JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition SPLM-IO led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar has issued a statement detailing its position on the recommitment of the signatories of the revitalized peace agreement to the ceasefire agreement.
Below is the full text statement of the SPLM-IO.
SUDAN PEOPLE’S LIBERATION MOVEMENT
SPLM/SPLA (IO) Position on Re-commitment to Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and Permanent Ceasefire and Security Arrangements
The security situation in South Sudan has been deteriorating for the last few months. The systematic and persistent attacks by the SSPDF on cantonment sites, training centers and other positions of SPLM/A (10) around the country are evident of such a deterioration and it is now a matter of serious concern. The latest of these attacks took place in Kaljaak and Mirmir in Unity State; Kuer keem, Wangkuerbi and Jiokow in Maiwut County and Wech Lual, Guol and Biot in Longechuk County of Upper Nile State.
On 24th March 2022, the SSPDF through its spokesperson, Maj. General Lul Ruai Koang, declared to its ranks and file and to the general public that the SSPDF is officially at war with the SPLM/A (10) (press statement attached). Consequently, the SSPDF has intensified its attacks on the SPLM/A (IO) positions following that declaration. It should be noted that these actions, among others, constitute clear violations of the Cessation of Hostilities signed on December 21, 2017 and Permanent Ceasefire Agreement signed on June 27, 2018.
The security arrangements is the backbone of the Agreement and therefore must be fully implemented. The eight (8) month Pre-Transitional Period was extended twice (first by 6 months and then 100 days), bringing it to seventeen (17) months in total. Two years into the transitional period, we still have not implemented the pre-transitional tasks, particularly the security. arrangements (the unification and graduation of forces) Article 2.2.1. These were supposed to be the prerequisites for the formation of the RTGONU. The SPLM/A (IO) reluctantly agreed for the formation of RTGONU before the graduation of the unified forces hoping that once in government, we might help to generate the political will and encourage our partner to prioritize the implementation of the agreement, but this has not been the case.
On Friday March 25, 2022, President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a Presidential Decree in which he stated to have relinquished three (3) positions of command in the military and two (2) in the National Police Service to the SPLM/A (IO) and SSOA. This was a unilateral decision on his part. [See SPLM/A (IO) press release]. This, coupled with the declaration of war by the Spokesperson of the SSPDF on 24th March (see press release) has clearly demonstrated not only the lack of political will to implement the Agreement but the intention to abrogate it, from the part of our partner, ITGONU.
The SPLM/A (1O) see no alternative to R-ARCSS to bring stability and peace in the country. The people of South Sudan are already suffering from economic hardships and insecurity. Therefore, we request, as a matter of urgency, the intervention of IGAD and other international partners to prevail on President Salva Kiir not to take this country back to war (Article 1.4.2.).
The SPLM/A (IO) is proposing the following as the way forward, focusing on ending the current escalation of violence;
- There must be an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of the SSPDF from the areas. forcefully taken from the SPLM/A (10) namely; Mirmir, Wath-Thiech, Joknyang in Unity State, Turu, Jiokow in Upper Nile State and all other areas violently occupied by the SSPDF in violation of the COHA signed on December 21, 2017 and the Permanent Ceasefire and Security Arrangements. (Article 2.1.)
- There is an urgent need to investigate all violations of the Cessation of Hostilities. Agreement, beginning with the most recent ones, and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.
- The SSPDF must immediately desist from executing its pending planned attacks on SPLM/SPLA(IO) cantonment sites and training centers throughout the country.
- The ITGONU must immediately stop facilitation of military defections as these undermine the Security Arrangements in Chapter 2 of the R-ARCSS (Article 2.1.).
- The SSPDF must refrain from offensive, provocative and hostile propaganda, recruitment from cantonment and training centers, mobilization, deployment and movement of forces.
- The SSPDF must ensure that all forces under their command or influence should comply with the provisions of COHA, Permanent Ceasefire, and Transitional Security Arrangements.
- The SSPDF must ensure that demilitarization of major cities and towns is carried out with immediate effect.
- IGAD is urged to urgently intervene and resolve the stalemate on the unification of command which should pave way to the graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) that have been under training for the last three years.
- Graduation of forces that are currently in the training centers must be carried out with immediate effect.
- Organization of Phase 2 must be carried out as a matter of urgency so that there is no gap between the graduation of the NUF and the commencement of the training of the members of forces in Phase 2.
- Financial incentives must equally be provided to all the trainees and instructors in the training centers as opposed to the current practice of paying only ITGONU components.
- Food, shelter and medicines for the cantonment sites and Training Centers must be sufficiently provided for a decent well-being of the forces.
- National Transitional Committee (NTC) must be revamped and restructured to guarantee its effectiveness in carrying out its mandate of coordination and facilitation of the implementation of the Agreement. It is envisaged that such an overhaul shall ensure that the current role of the leadership of the NTC in recruiting and facilitating defections, using funds meant for the implementation of the Agreement, is halted so as to save the Peace Agreement from collapsing.
- Funding to and disbursement of funds from NTC should be made adequate for the task, regular and transparent.
- The ITGONU to refrain from the use of state media against other peace partners and avail political and civic space to enable the freedom of expression and association.
- Last but not least, the ITGONU must demonstrate political will by actions and respect the R-ARCSS as the roadmap to addressing the root causes of the conflict. It must therefore recommit itself to the implementation of the Agreement in both letter and spirit. The details of the proposed way forward should be discussed by the parties under the auspices of the IGAD mediation.
Finally, SPLM/SPLA (IO) reiterates its commitment to full implementation to R-ARCSS.
Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, PHD,
Chairman and Commander in Chief, SPLM/SPLA (IO)
Juba, South Sudan
26th March 2022.