Those benefiting from war shouldn’t be allowed to hold the entire nation hostage. South Sudan, Africa’s newest country, will usher in its fifth year of independence tomorrow. The country, already ravaged by conflict and poverty, is facing immediate threats of famine, economic implosion, and inter-ethnic war.
Brian Adeba, Associate Director at the Enough Project: “As South Sudan marks its fifth independence anniversary, it faces unprecedented challenges: the implementation of the peace deal is stalling and the economy is in dire straits. This week’s escalation of violence pitting the SPLA and the armed opposition in the Gudele area of Juba risks plunging the country into a full-scale war if not arrested. In the wake of the armed confrontations in Juba, both President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar must rein in their armed forces and reassure the public of their full commitment to the peace process. Both leaders must further commit to the urgent institutional reforms called for in the August 2015 peace agreement in order to foster accountability and end impunity.”
John Prendergast, Not On Our Watch board member and Founding Director at The Enough Project: “If the conflict continues between Kiir's and Machar's forces, and given the history of scorched-earth tactics both sides utilize, including massive cattle raiding, international aid providers will simply not be able to keep up with their pace of destruction. Combined with an imploding economy, failing food markets and spiraling food prices, full-blown famine in the hardest-hit areas could result. Those benefiting from war shouldn’t be allowed to hold the entire nation hostage after only five years of independence.”
Adeba added: “South Sudan’s fifth independence anniversaryoffers an opportunity for its leaders to look back and review the mishaps that have destroyed the country. But all is not lost. At this time, South Sudan’s politicians should acquire the political will required to fully implement the peace agreement in order to facilitate the urgent process of rebuilding the economy.”