People for Peace in Africa issue statement on the ongoing tensions in South Sudan
Joseph Ngala, People for Peace in Africa, Kenya, South Sudan
(from Joseph Ngala, Director of People for Peace in Africa) With over 300 people dead since July and a million more displaced by fighting in South Sudan, observers are pessimistic about the prospects of peace since clashes between forces loyal to ruler Salvar Kiir (Dinkia by tribe) and his rival Riak Machar (nuer by tribe) began.
This must not be only a concern of the 1.6 million who have been displaced by the fighting or the 60,000 refugees who have fled to Uganda. It must be a concern to all of Africa and the global community that a country founded on optimism--when nearly 100% of South Sudanese voted to brea away from Sudan--is now on the brink of imploding.
There is disappointment in Kenya where many involved in civil society, religious communities and the government played a pivotal role in midwifing South Sudan to nationhood. There is little doubt that the new round of fighting was triggered by events from 2013 after President Kiir accused his then-first Vice President Machar of plotting a coup.
For now, every effort must be made to lessen the tension so that the millions of homeless and hungry people in desperate need of more assistance can get some relief. There are fears that the current tensions could easily escalate, especially after Machar rejected the appointment of a member of his opposition.
Joseph Ngala is the Director of People for Peace in Africa, a Pax Christi International member organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya.