JUBA – A local watchdog in South Sudan has said that it is concerned over latest government decision to impose another coronavirus lockdown saying the measure aimed at curtailing the spread of the deadly pandemic will delay the graduation of the unified forces provided for in the revitalized peace agreement and the dissemination of the 2018 peace deal itself.
On Wednesday, the national Taskforce on COVID-19 led by vice-president for services cluster Hussein Abdelbaggi Ayii imposed a month-long partial coronavirus lockdown after the ministry of health reported that COVID-19 cases are surging again raising fears of new variants of the virus that have occurred in several countries in Africa, Europe and America.
However, in a statement on Thursday, the Juba-based Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) said it was deeply concerned and expressed fears that the measure will likely delay the graduation of the necessary unified forces stipulated in the revitalized peace agreement and also raised alarm over abuses by security agencies that usually comes with lockdowns in the world’s youngest country.
“This unhealthy decision taken by the South Sudan National Taskforce on Covid-19 will delayed gratification of the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCRSS) and the dissemination of the peace to the South Sudanese citizens,” the CPA said in the statement extended to Sudans Post on Thursday.
“CPA urges the government to respect the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly in the country. During COVID-19 pandemic, the national authorities’ i.e. South Sudan National Police Service, SSNS, MI abuses the citizens during the COVID-19 in South Sudan,” it added.
It further blamed corruption for government failure to contain the spread of the virus saying the government “misappropriated the money that was donated to [the country] to fight coronavirus pandemic.”