South Sudan Must Address Issues of Ethnicity To End Crisis

A former Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia, Adeboyega Ariyo, has said that his predictions about South Sudan at the point of secession are coming to pass, a situation he expresses sadness about.

Speaking to Channels Television, Ambassador Ariyo pointed out that the crisis was likely to continue, as more ethnic groups were likely to arise and claim their rights.

“The cause of the crisis is ethnicity and it must be addressed. Every man wants to be at the top.

“I predicted that if the South Sudan breaks away from Sudan, they will have ethnic challenges and it will lead to more countries coming out from Sudan,”

“I am not happy that what I suggested will happen is now happening just within two years I predicted it will happen. We should be coming together and not splitting into pieces. The smaller we are individually, the less important we are in the scheme of things,” he stated.

The ambassador pointed out that the persons that called for the secession took a lot of things for granted.

“They did not consider the right of any group to develop to higher level of state of things and their economic right.

“It would have been better if southern Sudan was not created. They should have found an accommodation to solve the problem of Sudan,” he stressed.

He listed the problems of Arabism and territorial democracy as the major issues Sudan had, saying that Sudan should have tackled the problems instead of the secession.

He called on the negotiators to address the issues of ethnicity, before other ethnic groups come up to claim their rights.

“Most of the referendum that ought to have been done is left undone,” he pointed out.

Ambassador Ariyo called on the international community come to the realisation that breaking African countries would create more problems for the continent.

South Sudanese Rebels In Addis Ababa For Ceasefire Talks

South Sudan and CAR CrisisSouth Sudanese rebels are in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to thrash out details of a ceasefire to end more than two weeks of crisis in the world’s newest state.

The U.N. envoy to South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, said government negotiators were also on their way, with both sides under mounting pressure from regional and Western powers to reach a deal.

The White House has said it would deny support – vital in a country the size of France that still has hardly any infrastructure more than two years after secession – to any group that seizes power by force.

Both sides have agreed in principle to a ceasefire but neither has indicated when the fighting would stop and mediators are concerned that fighting around the flashpoint town of Bor will scupper the talks even before they begin.

South Sudan’s defence minister said government forces were battling rebel fighters 11 miles south of Bor, the capital of Jonglei State, which has untapped oil reserves and was the site of an ethnic massacre in 1991.

“There will have to be a fight because they want to defeat the government forces,” Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk told Reuters from the capital Juba, 190 km south of Bor by road.

Rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar seized control of Bor on Tuesday after tens of thousands of civilians had fled.

The Addis Ababa talks will focus on finding ways to roll out and monitor the ceasefire, the East African IGAD bloc that is mediating the talks said, to end the fighting that has killed at least 1,000, unsettled oil markets and raised fears of the conflict spilling over in a fragile region.

“We don’t want to expose the people of South Sudan to a senseless war,” South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said on a government Twitter feed on Wednesday.

South Sudan’s neighbours, Washington and the United Nations played a central role in negotiations that ended decades of war with Sudan to the north and led to the secession of South Sudan in 2011, and have been scrambling to stem the latest violence.

South Sudan holds the third-largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa after Angola and Nigeria, according to BP, but remains one of the continent’s least developed countries.

President Salva Kiir has accused his long-term political rival Machar, who he sacked in July, of starting the fighting in a bid to seize power.

Machar has denied the charge, but he has taken to the bush and has acknowledged leading soldiers battling the government.

East African Nations Partner To Defeat South Sudanese Rebels

East African nations are to move in to defeat South Sudanese rebel leader, Riek Machar, if he rejected a ceasefire offer, threatening to turn an outburst of ethnic fighting into a regional conflict, Uganda’s president, President Yoweri Museveni, has said.

Hours after Museveni’s ultimatum, rebels and the feared “White Army” militia clashed against government troops just outside Jonglei state capital Bor, officials said.

They said the government side was braced for a “full scale” attack on the town, seized by rebels for several days earlier this month and the site of an ethnic massacre in 1991. Thousands of civilians had fled for the surrounding swamps.

Two weeks of clashes have already killed at least 1,000 people in the world’s newest nation, unnerved oil markets and raised fears of a civil war in a region ravaged by fighting in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We gave Riek Machar four days to respond (to the ceasefire offer) and if he doesn’t we shall have to go for him, all of us,” Museveni told reporters in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, referring to a December 31 deadline.

Asked what that meant, Museveni said: “to defeat him”.

He did not spell out whether South Sudan’s neighbors had actually agreed to send troops to join the conflict that erupted in Juba on December 15.

But his words underlined the scale of regional concern over the fighting that has spread to South Sudan’s oil-producing states – often along ethnic lines, between Machar’s group, the Nuer, and President Salva Kiir’s Dinka.

Past conflicts in South Sudan have sent refugees pouring over its borders, and spurred on rebels in neighbouring countries, including the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.

There was no immediate confirmation of the pact to take on Machar from other East African countries, who have been trying to mediate and last week gave the sides until December 31 to lay down their weapons.

Kenya’s presidential spokesman, Manoah Esipisu, said it would be inappropriate to comment until the deadline has passed. Machar himself did not respond to calls.

Information Minister Michael Makuei said the rebels want to take Bor ahead of the deadline so Machar “can talk from a position of strength” once peace talks start.

“This is why he has been intransigent,” Makuei said.

South Sudan: Civilians Seek Refuge In UN Compound In Juba

Hundreds of civilians sought shelter in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s compound adjacent to the Juba International Airport on Thursday (December 19) following fighting that broke out in the city on Sunday.

South Sudanese Government troops battled to regain control of a flashpoint town and sent forces to quell fighting in a vital oil producing area on Thursday, the fifth day of a conflict that has deepened ethnic divisions in the two-year-old nation.

The conflict, which has so far killed up to 500 people, has alarmed South Sudan’s neighbours. African mediators held talks with President Salva Kiir on Thursday to try to broker peace.

The fighting that erupted around the capital Juba on Sunday night has quickly spread, pitting loyalists of the former Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer, against Kiir, a member of the dominant Dinka clan.

Fighting erupted on Sunday night between soldiers in the presidential guard, following a coup attempt on President Salva Kiir’s government by soldiers loyal to his former deputy Riek Machar.

However, Machar, whose dismissal in July led to months of tensions, has denied Kiir’s accusation that he had led a coup attempt.

The fighting, which broke out overnight and intensified in the early morning with reports of continuous gunfire and several explosions, has led to a night time curfew.

Mr Kiir said the government was in full control of the capital, Juba, after a night of heavy fighting.