers has ordered all the South Sudanese military forces to immediately vacate civilian centres and populated areas.

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The IGAD Council of Ministers attending an extraordinary meeting on South Sudan in Addis Ababa, November 9, 2019 (IGAD photo)

The Council, in a communiqué of the 69th Extra-ordinary Session on the situation in South Sudan on Sunday, said they have noted with concern that some civilian centres are still being occupied by the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and armed opposition forces (SPLM/A-IO).

The Council also urged the incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity and opposition forces to be cantoned in barracks and cantonment sites respectively pursuant to the provisions of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

On Thursday last week, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar agreed at a meeting held in Uganda, to delay key benchmarks in the peace accord by 100 days.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni chaired the meeting, also attended by the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Kenya’s Special Envoy to South Sudan, Kalonzo Musyoka.

The delay in forming a transitional national unity government by November 12 came after the main opposition group threatened to opt out of the deadline, saying the country’s security arrangements are incomplete.

The IGAD Council of ministers said they have noted that critical pending pre-transitional tasks crucial for the formation of the unity government, particularly relating to transitional security arrangements and determination of the number and boundaries of states, are still outstanding.

Meanwhile, the Council instructed IGAD’s Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ismail Wais in collaboration with Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) and the African Union Commission to “urgently” organise a workshop for security mechanisms in Juba to agree on a roadmap with clear timeline for the implementation of Transitional Security Arrangements within 100 days extension.

“The Council emphasised the need to work on a roadmap and implementation plan to ensure the timely completion of pending pre-transitional tasks,” partly reads the communique.

South Sudan descended into civil war in mid-December 2013 when President Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of plotting a coup, allegations he dismissed.

In September last year, the country’s rival factions signed a revitalized peace deal to end the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

According to the 2018 peace deal, a unity government was supposed to be formed in May, but due to unresolved issues, the parties agreed to a six-month extension, settling on November 12.

At least 382,900 people died as a result of the conflict in the world’s youngest nation, a report published by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine revealed last year.

(ST)

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