Rebel chief accepts ceasefire in South Sudan

Former deputy and now chief rebel in South Sudan accepts ceasefire

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

South Sudan President Salva Kiir voices his reservations before signing a peace deal in the capital Juba, South Sudan.

South Sudan Rebel chief Riek Machar ordered his rebel group to lay down their arms due to a deal of a permanent ceasefire with his rival, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s government forces.

The announcement came from Machar’s spokesman Nyarji Roman on Saturday who said that the acceptance of the ceasefire deal was made to end the 20-month long civil war in South Sudan.

On Wednesday, the South Sudanese government made a call to former vice president Machar, ordering his SPLM/SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Sudan People’s Liberation Army] forces "to cease fire in the country as of midnight August 29, 2015.”

Machar's spokesman and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is an eight-nation bloc, reported that no clashes happened between the two sides on Saturday.

On the other hand, the South Sudanese government was accused of violating the ceasefire because of rebels attacking the town of Malakal.

The government spokesman Michael Makuei said that the rebels yesterday attacked their position in Malakal "but they were repulsed and this morning they again attacked Malakal," adding "this is a violation of the cessation of hostilities of the agreement and it should be recorded," the AFP reported.

Ateny Wek Ateny, the president's spokesman said that President Kiir has ordered the entire army to “stop shooting and remain in their barracks where they are, but they can shoot in self-defence once attacked," AFP reported.

After a call from the government on Thursday, the SPLM/SPLA accused the government of attacking their bases in the northern part of the country.

The army did not respond to allegations.

The civil war was sparked in the country on Dec. 15, 2013 at the National Liberation Council (NLC) meeting in Nyakuron. The main reason of dispute was opposition leaders Machar, Pagan Amum and Rebecca Nyandeng voted to boycott the NLC.

Thousands of people have died in the civil war, more than 2 million people have been displaced and up to 500,000 people migrated from the country.

UN welcomes the deal

The United Nations (UN) Security Council said it was pleased with the peace agreement.

"The Security Council acknowledges that this agreement is the first step in reversing the difficult political and economic situation, and humanitarian and security catastrophe resulting from this crisis," the council said on Friday.

UN Security Council called the parties to “fully implement the agreement."

If the ceasefire fails, South Sudanese government and rebel forces could face sanctions by the UN.

TRTWorld and agencies