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Africa News of Tuesday, 10 August 2021


Igad ministers meet to discuss the conflict in South Sudan’s SPLA-IO

First Vice President of South Sudan, Riek Machar First Vice President of South Sudan, Riek Machar

The internal clashes within the Sudan People's Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) have forced the Council of Ministers of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the situation.

SPLA-IO is the military force of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO).

In a statement seen by The EastAfrican, the second most powerful organ of the regional bloc invited the member states’ Foreign Affairs ministers for an urgent meeting on Monday, August 9.

“The agenda for its emergency meeting will be to discuss the current political situation in South Sudan that requires the urgent attention of the council,” read the statement.

The pressing call came after reported clashes between forces loyal to former SPLA-IO Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Gatwech Dual fought in Magenis over the weekend.

According to the spokesman of First Vice President Riek Machar, at least 27 soldiers from Gatwech’s faction were killed during the weekend military clashes.

Col Lam Gabriel Paul said among those killed on the enemy's side included two prominent generals.

Cease military action

Reacting to the incident, Edmund Yakani, the executive director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation – a civic education, human rights, and peacebuilding advocacy institution – called on the conflicting parties to cease military action and resolve their grievances in a non-violent manner.

“The citizens of South Sudan are tired of the armed violence. The leadership of the conflicting SPLM-IO factions should take responsibility for dialogue and find a solution for sorting out their misunderstanding immediately.

“This negative development that undermines the process for transitioning the situation across South Sudan from violence to peace is a clear demonstration of some political and military leaders’ lack of will for implementing the signed revitalised peace accord,” said Yakani.

Yakani, who is a civil society signatory to the peace deal, urged the conflicting factions to respect the cessation of hostilities agreement.

“Protection of civilians and human rights should not be compromised with by any one of the conflicting parties in Magenis,” he said.

On Wednesday last week, a group of senior generals in the SPLM-IO announced they had dismissed Dr. Machar as commander of the group, accusing him of reneging on the movement’s vision.

The SPLM-IO generals ostensibly replaced Machar with his previous army chief Simon Gatwech Dual with immediate effect. Dr. Machar’s political bureau condemned the move and described the generals behind the plan as peace spoilers.