JUBA– IGAD Executive Secretary Dr Workneh Gebeyehu has warned that recent violence in Upper Nile and Jonglei regions poses serious danger to peace and stability of South Sudan.
In a statement on December 26, the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development said he is extremely concerned with the violence and fighting in the states, which have led to displacement of an estimated 50,000 people and death and destruction.
Consequently, Dr Gebeyehu appealed for an immediate de-escalation and an end to violence, saying it possess serious danger to peace, stability and humanitarian situation of South Sudan.
He further urged the South Sudanese leadership of President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar and other signatory parties to the peace agreement to collectively voice their concern as a matter of urgency and appeal for calm.
The Executive Secretary called for the silencing of the guns and the provision of an immediate platform for dialogue to resolve any grievances that may have led to the violence.
“Dr Workneh appealed to the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government to use their leverage to ensure that no entity or individual undermines the peace and stability of South Sudan.
In this regard, the Executive Secretary thanked President William Ruto of Kenya speaking with his South Sudanese counterpart to express his concerns and for offering the airlifting of food aid and medical supplies from Kenya to affected areas,” the statement by Igad Secretariat said.
The Executive Secretary also appealed to humanitarian agencies to scale-up their intervention to reach displaced populations and all those who are in need of food aid and humanitarian assistance.
On December 16, the EU and the members of the Troika said they were deeply concerned by the escalation in violence in Upper Nile and Jonglei.
“These killings, homes and livelihoods burned and destroyed, and sexual and gender-based violence being perpetrated, including against minors, are horrifying and cannot go unaddressed. The impact of this violence on an already dire humanitarian situation is further devastating vulnerable communities and their access to health and education services,” they said.
According to OCHA, the Humanitarian Agency of the UN, the armed conflict erupted in the village of Tonga in Upper Nile on August 15, 2022.
The violence has since spread further in Upper Nile, northern parts of Jonglei and Unity states. It is currently advancing in Upper Nile’s Fashoda county and is threatening the town of Kodok.
Earlier on December 14, Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission Amb. Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Charles Tai Gituai expressed concern at escalating violence in Upper Nile and Jonglei states “with innocent lives being lost, thousands displaced, livelihoods and property destroyed.”
“If not addressed urgently, the wider ramifications of such violence could destabilize the ongoing implementation of the Peace Agreement,” Amb. Gituai said.